Patrick’s Battered Bell


  • Gospel, goblet and crude brass bell,
    that ‘clog’ crushed Druid-dire spells:
    humble tocsin healed – it couldn’t save;
    promise plundered from Patrick’s grave.

    Bell toll challenged ‘Ard Ri’ royalty,
    craftsmen reclaimed subjects loyalty:
    patterned shrine glowed sunrise gold,
    the sound-bow silenced, once sung bold.

    Blessings hindered, bell safely hidden,
    paganism preached, Christ forbidden;
    gemstones glittered, securely embedded,
    High King of heaven, Celtic kings dreaded.

    Centuries-buried bell, in oaken ark,
    Victorian spade hit mapped-out mark;
    anxious antiquarians sighed with relief,
    precious bell safe from priest and thief.

    Wholly-hidden, battered bell holds breath,
    miracles multiplied since Patrick’s death;
    glass encased shrine, gathered tourists stare –
    pilgrims alone utter the Breastplate prayer….

    patrick's bell inside

    image: Wayne Eaton

    * clog, tr from Irish = bell

    **Patrick’s Bell was considered so holy, or its miraculous powers so uncontrollable, that it had to be shielded from mortal gaze in a gem studded case. Between 1091 and 1105 it was encased in a shrine, commissioned by King Domhnall Ua Lochlainn.


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