The Brian family must have shared in the crumbs that have fallen from the table of the Abrahamic Covenant, promising seed, "as the dust of the earth." They are a prolific group and are widely scattered over Europe and America. The name Brian was taken from the Celtic language and means strong. It is interesting to note that the spelling from the beginning was Brian, but in its travel in time and place the spelling has been changed in many ways, such as Brien, O'Brien, Bryant, Briant, O'Brian, just a few of the many changes in the name.
Records prove that all of the Brians had their origin with King Brian, ruler of Munster, Ireland, 1002 AD. History gives that he was born about 927 AD and became king of Thomond and Munster when he was fifty-five years old (note map). First serving as a general in his father's army, he soon became one of the most noted princes in the Island Country, thereby prosecuting a war against the Danish and driving them as a whole from Ireland. Because of this he gained his title "Boru", meaning , "One to whom tribute is to be paid." So we have the name, King Brian Boru.
The ruler proved himself a man of broad intellect. Under his reign schools and colleges thrived, roads were built, an efficient army and navy were organized. He turned the tide against Danish idolatry greatly advancing the early struggles toward Christian standards, He also passed a decree that all people kin to him must take the name Brian as a surname. From this time surnames became fixed and permanent in Ireland. Notice that we get Surname from the word Sire, which means, one who begets.
Another thing of great interest, King Brian had a son whom he named Morgan. Morgan grew up and also became a great warrior. He was very proud of his king father and when he signed his name he signed it as follows Morgan O'Brian. The letter "O" in the Celts means the, so his name spelled this way, Morgan the son of Brian. King Brian also had five other sons, namely: Charles, William, James, Thomas and Dessex. Notice the Brian Coat of Arms on another page. History gives that King Brian was married more than one time and some of the sons may have been half-brothers.
In the last battle with the Danes in 1014, in which the foreigners were routed, their force and influence in Ireland were forever broken, King Brian and Morgan lost their lives. Word came to King Brian that Morgan had been killed in battle, so he went to his tent to pray, as he was a very religious man. Brian's tent was guarded by chosen warriors. Bradar, an Irish traitor of the Irish, supposedly a friend of King Brian, and Gormlaith, King Brian's wife, received permission to go inside his tent where Bradar slew Brian. See picture of old engraving on another page. Bradar was killed by the guards and Gormlaith was made a prisoner and later executed. All three are shown on the engraving.
King Brian built his castle on the Rock of Cashel in the town of Tipperary. (See picture of castle on another page as well as the map of Ireland). He lived here for many years. The ruins of the old castle are still to be seen today.
Brian's body was taken to Castle Rock of Cashel where he was given a king's burial, but the glory of Ireland was departed. In the words of his eulogist, "Brian was the last man in Erin who was a match for a hundred. He was the last man who killed a hundred in one day. His was the last step that true valor ever took in Erin!"
Soon after King Brian's death rival princes began fighting each other. This kept the nation in a state of disorder until 1115 AD. At this time Pope Adrian IV issued a "Bull" conferring the sovereignty of all Ireland on King Henry II of England. This is England's claim and title to Ireland today. King Brian was a Baptist, or so-called Protestant, (but Baptists never have protested out of the Roman Catholic Church). The religious wars of Ireland were begun and at the time of writing of this history, war still rages between the Protestants and Catholics. Wars Of conquest were renewed; native princes of the Brian family were killed, forced to flee the country, or be executed as traitors or martyrs of the Baptist faith, by the Roman Catholic Church, which was enforcing its power through the reign of King Henry II. Many were taken to England as prisoners or hostages and after a period of time allowed to settle as private citizens. Many went to Denmark or to Scotland. Under the reign of Mary I (nicknamed "Bloody Mary"), persecution was begun in earnest against the Baptists and here we take up the rule of King James II and then go to the reign of Mary I.
In The Story of the Irish Race, by Seumas MacManus, page 275, I quote: "The most famous hero of the Danish period in Ireland and one of the most famous in all Irish history was the celebrated Brian, son of Kennedy, chief of Thomond, hereditary ruler of North Munster. He was born probably about the year 941 and is known in history as Brian Boru. He was the youngest of twelve brothers..." unquote. The late President Kennedy, while President, went back to Ireland to the same places where King Brian ruled and to the old castle.
Ruins of the Rock of Cashel in Tipperary
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