Brian Nolan's Blog (28)

Everything Changed for Ireland After King Charles I's Execution

This poem was penned after the death of King Charles I, who was beheaded outside Whitehall Palace in London on the afternoon of January 30th, 1649, exactly 368 years ago, today. 

"He nothing common did or…

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Added by Brian Nolan on January 30, 2018 at 10:30am — 1 Comment

Prayer of St. Brendan the Navigator

When St. Brendan got back from his travels discovering America in a small wooden and leather boat around 564 AD, he wrote a book in Latin, 'Navigatio Brendani' or 'The Voyage of Brendan', which, some 900 years later (1477) convinced Christopher Columbus that there…

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Added by Brian Nolan on January 25, 2017 at 6:30am — 6 Comments

Unpacking 'The Wreck of the Hesperus'

'You look like the wreck of the Hesperus' was a much-used phrase in our house in Loughrea, 20 miles from the sea at Galway Bay. Boys, well you know boys, they never comb their hair, never wash their hands, wear the same clothes forever. . . . You know the…

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Added by Brian Nolan on January 7, 2017 at 8:30am — 6 Comments

Quo Vadis? (Who Are the Irish and Where Are They Going?)

Boy, we had us a whopping week of celebrations. There isn't a child in the country who can't now recite the Proclamation, nor an adult that cannot name everyone who fought in the GPO in 1916. We can all quote Yeats and Pearse, Connolly and Casement. We can…

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Added by Brian Nolan on April 3, 2016 at 7:00pm — 2 Comments

Now Comes the Spring -- 'Anois Teacht An Earraigh'

Once St. Brigid's Day has passed, our thoughts turn to the arrival of Spring . . .

I was reminded of what little credit I give sometimes Ireland's forgotten writers and poets, especially those who wrote in…

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Added by Brian Nolan on February 1, 2016 at 5:00am — 3 Comments

Poem for Christmas: Cuireadh do Mhuire / An Invitation to Mary

Cuireadh do Mhuire was composed by Máirtín Ó Direáin (1910 – 1988), the great Irish language poet from the village of Sruthán, on Inis Mór (Inishmore), the largest of the Aran Islands, in Galway Bay.

Ó Direáin penned this beautiful and delicate…

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Added by Brian Nolan on December 31, 2015 at 12:00pm — 1 Comment

'Famine Folios' -- Ireland's Great Irish Famine Revisited

Ireland’s Great Hunger Museum at Quinnipiac University in Hamden, Connecticut, has just published four new folios of research into the period of The Irish Famine under the collective title Famine…

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Added by Brian Nolan on November 9, 2015 at 6:00am — 3 Comments

Recalling Fair Days in Ireland

O! farmer, strong farmer!

You can spend at the fair

But your face you must turn

To your crops and your care.

And the crowds at the fair,

The herds loosened and…

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Added by Brian Nolan on October 18, 2015 at 6:30pm — 7 Comments

'We Built This City': How the Irish Constructed Today's London

The huge Irish contribution to building today's London has been marked by a short video, 'We Built This City,' a project completed by the Irish Architecture Foundation as part of Irish Design 2015. It is a lovely piece, something we can all be justifiably proud of. So many of us either emigrated ourselves, or had family or friends…

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Added by Brian Nolan on August 24, 2015 at 12:00pm — 4 Comments

The Way They Went -- How the Irish Got About In 1850

The Irish, while extremely fond of their horses, tended to walk everywhere, most of them not having the means nor the land to support a horse. Public transport was inefficient, to say the least. The…

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Added by Brian Nolan on August 14, 2015 at 7:30pm — 7 Comments

The Knife Sharpener

Every couple of years this man would come to Loughrea, County Galway and set up shop on the footpath outside Molloy's Harp Bar on Main Street. He was an itinerant blade grinder, or…

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Added by Brian Nolan on June 2, 2015 at 6:30am — 6 Comments

ANZAC Day Centenary - 25th April, 2015

The centenary of ANZAC Day is approaching, (ANZAC Australian and New Zealand Armed Corps), which commemorates the anniversary of the first engagement of…

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Added by Brian Nolan on April 21, 2015 at 3:30pm — 1 Comment

Irish Famine-Era 'Farthing' Sells for $102.50

This farthing coin was recently sold on eBay for $102.50. When it was minted in 1842, as a trading token by James O'Flynn it was worth only a quarter of one penny. Ja…

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Added by Brian Nolan on January 27, 2015 at 9:30am — 1 Comment

Ath-Bhlian Faoi Mhaise Daoibh! (Happy New Year to You!)



Count your blessings instead of your crosses.

Count your gains instead of your losses.

Count your joys instead of your woes.

Count your friends instead of your foes.

Count your smiles instead of your…

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Added by Brian Nolan on December 31, 2014 at 5:30pm — 2 Comments

Burying Baby Jesus: A Galway Christmas Story

My dad, Guard John Murphy (Killimor, Ballinasloe) died in Our Lady’s Hospice (Harold’s Cross, Dublin) aged forty-four, leaving my mother, aged thirty-nine, with ten children aged two and a half to eighteen…

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Added by Brian Nolan on December 24, 2014 at 4:00am — 5 Comments

Gold in Them There Hills - Tynagh, County Galway, Ireland

On a sunny afternoon in the early 1960s, a Canadian sea-plane touched down on the silvery-grey waters of Loughrea lake, taxied to a jetty and tied off. The children swimming at Long Point were distracted…

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Added by Brian Nolan on September 25, 2014 at 8:00am — 1 Comment

Quid Pro Quo - It's a Question of Money

I came across this old election poster from the mid-1950's lately. I was born in 1956, so it resonated a bit. Political comparisons aside, I had totally forgotten how the 'old prices' were written and this poster, with it's comparison chart of commonly purchased items brought back floods of childhood memories to me.

For instance the 1954 price tag of 2/4 for Cigarettes…

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Added by Brian Nolan on June 13, 2014 at 6:30am — 6 Comments

Easter Eggs - A County Galway Tale

With nine million chocolate Easter eggs being eaten in Ireland over Easter, I wondered if our children have any idea what life was like for our parents and grand-parents.

My grandfather,…

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Added by Brian Nolan on April 22, 2014 at 5:30am — 1 Comment

Erin's Lament - Galway's Gain

Eugene Daly was dreaming, in a deep sleep. In the dream, he was playing his uileann pipes to a rapturous audience of dancers in the ship's sumptuous main ballroom. He played like a man possessed, jigs and reels, in perfect pitch. The audience were thrilled. All of a sudden he panicked and woke. He had woken up to the sound of water lapping under his bunk. Unused to…

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Added by Brian Nolan on April 14, 2014 at 8:00pm — 6 Comments

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