John Anthony Brennan's Blog (104)

County Clare's John Phillip Holland and The Fenian Ram

The Battle of Hampton Roads, often referred to as either the Battle of the Monitor and Merrimack (or Virginia) or the Battle of Ironclads, was the most noted and arguably most important naval battle of the American Civil War from the standpoint of the development of navies. It was fought March 8–9, 1862, in Hampton…

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Added by John Anthony Brennan on October 14, 2015 at 2:30am — 2 Comments

Mayo Man Louis Brennan: Inventor of the Guided Missile

An Irishman walking along the bank of a slow moving river near Castlebar, Co. Mayo, rod in hand, fishing bag comfortably positioned over his shoulder, wondered if that day would be the day he caught the big one. He…

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Added by John Anthony Brennan on October 10, 2015 at 7:00pm — 7 Comments

Agnes Mary Clerke: From Skibbereen to the Moon.

The next time you look up at the full moon to make your wish, direct your gaze toward the southeast portion and locate the area known as the Mare Serenitatis (Sea of Serenity). There you will observe the valley where Apollo 17, the last in a series of lunar missions, landed Dec. 10, 1972. Nearby,…

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Added by John Anthony Brennan on October 8, 2015 at 8:30pm — 6 Comments

Dubliner Alexander Mitchell: The Blind Engineer

In 1798, influenced by the American and French revolutions, the Irish people, unable and unwilling to endure oppressive British rule any longer, once again answered the call to arms and rose up in armed defiance. Led by Dublin-born Theobald Wolfe Tone, this event became known as the ‘Rebellion of ’98.’ During this…

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Added by John Anthony Brennan on October 4, 2015 at 8:30pm — 2 Comments

The Irishman Who Graces The 'Orange Fiver'

If you look closely at the portrait on the front face of the old Irish 5-pound note, known colloquially as the ‘orange’ fiver, you will observe a rather austere looking gentleman, gazing. soft eyed, toward some point off in the distance. His taciturn mien does not divulge much about him at first glance, but on closer inspection…

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Added by John Anthony Brennan on October 1, 2015 at 2:30am — 14 Comments

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 September 30, 2015 at 7:00pm — 11 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 September 29, 2015 at 6:30pm — 2 Comments

Louth Cleric Nicholas Callan: Pioneer in Electro-Magnetism

If you should someday find yourself in County Louth, Ireland, and if you have some time on your hands, it would be worthwhile if you visited the small village of Darver and the historic Darver Castle. The village is part of the …

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Added by John Anthony Brennan on September 26, 2015 at 5:30pm — 1 Comment

The Irishman, The Inca and The Jaguar

The Inca civilization arose from the highlands of Peru sometime in the early 13th century. Unfortunately, their last stronghold was conquered by the Spanish in 1572. From 1438 to 1533, they used a variety of methods that included conquest and peaceful assimilation to incorporate a large portion of western South America,…

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Added by John Anthony Brennan on August 16, 2015 at 9:30pm — 10 Comments

The Gardeners

"Hey boy, who am I going to leave these hands to when I’m gone?”

A long silence…then the words were repeated, louder and more animated.

“I say, who will I leave them to, eh? I think I’ll leave them to science.”

Again, the words fell on deaf ears and were greeted with total silence…

Those immortal words were uttered by my father, Mal, as he…

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Added by John Anthony Brennan on June 30, 2015 at 2:30pm — 4 Comments

The Quare Fella.

I was thrilled to hear that long departed Brendan Behan, one of my fellow Irish storytellers, has finally been resurrected. “Brendan at the Chelsea Hotel,” a new play about his time in NYC has recently opened off Broadway to tumultuous reviews and much ribaldry, women chasin’ and bar hoppin’. Behan, a rebel, carouser, drinkin’ man’s drinkin’ man, racounteur and above all a writer, taught us that you can be both a fighter and a writer.

I have here in my possession a letter written to…

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Added by John Anthony Brennan on June 9, 2015 at 12:30pm — No Comments

Next Generation Indie Book Award.

'Don't Die With Regrets: Ireland and the Lessons my Father Taught me.'

Winner of the 2015 Next Generation Indie Book Awards.

Award presented at the Harvard Club. Manhattan…

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Added by John Anthony Brennan on May 29, 2015 at 9:00pm — 2 Comments

The Connection Between Ireland and Egypt

In an article posted in November of 2014, I spoke briefly about the connection between the Egyptian, Coptic desert monks and Celtic Ireland and Britain. After further research I discovered that it is indeed a fascinating story and an important part of our…

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Added by John Anthony Brennan on March 9, 2015 at 5:30pm — 7 Comments

'The Impasse': A Short Story Set in 5th Century Ireland

Europe, in the middle of the 5th century A.D., was in darkness and fear was dominant. The Master (the druid) sensed fundamental change. The Roman legions were advancing rapidly and had already crossed the Rhine. A new religion was upon him and his people.

In the…

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Added by John Anthony Brennan on March 9, 2015 at 2:00pm — 2 Comments

The Goldfinch

One day I watched my father from high up in the branches of the old Rowan tree that grew close to our house. He was walking down the creamery road, his brown felt hat pushed back on his…

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Added by John Anthony Brennan on January 6, 2015 at 9:00pm — 1 Comment

The Clock of Crossmaglen

Many thanks once again to the ‘Creggan Historical Society', its curator Mr. Michael McShane and local historian Mr. Kevin McMahon, for their vast knowledge, brilliant minds and tireless efforts toward ensuring that the history of South Armagh be kept alive and kicking for…

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Added by John Anthony Brennan on January 6, 2015 at 2:30pm — 2 Comments

Ellen Brennan nee O'Connor

My mother, Ellen Brennan (O'Connor.) passed on Friday, December 20th, 2014 at her home in Crossmaglen, County Armagh.

"She is not dead, she doth sleep.

 'tis death is dead. Weep not for Ellen." 

(Apologies to PB Shelley for the name change.) 

Ellen.

"Sure, God help them, the poor crathurs." was her oft used expression.

Ellen was a…

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Added by John Anthony Brennan on December 20, 2014 at 7:30pm — 11 Comments

A Brief History of Ireland

During my research phase for information, I've relied heavily on the writings of Michael O'Cleary, a Franciscan monk, who, with three other scholars, compiled what has collectively become known as the "Annals of The Four Masters." They were…

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Added by John Anthony Brennan on December 11, 2014 at 8:30pm — 14 Comments

The Norman Invasion of Ireland. (An excerpt from the award winning book "Don't Die With Regrets.")

Malachy Brennan, my father, was a descendant of one of two clans who arrived in Ireland approximately two thousand five hundred years ago, after separating from the larger wave of an amalgam of migrating Celts. Once in Ireland, they divided into four septs. Mal, as he became fondly…

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Added by John Anthony Brennan on November 30, 2014 at 12:00pm — 7 Comments

The Garden

The last battle fought in Ireland between two Kings took place on July 12, 1690. It happened on the banks of the river Boyne, near the town of Drogheda. The catholic King James was defeated by the protestant King William, of the House of Orange. Ever since then, the protestant population, fondly called Orangemen, burn large bonfires, and anything catholic, in celebration of…

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Added by John Anthony Brennan on November 13, 2014 at 8:00pm — No Comments

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