When St. Brendan got back from his travels discovering America in a small wooden and leather boat around 564 AD, he wrote a book in Latin, 'Navigatio Brendani' or 'The Voyage of Brendan', which, some 900 years later (1477) convinced Christopher Columbus that there might just be something out there beyond the western horizon.

The rest is history!

After he got back to Ireland, Brendan, filled with a missionary zeal, sailed from his native Kerry, round by the Aran islands, in by Salthill to Galway and soon founded an Abbey at Annaghdown, five miles up the Corrib River from Galway City (which did not exist for another 700 years). 

Later on, he founded the Cathedral at Clonfert, between Portumna and Athlone, on the banks of the River Shannon. Clonfert Cathedral is still in use as a church today and has a most magnificent Romanesque doorway that attracts visitors from all over the world each year. St. Brendan is the Patron Saint of the Diocese of Clonfert and I suppose, he really is our Irish patron saint of Journeys and Voyages.

He died at the Abbey in Annaghdown in the care of his sister, Briga and is buried at Clonfert.

This is his prayer. It can be applied to many journeys, including those of the spirit and the mind.

It is as meaningful today as it was 1500 years ago.

Prayer of St. Brendan the Navigator

'Help me to journey beyond the familiar
and into the unknown.
Give me the faith to leave old ways
and break fresh ground with You.
Christ of the mysteries, I trust You
to be stronger than each storm within me.
I will trust in the darkness and know
that my times, even now, are in Your hand.
Tune my spirit to the music of heaven,
and somehow, make my obedience count for You.'

One of the many stories I tell on my Walking Tours of Galway. If you ever go to Galway, come join me on a wonderful walk of discovery in Galway, the City of the Tribes, European Capital of Culture 2020. Follow me on Twitter @galwaywalks or on Facebook www.facebook.com/galwaywalks/

Image from 'Navigatio Brendani', St. Brendan encounters a whale.

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Tags: Brendan, Briga, Clonfert, Columbus, Evangelism, Faith, Folklore, Galway, Kerry, Maritime, More…Prayer, Saint


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Comment by That's Just How It Was on January 29, 2017 at 9:16am

Thank you for that Brian Nolan... I did not know that St Brendan was the patron of travelers .. I always thought it was St Kevin !!

Comment by Brian Nolan on January 29, 2017 at 1:25pm

Hmm, the phrase 'You take the high road and I'll take the low road, and I'll be in Scotland before you' could have been written about Brendan and Kevin. They were direct competitors for converts and in prolifically establishing monasteries, but Brendan travelled to Scotland, the Hebrides, Iceland, and possibly America, and wrote about his journey, in Navigatio Sancti Brendani Abbatis (The Voyage of Saint Brendan the Abbot). Kevin on the other hand, living at the same time as Brendan, became an ascetic, a hermit as it were, though he too founded monasteries, his travels brought him to Clonmacnoise and Glendalough, but not overseas, so I rest my case, brendan is patron saint of sailors and voyages, Kevin, the patron saint of animals and birds, particularly the Blackbird. 

Comment by Brian Nolan on January 29, 2017 at 1:28pm

By the way his feast day is May 16.

Comment by Richard R. Mc Gibbon Jr. on February 17, 2017 at 2:30pm

At least St. Brendan was never confused with "Wrong Way Corrigan"   ;-)  Slainte !     

Comment by Brian Nolan on February 22, 2017 at 6:26pm

'Wrong Way Corrigan'... I love that guy... a disrupter who didn't want to worry his mother...I might just have to write a story about it.. thanks for the prompt. Brian

Comment by Richard R. Mc Gibbon Jr. on February 22, 2017 at 6:54pm

Jakkers !  I gave a prompt ???? Looking forward to the story on that Irish lad who was directionally handicapped (or maybe he wasn't and the rest of the world was).  Think I will get me guitar out and play a few songs and maybe write one for himself.  Sing a song and see who join's in the chorus,.... Slainte

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