Explorer, historian and writer Tim Severin is pictured on the famous Brendan Boat at Craggaunowen visitor attraction in Co. Clare.Shannon Heritage

Explorer Tim Severin, who famously reenacted the voyage of St Brendan the Navigator in 1976, will visit Craggaunowen, Co Clare this month to mark the 40th anniversary of his legendary journey.

In 1976, Severin and four crew set out from Bandon, Co Kerry, in a leather boat to sail across the Atlantic, reenacting the voyage of St Brendan and proving that the saint and his monks could have discovered America 500 years before Columbus.

The voyagers traveled an eventful and difficult 4,500 miles, crossing via the Aran Islands, six miles off the west coast of Ireland, Iona, Hebrides, Faroes, Iceland and Greenland. They landed in Peckford Island, Newfoundland, on June 26, 1977.

The historic journey was celebrated in composer Shaun Davey’s ‘Brendan Voyage’ suite, for uilleann pipes and symphony orchestra.

To commemorate the 40 year anniversary of the reenactment, on July 9th, Tim Severin will visit the Craggaunowen Visitor Centre, where The Brendan Boat is exhibited, to give a talk about his experiences and to unveil a special commemorative plaque. The adventurer and historian will be at the site from 1pm to 5pm.

Read more: Did the Irish and St. Brendan get to America before Columbus?

Severin constructed The Brendan, a replica of St Brendan’s leather hulled boat, using only the materials that would have been available to the 6th century saint. Handcrafted using traditional tools, the 36-foot, two masted boat was built of Irish ash and oak, hand-lashed together with nearly two miles of leather thong, wrapped with 49 traditionally tanned ox hides and sealed with wool grease.

Statue of St. Brendan.

Statue of St. Brendan.

Commenting on this special day in the life of The Brendan Boat and The Brendan Voyage, John Ruddle, Chief Executive, Shannon Heritage said: “We are delighted to reunite Tim with his Brendan Boat. It will be a very special event, which I know will live long in the hearts of all who attend. The famous sea voyage conjures up images of tremendous courage and never fails to ignite the imagination. Thanks to Tim’s kindness we are fortunate to have the honour of housing the Brendan boat at our visitor attraction at Craggaunowen and over the years countless visitors have been enthralled by his crew’s story of courage, determination and fortitude.” 

Tickets for the event can be booked online or purchased on the day at Craggaunowen Visitor Centre. Craggaunowen – the Living Past Experience is an award-winning pre-historic park managed by Shannon Heritage.

For more information, visit www.shannonheritage.com.