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Rev. Alban Butler (1711–73). Volume V: May. The Lives of the Saints. 1866.

May 16

St. Brendan the Elder, Abbot in Ireland

[Abbot of Cluain-fearta, or Clonfert, upon the river Shannon.]  HE was son of Findloga, and a disciple of St. Finian at Clonard. Passing afterwards into Wales he lived some time under the discipline of St. Gildas, also several years in the abbey of Llan-carven, in Glamorganshire. He built in Britain the monastery of Ailech, and another church in a territory called Heth. Returning into Ireland he founded there several schools and monasteries, the chief of which was that of Cluain-fearta. 1 He wrote a monastic rule which was long famous in Ireland, taught some time at Ros-carbre, and died at Enachduin, a monastery which he had built for his sister Briga, in Connaught. He is named in the Roman Martyrology on the 16th of May, on which he passed to bliss, in the year 578, in the ninety-fourth year of his age. His life extant in MS. in the Cottonian Library is filled with apochryphal relations of miracles; see Usher’s Antiq. p. 271, 471, 494; Smith’s Natural and Civil History of Kerry, p. 412, and 68.  1
Note 1. Two great monasteries in Ireland, the heads of their respective Orders, had the same name of Cluainfearta: this on the Shannon, in Connaught, in the county of Galway, where now is the episcopal see of Clonfert: the other founded by St. Luan or Molua in Leinster, called from him Cluain-fearta-Molua. Cluain, in the old Irish language signifies a retired or hidden place; and Fearta, wonders or miracles. [back]