The other day I saw a snarky comment about the legend of St Patrick casting all the snakes out of Ireland: “Thing is” said snarker “Ireland never had any snakes anyway. The climate is too damp and cold. Duh.”
Duh indeed. The legend was never about snakes anyway. It was about serpents–meaning Satan and the demons. Hearing this legend and coming up with such a snarky comment is about as smart as reading the poem and saying, “That’s dumb. My love isn’t like a red, red, rose. I mean, she doesn’t even have thorns!”
Patrick went as a missionary to pagan Ireland in the fifth century. The pagan druids featured serpents in their worship and were tattooed with serpents. Furthermore, the serpent, in many pagan nature religions, is the symbol of the “earth powers”. To put it bluntly, Patrick was an effective exorcist. He drove out the pagan religions and with it drove out the Great Serpent Satan, and no doubt delivered many from the bondage of demon possession through preaching the gospel, baptizing and conquering evil.