New Catholic Dictionary – Saint Brendan


Abbot, called The Voyager, The Navigator, and sometimes The Elder, to distinguish him from Brendan the Younger (490-573) Born near Tralee, Ireland, 484; died Annaghdown, 577. He was ordained, 512, and erected monastic cells at Ardfert and Shanakeel, near Brandon Hill, whence he set out on his famous voyage. He established the See of Ardfert, erected a monastery at Inis-da-druin (now Coney Island, County Clare), 550, and made a missionary tour of three years through Britain, visiting Wales and Scotland. In 577 he founded a monastic school at Clonfert. According to what some consider legend and others fact, he is related to have sailed west from Kerry in quest of a land of promise and to have reached a distant beautiful region adorned with luxuriant vegetation; after a journey of seven years he returned to Ireland. The tradition which certainly dates from the 9th century is found in a 10th or 11th-century manuscript and was a little later current in the west of Europe. It probably had its foundation in a real sea-voyage, the destination of which is not known, possibly some part of the American Continent. Patron of sailors. Buried at Clonfert. Feast, 16 May.

MLA Citation

  • “Saint Brendan”. New Catholic Dictionary. CatholicSaints.Info. May 2012. Web. 20 September 2020. <>