The Voyage of St. Brendan

And they made their boat very light, with ribs and posts of wicker.

And they covered it with the hides of cattle, dyed reddish with oak-bark.

And they smeared all the seams of it.

And they took provisions for forty days, and butter for dressing the hides.

And they sailed into the sunset, across the western sea .


  1. Very beautiful. Date? And are there remains of such boats one can see? Has anyone tried to make one like that, and sail to America? Tales of ancient seafaring are always extraordinary. Those hills are beautiful too, they are like waves breaking endlessly into the sea. Is the dead man or sleeping giant hiding nearby?

    Michael in Paris

  2. Glad you liked it. Brendan was fifth century. Written versions of the story, translated from the Irish, were a bit hit in medieval Europe - the post's a direction translation from Middle Irish, (though the last line's mine.)Smaller versions of such sea-going boats are still in use on the west coast of Ireland. Not many for fishing any more, and not with sail, which is how Brendan's is described in the ms. Skin covering became canvas a long time ago, and now some are made in fibreglass. But there are still traditional builders. See Tim Severin's book The Brendan Voyage for the story of his 1976 reconstruction of Brendan's voyage. He made it to Newfoundland, proving the possibility that Brendan and his monks were the first Europeans to discover the New World. The Dead Man's about three miles west round the corner. The peak in the shot's Binn Diarmada.


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