According to legend and medieval manuscripts St. Brendan was born in 484 A.D. Around the year 535 he decided to bring the Gospel to the “unknown continent to the west.” This raises the question that if it was unknown what was to the west, how could he plan to travel to a continent? Had someone gone before him? His voyage was recounted in the medieval manuscript “Navigatio Sancti Brendani Abbatis.” You will notice that by the time this was written he was already a saint and this must have enhanced his sainthood. However, enough of cynical speculation.
St. Brendan sailed from this little creek in a currach contructed with a wooden frame tied with leather thongs, covered with a leather skin stitched with flax thread, and water proofed with wool grease. The voyage was said to have lasted seven years. St. Brendan described the route as via the Isle of Sheep, the Paradise of Birds, the Isle of Smiths, the Land of Crystal Pillars, through the Region of Fog to the Promised Land. Tim Severin and his crew in 1976 recreated the voyage in a boat constructed in the same manner. His route was via the Hebrides, the Faroes, Iceland, Greenland, Newfoundland, and America. Here’s the route comparison:
Isle of Sheep = Hebrides
Paradise of Birds = Faroes
Isle of Smiths = Iceland
Land of Crystal Pillars = Greenland
Region of Fog = Newfoundland
Promised Land = America
It’s a great story and a beautiful spot to visit on the Dingle peninsula. A bit out of the way, but worth the effort.