Saint Brendan the Navigator was born in Fenit, near Tralee around 500 AD. A wide range of community events in honour of Kerry’s seafaring patron saint will take place across the county from Friday 3 May until Sunday 19 May. From walks and talks, guided tours of Ardfert cathedral, art installations at Siamsa Tire, a film screening at Tralee library to arts and crafts workshops for children at Kerry County Museum, there is something for everyone to celebrate Brendan and his legacy. On his feastday, Thursday 16 May, a multitude of events are taking place in his native Fenit and across Kerry. Schools and families are encouraged to make and fly flags for Brendan. Kerry County Museum in conjunction with the Education Support Centre Tralee and the Kerry Archaeological and Historical Society is hosting a webinar for primary schools across Ireland.

So who was St Brendan? We know that he founded a federation of monasteries in Ireland – Ardfert cathdral and Clonfert cathedral being his two major foundations – but he is most famous for his legendary voyage across the North Atlantic in a simple wooden boat. Without the help of navigational instruments, he may have reached America 500 years before the Vikings and 1000 years before Christopher Columbus. His story seems to describe the sheep and seabirds of the Faeroe Islands, the volcanoes of Iceland, the icebergs of Greenland and the fog surrounding Newfoundland. His travel adventures were written down in monasteries all over Europe and soon became a major medieval bestseller. To this day, St Brendan is the patron saint of Kerry as well as sailors, travellers and all seafaring people. He is even the patron saint of the U.S. Navy.

Events at a Glance: