Destruction of Crom Cruach

Margaret Anne Cusack
start of chapter | Chapter IX

Having preached for some time in the western part of the territory of Meath, the saint proceeded as far as Magh Slecht, where the great idol of the nation, Ceann [or Crom] Cruach was solemnly worshipped.

The legend of its destruction, as given in the oldest annals, is singularly interesting.

We give a brief extract from Professor O’Curry’s translation:

“When Patrick saw the idol from the water, which is named Guthard [loud voice] (i.e., he elevated his voice); and when he approached near the idol, he raised his arm to lay the Staff of Jesus on him, and it did not reach him; he bent back from the attempt upon his right side, for it was to the south his face was; and the mark of the staff lies in his left side still, although the staff did not leave Patrick’s hand; and the earth swallowed the other twelve idols to their heads; and they are in that condition in commemoration of the miracle. And he called upon all the people cum rege Laeghuire; they it was that adored the idol. And all the people saw him (i.e., the demon), and they dreaded their dying if Patrick had not sent him to hell.”[9]


[9] HellO’Curry, p. 539. This is translated from the Tripartite Life of St. Patrick.