Extinct today, wolves were once numerous in Ireland. Such a plague in fact, the Irish bred a special dog – the Irish wolfhound – to hunt them.

Because of this, wolves have had a longstanding place in Irish culture. In Irish medieval literature, wolves became associated with warriors, savage and frenzied behavior, and living in the wilderness.

One Irish medieval account where wolves appear is the 11th century Middle Irish poem De Ingantaib Érenn, On the Wonders of Ireland, telling of a Bishop Patrick of Dublin.

Yes, Saint Patrick!

On The Wonder of Ireland speaks of werewolves living in Ossory, a kingdom of early medieval Ireland. Werewolves were known to be humans cursed so as a divine punishment for wickedness.

According to the poem, Saint Patrick once prayed to God to punish a clan of unrepentant pagans.

Did Saint Patrick intercede men into werewolves? Read below!

“It is told that when the Holy Patricius [Saint Patrick] preached Christianity in that country, there was one clan which opposed him more stubbornly than any other people in the land; and these people strove to do insult in many ways both to God and to the holy man. And when he was preaching the faith to them as to others and came to confer with them where they held their assemblies, they adopted the plan of howling at him like wolves.”

When the clan interrupted his preaching, Saint Patrick praying for God to punish the clan.

The poem said his prayer resulted in them suffering “a fitting and severe though very marvelous punishment.”

“For it is told that all the members of that clan are changed into wolves for a period and roam through the woods feeding upon the same food as wolves; but they are worse than wolves, for in all their wiles they have the wit of men, though they are as eager to devour men as to destroy other creatures.”

The affliction wasn’t permanent however: they would take the form of a wolf either every seventh winter or for a total of seven years only.

Happy Feast Day of Saint Patrick!😇☘️

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