Butler’s Lives of the Saints – Saint Brendan the Elder, Abbot in Ireland

detail of a stained glass window of Saint Brendan the Navigator, date unknown, artist unknown; church of Saint James, Glenleigh, Kerry, Ireland; photographed on 9 September 2012 by Andreas F. Borchert; swiped from Wikimedia CommonsArticle

Abbot of Cluain-fearta, or Clonfert, upon the river Shannon. He was son of Findloga, and a disciple of Saint Finian at Clonard. Passing afterwards into Wales he lived some time under the discipline of Saint Gildas, also several years in the abbey of Llan-carven, in Glamorganshire. He built in Britain the monastery of Ailech, and another church in a territory called Heth. Returning into Ireland he founded there several schools and monasteries, the chief of which was that of Cluain-fearta. He wrote a monastic rule which was long famous in Ireland, taught some time at Ros-carbre, and died at Enachduin, a monastery which he had built for his sister Briga, in Connaught. He is named in the Roman Martyrology on the 16th of May, on which he passed to bliss, in the year 578, in the ninety-fourth year of his age. His life extant in MS. in the Cottonian Library is filled with apochryphal relations of miracles.

MLA Citation

  • Father Alban Butler. “Saint Brendan the Elder, Abbot in Ireland”. Lives of the Fathers, Martyrs, and Principal Saints, 1866. CatholicSaints.Info. 6 May 2016. Web. 18 September 2020. <>