Brénainn of Clonfert

  • d. 577
  • feast-day: 16 May
  • saints of Ireland
  • Clúain Fertae
Brénainn (Brenden; Brendan) mac Findloga, early Connacht saint, patron of Clonfert, and legendary voyager
See also references for related subjects.
Bray, Dorothy Ann, “The story of Plea”, North American Journal of Celtic Studies 2:1 (2018): 56–78.  
The story of the underwater monastery of Plea, told in a gloss to Broccán's hymn (Ní car Brigit), is an unusual tale in Brigit's tradition; however, it contains several well-known tropes from Irish immrama. The story has been associated with changing attitudes toward pilgrimage and the idea that the monastic rule of Kildare differed significantly from other Irish monasteries up to the twelfth century. This paper examines the elements of the story and traces its possible connections to other, earlier elements in Brigit's tradition, including her association with St. Brendan of Clonfert, as well as the motifs in the genre of the immram. The tale may reflect contemporary concerns over perceived unorthodox practices in Irish churches and monasteries as the twelfth-century reform of the Irish Church got under way.
Ritari, Katja, Pilgrimage to heaven: eschatology and monastic spirituality in early medieval Ireland, Studia Traditionis Theologiae 23, Turnhout: Brepols, 2016. XI + 223 pp.  
This book focuses on the expectation of the Judgment and the afterlife in early medieval Irish monastic spirituality. It has been claimed that in the Early Middle Ages, Christianity became for the first time a truly otherworldly religion and in monastic spirituality this otherworldly perspective gained an especially prominent role. In this book, Dr Ritari explores the role of this eschatological expectation in various sources, including hagiography produced by the monastic familia of St Columba, the sermons of St Columbanus, the Navigatio sancti Brendani portraying St Brendan’s sea voyages, and the vision attributed to St Adomnán about Heaven and Hell. One recurrent image used by the Irish authors to portray the Christian path to Heaven is the image of peregrinatio, a life-long pilgrimage. Viewing human life in this perspective inevitably influenced the human relationship with the world making the monastic into a pilgrim who is not supposed to get attached to anything encountered on the way but to keep constantly in mind the end of the journey.
(source: Brepols)
[4] “Monks out on the sea in search of heaven: Navigatio sancti Brendani
4.a. The sea as desert; 4.b. The Navigatio sancti Brendani as an allegory of the monastic quest for Heaven; 4.c. The monastic journey.
Carey, John, “The sea and the spirit: two notes”, in: Sheehan, Sarah, Joanne Findon, and Westley Follett (eds.), Gablánach in scélaigecht: Celtic studies in honour of Ann Dooley, Dublin: Four Courts Press, 2013. 26–37.
31–37   [Note 2] “The mice, the Eucharist, and the satirist: St Brendan and the Book of Kells”
Freitag, Barbara, Hy Brasil: the metamorphosis of an island, from cartographic error to Celtic elysium, Textxet Studies in Comparative Literature 5.69, Amsterdam, New York: Rodopi, 2013. xii + 343 pp + ill..  
Brasil Island, better known as Hy Brasil, is a phantom island. In the fourteenth century Mediterranean mapmakers marked it on nautical charts to the west of Ireland, and its continued presence on maps over the next six hundred years inspired enterprising seafarers to sail across the Atlantic in search of it. Writers, too, fell for its lure. While English writers envisioned the island as a place of commercial and colonial interest, artists and poets in Ireland fashioned it into a fairyland of Celtic lore. This pioneering study first traces the cartographic history of Brasil Island and examines its impact on English maritime exploration and literature. It investigates the Gaelicization process that the island underwent in nineteenth century and how it became associated with St Brendan. Finally, it pursues the Brasil Island trope in modern literature, the arts and popular culture.
Iannello, Fausto, “Uso, carácter y función de San Brendano de Clonfert en algunos textos irlandeses y continentales de la Edad Media”, Nova et vetera: temas de vida cristiana 71 (2011): 169–199.
Burgess, Glyn S., and Clara Strijbosch, The legend of St Brendan: a critical bibliography, Dublin: Royal Irish Academy, 2000.
Meyer, Kuno [ed. and tr.], “Eine mittelirisches Gedicht auf Brendan den Meerfahrer”, Sitzungsberichte der Königlich Preussischen Akademie der Wissenschaften (1912): 436–443.
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