Legend of St Patrick’s Footprint, Red Island, Skerries, Co Dublin

When St Patrick landed on a small island off Skerries. It became known as St Patrick’s island in his honour.

Legend has it that when the saint arrived on the island he was accompanied by a goat which provided milk. From this island, St Patrick would come to the mainland to convert the people.

While the saint was ashore on a missionary trip the people of Skerries visited the island and stole his goat. They killed, cooked and feasted on it. When St Patrick came back to the island he found his goat missing. This made him very angry and in two giant strides he reached the mainland. The first step took him to the back of Colt Island, the second to Red Island where he confronted the people of Skerries. They tried to deny having seen his goat but found the beast cried out from their bellies. When they told the saint the truth about his goat their voices returned.

St Patrick’s footprint can still be seen in the rocks and to be called a ‘Skerries Goat’ means that you truly belong to the town. There is a tradition of making a secret wish, when putting three fingers (The shamrock) into the water in St Patrick’s footprint.


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