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Top 10 Books About St. Patrick & Irish Mythology


St. Patrick is an important figure in Irish history and literature. Read about the myths and legends that have surrounded St. Patrick; and find out why we still celebrate his life with St. Patrick's Day. Read more about the literature related to St. Patrick.

1. St. Patrick of Ireland: A Biography

by Philip Freeman. Simon & Schuster. From the publisher: "We have no surviving image of Patrick, but we do have two remarkable letters that he wrote about himself and his beliefs -- letters that tell us more about the heart and soul of this man than we know about almost any of his contemporaries. In St. Patrick of Ireland Philip Freeman brings the historic Patrick and his world vividly to life."
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2. Confession of St. Patrick: And Letter to Coroticus

by Patrick, John Skinner (Translator), John O'Donohue (Foreword). Doubleday. From the publisher: "Here, in this new edition from internationally acclaimed translator John Skinner, the character of Patrick, his era, and his world vividly come to life. Also included in this volume is the only other document known to have been written by Patrick: a letter he wrote to the soldiers of Coroticus... This letter is a wonderful demonstration of Patrick's rhetorical fire."

3. Celtic Flame: The Burden of Patrick

by T. M. Moore. Xlibris Corporation. From the publisher: "The name of St. Patrick is familiar to most people in the English-speaking world. Yet most who know his name know next to nothing about him. Legends, myths, and tall tales surround the patron saint of the Irish, but few really know him or understand the burden which guided his work as Bishop of the Irish people during the latter years of the fifth century."
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4. Perceptions of St Patrick in Eighteenth-Century Ireland

by Bridget McCormack. Four Courts Press. From the publisher: "In the modern world the image of St Patrick was indissoluble from the idea of Irishness... Underpinning all this was a popular cult of the saint expressed in the 'vulgar' celebration of St Patrick's day. This book makes a significant contribution to our understanding of the religious, political and cultural life of 18th-century Ireland."
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5. Studies on the Life and Legend of St. Patrick

by Ludwig Bieler. From the publisher: "The present selection of articles complements the editions of the different texts which [Ludwig Bieler] published in book form, and examines such questions as St Patrick's knowledge and use of Latin and the Scriptures, the influence of literary and hagiographical models on his legend, and the development of those legends and their texts in the Middle Ages."

6. Patrick: The Pilgrim Apostle of Ireland

by Maire B. De Paor, Patrick Confessio, and Patrick Epistola Ad Milites Corotici. HarperCollins Publishers. From the publisher: "The man who came to be known as Patrick was at once a grand mythic figure and a very real historical person: a slave turned missionary, a passionate pilgrim, and a revered religious writer and teacher. Now for the fist time his story—from his youth in Roman Britain to emergence from slavery in Ireland—is fully reconstructed and recaptured."
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7. Patrick: In His Own Words

by Joseph Duffy. Veritas Publications. From the publisher: "The excellent English translation of Patrick’s writings is accompanied by the original Latin and a new Irish translation. The extensive commentary provides illuminating insights into this remarkable saint, the times in which he lived and the importance of his message for today."
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8. Christianity and the Celts

by Ted Olsen. Inter-Varsity Press. From the publisher: "But in this volume, Ted Olsen digs beneath the layers of romanticization to introduce you to the world of the Celts. Focusing on their interaction with the Christian faith, Olsen tells the stories of principal characters from Ireland and beyond. As he illuminates the missionary fervor and monastic ideals of saints such as Patrick and Columbanus, Olsen brings a distant period of history to vivid life."
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9. The Wearing of the Green: A History of St. Patrick's Day

by Mike Cronin, and Daryl Adair. Routledge. "For a few hours each year, millions of Irish and non-Irish commemorate the life of a 1500-year-old saint in a boisterous display of parading and revelry, festooned in the shamrock and emerald green. 'The Wearing of the Green' captures the dramatic story..."
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10. Shamrocks, Harps, and Shillelaghs: The Story of the St. Patrick's Day Symbols

by Edna Barth. Houghton Mifflin Company. From the publisher: "Shamrocks, shillelaghs, reed pipes, and leprechauns—these are some of the many symbols that remind us of St. Patrick's Day. Who was St. Patrick? And what is this early spring holiday all about? With warmth and vitality, Edna Barth tells the colorful stories, legends, and historical facts behind St. Patrick's Day..."

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