St Patrick was a 5th century British missionary and bishop, known as the "Apostle of Ireland," and regarded as the country's patron saint.
Legend has it that he was captured from his home in Britain by Irish raiders as a teenager and lived as a servant for several years before escaping back to his family over the sea. As an adult, however, he later returned to Ireland as a bishop and is credited with Christianising the country.
Croagh Patrick, County Mayo
Patrick the Name:
The name Patrick derives from the Latin Patricius, originally referring to the patricians -- elite members of the Roman aristocratic families -- but later came to mean simply "noble."
Originally, the Irish considered the name too sacred to use although Gilla Patráic "servant of Patrick" and Máel Patráic "devotee of Patrick" can be found in records.
Patrick came in to use properly in the 17th century in Ireland (most likely thanks to English and Scottish migration) and quickly caught on -- becoming one of the most popular in Ireland and spelt in a variety of forms.
Native Irish forms include Pádraic, Pádraig and Pátraic with nicknames Paddy, Pat and Patsy. Other British forms include Pàdraig, Pàraig (Scottish), Padrig (Welsh) and Petroc (Cornish).
The feminine form of Patrick is Patricia, the Irish form of which is Pádraigín.
Fellow Irish Saints:
Abbán - An Irish hermit and patron of Mag Arnaide. His name, also written as Abán, means "little abbot."
Aidan - There have been at least 21 Irish saints to bear the name Aidan, including one who founded the famous monastery at Lindisfarne in Northumberland. The name is a diminutive of Aed -- also borne by several saints -- which meant "fire."
Ailbhe - Pronounced similar to Alva, Ailbhe (or Ailbe in its older form) was born by two Irish saints. It derives from the albho- "white, world," and is possibly a later form of the Gaulish god Albiorix "world-king."
Attracta - The Latinised and common name given to St Athracht, a nun who worked with St Patrick.
Bécán - St Bécán (also Beccán, Beccóg and Beagán) is one of the Twelve Apostles of Ireland. The name means "little man."
Brendan - Two of the Twelve Apostles of Ireland bore the name Brendan, the older form of which was Brénainn. The origins of the name are obscure, but the preferred derivation by many is that it is a variant of the Welsh brenin "king."
Brogan - The name of several Irish saints, including a a scribe of St Patrick, also found as Broccán. The etymology is uncertain.
Brigit - Borne by fifteen early Irish saints including Brigid of Kildare, one of Ireland's most prominent saints. It derives from the Celtic *brig meaning "high."
Bronach - An Irish mystic who was a disciple of St Patrick. The name derives from braon "sorrow" and is anglicised as Brona.
Cainnech - Also known as Canice, Canicus and even Kenneth/Kenny, St Cainnech is one of the Twelve Apostles of Ireland who helped convert the Picts of Scotland. The name derives from cain "kind, beautiful."
Ciarán- Two of the Twelve Apostles of Ireland bore the name Ciarán, derived from ciar "black, dark." Ciar and feminine Ciara were also borne by early Irish saints.
Columba - Another of the Twelve Apostles who also help convert the Picts and also established the Benedictian monastic system. The name derives from the Latin meaning "dove," the modern Irish form of which is Colm.
Cormac - Borne by two early Irish saints, Cormac derives from eaither corb "raven" or cairb "charioteer."
Finnian - The name of several Irish saints, derived from fionn "white, bright, fair." Finbar/Finnbarr "fair-haired" was also borne by several saints.
Laisrén - Derived from lassar "flame," St Laisrén was the first Christian king of Munster and also one of the Twelve apostles.
Liadan - Also known as St Lelia, Liadan was a hermitess who gave her name to Killeely. The name derives from liath "grey."
Maedoc - Bishop of Ferns, St Maedoc is a prominent early Irish saint. The name derives from Aed with the prefix mo- "my."
Malachy - Malachy is the anglicised form of Mael Maedoc (Maolmhaodhóg) meaning "devotee of St Maedoc" borne by a Archbishop of Armagh.
Mobhi - Also known as Mo Bi "my Bi," St Mobhi was of of the Twelve Apostles. The name was a petform of Berchan, derived from berach "sharp."
Ruadhán - The patron of Lothra and also one of the Twelve Apostles. Ruadhan, (also found as Rúdán, Rowan and Rodan) derives from ruadh "red."
Senan - Another of the Twelve Apostles is Senan whose name most likely derives from sen "ancient."
Tiarnach - Also known as Tigernach or Tierney, St Tiarnach is the patron saint of Clones. The name derives from tighearna "lord."