ST. BRENDAN THE NAVIGATOR
St. Brendan was born in 486 AD and founded a monastery at Clonfert, County Galway. Brendan travelled widely; he was said to have set sail with a handful of monks on a perilous seven-year quest across the Atlantic in a boat of wood and oxhide. En route, legend tells us that they were raised up on the backs of “sea monsters” (whales), they passed by “crystal columns that rose up to the sky” (icebergs) and they were pelted with “flaming, foul-smelling rocks” (from a volcano). Eventually, the intrepid voyagers arrived at a beautiful land they called the "Promised Land of the Saints", an island which became a standard feature on maps for the next millennium. It is widely believed that St. Brendan the Navigator and his monks had in fact arrived in America almost 1,000 years before Christopher Columbus.