Late in the 4th century Irish pirates captured a young, British citizen named Patricius from his parents' Roman villa. The boy was sold into slavery and sent to tend sheep in Ireland. After walking nearly 200 miles across bogs and mountains to the coast, he managed to escape on a ship full of pagan sailors and returned home to the astonishment of his family. Patrick was destined for the privileged life of nobility but, when he experienced a profound religious awakening, he decided to become a priest and return to Ireland to convert the Irish to Christianity.
The Patrick who emerges is even more extraordinary than the patron saint of legend, a passionate, courageous, and very human figure who exerted an incalculable impact on the course of Irish history.