Fascinating Facts!

Saints and Scholars.

The first Irish saint wasn't Saint Patrick. It was Saint Abban, who preached in Southern England in the 2nd century.

Scotland's capitol, Edinburgh, is named after the Irish nun Edana who founded a convent there in the 6th century.

Joshua Jacob, leader of the weird 19th century White Quakers cult, once led his followers in naked procession through the streets of Dublin.

Despite it's association with the national saint, Croagh Patrick in County Mayo has been a holy mountain since pagan times.

Fleet Street in London was the site of the city's first Irish community in the 6th century which was centered on a holy well dedicated to Saint Brigid.

In 1750, the Church of Ireland Bishop of Raphoe was shot dead while carrying out a highway robbery.

Ireland's holiest place is arguably the churchyard of St. Eanna on the Aran Island of Inismore. Over 120 recognized saints are buried there.

Most of the Book of Kells was actually written in a monastery on the Scottish Island of Iona.

The Pope is also bishop of the tiny sea of Kilfenora in County Clare.

The sacred fire of St. Brigid, which was kept in an oak grove near Kildare, was extinguished by English soldiers in 1535, after supposedly burning continuously for nearly a thousand years.

Ireland's smallest church is at Portbraden in County Antrim. Only ten feet long by six feet wide, the structure is dedicated to St. Gobhnan - the patron saint of builders.

St. Comgall of Bangor was said to possess miraculous spit, which could shatter rocks.

The soil of Devenish Island in County Fermanagh is reputed to have been brought from the Colosseum in Rome in the 6th century by St. Molaise, because it was soaked with the blood of early Christian martyrs.

The Irish philosopher and scholar John Scotus Eriugena met a rather bizarre end in 870 when he was hacked to death with sharpened pens by students he had forced to think.

According to the 12th century prophecies of St. Malachy, Ireland will be at peace, when the shamrock meets the palm - in other words, when St. Patrick's day falls on Palm Sunday.

An Obscure Protestant sect, the Dippers, baptize their members in the waters of Lough Erne which they believe to be the true River Jordan.

Disibode, and Irish St. of the 7th century, is credited with creating the German wine industry, when wines miraculously sprouted from a staff he had stuck into the soil along the banks of the Rhine.

A 'five 'o clock shadow' can clearly be seen on the embalmed head of St. Oliver Plunkett, which is kept in St. Peter's Church, Drogheda, proving that he shaved on the morning of his execution in 1681.

Kerryman Monsignor Hugh O'Flaherty, 'the Scarlet Pimpernel of the Vatican', saved more than 14,000 Allied prisoners from the SS in occupied Rome between 1942-44.

Every March 6th, the Tricolour is flown from Swiss public buildings to celebrate the Irish saint, Fridolin.

After their deaths, the scarlet hats of past Primates of All Ireland are hung in the rafters of Armagh Cathedral and left to rot as a symbol of their owners' earthly mortality.

Iceland was settled by Irish monks in the 8th century.

St. Kevin of Glendalough was an extreme misogynist, who is said to have once lured a persistent female admirer to the death after she had ventured into his mountain retreat.

In the 7th century, St. Killian became the only Irishman to be offered the Papacy. Amazingly, he refused the honor.

Ireland's first lighthouse was built by monks on Hook Head, County Wexford, in 810.

Until the advent of steamships, it was common practice for Irish Sea captains to carry pebbles from Scattery Island, home of the patron saint of mariners, St. Cannera, in the belief that they would prevent shipwrecks.

Mass has been celebrated every Sunday at Ballintobber Abbey in County Galway since 1216.

Ireland's only purpose built mosque is in Westport, County Mayo.

St. Fearghal declared that the world was round eight centuries before Galileo.

Beith, the Grandson of Noah, is said to have landed his ark, full of the world's most desirable females, on Carnmore Point in County Fermanagh after the great flood - hence the legendary beauty of Irishwomen.

The World's oldest New Testament, dating from the 2nd century, is in the Chester Beatty Library in Dublin.

The Village of Poyntzpass, County Down, on the fringes of Ulster's 'Bible belt', has more churches per head of population than anywhere else in the world.

St. Patrick is the patron saint of fishermen.

Although there are over 1,400 listed Irish saints, only 5 have been officially canonized.

The reformed Dublin alcoholic and would-be saint, Matt Talbot, who died in 1925, hung heavy iron chains around his body as a penance.

King Henry V was cursed after letting his troops ransack the shrine of the Irishman St. Fiacre, the patron saint of hemorrhoid sufferers, at Meaux in France. Henry died as a result of his piles turning septic on August 30th 1417, the feast day of St. Fiacre.

The Romans imported Irish wolfhounds, using them to devour Christians in the arena.

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