John Anthony Brennan's Blog (131)

Birth of a New Language: Triumph Against All Odds

One morning, in late summer, a young boy set off eagerly, on his journey of life. Brimming with excitement, his eyes shone with innocent anticipation. He was going to school for the first time! He was going to learn new and wondrous things! The boy had dreamt and looked forward to this day for as long as he could remember, And…

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Added by John Anthony Brennan on June 16, 2022 at 8:30am — 5 Comments

A Strange Encounter in St. Stephen's Green

During a nostalgic trip to Dublin City, Ireland in June 1971, I found myself in the delightful St. Stephen's Green, a welcome oasis in that bustling, cosmopolitan city. The park is sited not far from the Four Courts building, which sits on the north bank of…

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Added by John Anthony Brennan on June 9, 2022 at 9:30am — 1 Comment

Beaufort: The Navan Native Who Charted the Oceans

In France, during the reign of King Henry IV (1589-1610), a series of recurring religious conflicts erupted and grew so violent they became known as the Wars of Religion. The war was between the ruling Catholics and a…

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Added by John Anthony Brennan on May 27, 2022 at 12:16pm — 11 Comments

The History of the Troscad: Requiem for Bobby

On this day 5th May 1981 a daring political statement was made when a young man died while adhering to the ancient Irish Brehon law of “Troscad.” 

The phenomenon known as ‘troscad’ (translated as ‘hunger strike’) is nothing new in Irish society. It predates Christianity, which swept Ireland in the mid-5th…

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Added by John Anthony Brennan on May 5, 2022 at 12:00am — 11 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,…

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Added by John Anthony Brennan on April 30, 2022 at 4:00pm — 4 Comments

The Poet

On Easter Monday, April 24 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 analyzed until this very day.…

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Added by John Anthony Brennan on April 17, 2022 at 7:52pm — 15 Comments

The Story of the Gallowglasses

The ‘Gallowglass’ as they were called, were elite mercenary warriors and members of the Gaelic clans of Scotland. They came to prominence between the mid 13th century and late 16th century. As Gaels, they shared a common background and language with the Irish, but as they had intermarried…

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Added by John Anthony Brennan on April 15, 2022 at 4:00pm — 2 Comments

The Navigator

One of the myriad of exceptional qualities that we Irish are blessed with is our ability to drop everything and sail out into the unknown completely unafraid. We have the uncanny ability to travel to the furthest reaches and, as they say, ‘become more native than the natives themselves.’ This ability has…

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Added by John Anthony Brennan on April 3, 2022 at 7:00pm — 2 Comments

Back Home to Derry.

It's hard to believe it's been five years already and whether or not you agree with Martin McGuinness' political beliefs and his subsequent decisions, taken in the face of mounting adversity, you must in all fairness admire the man’s courage in troubled times and always remember that when the darkness fell and all seemed lost, he was one of the first to take a stand and say ‘no more.’…

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Added by John Anthony Brennan on March 21, 2022 at 9:00pm — No Comments

The Equinox: Sunrise in the Bru Na Boinne

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…
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Added by John Anthony Brennan on March 18, 2022 at 2:30pm — 2 Comments

Patricius the Roman

March is traditionally known as Irish Heritage month and this is highlighted on March 17th. with large parades in many towns and cities around the world. The parades are held in honor of a unique individual named Patricius, a Roman Briton, taken with his two sisters as hostages to Ireland by one of Ireland's greatest…

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Added by John Anthony Brennan on March 16, 2022 at 12:30pm — No Comments

The Minstrel

In the ages past, the musician was and still is, a prominent figure in Irish society; whether he be a harpist, a fiddler or a multi-instrumentalist musician like Paddy Moloney, they all took their places in society, including the royal households of the Irish nobility. Centuries ago they called…

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Added by John Anthony Brennan on March 14, 2022 at 2:00pm — 2 Comments

The Magic of the Rowan Tree

One of the many trees growing near to where we lived on the Creamery Road was an old rowan. It was perfect for climbing and in the summer when in full leaf, I could see for miles from my vantage point in the topmost branches, it was my favorite of all the trees in the area with a big oak next.…

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Added by John Anthony Brennan on March 5, 2022 at 3:00pm — 1 Comment

The Great Assembly at Tara (Part 1)

March is traditionally known as Irish Heritage month and this is highlighted on March 17th. with large parades in many towns and cities around the world. The parades are held in honor of a unique individual named Patricius, a Roman Briton, taken with his two sisters as hostages to Ireland by one…

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Added by John Anthony Brennan on February 28, 2022 at 6:00pm — 10 Comments

County Clare's John Phillip Holland and The Fenian Ram

On this day, February 24, 1841, we remember with pride the birth of a unique Irishman, a man whose fertile mind far surpassed the greatest minds…

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Added by John Anthony Brennan on February 24, 2022 at 11:49am — 2 Comments

St. Valentine and the Irish Connection

Saint Valentine

Born: 226 AD, Terni, Italy

Died: February 14, 269 AD, Rome, Italy

Full name: Valentine of Terni 

Valentine was a Christian priest who had also worked as a doctor and ministered to persecuted Christians and Romans alike. He lived in Italy during the third century AD and served as a priest in Rome. Historians don’t…

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Added by John Anthony Brennan on February 12, 2022 at 1:30pm — No Comments

Behan: An Irish Rebel.

Brendan Francis Aidan Behan, born on February 9 1923 was an Irish poet, short story writer, novelist, and playwright who wrote in both English and Irish. He was named by Irish Central as one of the greatest Irish writers of all time. He was an Irish republican and a volunteer in the Irish Republican Army, and was born in Dublin into a staunchly…

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Added by John Anthony Brennan on February 9, 2022 at 4:00pm — No Comments

The Pagan and The Saint

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 intention of…

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Added by John Anthony Brennan on January 31, 2022 at 2:00pm — 4 Comments

'The Night Owls'

Photos courtesy of Independent.ie

Eighty-three years ago, on this date, January 28, 1939, one of the foremost voices in Irish Literature, William Butler Yeats, drew his last breath at the Hôtel Idéal Séjour, in Menton on the French…

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Added by John Anthony Brennan on January 28, 2022 at 12:00pm — 2 Comments

Press Release for 'Turn Out The Light'

Pleased to see my book "Turn Out the Light' was chosen as a finalist in the Eric Hoffer 2018 Book Awards.

"If music be the food of love, play on,

give me excess of it that surfeiting, the

appetite may sicken, and so die.”

                       …

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Added by John Anthony Brennan on January 26, 2022 at 6:30pm — No Comments

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