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Lighthouse at Fanad Head, Co. Donegal, Ireland

Kylemore Abbey, Co. Galway, Ireland

St. Patrick, the beloved patron saint of Ireland, was ordained as a priest in Britain and sent to Ireland to minister to Christians and to convert the Irish, then pre-dominantly pagans, to Christianity. Because Patrick was familiar with the Irish language and culture from the years he'd spent in captivity there (when he was captured at age 16), he chose to incorporate Irish ritual and symbols into his teachings rather than to eradicate Irish beliefs. Thus, was born the Celtic cross. Patrick...