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Driving out the Snakes
One of Patrick’s better known accomplishments is driving snakes out of Ireland and he has been popularly depicted banishing the unwanted serpents. It is accepted that there never were snakes in Ireland, so what do we make of these stories?

Snakes feature prominently in mythology. There are many legends of St. Patrick encountering serpents, and even in the bible the serpent tempts Eve. These give us a clue to the significance of the stories about snakes.

The serpent was a symbol for darkness or evil and the struggle with these is very much part of the human condition. When Patrick was depicted banishing snakes he was demonstrating the power of the new religion.

Christianity was presented as being able to challenge evil and overcome it, as light overcoming darkness, and as having the strength to engage whatever “powers” afflict us and be victorious over them.
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