On the Ancient Races of Ireland: St. Patrick - Sir William Wilde

We have now arrived at a period when you might naturally expect the native annalist to make some allusion to conquest or colonization by the then mistress of the world. Without offering any reason for it, I have here only to remark that neither as warriors nor colonizers did the Romans ever set foot in Ireland; and hence the paucity of any admixture of Roman art amongst us.

To fill up a hiatus which might here occur in our migrations, I will mention a remarkable circumstance. A Christian youth of Romano-Saxon parentage, and probably of patrician origin, was carried off in a raid of Irish marauders, and employed as a swineherd in this very Ulster, the country of the Dalaradians, and lived here for several years, learning our customs and speaking our language. He escaped, however, to Munster, and thence to his native land of Britain or Normandy, from whence he returned in A.D. 432 with friends, allies, and missionaries, and passing in his galley into the mouth of the Boyne, walked up the banks of that famed stream, raised the paschal fire at Slane, and speedily introduced Christianity throughout Ireland.

In thus briefly alluding to the labours of St. Patrick, I wish to be understood to say that about the time of his mission there was much Saxon intercourse with this country, and the great missionary had not only many friends but several relatives residing here, and some of them on the very banks of the Boyne; and I believe that a considerable amount of civilization and some knowledge of Christianity had been introduced long previously; so that, although old King Laoghaire or Loury and his Druids did not bow the knee to the Most High God, nor accept the teaching of the beautiful hymn that Patrick and his attendants chanted as they passed up the grassy slopes of Tara, still there were many hundred people in Ireland ready to receive the glad tidings of the gospel of salvation.