John Anthony Brennan's Blog (95)

Oliver Plunkett, Tomás Ó Fiaich and The Bard of Armagh

Three hundred and forty-four years ago, on a bleak, frigid night in January 1674, Bishop Oliver Plunkett and his close friend John Brennan, Bishop of Cashel, were forced to flee the town of Drogheda and run for their lives. Wearing long, hooded cloaks and…

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Added by John Anthony Brennan on December 31, 2017 at 6:00pm — 6 Comments

The Wrenboys

“The wran, the wran, the king of all birds,

on Stephen's day was caught in the furze.

His body is little but his family is sweet

so rise up landlady and give us a treat.

And if your treat be of the best

your soul in heaven…

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Added by John Anthony Brennan on December 26, 2017 at 2:16pm — 2 Comments

The Winter Solstice

This year’s shortest day of the year is on Thursday, December 21, which will also mark the longest night of the year. Every year, the winter solstice marks the turn of the calendar as autumn ends and the winter begins. From an astronomical…

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Added by John Anthony Brennan on December 21, 2017 at 8:30pm — No Comments

Life Along the Border in 1920s Ireland (A Short Story)

He'd had a narrow escape the day before. They had almost caught him and he…

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Added by John Anthony Brennan on December 16, 2017 at 1:30pm — 2 Comments

Out of the Ice: Ireland Then and Now

Irish author and poet John Anthony Brennan has previously written a book of…

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Added by John Anthony Brennan on December 6, 2017 at 7:30pm — 3 Comments

The Poet



To the memory of a visionary born on this day 10 November 1879.

Thank you, Patrick, for your bravery, commitment and inspiration.

This is a personal tribute to a handful of dreamers, the brave men and women of Ireland, the poet and the grocer, the tobacconist and the…

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Added by John Anthony Brennan on November 9, 2017 at 9:00pm — 12 Comments

John Boyle O'Reilly: Fenian Rebel, Convict and Poet

On October 12, 1867, after picking up cargo from Sheerness and Plymouth harbors, a fully rigged, 875-ton frigate, cast off from her moorings at Portsmouth on the south coast of England. The vessel, bound for Western Australia, her hold full to overflowing…

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Added by John Anthony Brennan on October 12, 2017 at 9:30pm — 7 Comments

An Gorta Mor: The Great Hunger

This year 2017, is the 170th anniversary of the ‘great Hunger’ that befell Ireland in 1847. Otherwise known as ‘an Gorta mor’ or more commonly referred to as ‘Black ‘47’ it was a seminal turning point in the long tortuous history of…

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Added by John Anthony Brennan on October 6, 2017 at 5:00pm — 7 Comments

How the Ancient Irish Oral Tradition Was Saved From Extinction

On a cold, wet evening in 576 AD, a flotilla of small, wave-tossed, leather-covered boats with tattered cloth sails, came to rest on the rocky shores of Lough Foyle close to the modern-day town of…

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Added by John Anthony Brennan on August 30, 2017 at 7:00pm — No Comments

The Destruction of Eamhain Mhacha

According to both oral and written traditions, at the beginning of the 4th century A.D., three brothers, known as the Three Collas, rebelled and killed their uncle, the high king of Ireland, Fíacha Sroiptine. This singular barbarous act started a chain…

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Added by John Anthony Brennan on August 13, 2017 at 10:00pm — 7 Comments

For Sinead and Other Kindred Spirits . . .

We Irish artists, descended, as we undoubtedly are from the tribe of Dannan, an ancient breed of mystics, are tasked with the unenviable mission of walking the invisible, fine line. It is a gift that enables us to transcend the mundane, and experience…

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Added by John Anthony Brennan on August 10, 2017 at 2:00pm — 2 Comments

The History Behind Lughnasagh

At the Ould Lammas Fair boys were you ever there

Were you ever…

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Added by John Anthony Brennan on August 1, 2017 at 6:30pm — 2 Comments

Thomas Addis Emmet: Twice a Rebel

Today we remember with pride the great Irish patriot Robert Emmet, who led an Irish rebellion that occurred 23 July 1803, 214 years ago today. Robert Emmet had an equally patriotic brother who took part in, not one, but two rebellions. Here is his fascinating story…

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Added by John Anthony Brennan on July 23, 2017 at 7:30pm — 4 Comments

Press Release for 'Turn Out The Light'

If music be the food of love, play on,

give me excess of it that surfeiting, the

appetite may sicken, and so die.”…

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Added by John Anthony Brennan on June 17, 2017 at 6:00pm — No Comments

Requiem for Bobby

This is a humble tribute to a kindred spirit, poet, musician, soldier and far, far braver man than I could ever hope to be. While adhering to the ancient Gaelic ‘Brehon Law of Fasting,’ Bobby took no food or water for sixty-six days in pursuit of his quest…

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Added by John Anthony Brennan on May 4, 2017 at 8:00pm — 11 Comments

The Great Assembly at Tara (Part 4 of 4)

In the last week of July 431 A.D., Patricius left his residence at Ard Mhacha and traveled with his retinue south toward the kingdom of Midhe. He had been summoned, by royal decree, to a meeting with the reigning monarch, king Laoghaire…

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Added by John Anthony Brennan on April 1, 2017 at 9:00pm — 10 Comments

The Equinox: Sunrise in the Bru Na Boinne

*note

An equinox is an astronomical event in which the Earth's equator passes through the center of the Sun. When this happens, day and night are of equal length around the world. These were extremely important dates for the ancients…

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Added by John Anthony Brennan on March 19, 2017 at 10:00pm — 2 Comments

Patricius the Roman

Could I have come to Ireland without thought of God, merely in my own interest? Who was it made me come? For here I am a prisoner of the Spirit so that I may not see any of my family. Can it be out of the kindness of my heart that I carry out such…

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Added by John Anthony Brennan on March 16, 2017 at 5:00pm — No Comments

The Great Assembly at Tara (Part 3)

In the Great Hall, the attendees had begun to arrive and take their seats. King Laoghaire, already seated in his royal chair in the middle of the hall, was surrounded by his ten hand-picked individuals who attended him at all times and included a “high…

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Added by John Anthony Brennan on March 9, 2017 at 5:00pm — No Comments

The Great Assembly at Tara (Part 2)

Druid Lochra’s prophecy: 

"A tailcenn (baldhead) will come over the raging sea, with his perforated garments, his crook-headed staff, with his table (altar) at the east end of his house, and all the people…

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Added by John Anthony Brennan on March 3, 2017 at 3:00pm — 8 Comments

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