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There might be debate about where he spent his childhood years, but St Patrick was a 'Brit'

Letter of the day: saint's origins

Martin O'Brien (Comment, March 17) is too unfocused in his vision of St Patrick being "a unifying figure in our struggle with the past".

He leaves to the ending of his article what should have been his beginning and his focus: namely, that St Patrick was, to use a vulgarism beloved by Gerry Adams, a 'Brit'.

Being a Brit, Patrick would, in addition to his elementary Latin, have presumably spoken some form of a Britannic language - the Gaelic of Strathclyde.

This would have facilitated his communication with his enslavers, the Scotti of what is now called Ireland.

However, a priest in the Church of Ireland, Marcus Losack, in Rediscovering Saint Patrick: a new theory of origins, published by the Columba Press in 2013, argues for locating the Britain of Patrick's upbringing in Brittany, the lesser Britain, to which some years, probably, after Patrick's birth his family, due to unsettlement, had migrated; a region now long since incorporated into France, much as since those times a part of Britain came to be incorporated into the Angle and Saxon kingdoms later established there by migrants, giving us what is known today as England.

Whether or not Britain or Brittany (there is no scholarly unanimity on the matter), the early Britannic interconnectedness of these regions remains.

Today's Ireland and Scotland and England, as well as Wales, are part of that connectedness. And St Patrick was, indeed, perhaps like all of us, a Brit.

WA MILLER

Belfast

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