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April 12 , 2009

The Briar of Life


A. J. S. (Stephen) Brady, the son of a Protestant clergyman, was born in Cork city on Saint Stephen’s Day 1899. He had a rebellious nature with an imaginative yet critical mind coupled with a cutting sense of humour and a love of composition that emerged at an early age.

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Late in life he wrote his memoir, both comic and serious, entitled ‘The Briar of Life’, chronicling his life in county Cork, from birth through childhood in Ballydehob and Brinny to early adulthood in Macroom, culminating with his controversial marriage to a Catholic girl in 1925.

As the son of the local Protestant rector he got to know and photograph the British auxiliaries stationed in Macroom Castle in 1920. In his memoir he makes his own valuable assessment of the Kilmichael ambush and its aftermath, as events during those turbulent times are recalled as they impact on his family and on the town of Macroom where he was to remain for the rest of his life.

Through failing health he never pursued publication of his book in his lifetime. His passion however was for poetry. Throughout his life he compiled a private collection of his own work, some of which is featured here in ‘The Briar of Life’, published at last in 2010.

A. J. S. Brady died on the 26th May 1986.

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