(1) Considering, my Lord Áed, that many have attempted to write this story coherently according to the traditions of their fathers and of those who were ministers of the Word from the beginning, but that the great difficulties which the telling of the story presents, and the conflicting opinions and many doubts voiced by many a person have prevented them from ever arriving at one undisputed sequence of events, (2) I might well say that, like boys making their first appearance in the assembly (to quote a familiar saying of ours), I have taken my little talent a boy's paddle-boat, as it were out on this deep and perilous sea of sacred narrative, where waves boldly swell to towering heights among rocky reefs in unknown waters, (a sea) on which so far no boat has ventured except the one of my (spiritual) father Cogitosus. (3) However, far from giving the impression that I want to make something big out of something small, I shall (merely) attempt to set forth, bit by bit and step by step, these few of the numerous deeds of holy Patrick, with little knowledge (of traditional lore), on uncertain authority, from an unreliable memory, feebly and in poor style, but with the pious affection of holy love, in obedience to the command of your sanctity and authority. In the name of the king of heaven, the redeemer of this world.
(1) Time, place, and person are demanded. The name of the place is Caesarea of Cappadocia, which was formerly called Masadra. (2) The time is that of Valentinian and Valens, who reigned seventeen years, at the age of the world (of) five thousand one hundred and seventy-five (years). (3) From the passion of our Lord Jesus Christ one reckons 436 years to the obit of Patrick. (4) The person: Basil, (which is) melchus in Hebrew, basilius in Greek, rex in Latin. Basilius, that is, a (petty) king; basilica, that is, a royal dwelling; basilicum, that is, royal; basilium (?), that is, kingdom. (5) And he wrote all his works in the Greek language; the priest Rufinus, master of both languages, who had been brought up in Caesarea although he was a Latin, translated his works into Latin. (6) I have found four names of Patrick in a book in the possession of Ultan, bishop of Connor: Holy Magonus, that is: famous; Succet.. . that is: Patricius 1 Cothirthiacus, because he served four households of druids; and one of them bought him, whose name was Miluch moccu Boin, the druid, and he (Patrick) served him for seven years. (7) Patrick son of (C)alforni(us) had four names: Sochet when he was born, Cothriche when he was a slave, Mauonius when he studied, Patrick when he was consecrated.
These few details concerning the tradition of holy Patrick and his miracles Muirchu moccu Machtheni has written at the request of Áed bishop of the see of Sléibte.