Mr. Charles Lysaght, the biographer of Brendan Bracken, is giving a lecture on Bracken to the Borrisoleigh Historical Society at the Community Centre, Borrisoleigh, Co Tipperary at 8pm on Thursday, March 12th 2015.
Brendan Bracken, son of J.K. Bracken of Templemore, one of the founders of the GAA, strayed from his background so far as to became a Tory Member of the House of Commons, Minister of Information in Winston Churchill’s wartime Government and finished up as Viscount Bracken, Chairman of the Financial Times Group of newspapers.
His mother, Hannah Ryan, was born in Borrisoleigh, Co. Tipperary. Widowed in 1904, when her son Brendan was only three, she moved her family of four children and two step-children, to Dublin.
In 1916, aged just 14, he ran away from a boarding school in Co. Limerick. As a result his mother exiled him for the remainder of his teenage years, to Australia.
On his return Brendan settled in England passing himself off as an Australian and made a mystery of his background. The only connection he maintained with Ireland was with his mother, who had treated him so harshly, but to whom he remained unequivocally devoted.
When she died in 1928, aged 54, he travelled to attend her funeral in Borrisoleigh and was seen weeping beside her grave in Glankeen cemetery. This was to be his last known visit to Ireland.
Brendan died from throat cancer in 1958, aged 57 and not reconciled to his Roman Catholic Church to which his mother had reared him. He left instructions that no funeral or memorial service was to be held and that his ashes should be scattered on Romney Marsh in Kent. He wished to leave, as he had arrived……..without trace.
Charles Lysaght, who has researched Hannah’s family background, including letters her famous son wrote to her, makes the case that she may be the key to a whole strange story.