John Anthony Brennan's Blog Posts Tagged 'History of Ireland' (35)

The Poet



On Easter Monday 1916 one of the most important events in the long, tortuous history of Ireland took place. The event, so shocking and bold, is still debated and analysed until this very day. This is a personal tribute to that  handful of dreamers and visionaries, the…

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Added by John Anthony Brennan on April 21, 2019 at 5:00am — 12 Comments

The Croppies

There once was a particularly dark time in Ireland when the length of a man's hair determined his fate. If his hair was shorn close to the scalp as opposed to the longer hairstyles of most of Europe at that time, he ran the risk of arrest, interrogation and was often subjected to torture by…

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Added by John Anthony Brennan on January 5, 2019 at 6:30pm — No 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 can then find its rest.

And if your treat be much…

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Added by John Anthony Brennan on December 26, 2018 at 2:00pm — 2 Comments

Treachery and Betrayal in South Armagh

In July 1690 the last battle fought on Irish soil between two kings played out in the hills and valleys of the Boyne river valley in County Meath, Ireland. The battle was fought between the deposed king James II who was the last Roman Catholic monarch of England, and William III (William of Orange) the reigning…

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Added by John Anthony Brennan on October 21, 2018 at 9:00am — 4 Comments

The Human Computer from Donegal

The next time you power up your computer or go to the rifle range, take aim and set your sights on a target off in the distance, knowing that you will hit the target, raise a glass to a ground-breaking Irishwoman from Donegal named Kathleen McNulty. She is one of the six original…

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Added by John Anthony Brennan on October 6, 2018 at 3:30pm — No Comments

The Great Famine of 1315



Five hundred and thirty years before the death and devastation caused in 1847 by An Gorta Mor (The Great Hunger), Ireland suffered an equally horrific event that begun in 1315 and was the first in a series of large-scale disasters that devastated Europe in the 14th century. A continent-wide famine began with heavy rains in the spring of 1315 causing crop failures all…

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Added by John Anthony Brennan on August 27, 2018 at 7:00pm — No Comments

'Out of the Ice: Ireland Then and Now'



Delighted to learn that my book “Out of the Ice: Ireland Then and Now” has been chosen as an "Award Winning Finalist in the History category of the 2018 International Book Awards."…

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Added by John Anthony Brennan on May 27, 2018 at 8:00pm — 5 Comments

The Bonfires of Beltaine (May Eve)

On the Hill of Uisneach, in a portion of land taken from the province of Connaught, a fortress was erected by High King Tuathal Teachthmar. Uisneach, believed to be the geographical center of Ireland, was, until…

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Added by John Anthony Brennan on May 1, 2018 at 9:00am — 2 Comments

Festival of Imbolc and the Two Brigids

Back in the mists of time, long before the Milesians arrived from Egypt, and even longer before the Celtic tribes came and settled, another ancient tribe inhabited the island of Ireland. The ‘Tuatha De Dannan,’ translated as ‘people of the Goddess Danu,’ were a supernatural race who came to Ireland with the…

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Added by John Anthony Brennan on January 30, 2018 at 6:30pm — No 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 standpoint, the winter solstice means that the two opposite points in the sky…

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Added by John Anthony Brennan on December 21, 2017 at 8:30pm — No 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 Ireland.With the failure of the potato crop due to a serious blight,…

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Added by John Anthony Brennan on October 6, 2017 at 5:00pm — 7 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 of fateful events that would have a devastating and far…

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Added by John Anthony Brennan on August 13, 2017 at 10:00pm — 7 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 who inhabited  a region of Ireland still held sacred…

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

Ireland and the Spanish Armada: A Story of Survival

On a cold, stark night in August 1588, as a fierce gale subsided and the clouds slowly parted, light from a full autumn moon revealed a horrific scene strewn along the shoreline of Streedagh Strand in County Sligo, Ireland. The drowned corpses of 800 doomed sailors, washed up by the raging Atlantic Ocean waves, lay…

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Added by John Anthony Brennan on January 10, 2017 at 3:30pm — 13 Comments

The Winter Solstice

This year’s shortest day of the year is on Wednesday, 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 standpoint, the winter solstice means that the two opposite points in the…

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Added by John Anthony Brennan on December 21, 2016 at 1:00am — 2 Comments

The Battle of Cúl Dreimhne (Battle of the Book)

In early Christian Ireland the old Druidic tradition collapsed due to the spread of the Christian faith. The study and learning of Latin, coupled with the new Christian theology in monasteries, was flourishing. In 561 AD a seminal event occurred that would have a profound and long lasting effect on Irish…

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Added by John Anthony Brennan on December 19, 2016 at 7:30pm — 2 Comments

Chancing One's Arm

In 1492, the same year that Christopher Columbus purportedly discovered the New World, an incident, with far reaching effects, took place in a chapter house attached to Saint Patrick’s Cathedral in Dublin. The incident ended a long running and bloody feud between two of Ireland’s most powerful dynasties, the FitzGeralds…

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Added by John Anthony Brennan on October 10, 2016 at 7:00pm — 8 Comments

Enter the Vikings: The Assault of Lambay Island

*note

Toward the end of the 8th Century A.D., Ireland was almost completely Gaelic and Christian. It was a rural society, with no towns or cities, and the only large settlements were hamlets that grew up around monasteries. The…

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Added by John Anthony Brennan on September 19, 2016 at 1:30pm — 14 Comments

The Destruction of the Kingdom of Brega

Ask most people who they believe were the first group of foreigners to launch highly organized, violent raids in Ireland, and more often than not, they will say it was the Vikings, who raided Lambay Island in 795 A.D. What many people are not aware of is the fact that a century before the emergence of the Vikings, an equally…

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Added by John Anthony Brennan on September 14, 2016 at 7:30pm — 6 Comments

The Rock

It looked sad and forlorn sitting by the side of the Creamery road as though it knew that it had long been abandoned. I first noticed it one rainy afternoon when I was almost seven years old and I can still vividly recall the sweet scent of wild honeysuckle, hanging heavily on the air that…

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Added by John Anthony Brennan on August 31, 2016 at 9:00pm — 2 Comments

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