John Anthony Brennan's Blog (113)

The Cellist, the Nightingale and Danny Boy.

I think it is fair to say that a great many of us are wringing our hands in despair at the state the world is in now. It seems that we are in total disagreement with each other and cannot or will not find common ground on which to unite. It is a case of widespread ‘he said-she said’ and every other…

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Added by John Anthony Brennan on February 7, 2021 at 6:30pm — 2 Comments

Annaghmare: The Big Marsh

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,…

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Added by John Anthony Brennan on January 8, 2021 at 2:30pm — No Comments

Under the Mistletoe

Kissing a wife or lover under the mistletoe at Christmas is derived from an old Roman custom that honored the god Saturn. The Romans associated mistletoe with peace, love, and understanding and hung it over doorways to protect the household, as well as protection from witches and demons. Hanging…

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Added by John Anthony Brennan on December 24, 2020 at 4:30pm — No Comments

The Pavees of Slieve Gullion

Slieve Gullion (from Irish: Sliabh gCuillinn, meaning "hill of the steep slope" or Sliabh Cuilinn, "Culann's mountain") is an extinct volcanic mountain in the south of County Armagh, Ireland. The mountain is the heart of the Ring of Gullion and is the highest point in the county, with an elevation…

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Added by John Anthony Brennan on December 11, 2020 at 7:00pm — No Comments

A Woman of Ireland

One warm evening in August 1903 a large crowd gathered outside the Custom House in Dublin, Ireland. Nearby, the river Liffey, flowing slowly toward the sea, carried the sounds of the bustling city with it, on its never ending journey, as it had done for millennia. An imposing, well-dressed woman…

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Added by John Anthony Brennan on November 25, 2020 at 5:30pm — No Comments

The Headcutter's Stone

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…

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Added by John Anthony Brennan on November 5, 2020 at 11:00am — No Comments

From Co. Armagh to the Heavens.

When it comes to astronomy, Ireland is blessed with many brilliant, world changing individuals, whose…

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Added by John Anthony Brennan on September 25, 2020 at 10:30am — No Comments

The Botanist from Rathmines.

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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…

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Added by John Anthony Brennan on September 12, 2020 at 3:34pm — No Comments

The Firefighter



often find myself thinking about my cousin Michael Brennan. He was a firefighter assigned to the Pride of Midtown firehouse in Manhattan. I first met…

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Added by John Anthony Brennan on September 10, 2020 at 10:54am — 11 Comments

The Norman Invasion of Ireland

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…

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Added by John Anthony Brennan on August 23, 2020 at 10:00pm — 7 Comments

Waterford's Ernest Thomas Walton: The Father of Atomic Energy

A widely respected, much admired, modest, unassuming Irishman played a major role in the development of Atomic Energy. It could be argued that this man’s role in the development of Nuclear physics was so groundbreaking and historic, that several years later, it led directly to the invention of the first Atomic bomb.…

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Added by John Anthony Brennan on August 7, 2020 at 6:30pm — 2 Comments

The Miami Showband Massacre: Horror in the Dead of Night

Much has been written about the period of upheaval, sectarian hatred and relentless bloodshed that occurred in the province of Ulster in the north of Ireland in the 30 years between 1968 and 1998. Unless you were there and lived through the madness, it's likely that you have trouble actually…

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Added by John Anthony Brennan on July 31, 2020 at 1:00am — 14 Comments

Oliver Plunkett, Tomás Ó Fiaich and The Bard of Armagh

This month we remember Irishman Oliver Plunkett, the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland, who was hung, drawn and quartered, on July 1, 1681 at Tyburn Gallows, London. That barbaric act made him the last Catholic victim martyred as a direct result of the devious ‘Popish Plot’ instigated…

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Added by John Anthony Brennan on July 1, 2020 at 12:30pm — 6 Comments

The Battle of Cúl Dreimhne (Battle of the Book)

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…

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Added by John Anthony Brennan on June 11, 2020 at 10:30am — 2 Comments

An Gorta Mor Remembered in Dublin

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…

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Added by John Anthony Brennan on May 17, 2020 at 1:30pm — No Comments

Requiem for Bobby

This is a personal tribute to a kindred spirit, writer, poet, musician, soldier and far, far braver man than I could ever hope to be. While adhering to the ancient Irish ‘Brehon Law of Fasting,’ Bobby Sands took no food or water for sixty-six days in pursuit of his quest for freedom, equality, honor and justice for all.…

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Added by John Anthony Brennan on May 5, 2020 at 6:00am — 11 Comments

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 brave men and women of Ireland, the…

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Added by John Anthony Brennan on April 11, 2020 at 11:00pm — 13 Comments

The Great Assembly at Tara (Part 4 of 4)

In the last week of July 431 A.D., Patricius left his residence at Ard Mhacha and traveled with his retinue south toward the kingdom of Midhe. He had been summoned, by royal decree, to a meeting with the reigning monarch, king Laoghaire Mac Neill at the court at Tara. His journey would take…

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Added by John Anthony Brennan on March 16, 2020 at 10:30am — 10 Comments

The Great Assembly at Tara (Part 3)

In the Great Hall, the attendees had begun to arrive and take their seats. King Laoghaire, already seated in his royal chair in the middle of the hall, was surrounded by his ten hand-picked individuals who attended him at all times and included a “high ranking Nobleman to be his companion; a Brehon judge to…

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Added by John Anthony Brennan on March 12, 2020 at 12:00pm — 3 Comments

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