Ag cuimhnigh Leo Brennan, óstach flaithiúil (Bearla)…

Screen Shot 2016-06-23 at 17.32.51Sad news for whoever knew Leo Brennan of Crolly, Co Donegal. Can’t say I knew him that well. The first time I happened in on Leo’s Tavern was early 1977 when myself and another friend from Holywood, sort of, gatecrashed the Easter course at the College in Rannafast.

Luckily for us it was a warm early Easter for camping that year.

Leo’s was a heaving with students in the evenings and the highlight was his stepping up on the stage (a rather grand title for what it actually was) and playing his medley of songs about the northern counties of Ireland.

It’s where I first gained the confidence to use the Irish I’d been learning at school, since about P5, but it’s also where the English words of some songs from a much earlier time got right under my skin.

The Green Glens of Antrim and the Boys of the County Armagh (which for me always plays in Leo’s accordion’s waltz time) and my own favourite, the Homes of Donegal. The place was bunged each evening, and a small army of us would walk back in the pitch dark of a moonless night arm in arm.

Leo was firm, but fair with us kids. A great lover of music, story teller and host. Those times are packed for most us who shared them into a small trunk of precious memories. And of course, he passed much of that love of music on to his talented family (Gaeilge).

So for one last time Leo, maith thú!

  • terence patrick hewett

    There are no words Mick which can assuage the grief at the loss of a loved one. No words which can repay the debt to the teachers who cared for us. All we can do is to be like them and pass on the candle.

  • Nevin

  • Arthur Renfrew

    “Val Doonican gets a thousand pound for every song he sings, I get a pound for every thousand songs I sing.” And if I had a pound for every time I heard that line in Teach Leo..

    I gcuan Dé ag breacadh an lae

  • Declan Doyle

    Sorry for your loss, it’s difficult when an inspirational force departs. You might feel a weight on your shoulders to keep his message alive, do it in your own way with your own personal stamp. codladh sámh Leo.

  • qpol_kevin

    Many’s the trip round the counties I took part in at Teach Leo in my younger days – fond memories of nights there and long walks home by match light!
    Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam.