Saint Mirin lived from 565 to 620. He is also known Saint Mirren, Merinus, Merryn and Meadhrán. He was an Irish monk and missionary who founded a religious community in Scotland that indirectly went on to become Paisley Abbey. As a result he is viewed as the patron saint of Paisley. The wider picture in Scotland at the time is set out in our Historical Timeline.
St Mirin was born in Ireland, into a noble family. While still young he was admitted to the monastery at Bangor Abbey in County Down, where he studied under the guidance of St Comgall. Mirin later became the prior of Bangor Abbey. Legend has it that Mirin performed a miracle (of sorts) when he was refused permission to preach the gospel by the High King of Ireland. The queen was heavily pregnant, and Mirin is said to have prayed to God to have the king suffer from his wife's labour pains. He was subsequently summoned by the high king and, on "curing" the king, was given the permission he wanted to preach. Not a saint to be messed with, clearly.
Mirin later travelled to what is now west central Scotland and, with the permission of the local chieftain, established a small church near the White Cart Water some miles south of the River Clyde. Little is known of Mirin's activities in Scotland, but after he died the shrine to Saint Mirin that was created there became a place of pilgrimage and what is now the town of Paisley grew up around it. In 1163 Walter Fitzalan, the High Steward of Scotland, founded of a Cluniac priory on land he owned in Renfrewshire. This became Paisley Abbey and was not far from the site of Saint Mirin's earlier church. The priory was dedicated jointly to Saint Mirin and to Saint Milburga, the patron saint of Wenlock in Shropshire, where the first thirteen monks came from. It is said that Paisley Abbey at this time housed the relics of St Mirin, and it continued to be an important centre of pilgrimage. In 1488 King James IV issued a charter granting Paisley the status of burgh of barony. One of the reasons given was "the singular respect we have for the glorious confessor, Saint Mirin".
Saint Mirin is today remembered in the St Mirin Chapel in Paisley Abbey and in the name of the Roman Catholic St Mirin's Cathedral in Paisley. Paisley's football club is called St Mirren F.C., and there is a Knockmurran ("Mirin's Hill") in Ayrshire, an Inchmurrin "Mirin's Island") on Loch Lomond, and a St Mirin's Well near Kilsyth, as well as streets, (small) rivers, and a primary school named after him.