Posts Tagged ‘St. Brendan’

Winner: Rosebud

Tonight we dressed in green and celebrated with St. Patty’s day trivia. For those of us who were at the official St. Pats day celebration @ Main Street Cafe  just 48 hours before, it seemed like groundhogs day. Rosebud, who claims she always thinks better when holding a glass of Guinness in her special green drinking glove, finished ahead of Droppin’ and Pluto and took home the gallon jug of Bailey’s Irish Cream (this could be trouble).

Good Question: St Brendan, the Irish monk and 6th century sailor, was said to have done what?

Answer: Discover America

I was shocked to learn that the Irish were claiming to have discovered America. You know, “said to have done” something, is a bit different than actually having done the thing. All of us who weren’t sleeping through 4th grade history class know that Christopher Columbus, the great Italian explorer from Genoa, discovered America in 1492. Brendan, “the Navigator”, was sailing around in the 6th century, in a leather boat, looking for the “Isle of the Blessed.” Maybe he has earned the right to be the patron saint of sailors and travelers, and to get a nice  stained glass window in the US Naval Academy, but giving him credit for the discovery of America in the 6th century requires more than a few pints of Guinness to believe.

St. Brendan belongs to that glorious period in the history of Ireland, when in the first glow of its conversion to Christianity, they sent forth its earliest messengers of the Faith to the continent and to the regions of the sea. It is perhaps possible that the legends, committed to writing in the eleventh century, are based on an actual sea-voyage, the destination of which cannot be determined. These adventures were called the “Navigatio Brendani”, the Voyage or Wandering of St. Brendan, but there is no historical proof of this journey.

Brendan’s Voyage, tells of monks traveling the high seas of the Atlantic, evangelizing on the islands, and possibly reaching the Americas in the 6th century. At one point they stop on a small island, celebrate Easter Mass, light a fire – and then learn the island is an enormous whale! Now that’s a whale of  a tale.

However, St. Brendan must have had a good PR guy. JR Tolkien wrote a poem called “The Voyage of Saint Brendan”, the cream liqueur “Saint Brendan’s” is named after him, and he has been adopted by the scuba diving industry as the patron saint of scuba divers. Next thing you know, they will be re-naming Columbus Circle the St. Brendan roundabout.

We all probably know someone who, although he spoke with a brogue, could fairly be called “Black Irish”. As a special St. Pat’s treat here are 2 of my fave Black Irish (Jackie Wilson & Sam Cooke) singing “Danny Boy”:

Jackie Wilson sings “Danny Boy”, like you have never heard it before!

and the incomparable Sam Cooke:

and for all my Irish friends here is a cool infographic:

10 Irish Inventions That Changed The World

sources: newadvent.org, en.wikipedia.org, irishcultureandcustoms.com


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