Enda was the son of Conall Derg the King of Oriel and brother to Fanchea, who was an abbess in a convent. He was a warrior, who gloried in conquest and defeating his enemies. When his father died, he succeeded him as king and went to fight all of his enemies.
It was told that on his way back from a particular bloody battle, Enda stopped by his sister’s convent. There Fanchea was disgusted by her brother’s bloodlust and begged him to seek other ways.
Enda told her that he would amend his ways if she would give him one of the girls from the convent to marry. Fanchea pretended to agree to these terms, but she actually gave him a girl who had just died. The first time Enda saw his “bride-to-be”, she was a corpse. This was said to have changed him.
On his sister’s persuading, Enda left for the priesthood. Fanchea sent him to the Candida Casa, which was a prestige monastery in England. There he took monastic vows and was ordained.
When Enda returned to Ireland, his brother-in-law, Oengus the King of Cashel, bestowed upon him the Aran lands. There Enda would form one of the first monasteries. This made him known throughout history as the patriarchal monk in Ireland.
Many monks would travel to Aran or be buried there. Many more monasteries would be set up at Aran. One of the most famous ones was Killeany, where Enda lived and where his sister became an abbess. He would live out his life here and die a very old man in the year 530.
St. Enda is remembered on his Saint Day of March 21.