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…Continue
Three of Ireland’s well-loved 18th century Gaelic poets lie at rest in the graveyard of Creggan Church, near to my hometown of Crossmaglen, County Armagh. The poets, Filid Art Mc Cooey, Padraig MacAliondain and the rapparee poet Seamus mor MacMurphy sleep under the oaks and elms in the company…Continue
I am Gullion, old as time itself, older than the pre-dawn of life, forged in the crucible of a ring of fire, before man existed. Up here the air is pure and fresh and crisp as the frost of winter’s breath. I’ve seen it all from up here, here by the bottomless lake, here beside the elevated cairns and high burial places.…Continue
In an article posted in November of 2014, I spoke briefly about the connection between the Egyptian, Coptic desert monks and Celtic Ireland and Britain. After further research I discovered that it is indeed a fascinating story and an important part of our…Continue
Europe, in the middle of the 5th century A.D., was in darkness and fear was dominant. The Master (the druid) sensed fundamental change. The Roman legions were advancing rapidly and had already crossed the Rhine. A new religion was upon him and his people.
Many thanks once again to the ‘Creggan Historical Society', its curator Mr. Michael McShane and local historian Mr. Kevin McMahon, for their vast knowledge, brilliant minds and tireless efforts toward ensuring that the history of South Armagh be kept alive and kicking for…Continue
During my research phase for information, I've relied heavily on the writings of Michael O'Cleary, a Franciscan monk, who, with three other scholars, compiled what has collectively become known as the "Annals of The Four Masters." They were…Continue
Malachy Brennan, my father, was a descendant of one of two clans who arrived in Ireland approximately two thousand five hundred years ago, after separating from the larger wave of an amalgam of migrating Celts. Once in Ireland, they divided into four septs. Mal, as he became fondly…Continue
Geneticists at Trinity College, Dublin have recently discovered that the Irish gene pool is the least diluted in all of Europe if not indeed, the world. They have also discovered that the Irish traveling people (tinkers) are purely…Continue
In memory of my ancestor William Brennan (Brennan on the moor) who chose to become a highwayman after his forebears were ousted from their ancestral home in county Kilkenny, during the Norman invasion of Ireland.
He rode from high to the valley floor,
then hid behind the rowan tree.
It was time to settle a deep-set score
and seek vengeance for his family.
They took the land they took their pride,
rode roughshod o'er the scattered…
Added by John Anthony Brennan on August 26, 2014 at 7:30am — No Comments
The massive blasts of the four homemade, two-hundred-pound mortars, launched from the rear of a commandeered, flatbed truck, reverberated and shook the buildings throughout the town as they hit their target with deadly precision. Thankfully, all residents living in the immediate area…Continue
Added by John Anthony Brennan on August 17, 2014 at 7:30pm — No Comments
In A.D. 406 during a particularly harsh winter, the river Rhine froze over. Across this temporary land bridge poured hordes of Germanic tribes led by the charismatic Aleric, King of the Visigoths. This singular event precipitated the fall of the Roman…Continue
They used to…Continue
Added by John Anthony Brennan on August 11, 2014 at 9:00pm — No Comments
The one where the river flows ever onward to its birthplace, carrying the tortured history, winding slow with measured precision, to cast upon the ocean. Down where the sacred hills, those silent sentinels to the glorious but tragic past, keep watch in painful solitude. Down where the spirits keen and await each dawn…Continue
John Anthony Brennan is a native of Crossmaglen, a small, tough town in County Armagh, Ireland. A town, like Ireland herself, which has survived much pain and hardship through the centuries beneath the invaders harsh heel. His new book,…Continue