Saint Brendan the Navigator was a Priest, Monk and founder of the Clonfert monastery and monastic school. He was a missionary to Wales and Iona and is reported to have known St. Columba and taught St. Malo the Breton saint.
He traveled extensively by boat among the islands around Ireland and there is a written account of a seven year journey he made to 'the promised land' entitled the Navigatio Sancti Brendani . While some believe this to be a fantastic and fictional account, others see it as clear evidence that St. Brendan and his crew landed in North American centuries before the Vikings. In the course of their adventures there is a tale that they stopped on a small island, lit a fire and barely had time to scramble back aboard their boat when the island turned out to be a whale.
In the 1970's, Tim Severin and his crew sailed a leather boat built according to the descriptions in the Navigatio from Ireland to Newfoundland proving that St. Brendan's voyage could well have taken place.
Saint Brendan is the patron saint of Sailors, boatmen, mariners, watermen and whales.
Further information on St. Brendon can be found in Lives of the Saints, The Catholic Encyclopedia, A Little Book of Celtic Saints, by Martin Wallace. Appletree Press, Belfast, 1995 Saints Index on Catholic Forum or Saints Index on Catholic.org.