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The Brendan Boat

Another important attraction at Craggaunowen is the 'Brendan Boat', the hide boat in which Tim Severin sailed from Ireland to Canada, re-enacting the Voyage of St. Brendan the Navigator, reputed to have discovered the American continent centuries before Columbus.

St. Brendan the Navigator (who died c. 583 AD.) was, according to a 9th century manuscript Navigatio Sancti Brendani, the first man to discover the 'Promised Land' across the Atlantic. This place he called Uí Bhreasail, which, he claimed, first came to him a dream.

In 1976, Tim Severin, a modern day explorer, built a leather-hulled boat based on the vessel described in the manuscript, and on the Currach still used on Ireland's West Coast. He and his crew then made the voyage with stops on the Aran Islands in Galway, in Co. Donegal, the Hebrides and in the Faroes, over-wintering in Iceland, and proved it was possible for St. Brendan to have made the voyage to Canada in such a craft.

The actual boat used in this endeavour is on display in a specially constructed glass boathouse, reminiscent of a glacier – freezing the boat in timeless perpetuity.