Brian Nolan's Blog Posts Tagged 'Galway' (19)

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 mean

Upon that memorable scene:

But with his keener eye

The axe’s…

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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 might just be something out there beyond the western…

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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 type, and obstinately oblivious of their appearance. In Ireland,…

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Added by Brian Nolan on January 7, 2017 at 8:30am — 6 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 Irish, 'as Gaeilge'. This struck home when I read again Galway's blind poet,…

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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 verse at Christmas 1942, when the whole world was at war and his…

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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 Folios.

These compelling essays take a fresh and…

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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 blind,

Loud words and dark…

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Added by Brian Nolan on October 18, 2015 at 6:30pm — 7 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 railways had only just arrived in Ireland but were confined to short…

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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 knife sharpener.

Folks would get wind he was in town and quickly a queue would…

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

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. James O'Flyn(n) was listed under 'Linen and Woollen Drapers…

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

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 years old.

On Christmas Eve of 1945, we spent most…

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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 for a while but quickly returned to doggy-paddle and soccer on that sunny…

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

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, Michael Brody, operated a general store, grocery, hardware,…

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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

The Unquiet Grave

A tale of love and loss, a poem, a tradition, a ballad, a folk-song, forever in our hearts.

Can you imagine how hard life was in the 16th, 17th, 18th and 19th century here in…

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Added by Brian Nolan on January 31, 2014 at 10:30am — 2 Comments

The Night of the Big Wind - St. Stephen's Day 2013

'Oiche na Gaoithe Moire' - The night of the big wind! That phrase usually refers to one of the most devastating hurricanes that ever hit Ireland, which made land during the night of Little Christmas, on the 6th of January 1839, almost 174 years ago, just before the outbreak of the…

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Added by Brian Nolan on December 27, 2013 at 7:00am — 16 Comments

Yule and Mairgead Mór

Over most of Western Europe, particularly in those areas connected with the ancient Celts, December 21, the shortest day of the year fell during the Druidic festival of 'Yule'. Today it is better known as the festival of the ‘Winter Solstice’.

‘Thoul’, an ancient word for…

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Added by Brian Nolan on December 18, 2013 at 11:30am — 2 Comments

Snuff at a Wake and Other Pipe Dreams

While yet a teenager, I collected most of these clay pipes around Loughrea, in county Galway, some from the lake shore, some from under the water using a snorkel and mask, the smallest ones from the bottom of a hole I was digging in Elephant and Castle, while working as a student in…

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Added by Brian Nolan on December 16, 2013 at 6:00pm — 3 Comments

Who Really Discovered America?

 

On the Galway's Horrible Histories Walk, I weave the Brendan Voyage tale into the stories I tell, explaining how in 929 AD the Vikings raided the Priory Abbey of Annaghdown, 4 miles up the Corrib River from Galway city, which was founded by St. Brendan for his sister, Briga, and where he died in 577 AD.…

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Added by Brian Nolan on November 27, 2013 at 8:30am — 4 Comments

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