Early Christianity -St Patrick in Connemara
St. Patrick, a former slave is credited with bringing Christianity to Ireland. It is believed that his followers concentrated on converting the lords or clan leaders in the belief that this would lead to a conversion of the masses. Many pagan rituals were incorporated into Christianity including the worship of spring well and pilgrimages to Mam Ean and Croagh Patrick. Many of these traditions have survived to the present day. The isolation of Connemara suited the monks in early Christian times and there are monastic remains on many of the islands off the West coast.
'The ferocious O' Flaherty's'
The O'Flaherty clan were a seafaring family with castles at prominent locations along the coast. They were driven to the west by the Norman settlers and displaced the former rulers of Connemara -the O'Cadhla's and the Conmaice Mara. They spent most of their time waging war on the wealthy Norman merchants who lived within the confines of Galway city. Inscribed on the city walls was the motto ''from the fury of the O'Flahertys, good Lord deliver us'' The O'Flahertys were eventually dispossessed following the confiscation of their land during the Cromwellian wars. They turned their attention to smuggling and wrecking and traded wool on the continent in exchange for sherry and wine.
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