In the land of Mac Nessa where epitaphs are written in blood, and nocturnal shadows flit freely in the cold moonlight, when the white hoar frost of winter’s breath blankets the big marsh, envelops the bracken and heather, coats the blackthorns in a slick sheen, clings to intricate webs as bejeweled wonders and the bleak, frozen bogs shiver and sleep,…Continue
Added by John Anthony Brennan on January 8, 2021 at 2:30pm — No Comments
In an old peat bog at Ummericam, sits the cruel headcutter's stone,
stained with the blood and fused with the ghosts, of men who are now long gone.
In the gorse and the furze their cries could be heard, when Johnston was out on the roam
their fates soon sealed with the headhunters wield, and where…Continue
Added by John Anthony Brennan on November 5, 2020 at 11:00am — No Comments
Added by John Anthony Brennan on September 25, 2020 at 10:30am — No Comments
This year 2020, is the 173rd anniversary of the ‘great Hunger’ that befell Ireland with the horror culminating 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.
Of the many devastating events that the Irish nation endured during its…Continue
Added by John Anthony Brennan on September 12, 2020 at 3:34pm — No Comments
The dispossession of Diarmait Mac Murchada, the high king of Leinster, from his lands by the High king of Munster, Ruari O'Connor, eventually led to the ouster of my ancestors the O'Brannains from their lands and the…Continue
This week we remember an Irishman whose efforts and foresight changed the world forever. Colmcille also known as Saint Columba died on June 9, 597 in the monastery he founded on the Island of Iona, where he had lived in exile for many years. He is known among other things, as the Patron Saint of the city of…Continue
A National Commemoration has taken place in St Stephen's Green in Dublin city centre today in remembrance of the events that took place in Ireland 173 years ago. The event known as "An Gorta Mor" or The Great hunger was engineered by the powers that be of the day to finally eliminate the…Continue
Added by John Anthony Brennan on May 17, 2020 at 1:30pm — No Comments
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 brave men and women of Ireland, the…Continue
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…Continue
Added by John Anthony Brennan on January 5, 2019 at 6:30pm — No Comments
“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…
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…Continue
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…Continue
Added by John Anthony Brennan on October 6, 2018 at 3:30pm — No Comments
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…
Added by John Anthony Brennan on August 27, 2018 at 7:00pm — No Comments
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."…
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,…Continue
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…Continue
Added by John Anthony Brennan on January 30, 2018 at 6:30pm — No Comments
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…Continue
Added by John Anthony Brennan on December 21, 2017 at 8:30pm — No Comments
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,…Continue
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…Continue
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…Continue