This is a four-part
story of St. Brendan who allegedly discovered America in A.D.
Saint Brendan of Ardfert and Clonfert, towns in
Ireland, was born in County Kerry in A.D. 484 and ordained a
priest in 512.
2. The fact that Brendan discovered America was never proved.
The oldest account of his voyage was Navigation Sancti Brendani,
a book written in Latin in the 10th or 11th century.
3. As the story goes, Brendan did not believe a version of creation
in a particular book so he threw it into a fire.
4. Suddenly an angel appeared. "Build a boat, sail west,
and find the Garden of Eden.
5. Soon, Brendan and his fellow monks began to assemble the wooden
frame of a boat while others stitched together dozens of hides.
6. They stretched the leather hides over the frame. To make the
vessel waterproof they rubbed animal fat over the hides, then
brushed pitch on the seams.
Part 1 - March 21, 2010
Voyage of St. Brendan
1. A "best seller" in
Europe during the middle ages was the Voyage of St. Brendan,"
a book written in Latin by an Irish monk living in Germany
It chronicled a fascinating expedition by St. Brendan (patron
saint of County Kerry, Ireland) and about 14 monks and experienced
sailors who set sail from Ardfert, Ireland arouind A.D. 565.
2. During their 7-year trip they encountered some strang-looking
people and a giant sea monster. Brenday fulfilled his mission
to find "Paradise," probably an island in the West
3. Brendan allegedly followed this route.
5. Based on the legend's description of geographical features,
animals, and plants, some reputable scholars believe that Brendan
actually sailed to North America and even entered the
Chesapeake Bay. Next-Could it have been done?
Part 3 - March 28, 2010
1. For centuries people doubted
that St. Brendan and a crew of monks could have sailed from Ireland
to North America in a boad made of a wooden frame covered with
ox-hides and waterproofed with tar.
2. In 1973 British explorer Tim Severin decided to put the legend
to a test.
3. He gathered a team of experts. Severin: "We'll use that
11th centre book TheVoyage of St. Brendan as a guide to
build a boat, employing the same techniques and materials that
St. Brendan did."
4. After 3 years of planning and building, Severan plus 4 crewmen
set sail from Brandon Creek, Ireland on May 17, 1976 bound for
5. On reaching the North Atlantic they were frequently buffeted
by gale-force winds.
One night their boat, the Brendan, was almost capsized
by a passing trawler.
Part 4 of 5 April 4, 2010
Trying to Prove that St. Brendan arrived in the New World
about a millennium before Columbus, Tim Severin piloted his 36-ft.
leather boat across the North Atlantic from Ireland in 1976-1977.
2. Severin chose this norther line of travel because it was the
most direct route with the least open water. Transatlantic jets
also use it on U.S. to Ireland flights.
3. For months Severin and his crew endured freezing weather,
heavy winds, and constant salt spray while subsisting on smoked
and dried food.
4. On June 26, 1977, after 13 months at sea, George Molony, a
crewman on the Brendanset foot on Peckford Island, Newfoundland.
5. Later Severin sailed into Boston harbor. Afterwards Severin
remarked, "Despite our accomplishment, only the discovery
of genuine Irish relics from Brendan's era could prove it actually
happened." So, the legend lives on.
Secrets - 101 Little-Known Truths and Tales of Ireland
by Helen Walsh Folsom with illustrations
by Fergus Lyons
This little book contains the story of the time Brendan and his
crew found an island, got off their boat, and built a fire. Suddenly
the island started to sink. They were actually standing on top
of a whale which plunged into the sea. The monks managed to swim
back to their boat. This and other delightful, ironic, and outrageous
anecdotes are described, many with whimsical drawings.
5½" x 8½" 150 pages, illustrated,
#317 St. Patrick's Secrets $12.95
Americans by Jay P. Dolan
The book starts with the oppression and harsh conditions in Ireland
during the early 18th century that sparked the emigration of
the Irish to America. This book covers the poverty of the immigrants,
their loyalty to one another, their struggles to create a place
for themselves in this country despite intense hostility and
deep-seated prejudice, and their ultimate success despite all
their enemies. Dolan focuses on four major themes that have dominated
Irish American history: politics, religion, labor, and nationalism.
5½" x 8¼" 352 pages, index, photos,
#105 Irish Americans $18.00