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The Tercentenary of the Four Masters of Ireland
KENNEY, JAMES F.
Canadian Catholic Historical Association Report, Vol.12 (1944-45)
Ireland is the end of the world. Such was the accepted belief of the Middle Ages. Beyond was the expanse of the Great Ocean, which encompassed the habitable world. Of course the existence of Iceland, or Ultima Thule, was known to geographers and to fishermen who went there to catch cod-fish, and some doubtless had heard of a colony of Norsemen still farther in the depths of the Arctic in a land called Greenland, and in the wealth of European stories and legends were many of the mythical, or semi-mythical, Vinland, and Hy-Brasil, and St. Brendan’s Isle, and the Isle of the Seven Cities. But for practical purposes of everyday knowledge and intercourse Ireland was the western limit of human habitation. St. Patrick was impressed with this fact, and especially with the realization that he himself had preached the Gospel of Christ right out to the lands overlooking the Western Sea, the limits beyond which no man dwelt.