St. Brendan, by Harry Clarke - stained-glass panel

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St. Mary's Church Ballinrobe, County Mayo

By Averil Staunton

St. Brendan the Navigator

St. Brendan the Navigator b. 484 founded a monastery at Inchiquin on Lough Corrib and had an adventurous spirit. 

He is credited with reaching the shores of the east coast of America long before other sailors. Accounts of his great seafaring legends were first committed to writing in the eleventh century, which were rooted in an actual sea-voyage titled the “Navigatio Sancti Brendani Abbatis”.

St Brendan is depicted in scarlet robes with a green cloak over a netted style tunic. He is holding an embellished wooden oar in his right hand and two colourful fish in his left. A bird is paradise rests near his feet. His overhead symbol is a depiction of the Isle of Birds in the Atlantic.

The predella: St. Brendan is depicted with his faithful crew in a curragh style boat trailing their nets. He stands at the bow, praying towards an angel under a starry sky; the only night scene in St. Mary’s. 

This page was added by Averil Staunton on 14/08/2013.