Best known as the patron saint of Ireland, most sources agree that St. Patrick was born in Cumbria some time in the fifth century. Opinions are divided as to whether he was brought up at the Roman fort of Birdoswald, in the northeast of the county, or the west Cumbrian coastal village of Ravenglass, site of another Roman fort. Patrick, who had been kidnapped into slavery in Ireland at the age of sixteen, escaped his bondage, landed at Duddon Sands and walked to Patterdale – ‘St. Patrick’s Dale’ near Ullswater. He travelled via Aspatria – ‘ ash of Patrick’ – where the locals took so long to be converted that his ash walking staff grew into a tree! There’s also a St. Patrick’s Well near Glenridding, where the saint baptised the people of the Ullswater area.