Before I tell you the tale of St. Patrick and the werewolves of Ireland I need you to clear your mind of St. Patrick’s Day parties, clovers, green glitter and beer. Good, now we can begin.
According to legend, St. Patrick once punished the Welsh king Vereticus by transforming him into a wolf. While St. Patrick was in Ireland he became so disgusted with certain tribes that continued to resist his efforts to convert them to Christianity that he cursed them and condemned them to become werewolves.
The spell fell on the poor tribesmen and caused them to turn into werewolves every seven years. They would stay in wolf form for seven years, then once the years passed they would turn back into humans, but only for another seven years, then it was back to wolf all over again. It was a horrible vicious cycle. Seven years as a wolf, seven as a human, seven as a wolf, seven as a human… until they died.
But during their seven years as a werewolf they weren’t denied the sacraments of the church. In 1191 a man named Giraldus Cambrensis recorded the testimony of a priest that swore that he once gave a sacrament to a werewolf.
Throughout the years, travelers to Ireland insisted that they had met entire families of werewolves and that they have even seen some people transform into wolves. Up until the end of the eighteenth century, Ireland was known as Wolfland.
This legend of St. Patrick turning unbelievers into werewolves could very well be a fabricated story used to scare people into turning to Christianity. This kind of thing was done quite often throughout the old world. They would tell the people that if they led sinful lives they would be turned into a vampire or werewolf or some other monster – that’s actually how we have many of the stories we have. Think of it as telling a child if he doesn’t behave the boogeyman will get him, same deal.
But who knows, maybe St. Patrick did turn the pagans into werewolves for not bringing Christ into their hearts.
I have been researching werewolves in ireland, being an irishman myself, and this is possibly my fave story so far, i am at this moment writing a script for a werewolf movie set in ireland. There will be three werewolves and i have good names for two, i need an irish name that is relatively short, mines (Turlough) is too long.
How about “Ragan”. It’s an OLD Irish name.;)
Faolan- it means wolf child
this has got to be one of the coolest stories ,i have read in along time . i never heard this before and i am of Irish decent my grandfather being from Ireland i hear a ton of stories i cant wait to share this whit him :)
Because of this story, I have celebrated ‘Celtic Werewolf Day’ or ‘Werewolf Pride’ for years now.
Great story. A werewolf should never wear green, though.
Yeah, because that’s what Jesus would do.