On the Galway's Horrible Histories Walk, I weave the Brendan Voyage tale into the stories I tell, explaining how in 929 AD the Vikings raided the Priory Abbey of Annaghdown, 4 miles up the Corrib River from Galway city, which was founded by St. Brendan for his sister, Briga, and where he died in 577 AD. Some time around 531 AD St. Brendan sailed to America with fourteen monks in a leather boat/coracle. He made it home, miraclously, ten years later and penned a best-seller manuscript recounting his voyage called 'De Navigatio Sancti Brendani Abbatis'. (some 100 versions of this manuscript exist in museums and libraries all over Europe). A copy of Brendan's book was looted by the Vikings in their raid on Annaghdown (or possibly when they raided Clonfert, where Brendan is buried) and hey, guess what, some eighty years after the book was stolen, Leif Eriksson 'discovered' America around 1,012 AD ... funny how he never mentioned the book that his grand-dad, Eric the Red, had nicked when he visited Galway...! (He didn't pay the Library Fine either...must be enough to bail out the Irish economy by now!).
Anyway, fully 400 years later, around 1483 a certain sailor named Christopher Columbus visited Galway, as captain of a trading ship, from Coruna and on visiting the Church of St. Nicholas, he too borrowed a copy of Brendan's manuscript and yes, you guessed it, nine years later he was telling Queen Isabella that way out there in the west was a land filled with wondrous stuff, which he was eager to discover for her, entirely of course omitting that he too was following in the very large and confident footsteps of St. Brendan. (yes, I know St. Brendan was from Kerry, but he really only came into his own when he came to Galway, and that's a true story)
St. Brendan's feast day is celebrated on May 16, but you can also celebrate his birthday, on 27 November.
If you care to see how explorer Tim Severin proved that St. Brendan could have discovered America in a hide and wattle boat, watch the video below ... it truly is an inspiring story.
If you ever come to Galway and want to pass an hour, or more, call me and I will tell you more stories that you can remember. Brian Nolan 'Galway's Horrible Histories Walking Tours' www.GalwayWalks.com.