Christianity in Ireland began with the greatly loved St. Patrick. He was born in the late fourth century in the neighbouring country of England. When he was sixteen he was kidnapped by Irish barbarians and taken to Ireland. After six years of slavery, during which Patrick developed a strong trust and bond with God, he managed to escape.
In England, he went to a monastery where he studied to become a priest. And in 430, the kind and determined young priest returned to Ireland to preach Christianity to the Druids. He formed monasteries and converted more than two-thirds of Ireland. Later, missionaries would continue his work until all of Ireland was converted to Christianity.
The Anglo-Saxons in England were barbaric and pagan when the first enthusiastic missionaries arrived there. The first true and permanent conversion was King Ethelbert’s, whose wife was a Catholic. Augustine of Canterbury, a Benedictine monk, was the most successful of all missionaries. He was strongly supported by Pope Gregory the Great, r. 590 – 604.