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The old Irish Calendars assigned a special feast for the "Egressio familiae S. Brendani", on 22 March; and St Aengus the Culdee, in his Litany, at the close of the eighth century, invokes "the sixty who accompanied St. Brendan in his quest of the Land of Promise". Naturally, the story of the seven years' voyage was carried about, and, soon, crowds of pilgrims and students flocked to Ardfert.

Thus, in a few years, many religious houses were formed at Gallerus, Kilmalchedor, Brandon Hill, and the Blasquet Islands, in order to meet the wants of those who came for spiritual guidance to St. Having established the See of Ardfert, St. Brendan proceeded to Thomond, and founded a monastery at Inis-da-druim now Coney Island, County Clare , in the present parish of Killadysert, about the year He then journeyed to Wales, and thence to Iona, and left traces of his apostolic zeal at Kilbrandon near Oban and Kilbrennan Sound.

After a three years' mission in Britain he returned to Ireland, and did much good work in various parts of Leinster, especially at Dysart Co. Kilkenny , Killiney Tubberboe , and Brandon Hill. His most celebrated foundation was Clonfert in County Galway. Who Really Discovered America?

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It described the voyage as having taken place in the sixth century. Several copies of this text have survived in monasteries throughout Europe. It was an important part of folklore in medieval Europe and may have influenced Columbus. Skeptics could not accept that such a fragile vessel could possibly sail in the open sea. Several passages in the legend also seemed incredible—they were "raised up on the back of sea monsters", they "passed by crystals that rose up to the sky", and were "pelted with flaming, foul smelling rocks by the inhabitants of a large island on their route".

They finally arrived at the beautiful land they called "Promised Land of the Saints. The journey of Brendan and his fellow monks took seven years. The return trip was probably the longest part of the odyssey. Tim Severin In , Tim Severin, a British navigation scholar embarked from Brandon Creek on the Dingle peninsula in a currach that he constructed using the details described by Brendan.

His goal was to determine if the voyage of Brendan and his fellow monks was possible. They tanned ox-hides with oak bark, stretched them across the wood frame, sewed them with leather thread and smeared the hides with animal fat which would impart water resistance. This would take him close to Iceland and Greenland with a probable landfall at Newfoundland St. This would be the route that Leif Erickson would have taken in the tenth century. Norsemen that traveled on these waters visited these islands and recorded their meeting with "Papers" fathers. Severin and his crew were surprised at how friendly the whales were that they encountered.

The whales swam around and even under their boat. It could have been recognized as another whale by the giant mammals. At the island of Mykines, they encountered thousands of seabirds. Brendan called this island "The Paradise of Birds. There is also a Brandon Creek on the main island of the Faroes, that the local people believe was the embarkation point for Brendan and his crew.

The volcanoes on the island have been active for many centuries and might well have been erupting when the monks stayed there.


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This could have accounted for the "pelting with flaming, foul smelling rocks", referred to in the ninth century text. The monks had never seen icebergs before, so their description of them as "towering crystals" would make sense. They were able make a repair with a piece of leather sewn over the hole. They landed on the island of Newfoundland on June 26, However it did prove that a leather currach as described in the Navigation could have made such a voyage as mapped out in the text. There is also no doubt that the Irish were frequent seafarers of the North Atlantic sea currents years before the voyage of Columbus.

The lack of any written account of this exploration could be explained by the explorers not being able to return to their homeland. If they indeed did reach what is now West Virginia, it would be extremely doubtful that they could manage to return to Ireland from a embarkation point that far south. The design of their currach required favorable winds and currents in the right direction in order to navigate.

Severin discovered that it was extremely difficult to tack as other sailing ships were able to do. Perhaps that is the reason that it took Brendan seven years for his journey. We can conclude that the voyage of St. Brendan was not a mere medieval fantasy but a highly plausible tale. These were special men. They sought the lands beyond the horizon, the wonderous realms to be revealed by God—the Promised Lands. The Romanesque doorway is worth seeing if you are in the area. It's condition is deteriorating which is a shame but time is getting the better of it. Unfortunately the signage to it is none existent and you need to use a reasonable road atlas or map to find it.

To reach Clonfert take the R going west from Banagher to Eyrecourt and after crossing the Shannon take the first road on the right to Laurencetown. After a short while at the first major crossroads turn right for a short distance and the Cathedral is in front of you. We were disappointed that the door to the cathedral was locked. We would have appreciated a note to say where we could have picked up a key.

Looking in through the windows we could see part of a carved lectern and a beautiful stained glass window. This cathedral doorway is worth a visit it is just a pity it is not better signed and that it is kept locked. For such an historic building of the C12th, there are no tourist amenities available, not even a leaflet.


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  6. The grounds are very well kept, but the church itself needs a good cleaning. Almost all the seats and floors have mouse or bat droppings, and the whole place appears damp, though it was 26oC outside. An early Benedictine monastery was founded at this place by St. Brendan the Navigator who, according to the tradition, was the first European to go to North America in a legendary journey between and The burial place of St. Brendan is outside the west doorway church and it's a plain slab with a modern marker in black marble.

    The church is now in the hands of the Church of Ireland. The cathedral was built in the 12th century as a nave only church. In the 13th century the chancel was added, but the transepts and the bell tower was added in the 15th century. The transepts no longer exist. In the same century the Gothic windows were also inserted in the chancel walls. The soft red sandstone Romanesque doorway of six orders,is deteriorating at an alarming rate, and a small notice beneath it requests visitors not to touch this fast decaying icon of the early Hiberno-Romanesque style.

    The memorials inside the church are interesting and many date to the early C17th and later. I had read about the doorway of this cathedral and we decided to try and find it. As with many historical sights in Ireland the signage is very poor and without a precise address or post code, it can be a challenge to find a place.

    However, we eventually got here. The cathedral is very small and there is not a great deal to see as we couldn't get access to the inside of the cathedral. There were no signs as to who to contact.

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    However, the doorway is stunning. We couldn't find a tea room or anything else much in the village so, if you are not keen on a long drive just to see the doorway, I wouldn't place this high on your agenda. Skip to main content. Log in to get trip updates and message other travelers. May devotions - St. Brendan's Clonfert Cathedral. Clonfert , Ballinasloe, Ireland. Review Highlights.

    Connacht Schools: Garbally and Sligo Grammar set up final clash

    Mothers would typically spend about a year at homes like the one in Tuam before being parted from their babies and sent away. Many left Ireland and started new lives elsewhere. As for the children, some were fostered, some adopted and some remained in the mother-and-baby homes until they could be sent to live at state-funded, church-run orphanages known as Industrial Schools, where they would be taught to work. Peter Mulryan was among many who experienced ill treatment and neglect by foster families who used them as farm laborers.

    As an adult, Mulryan traced his mother and visited her several times in the Magdalene laundry where she spent the rest of her life.

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    When his first daughter was born, he took her to his mother, who held the baby in her arms. But she never revealed that she had also had a baby girl of her own. So few have lifted the phone and apologized to me. Since the finding of the baby remains at Tuam was announced, the scandal has dominated the headlines in Irish media and prompted an outpouring of emotion. On Monday night, state television broadcast the names of all of the lost children, which scrolled down the screen to the sound of mournful music.

    But some of the relatives of the lost babies of Tuam are not satisfied with these responses. We want action. Is this an apology to women and children?


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