Name of the apostle and patron saint of Ireland (c.389–461), Gaelic Pádraig. He was a Christian Briton and a Roman citizen, who as a young man was captured and enslaved by raiders from Ireland. He escaped and went to Gaul before returning home to Britain. In about 419 he felt a call to do missionary work in Ireland. He studied for twelve years at Auxerre, and in 432 returned to Ireland. For the rest of his life it is difficult to distinguish fact from fiction. He apparently went to the court of the high kings at Tara and made some converts there; then he travelled around Ireland making further converts until about 445, when he established his archiepiscopal see at Armagh. By the time of his death almost the whole of Ireland is said to have been converted to Christianity. He is also credited with codifying the laws of Ireland. In his Latin autobiography, as well as in later tradition, his name appears as Patricius ‘patrician’ (i.e. belonging to the Roman senatorial or noble class), but this may actually represent a Latinized form of some lost Celtic (British) name. In Ireland in particular, it has been one of the most enduringly popular boys' names.