Though there were some Christians already in Ireland before the coming of Saint Patrick in 432 A.D., it was the success of his mission converting the island that the Irish people became increasingly interested in books and the written word.
But the fact Ireland escaped the grip of the Roman Empire served to set it apart as a centre of learning and spirituality from all other European countries.
Following the Roman Empire’s collapse in the 5th century, Europe was in a state of serious intellectual and social decay as its institutions crumbled. Insulated on the western shores of Europe, Ireland’s institutions could continue to prosper and evolve without interruption leading to a period of intellectual, religious, and artistic superiority that has been called ‘Ireland’s Golden Age’. It is during this period Ireland earned the title Insula Sanctorum et Doctorum, the Island of Saints and Scholars.
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