St. Patrick Connection

The following local legend tells how St. Patrick came to leave his footprint on a rock at Red Island during his brief stay on St. Patrick’s Island. When St. Patrick was expelled from Wicklow by the pagan natives he sailed northwards and landed on a small island off Skerries, which is now known as St. Patrick’s Island in his honour. When the saint arrived on this island he had with him a goat, which was his companion and source of milk. From this island St. Patrick came to the mainland to convert the local people. While St. Patrick was ashore on one of these visits some people from Skerries went out to the island and stole his goat. They killed the goat, cooked it and feasted on it. When St, Patrick went to the island he found his goat missing. This made him very angry and in two giant strides he reached the mainland.

The first step took him to the back of Colt Island and the second to Red Island, where he confronted the people of Skerries. When they tried to deny interfering with his goat they found they could only bleat. When they were prepared to tell the saint the truth their voices returned. Where St. Patrick stepped onto Red island his footprint is to be seen in the rock to this day. Since then the nickname Skerries Goats is given to the people of the town to remind them of this deed. St. Patrick’s footprint can be seen on the rocks near the Springboards, the tidal bathing place on Red Island. There is supposed to be another impression of the saint’s foot on the rocks at the rear of Colt Island, where he took his first giant stride on his way to the mainland.



Funded by the Cianan Clancy Community Enhancement Fund 1997 to 2017