We've all heard the legend of St. Patrick banishing the snakes from Ireland.
Remember how St. Brigid spread her cloak on the ground and it grew and grew until she had enough land to build her monastery.
Story-tellers love to exaggerate. Well, that's what the writers of the legends did. And they also got a bit of fun out of taking things literally. Take St. Brendan, for instance (he's the chap who sailed all the way to America in a little leather boat). He might have come home and said he had a whale of a time. Now the writer of the legend ended up telling us that St. Brendan lit a fire on the back of a whale because he thought it was an island. Roast whale anyone?
The lives of the early saints are full of strange and wonderful happenings, and the life of St. Declan is no exception. There really was a Declan who live in Ardmore, Waterford probably between 350 AD and 450AD. He is a fairly important man and he is said to have converted his people to Christianity around the same time that St. Patrick got rid of those snakes.
Legend has it that a golden bell miraculously appeared when St. Declan was celebrating mass after being made a bishop. Unfortunately, one of Declan's companions forgot the precious bell when they were off in Wales (it's a bit more serious than forgetting your swimming gear on Friday). You'll never guess how he got the bell back...
The bell was ferried back, on a huge stone, that floated across the sea all the way to Ardmore! (See if you can find the bell on our Ceramic Wall Mural).
Now, I don't know if it's the same stone, but there's a huge rock on the beach in Ardmore called St. Declan's Stone. It is said that if you crawl under it on St. Declan's feast day (24th July) you will be cured of arthritis. Well this local lady, who had a heart of stone and was as hard as rock herself, thought she would give it a try. The stone dropped down a bit stopping this hard-hearted lady getting her miraculous cure. It took two hardy local lads to pull her out!
There's another legend of St. Declan and a special picture of it was painted by the artist Patrick Pye. It's hanging in the secretary's office. Take a good look at it and see if you can make out the story... Now read Cian and Ryan's versions below.
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