In the year 2000, a group of people in Fenit under the direction of Father Gearóid Ó Donnchadha embarked on a journey to honour St Brendan.
Planning permission was obtained for a 12 foot statue on a four-foot plinth to be placed on the summit of Samphire Island at the entrance of Fenit harbour.
In 2004, the statue was unveiled and soon thereafter the Heritage Park opened for the enjoyment of local people and visitors alike.
Saint Brendan the navigator, one of the twelve apostles of Ireland, was probably born north west of the village on Fenit Island in close proximity to what is now Fenit harbour around 484 AD.
Early-Medieval saints are elusive figures, their lives and deeds embellished by later hagiographers. This is certainly the case for St Brendan of Kerry, the Navigator whose travel adventures across the Atlantic were written down in monasteries across Europe, making him one of the best-known saints in the early- Middle Ages.
It has been suggested that Brendan arrived in the Americas prior to Christopher Columbus but this has not been proven. Though Tim Severin demonstrated it is possible that a leather-clad boat such as the one described in the Navigator could have potentially reached North America.
You can read more about St. Brendan at http://www.saint-brendan.org
Open all year.
- At Fenit Harbour, Tralee, County Kerry, Ireland a substantial bronze sculpture has been erected to the memory of Brendan.
- At the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, a large stained glass window commemorates Brendan’s achievements.