John Anthony Brennan's Blog (116)

The Battle of Cúl Dreimhne (Battle of the Book)

Today June 9, we remember with pride an Irishman whose mind, efforts and foresight changed the world forever. Colmcille also known as…

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Added by John Anthony Brennan on June 9, 2021 at 2:06pm — 2 Comments

The History of the Troscad: Requiem for Bobby

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 Century and has been recorded as being used by the Druids. As a custom, according to the ancient Brehon Law, it was available to all members of Irish society as a legal way to air grievances.…

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Added by John Anthony Brennan on May 5, 2021 at 6:00am — 11 Comments

Clontarf

Every April 23 we remember with great pride another in the long line of Irishmen who despite all the odds stacked against them, nevertheless decided to take a stand against an oppressive enemy. So set aside a little time today and read his fascinating full story at the link at the end of this…

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Added by John Anthony Brennan on April 23, 2021 at 12:30pm — 2 Comments

The Pirates of Music

On 20 April 2020, we said farewell to a highly innovative Irishman who changed the world with his singular vision and desire to make the world a better place through the medium of music. His grandfather (The O'Rahilly) was an important figure in the quest for the independence of Ireland, a leader in the…

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Added by John Anthony Brennan on April 20, 2021 at 1:00pm — 2 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 poet and…

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Added by John Anthony Brennan on April 2, 2021 at 3:00pm — 15 Comments

Annie Russell: A Flower from Sweet Strabane

In school, if you ever looked at images of the surface of the Sun you would have seen what appeared to be dark areas dotted across the surface. These anomalies are known as sunspots and appear dark because they are cooler than other parts of the Sun’s surface. Occasionally you would also have seen…

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Added by John Anthony Brennan on March 31, 2021 at 1:00pm — No Comments

The Green Valley

I've been down in the green valley, the holy place.

The one where the pagan and saint walk the
blessed earth yet still, in silent mystic. The one…
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Added by John Anthony Brennan on March 20, 2021 at 8:00pm — 9 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…

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Added by John Anthony Brennan on March 2, 2021 at 1:00pm — 10 Comments

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…

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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

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