John Anthony Brennan's Blog (107)

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

Slaughter in County Armagh. (The Murder Triangle)

I think it is fair to say it is widely accepted worldwide that during armed conflicts, civilians are normally not targets of hostility. While it is unfortunate that in some situations civilians are sadly, caught in the crossfire, usually they are not deliberately targeted. However this unwritten rule was blatantly ignored when civilians became…

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Added by John Anthony Brennan on September 16, 2020 at 11:30am — 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…

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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 him along…

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Added by John Anthony Brennan on March 16, 2020 at 10:53am — 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 deliver and…

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Added by John Anthony Brennan on March 12, 2020 at 12:27pm — 3 Comments

The Great Assembly at Tara (Part 2)

Druid Lochra’s prophecy: 

"A tailcenn (baldhead) will come over the raging sea, with his perforated garments, his crook-headed staff, with his table (altar) at the east end of his house, and all the people will answer 'Amen! Amen!"

Soon after Laoghaire Mac Neill's…

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Added by John Anthony Brennan on March 8, 2020 at 4:11pm — 10 Comments

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 of Ireland's greatest warrior…

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Added by John Anthony Brennan on March 2, 2020 at 1:30pm — 10 Comments

Geneva Barracks: Death Camp in Waterford

In 1782, the ruling Protestant Ascendancy in Ireland were given countrywide self-rule by the British Parliament, greatly increasing the powers of the Irish Parliament, situated at College Green in Dublin. One of the first items addressed by the new parliament was the Trade Agreement that restricted…

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Added by John Anthony Brennan on January 9, 2019 at 8:30pm — 4 Comments

The Croppies

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…

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Added by John Anthony Brennan on January 5, 2019 at 6:30pm — No Comments

The Wrenboys

“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…

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Added by John Anthony Brennan on December 26, 2018 at 2:00pm — 2 Comments

Treachery and Betrayal in South Armagh

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…

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Added by John Anthony Brennan on October 21, 2018 at 9:00am — 4 Comments

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