BRENDAN, SAINT, OF CLONFERT (called "the Navigator"); Irish saint; b. at Tralee (on Tralee Bay, west coast of Ireland, County Kerry) 484; d. at the monastery of his sister, Brigh, at Annadown (on the east shore of Lough Corrib, County Galway), 577. After studying with the most distinguished Irish masters, he was ordained presbyter, and then undertook the expedition or expeditions which form the basis of "The Navigation of St. Brendan," one of the most popular legends of the Middle Ages. In 552 or 553 (according to others in 556 or 557) he founded the monastery of Clonfert (in the barony of Longford, County Longford) and ruled it for twenty years, during which time it was the most famous school in West Ireland. He is said also to have founded a monastery in Brittany. A visit to Columba on Hinba Island, near Iona, is recorded, which must have been after 563, and he is last heard of in 570, when he acted as bard at the inauguration of the first Christian king of Cashel.
According to an Irish life of St. Brendan, when
he was ordained he pondered on the words in
BIBLIOGRAPHY: Lanigan, Eccl. Hist., ii, 28-38; St. Brandan, a metrical and a prose life, in English; ed. T. Wright, in Percy Society Publications, vol. xiv, London, 1844; W. J. Rees, Lives of the Cambro-British Saints, pp. 251-254, 575-579, Llandovery, 1853; W. Reeves's Adamnan's Life of St. Columba, p. 221, Dublin, 1857; C. Schröder, Sanct Brandon, ein lateinischer und drei deutsche Texte, Erlangen, 1871; A. P. Forbes, Kalendars of Scottish Saints, pp. 284-287, Edinburgh, 1872; F. Michel, Les voyages merveilleux de S. Brandan, Paris; 1878; J. Healy, Insula sanctorum et doctorum, pp. 209 sqq., Dublin, 1890: D. O'Donoghue, Brendaniana, Dublin, 1893;T. Olden, The Church of Ireland, pp. 63-64, London, 1895; C. Plummer, Some New Light on the Brandon Legend, in Zeitschrift für celtische Philologie, v (1904), 124-141; J. O'Hanlon, Lives of the Irish Saints, v, 389-472, Dublin, n.d.
Calvin College. Last modified on 05/10/04. Contact the CCEL.