The Patron Saint of Marine Scientists

The statue is 12 feet tall and is placed at Great Samphire Rock in Fenit Harbour, Tralee. Brendan is pointing West to the mouth of Tralee Bay and the Atlantic Ocean, one knee bent and the other foot pushed back, bracing his body against "a force 10 gale" which blows his cloak out behind him

The statue is 12 feet tall and is placed at Great Samphire Rock in Fenit Harbour, Tralee. Brendan is pointing West to the mouth of Tralee Bay and the Atlantic Ocean, one knee bent and the other foot pushed back, bracing his body against “a force 10 gale” which blows his cloak out behind him.

Saint_brendan_german_manuscriptSaint Brendan of Clonfert is often referred to Brendan the Voyager. He is Irish monastic saint born in 484 in Ciarraighe Luachra, near the present city of Tralee, County Kerry and died in 577. Besides founding several monasteries across Ireland, Brendan made a legendary journey.

The tale of begins with Brendan and 60 (other stories range from 15-150) pilgrims making their way to The Isle of the Blessed or Paradise across the Atlantic Ocean searching for the Americans around 512-530 AD. Brendan was originally motivated by stories of this strange and distant land from another Irish monk. His boat was built of oak bark with tanned ox hides stretched over a framework of ash. Of course, as any good story there are many trials and tribulations including landing on an island that turns out to be a large sea monster. After wandering for 7 years they finally reach the blessed island covered in flora.
Now St. Brendan is the patron saint of sailors, mariners, boatmen, navigators, travelers, older adventurers, and whales. I hope this list also includes oceanographers as I have several research cruises this fall.

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If you have a chance check out some of the wonderful imagery associated with St. Brendan.

 

Dr. M (1791 Posts)

Craig McClain is the Executive Director of the Lousiana University Marine Consortium. He has conducted deep-sea research for 20 years and published over 50 papers in the area. He has participated in and led dozens of oceanographic expeditions taken him to the Antarctic and the most remote regions of the Pacific and Atlantic. Craig’s research focuses on how energy drives the biology of marine invertebrates from individuals to ecosystems, specifically, seeking to uncover how organisms are adapted to different levels of carbon availability, i.e. food, and how this determines the kinds and number of species in different parts of the oceans. Additionally, Craig is obsessed with the size of things. Sometimes this translated into actually scientific research. Craig’s research has been featured on National Public Radio, Discovery Channel, Fox News, National Geographic and ABC News. In addition to his scientific research, Craig also advocates the need for scientists to connect with the public and is the founder and chief editor of the acclaimed Deep-Sea News (http://deepseanews.com/), a popular ocean-themed blog that has won numerous awards. His writing has been featured in Cosmos, Science Illustrated, American Scientist, Wired, Mental Floss, and the Open Lab: The Best Science Writing on the Web.


One Reply to “The Patron Saint of Marine Scientists”

  1. Have you read ‘The Brendan Voyage’ by Tim Severin? He’s an amazing writer, as well as an historian, and it recounts his recreation of Brendan’s boat (ox hides and all that) and his voyage across the north Atlantic. It’s an incredible story!!

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