From the lady who used to do the St. Brigid blog, Under the Oak, there’s a blog dedicated to the three patron saints of Ireland: Trias Thaumaturga (The Three Wonderworkers).
And she has a dog story about St. Patrick! Here’s some of the doggy parts:
“Crom Dubh was one of the worst men that could be found, but as he was a chieftain over the people of that country he had everything his own way; and that was the bad way, for he was an evil-intentioned… obstinate man, with desire to be avenged on everyone who did not please him. He had two sons, Téideach and Clonnach… Crom Dubh’s two sons were worse than himself, and that leaves them bad enough!
“Crom Dubh had two hounds of dogs and their names were Coinn Iothair [hound of fury] and Saidhthe Suaraighe [bitch of wickedness], and if ever there were mastiffs these two dogs were they. He had them tied to the two jaws of the door, in order to loose them and set them to attack people according as they might come that way; and, to go further, he had a big fire kindled on the brink of the cliff so that any one who might escape from the hounds he might throw into the fire; and to make a long story short, the fame of Crom Dubh and his two sons, and his two mastiffs, went far and wide, for their evil-doing; and the people were so terrified at his name, not to speak of himself, that they used to hide their faces in their bosoms when they used to hear it mentioned in their ears, and the people were so much afraid of him that if they heard the bark of a dog they would go hiding in the dwellings that they had underground, to take refuge in, to defend themselves from Crom Dubh and his mastiffs.
“… Crom Dubh and Téideach his son were trying a bout of wrestling with one another, while Saidhthe Suaraighe was stretched out on the ground from ear to tail. With the squeezing they were giving one another they never observed St. Patrick making for them until Saidhthe Suaraighe put a howling bark out of her, and with that the pair looked behind them and they saw St. Patrick and his defensive company with him, making for them, and in the twinkling of an eye the two rushed forward, clapping their hands and setting Saidhthe Suaraighe at them and encouraging her. With that Téideach put his fore finger into his mouth and let a whistle calling for Coinn Iotair, for she was at that same time hunting with Clonnach on the top of Glen Lasaire, and Glen Lasaire is nearly two miles from Dun Phadraig, but she was not as long as while you’d be saying De’raisias [Deo Gratias] coming from Glen Lasaire when she heard the sound of the whistle. They urged the two bitches against St. Patrick…
“The two bitches made for him and coals of fire out of their mouths, and a blue venomous light burning in their eyes, with the dint of venom and wickedness, but just as they were going to seize St. Patrick he cut a ring round about him with the crozier which he had in his hand, and before the dogs reached the verge of the ring St. Patrick spoke as follows :
“A lock on thy claws, a lock on thy tooth,
A lock on Coinn Iothair of the fury.
A lock on the son and on the daughter of Saidhthe Suaraighe.
A lock quickly, quickly on you.”
“Before St. Patrick began to utter these words there was a froth of foam round their mouths, and their hair was standing up as strong as harrow-pins with their fury, but after this as they came nearer to St. Patrick they began to lay down their ears and wag their tails. And when Crom Dubh saw that, he had like to faint, because he knew when they laid down their ears that they would not do any hurt to him they were attacking. The moment they reached St. Patrick they began jumping up upon him and making friendly with him. They licked both his feet from the top of the space between his toes to the butt of his ankle, and that affection is amongst dogs from that day to this. St. Patrick began to stroke them with his hand and he went on making towards Crom Dubh, with the dogs walking at his heels….”
Continuing the Irish theme, I also found an informative old travel book by Margaret Stokes (sister of Whitley Stokes). It’s called Three Months in the Forests of France: A Pilgrimage in Search of Vestiges of the Irish Saints in France. Tons of Romanesque fun! It’s a followup to Six Months in the Apennines, where she checked out Irish saints up in the mountains.