We know that Christopher Columbus’ voyage of discovery was initially conceived and planned by the great founder of modern science, Cardinal Nicholas of Cusa and his circles who envisioned a New World, free of oligarchical control. Cusa’s circles inspired Columbus to take the mission, which he dutifully did.
What is also known for certain is that Columbus visited Ireland to find out as much as possible about St Brendan’s voyage before setting out on his own historical journey to America.
It would be interesting to know to what extent St Brendan’s voyage, some thousand years earlier, motivated and inspired Cusa and his associates. If any of our readers have any particular insight into this question, it would be great to hear from you.
Here’s an excerpt from an Irish Central article (including a short video) on St Brendan’s travels…
The famous text, the Voyage of St. Brendan is a work of fiction or fact depending on who is interpreting it.
We know for certain that in 484 Saint Brendan was born near Tralee, in County Kerry.
What we also know for certain is that between the years 512 and 530 St Brendan built monastic forts around Ireland and then undertook a seven year voyage which is the basis of the American legend.
It is described as a hero’s journey in a boat and visits to an island far to the west which many modern historians believe is America. The Island is called ‘Isle of the Blessed’
Years later explorer Tim Severin retraced Brendan’s steps. Relying on the medieval text of St. Brendan, Tim Severin built the boat identical to the leather curragh that Brendan sailed.
The subsequent book, The Brendan Voyage, published in 1978 described the trip in great detail and has been translated into 28 languages. As a result of his voyage Severin remains convinced that Brendan reached America.