The Celts have long known that St Brendan sailed to North America centuries before Cabot and Columbus. On the way, St Brendan called in to what he called the Sheep Islands and which, from his description, fits the Faroes. There, the Saint and his fellow Navigators were given bread by someone who spoke their own language. It has long been suggested that this gives proof to the idea that Irish monks settled in both the Faroes and Iceland, they being steps on the route to North America.
The results of research announced today provide proof of the historical link between the Irish and the Faroes. The research checked sheep DNA found in a layer of droppings from lake sediments in one of those islands. Carbon dating showed that sheep were in the Faroes centuries before the arrival there of the Vikings. Who took the sheep there before the Vikings? The research shows that the islands were settled by 500 AD.
The results of the research state that the Faroes were likely to have been colonised by British or Irish people. Of course, before the invasion of Britain by Germanic tribes after the fall of the Roman Empire, Britain was inhabited by Brythonic Celts. The book Navigatio Sancti Brendani Abbatis mentioned Irish links with what St Brendan called the Sheep Islands, the Faroes, but this new research gives some academic proof to what we have known for a long time, that St Brendan and other Irish people travelled to the Faroes, and beyond.
British or Irish reached remote Faroe Islands before Vikings – BBC News:
Image: Replica of the St Brendan Curragh that Tim Severin sailed to North America, Tim Severin died in December 2020.
Mannin Branch Secretary,
Celtic League (17th December 2021)