Brían Hoban's Blog (9)

Castlebar Honors Native Son, Inventor Extraordinaire

Louis Philip Brennan was born on Main Street, Castlebar, County Mayo, on January 28, 1852, the 10th child of Thomas Brennan, a hardware merchant in the town. 

After the death of at least five of his older siblings…


Added by Brían Hoban on May 15, 2019 at 6:00pm — No Comments

For the Harried, Fáilte 'Nollaig na mBan'

“Nollaig na mBan,” or “Little Women’s Christmas,” is an old custom that’s still celebrated by women all over Ireland. It goes back to the days when large families were the norm. Men never lifted a finger in the house to help, and were never expected to. If a man washed the dishes, he would be called an “auld…


Added by Brían Hoban on January 4, 2016 at 6:00am — 8 Comments

Irish New Year Traditions

New Year's Eve (Oíche Chinn Bliana)

These days, when we think of New Year, parties, champagne and celebration spring to mind. Once upon a time however, it was more about getting through a quiet night. The New Year was never really a big festival in Ireland, with the focus more on the necessities…


Added by Brían Hoban on December 31, 2015 at 3:30pm — 8 Comments

History of the Church of the Holy Rosary, Castlebar, County Mayo

The Church of the Holy Rosary was dedicated on Rosary Sunday 7th October 1901.

The need for a new church had been acknowledged as far back as the 1860’s. Cannon Mc Gee like his predecessor Archdeacon Brown was an enthusiastic and talented man. He saw the need for a new church and set about the task of raising funds for the establishment of a new church. As…


Added by Brían Hoban on December 27, 2015 at 3:30pm — No Comments

Ernie O'Malley: Mayo-Born Freedom Fighter and Writer

Ernie O' Malley was born in Castlebar on the 26th of May 1897. His family moved to Dublin in 1906. He was educated at O'Connell's Schools and attended UCD, where he studied medicine.

He was a member of The Irish Volunteers and he joined the rebels on the Thursday of the Easter Rising in 1916 and was…


Added by Brían Hoban on December 13, 2015 at 11:00am — 4 Comments

Christmas Time in Ireland


In rural Ireland, the Christmas shopping started on December 8, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. On that date, shops would decorate their windows with Christmas decorations and Christmas fare. I remember when I was young, a Cadbury's merchandiser would organise our Christmas display window.…


Added by Brían Hoban on December 13, 2015 at 8:30am — 1 Comment

Grace O'Malley: The Pirate Queen

In the early 14th century, the Clan O’Malley, a great seafaring family, rose to power in Mayo. They ruled the southern shore of Clew Bay and most of the barony of Murrisk for over 300 years. They were ruthless pirates and terrorised the ships to and…


Added by Brían Hoban on December 13, 2015 at 8:00am — 5 Comments

The Races of Castlebar a Highlight of 'The Year of the French'

On July 3, 1998, An Taoiseach Bertie Aherne, T.D., unveiled a plaque on The Kingsbridge Inn to commemorate the bicentenary of "The Races of Castlebar." This event, as well as the publication of Thomas Flanagan's “The Year of the French" in 1979 and the subsequent filming of this novel some years ago, have increased an…


Added by Brían Hoban on November 28, 2015 at 12:30pm — 4 Comments

Winter Solstice Alignment in Killadangan, County Mayo

Winter solstice began as a celebration of winter’s end, the cycle of life beginning anew. Killadangan, a scattering of stones strewn around a salt marsh on the shores of Clew Bay, draws you right back to those Neolithic times. The mossy monoliths connect through a winter-solstice alignment to a notch in the hills opposite, but get there early – the sun sets…


Added by Brían Hoban on November 26, 2015 at 3:30pm — 1 Comment

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