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St. Brendan The Navigator

Brendan of Ardfert and Clonfert was born in 484 near present-day Tralee, County Kerry, Ireland. He was educated by St. Ita and later by St. Eric and ordained in 512. Brendan founded the See of Ardfert and the monastery at Inis-da-druim (Coney Island, County Clare) around 550. He worked for three years as a missionary in Britain and then returned and established churches in many parts of Ireland. Brendan and his monks are said to have sailed in the western Atlantic in an attempt to evangelize islanders there; the voyage from Ireland and back is said to have taken seven years. Scholars dispute the historical truth of this story, but some believe that Brendan and his group may have actually landed in Newfoundland. Brendan founded a significant monastery in Clonfert in 557. He died at Annaghdown in 577 and was buried at Clonfert. St. Brendan’s feast day is May 16.

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