St. Finbarr reportedly established this special pilgrimage site before casting out a local dragon.
Little is known about his life, but according to Failte Ireland, “St. Finbarr in the 6th century ‘admonished the people to return to Christ, then went on his way to Gougane Barra.’ Since that time, local people … walked the 37 km particularly on the saint’s feast day: 25 September.”
Upon arrival, Finbarr set up a small hermitage on an island on the lake of Gougane Barra, and a miraculous well appeared. Some say that the well was brought about by the prayers of St. Finbarr. However, his solitude was quickly disturbed by a large sea serpent or dragon, and he proceeded to banish it from the location. Local legends claim that the River Lee was created by the tail of the serpent as it ran away from Finbarr.
Interest in this pilgrimage has grown in recent years, and many now call it a “Cork Camino,” connecting it to the ever-popular Camino de Santiago in Europe.
Finbarr is also known as the founder of a different monastery that would quickly attract an entire village of settlers. This settlement would eventually be known as the city of Cork — a center of education and culture in Southern Ireland throughout the centuries.
Even though the life of Finbarr is clouded in legend, his legacy endures to this day.
If you’re reading this article, it’s thanks to the generosity of people like you, who have made Aleteia possible.
Here are some numbers:
- 20 million users around the world read Aleteia.org every month
- Aleteia is published every day in eight languages: English, French, Arabic, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Slovenian
- Each month, readers view more than 50 million pages
- Nearly 4 million people follow Aleteia on social media
- Each month, we publish 2,450 articles and around 40 videos
- We have 60 full time staff and approximately 400 collaborators (writers, translators, photographers, etc.)
As you can imagine, these numbers represent a lot of work. We need you.
Support Aleteia with as little as $1. It only takes a minute. Thank you!