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St. Brendan, Patron Saint of Sailors

St. Brendan's Oratory, Dingle Peninsula, County Kerry, Ireland



On a visit to Ireland with family this summer, I was fortunate to visit the beautiful Dingle Peninsula in County Kerry. The photo above is St. Brendan's Oratory, a tiny, boat-shaped cathedral more than 1300 years old, built of dry rubble masonry and still waterproof after hundreds of years. St. Brendan the Navigator, the patron saint of sailors, set out in the 500s for Scotland, Greenland and possibly, America. He was known for fearlessly sailing in uncharted waters. 


I love the phrase "sailing in uncharted waters," suggesting acceptance of uncertainty, of the unknown. When I was young, the unknown terrified me. I'd had enough chaos in childhood that I longed to settle down and have roots. Then I fell in love with my husband John, whose lifelong dream was to sail away. In setting aside my fear and taking the leap to sail off with my husband and young daughter, I learned to accept a degree of risk that my younger self would not have tolerated. It was a great lesson, a gift, that helped me to deal with life after he was gone. 


While in Ireland, I visited the charming Kerry Writers' Museum, which houses a terrific collection of current books by Irish writers, and serves delicious cappucino and cakes. I enjoyed chatting with a local writer, Tim Foley who wrote about a heroic Irish sailor and explorer, Crean, and spearheaded a campaign for his recognition. I've just begun the book, and it's great so far.


If you want to learn more about my sailing journey with my husband and daughter when we left everything behind and sailed away, go here


I'll be at Covington House in Vancouver, Washington, on July 23rd with other local authors for NW Book Fun in the Sun. Friends in the Portland/Vancouver area, I'd love to see you there!



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