Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Erin Go Braugh

St Patrick's Day parade. Photo courtesy of Rockford Register Star

Wishing you all a happy and green St Patrick's day.

My mother's maiden name was Brennan. Her great-great grandfather immigrated to the US from county Galway in the 1800's to work on the railroads. The Brennan clan has a colorful history reaching far back into Ireland's past. Songs are still sung about one famous (or infamous) Brennan in the late 1700's. A harsh time when England invoked cruel laws on the country and Ireland relinquished its parliament.

This is the legend of William Brennan, Ireland's Robin Hood. Willie was the son of a tenant farmer on the banks of the Blackwater who witnessed his family's eviction from their home. His mother was forced from her sick bed and soon after died. Brennan resolved to protect the poor from such tyranny and revenge his family for the terrible injustice (or so the legend goes).

He gathered around him other men with similar tragic stories and took to the hills to begin robbing the rich and helping the peasantry. He was much beloved by the locals because of his aversion to killing and his generous character.

Tis of a famous highwayman
A story I will tell;
His name was Willie Brennan,
And in Ireland he did dwell;
And on the Kilworth mountains
He commenced his wild career,
Where many a wealthy gentleman
Before him shook with fear.

Brennan on the Moor,
Brennan on the Moor.

Bold, brave and undaunted

Was young Brennan on the Moor.

A brace of loaded pistols
He carried night and day;
He never robbed a poor man
Upon the king's highway;
But what he'd taken from the rich,
Like Turpin and Black Bess,
He always did divide it
With the widows in distress.

One day upon the highway,
As Willie he went down,
He met the Mayor of Cashel
A mile outside the town:
The Mayor he knew his features;
"I think, young man," said he,
"Your name is Willie Brennan; You must come along with me."

Now Brennan's wife had gone to town,
Provisions for to buy,
And when she saw her Willie,
She began to weep and cry;
He says, "Give me that tenpenny";
As soon as Willie spoke,
She handed him a blunderbuss
From underneath her cloak.

Then with his loaded blunderbuss,
The truth I will enfold,
He made the Mayor to tremble,
And robbed him of his gold;
One hundred pounds was offered For his apprehension there,
So he with horse and saddle
To the mountains did repair

Then Brennan being an outlaw
Upon the mountains high,
With cavalry and infantry
To take him they did try;
He laughed at them with scorn,
Until at length, 'tis said,
By a false-hearted young man
He basely was betrayed.

We are finally snow free. Temperatures in the 50's, even reaching into the 60's on a few afternoons, have melted all but the monster piles of filthy snow in parking lots. Maybe the luck of the Irish will bring an early spring and keep those late season snow storms away. Wherever you are, hope it's sunny and warm and things are starting to green up in your gardens.


Monica the Garden Faerie said...

Hi Marnie, After many nights above freezing, we got frost again, but my winter-sown seedlings (still covered) are all fine. That's an interesting story about Willie Brennan; I had never heard of him! Happy St. Paddy's Day!

rosey said...

Good St patrick's day story! Such an amazing legacy.
I love your new header.
Thanks for the comments you left at my photoblog.
I hope your St patrick's day is wonderful.

joey said...

What a colorful tale, love it! A delightful St. Patrick's Day post, Marnie. (Makes me wish I was Irish!) 64º here today ... 67º predicted for tomorrow. Oh happy day :)

Sherri said...

Marnie, Happy St. Patrick's Day to you also! I love your post!

Randy said...

Happy St. Patricks Day Marnie!--Randy

Southern Lady said...

What a wonderful story for this St. Patty's Day! I am wishing you warm, sunny days! Carla

tina said...

A very nice tale. Too bad he was in the end betrayed. Basely for sure. Here's to the luck o'the Irish to bring you an early spring. Yippee for the snow to go. Soon you'll be awash in flowers and butterflies.

Pat said...

Wow !!! Some interesting family history. It's wonderful you know as much as you do....great to pass on to future generations.

Morning Glories in Round Rock said...

Happy St. Paddy's Day to you! I love your new header. Those gorgeous tulips say Springtime to me! Lovely story of William Brennan--well, except for the ending that is. I was so hoping it would have a happy ending, but I guess if you lead that kind of life, you can't expect to die of old age. Wouldn't it be wonderful to do some ancestrial digging and actually find him in your research?

Gail said...

Marnie, How wonderful to know family history~My grandmother was from County Cork, but that's all we know! It's a great legend. Happy St Pat's Day! gail

Dawn said...

It is so nice you know your family history! My fathers family (my maiden) started with Mc, well, you can't get more irish than that! I wish we knew of our roots, how interesting to have a "robin hood uncle"!
We have had temps like you've had but into artic air next week, can ya believe it!?!

Christine B. said...

Good heavens! Your St. Patty's post makes mine look quite bad. And I think Brennan's wife must have been a transplanted Alaskan. How else to explain a blunderbuss under her cloak (we do love our guns here....)

Christine B.

Susie said...

Hey Marnie, is that a new header pic? It's really pretty.

This is a nice tribute to St. Patty's day. I hope you had a good one.

F Cameron said...

A great story! Hope you had a great Saint Patrick's Day!

Lisa at Greenbow said...

Happy St Patty's Day Marnie. I loved the story and poem. I can just hear it told to fiddle and flute.

BeadedTail said...

I enjoyed your story today! Hope you have a Happy St. Patrick's Day! I love your new header too!

sweetbay said...

I hadn't heard of Willie Brennan before. Interesting story. It must be kinda neat to be related to such a colorful clan.

Betsy Banks Adams said...

What a great St. Patrick's Day tale, Marnie.... Old Willie Brennan was a colorful one, wasn't he???? Distant relative??????? ha ha

Your temps are warmer than ours... What is up with that???? We haven't been out of the 40's in over a week now--and it's been very cloudy and dreary and drizzly.... Yuk!!! No spring here yet.

Hope you have had a great St. Patrick's Day..

Unseen India Tours said...

Fantastic Day !! Have a great day ahead !!Unseen Rajasthan

ShySongbird said...

What an interesting tale! Great family history there Marnie.

So glad things are warming up there at last and I love the new header, what stunning and unusual Tulips!

The word verification is 'pardlec' which appropriately sounds somewhat Irish to me.

Balisha said...

Ahhh what a colorful fellow that Willie Brennan was.Hope your St. Patrick's day was green. I'll be out in the yard today...getting a start on the Spring cleanup. Have a great weekend.

Cheryl said...

A wonderful story for St. Patrick's Day........and I love the picture. I have been to Ireland many is such a beautiful place and the people so very friendly.

We have warmed up....15C not know how long it will last. Always worried things will start growing and then a harsh frost will suddenly arrive......but I suppose that is gardening, full of ups and downs.

Kathleen said...

Happy belated St. Pat's Day Marnie! You definitely have some interesting Irish roots.
I'm so glad to hear your snow has melted. Isn't it great to look outside and not see white!? It's been really nice here too (which is why I haven't been blogging!) I hope spring continues in your neck of the woods. I love the new header too. Very pretty. Soon we'll be seeing them in real life won't we? Can't wait!

ShySongbird said...

How kind of you to visit me again Marnie. My surgery has been brought forward by a month and will take place this Saturday (20th)so I may be out of commission for a while but look forward to visiting you again when I can.

Dirty Girl Gardening said...

what a fabulous banner pic... very pretty.

walk2write said...

There's a good lesson to be found in that ballad: beware the false-hearts, of taking them into your confidence. Hooray for the snow melt/warm-up and beauty of Spring!

Skeeter said...

What an interesting tale! I am glad that spring is creeping your way and love the new header pic!

Jan said...

I love the tulips on your header, Marnie. A type of parrot tulip? Very pretty and unique looking. My grandmother's maiden name was Kelly...Dorothy Kelly. So I'm part Irish myself. What a cool tale you shared! So glad to hear your weather has been warming up and bringing you some sun to melt the snow! Ours has gotten into the high 60's's so uplifting! It will wax and wane for a while though so have to be prepared for a 'let down' again, most likely...but my spirits are up, just knowing the time for mostly warm weather is not too far off!

Kerri said...

We had a delicious corned beef and cabbage dinner on St. Patty's Day and abundant sunshine! I hope you had a lovely day too.
That's a great story and song.
We've had beautiful springy weather and it continues today with bright sunshine and 70º. It's gorgeous outside!
Love your new header. Those tulips are spectacular!
Happy spring, Marnie!

Marie said...

Great St. Patrick's Day story. We believe my husband's ancesters were from Galway also. They worked on the Pennsylvania railroads. Hope you had a great St. Pat's day. We did a wee bit of celebrating ourselves.

Marg said...

That is a wonderful St.Patrick's tale I guess you would call it. Anyway I enjoyed it a lot.
Thanks for visiting our blog. Glad to know you have Ande's twin Border collie only a different color. I got
Ande in SC so I guess they are not related. Have you done the sheep herding with your dog???

April said...

I hope you had a happy St. Patrick's Day. I enjoyed your post. We're about a month ahead with our weather this year - I love El Nino years. Lovely tulips!

Anonymous said...

I'm so glad your weather is improving. Our snow is gone too, and it's been warm and sunny. Woohoo! First crocus popped up today, so spring is here!

Rose said...

Loved the tale of Willie Brennan! I've always thought that there must be at least one drop of Irish blood that mixed with all my German blood, because I've always been fascinated by Irish history and folklore. How neat to have a possible ancestor with such a colorful history. Hope you had a great St. Patrick's Day, Marnie, and that spring has arrived for you!

Kahshe Cottager said...

Hope you had a great St. Patrick's Day as well. I love the tulips in your header. I don't grow tulips anymore as the wild critters here think that they make tasty treats!

Q said...

Thank you for a delightful St. Patrick's Day story!
Hope the luck of the Irish stayed strong as the storm that left 6 inches on my daffodiles moved eastward. Perhaps it was all spent by the time it made it your way.
Happy Spring,

oldcrow61 said...

A great story and I've heard that song many times. Great that your snow has gone. Ours is shrinking slowly but soon will be all gone.

Kathleen said...

Hi Marnie.
I just had to come over here and tell you that I hope the land around me stays undeveloped too. I dread the day it changes.
Also, I would be so mad at that developer who said those things to you ~ it would make me even more determined to stay put and not sell out. Stay strong!! (unless it's your decision to sell, then I hope your property goes to someone else who wants to keep it the same).

Dirty Girl Gardening said...

I love that greeting card... very cool!

Anonymous said...

Hi Marnie~~ I know a Brennan. I'll have to copy your story and give it to him, if you don't mind. Now that I think about it he may already be aware of it...I'm not sure. Anyway, I hope the luck of the Irish is with you and your spring is strong enough to hold back winter's chill. I LOVE your springy header photo.