From here to God knows where.
Las Palmas de Gran Canaria

Did an Irish Monk discover the Canary Islands?

Did an Irishman discover the Canary Islands and the Americas 1000 years before the Spanish? Is there an eight Canary Island?

San Borondon or Saint Brendan’s Isle is a real or mythical Island supposedly located in the Atlantic off the North African coast.   It is named after the Irish Saint Brenden

It is said Saint Brenden and his followers discovered the Island while travelling across the Atlantic in AD 512 and stayed for 15 days.

The first mention of the Island was in Latin called the Voyage of Saint Brendan the Abbot. San Borondon has appeared in many maps and Christopher Columbus believed in its existence.

Many people have claimed to have seen San Borondon In 1566 the first regent of the Canary court ordered authorities in La Palma.  La Gomera and El Hierro to investigate the stories.  A Governor of El Hierro claimed he and a 100 others had seen San Borondon northwest of the smallest Canary Island El Hierro.  There were many other reported sightings up to the 1800s.

Unaware of the confusion he would cause in the Canary Islands Saint Brendan and his abbots are also said to have reached Greenland and North America.  Not bad going.

Now I am not sure if he got as far as the Americans but Saint Brenden the navigator was a real person.  He did undertake a voyage with his Abbots.  I do think it is possible he was in this area of the world.

Now before my Canarian and Spanish friends get upset most of the stories about San Borondon originate from the Canary Islands.  It was mostly people from the Canary Islands who searched for this mystical island.  I have thought a lot this week of what the Canary Islands would be like if Irish owned.  Maybe better Guinness.  That would be enough for me.

in the 1970s the British explorer and historian Tim Severin recreated the Brenden voyage in a replica boat from Ireland to Newfoundland.

Las Palmas


Walk like a Canary

I find the Canarion people to be really nice people.  They are not perfect but they are friendly and decent.  I love how Las Palmas is so chilled out and easy going. It does not take these people much to start dancing.  Ok, a little local rum helps.  I have always felt safe here.  Canarion people really spoil their children.   Despite this young people, for the most part, are respectful.  Yes, you are correct.  There is a but coming.

In the time I have been here I am totally baffled by how people walk on the streets.  When a local exits a shop there is no looking left or right they just walk out.  When a person walking on the pavement suddenly changes direction and now starts walking towards you unless you move a collision is imminent.  Now I have to state there is no aggression in all of this.

Las Palmas

Recently I was walking down a quiet street on a very sunny day. I was walking next to a wall in the shade.  On the other side, there was a young couple.  They decided to walk across the road towards the shade and me.  I have to admit I was fascinated with the unfolding situation.  We were the only people in a big street.  They could see me.  Surely they know we are now on a collision course.  I stay firm and do not adjust my position.  Eventually, we come face to face.  I look at them as to say are you kidding me.  They look at me confused.  No words are said and they walk around me.  There is no malice.  No rudeness.  No aggression.  That is why I am so confused.

To survive in Las Palmas I have introduced the following measures.

When I am a collision course through no fault of my own I nod my head towards the ground.  Now the oncoming person that could not see me suddenly sees this and the collision is avoided.  I have begun to suspect Canarion people have an inbuilt radar that goes off within one meter.

Families can be a bit tougher.  At times they cover the whole pavement.  No effort is made to move to let oncoming walker pass.  The choice is a collision or walk on to the street and the oncoming traffic.   As an Irishman, I refuse to walk onto the busy street.  I have adopted a scorched earth tactic to survive.  As the large family walk towards me in a wall that would make Donald Trump proud I introduce my shock tactic.  I look for the youngest child.  Walk towards them with my head nodded.  It is then a miracle happens.  Everyone sees me and a gap appears similar to the parting of the red sea.

Recently I was walking down a busy street in Las Palmas.  I noticed this northern European guy looking at me and talking in a grumpy way. I realised he was upset I had walked into him and he had to move.  It dawned on me.  I have gone native.

Las Palmas

What is happening in Las Palmas

A great thing about Las Palmas is there is always something happening.  The city seems to be fighting for its piece of the tourist pie and it is working.  I see more and more tourists visiting the city.  Las Palmas over the past few years has become a major destination for cruise liners.  When the summer destinations in the Mediterranian get cold the massive liners crisscross the Canary Islands from September to May.


Last week, Las Palmas was the location for the World of Music Arts and Dance. The event drew 1000s of people to Parque Santa Catalina for four days of free concerts.  Womad attracts some of the worlds best artists.  Santa Catalina was the place to be this weekend for locals and visitors to Las Palmas.

womad las palmas


In what was a busy weekend for Las Palmas the Spanish Navy’s only aircraft carrier was in port.  Also, Spain played an international football friendly against Bosnia Herzegovina in the Estadio Gran Canaria Las Palmas.  Spain won 1-0.

Metro Guagua

Work in the city continues on the Metro Guagua project.  What is Metro Guagua?  Well, basically it is a metro on wheels without the tracks or rapid bus transport.   These longer buses will have exclusive lanes and priority at traffic lights.  The Metro Guagua buses will be bigger and travel at a speed of 20km an hour.  Current bus speeds are 11km an hour.  As the project is implemented much of the route is also benefiting from new street improvement works.


I popped down Puerto Rico to see a friend on Saturday night.  I watched the Ireland v All Blacks rugby game in an Irish pub.  I think it was one of the best rugby games I have ever seen.  Two heavyweight fighters slugging it out.  Afterwards, I got to meet up with a very nice Cork couple Dave and his wife Ann.  Dave I got to know on Facebook and he is one mighty singer.

Puerto Rico

I am currently putting together a list of things to do in Las Palmas.  My target is 100 things to do.  There are easily 100 things to do I just need to get to them and survive the attempt.   Click here for the most up to date list.

This week’s Vlog comes from an area that explains Las Palmas 100%.  The short video also gives a tip how to retire cheaply in Las Palmas. Click here. 

Join me on my journey. 

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