Palladius was sent by Pope Celestine as the first bishop ‘to the Irish believers in Christ’, so presumably the religion had some foothold prior to his arrival. St Patrick was hot on his heels, arriving from Britain the following year (432 CE), and was reinforced by the Saints Auxilius (Patrick’s nephew), Secundinus and Iserninus to cement the conspicuous success of his early mission. All appear to have studied at Auxerre in Gaul, which had become a factory for proselytization under the dynamic leadership of Bishop Germanus. Once in Ireland, St Patrick concentrated upon the north, his colleagues the centre, while Munster was the stamping ground of local converts to the cause, St Declan, St Ciaran and St Ailbe. Notable foundations associated with St Patrick occurred at Saul, Armagh and Downpatrick. The churches established at Dunshaughlin and Killashee are close to royal seats at Tara (Meath) and Naas (Leinster), suggestive of royal conversions.
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