John Anthony Brennan's Blog (105)

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 May 1, 2018 at 9:00am — 2 Comments

Festival of Imbolc and the Two Brigids

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…

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Added by John Anthony Brennan on January 30, 2018 at 6:30pm — No Comments

O'Reilly: Fenian Rebel, Convict and Poet

This month in January 1868, after a voyage of 89 days, an infamous convict-ship docked for the last time in Freemantle harbor, Western Australia.

On October 12, 1867, after picking up cargo from Sheerness and Plymouth harbors, a fully…

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Added by John Anthony Brennan on January 25, 2018 at 8:00am — 7 Comments

The Winter Solstice

This year’s shortest day of the year is on Thursday, December 21, which will also mark the longest night of the year. Every year, the winter solstice marks the turn of the calendar as autumn ends and the winter begins. From an astronomical standpoint, the winter solstice means that the two opposite points in the…

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Added by John Anthony Brennan on December 21, 2017 at 8:30pm — No Comments

Life Along the Border in 1920s Ireland (A Short Story)

He'd had a narrow escape the day before. They had almost caught him and he was lucky that he managed to elude them. An icy cold sweat broke out on his furrowed brow as…

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Added by John Anthony Brennan on December 16, 2017 at 1:30pm — 2 Comments

An Gorta Mor: The Great Hunger

This year 2017, is the 170th anniversary of the ‘great Hunger’ that befell Ireland 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.With the failure of the potato crop due to a serious blight,…

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Added by John Anthony Brennan on October 6, 2017 at 5:00pm — 7 Comments

How the Ancient Irish Oral Tradition Was Saved From Extinction

On a cold, wet evening in 576 AD, a flotilla of small, wave-tossed, leather-covered boats with tattered cloth sails, came to rest on the rocky shores of Lough Foyle close to the modern-day town of Limavady in what is now County Derry, Ireland. Upon reaching the safety of…

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Added by John Anthony Brennan on August 30, 2017 at 7:00pm — No Comments

The Destruction of Eamhain Mhacha

According to both oral and written traditions, at the beginning of the 4th century A.D., three brothers, known as the Three Collas, rebelled and killed their uncle, the high king of Ireland, Fíacha Sroiptine. This singular barbarous act started a chain of fateful events that would have a devastating and far…

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Added by John Anthony Brennan on August 13, 2017 at 10:00pm — 7 Comments

For Sinead and Other Kindred Spirits . . .

We Irish artists, descended, as we undoubtedly are from the tribe of Dannan, an ancient breed of mystics, are tasked with the unenviable mission of walking the invisible, fine line. It is a gift that enables us to transcend the mundane, and experience the world as we see and feel it, and know how it should be. We have…

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Added by John Anthony Brennan on August 10, 2017 at 2:00pm — 2 Comments

The History Behind Lughnasa

At the Ould Lammas Fair boys were you ever there

Were you ever at the Fair In Ballycastle-O?

Did you treat your Mary Ann

To some Dulse and Yellow Man

At the…

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Added by John Anthony Brennan on August 1, 2017 at 6:30pm — 3 Comments

Thomas Addis Emmet: Twice a Rebel

Today we remember with pride the great Irish patriot Robert Emmet, who led an Irish rebellion that occurred 23 July 1803, 214 years ago today. Robert Emmet had an equally patriotic brother who took part in, not one, but two rebellions. Here is his fascinating story ...

The…

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Added by John Anthony Brennan on July 23, 2017 at 7:30pm — 4 Comments

The Equinox: Sunrise in the Bru Na Boinne

*note

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 Ireland still held sacred…

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Added by John Anthony Brennan on March 19, 2017 at 10:00pm — 2 Comments

Patricius the Roman

Could I have come to Ireland without thought of God, merely in my own interest? Who was it made me come? For here I am a prisoner of the Spirit so that I may not see any of my family. Can it be out of the kindness of my heart that I carry out such a labor of mercy on a people who once captured me when they wrecked my…

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Added by John Anthony Brennan on March 16, 2017 at 5:00pm — No Comments

Ireland and the Spanish Armada: A Story of Survival

On a cold, stark night in August 1588, as a fierce gale subsided and the clouds slowly parted, light from a full autumn moon revealed a horrific scene strewn along the shoreline of Streedagh Strand in County Sligo, Ireland. The drowned corpses of 800 doomed sailors, washed up by the raging Atlantic Ocean waves, lay…

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Added by John Anthony Brennan on January 10, 2017 at 3:30pm — 13 Comments

The Founding of Royal Midhe

Most people today will tell you, if you ask, that there are four provinces in Ireland, namely, Ulster, Munster, Leinster and Connaught. What many people are not aware of is the fact that in the distant past, there were actually five provinces, the fifth one being the province called Royal Mide.

At the…

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Added by John Anthony Brennan on December 27, 2016 at 12:00am — 6 Comments

The Winter Solstice

This year’s shortest day of the year is on Wednesday, December 21, which will also mark the longest night of the year. Every year, the winter solstice marks the turn of the calendar as autumn ends and the winter begins. From an astronomical standpoint, the winter solstice means that the two opposite points in the…

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Added by John Anthony Brennan on December 21, 2016 at 1:00am — 2 Comments

The Battle of Cúl Dreimhne (Battle of the Book)

In early Christian Ireland the old Druidic tradition collapsed due to the spread of the Christian faith. The study and learning of Latin, coupled with the new Christian theology in monasteries, was flourishing. In 561 AD a seminal event occurred that would have a profound and long lasting effect on Irish…

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Added by John Anthony Brennan on December 19, 2016 at 7:30pm — 2 Comments

In Time for Christmas

'Christmas is coming; the goose is getting fat.

Please put a penny in the old mans’ hat.

If you haven’t got a penny, a ha’penny will…

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Added by John Anthony Brennan on December 15, 2016 at 11:30pm — 2 Comments

The Slaughter at Magh Cru (Field of Blood)

The following story tells of a seminal event that took place in Ireland during the latter half of the first century A.D., and which set in motion a chain of events that would influence and forever change the political and economic landscapes of Ireland, Britain and Scotland. The event involved three kings, who together…

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Added by John Anthony Brennan on December 10, 2016 at 5:00pm — 6 Comments

John Winston Lennon: Gone But Not Forgotten

Dear John, 

You were a rebel from the beginning and could not have been any other way. You got your survival instincts from your grandparents, who were from County Down, Ireland.

After you were born, during the Second World War in Liverpool England, you lived with your Mother, Julia.…

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Added by John Anthony Brennan on December 8, 2016 at 5:00pm — 14 Comments

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