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Missionary to Ireland: 5th century AD

Early in the 5th century a 16-year-old Briton is captured by Irish raiders and is sold as a slave in Ireland. Put to work as a shepherd, he escapes after six years and makes his way back to Britain. Later he returns to Ireland to preach Christianity to the pagans. He is St Patrick.

He makes his headquarters at Armagh, which has remained ever since the ecclesiastical centre of Ireland; fifteen centuries after St Patrick's time it is the seat of both the Roman Catholic and the Anglican archbishops of the island. In his old age Patrick writes an account of his life, the Confessio - a short spiritual autobiography which is the source of the scanty historical details known about him.

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