Saturday, February 22, 2014

Saint Patrick Was Nobody's Fool


     Saint Patrick Was Nobody’s Fool
Apparently Ireland was a pretty grim place before Saint Patrick stepped in and cleaned it up. Ireland had become the country of ‘choice’ for demons and evil-doers.
According to a 12th century monk named ‘Jocelin’ reporting from Belgium, Ireland was a pretty desperate place: "The demons used to show themselves unto their worshippers in visible forms: they often attacked the people, inflicting much hurt; and only ceased from their baleful doings when they were appeased by foul heathenish prayers and offerings. After this they were seen flying in the air and walking on the earth, loathsome and horrible to behold, in such multitudes that it seemed as if the whole island were too small to give them standing and flying room. Whence Ireland was deemed the special home of demons. And lastly, magicians evil-doers and soothsayers abounded beyond what history records of any other country on the face of the earth."
This explicit travelogue must have been very bad for tourism to the Emerald Isle. Fortunately, Saint Patrick saved the day when he decided to expel the nasty demons Jocelin had so graphically described. Enough was enough. So Patrick (no one explains exactly how he did this) herded all the demons in Ireland into County Mayo and up the mountain known today as Croagh Patrick. He then commanded them to jump off a cliff on the other side of the mountain into the sea. (No matter that there is no sea directly beneath Croagh Patrick.) The demons balked at this so he took out a little consecrated bell some angels had given him for demon control.
Demons could not bear to hear the tinkling of Saint Patrick’s holy bell so Patrick rang it until they could no longer stand it. Screaming in a rage, they flung themselves off the cliff. But they were sneaky. Instead of diving into the sea (which was not there anyway) they dove instead into a ravine known today as Demon’s Hollow and hid.
Saint Patrick was nobody’s fool. He followed them down the steep incline as far as he could and then hurled the bell into the ravine after them. All that bell tinkling terrified the demons and they flew out of the ravine and jumped into the sea as ordered. Unfortunately, this created another major problem: sea serpents.
Perhaps Saint Patrick did not evict all of the demons after all and the ones that were driven into the sea vaporized and are today disguised as clouds. The kind that block the sunlight on Ireland’s west coast almost every day of the year. So watch out for any demons St. Patrick may have missed and always carry a little bell with you when you travel to the west coast of Ireland. Just in case.

Brenna Briggs is the author of the Liffey Rivers Irish Dancer Mysteries

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013 A Partial Liffey Rivers Thankful For List

Creators of the LIFFEY LOVES LILAC fragrance. They live in Louisville, Kentucky.

L to R: Brenna Briggs with Donna Drake in Michigan at 2013 Mid America Oireachtas.
    Donna is developing Liffey Rivers products to be introduced in 2014.                   

             Rebecca, Shannon  and  Maura Williams   
                    Singers/musicians/feis helpers/my wonderful children
                    Shannon produced The Williams Sisters' single:
                    Final mix is happening right now in Appleton,WI. 
                   Finished THE MYSTERY OF THE POINTING DOG,
                   the 7th book in the Liffey Rivers Irish Dancer Mystery series.

                   My roadie companion, husband Terry Williams, waiting for breakfast
  at a Waffle House after a book signing in Nashville, TN. 

There is much, much more to be thankful for--obviously there are no adequate words of gratitude for the many Liffey Rivers readers now literally all over the globe. Thank you 2,014 times!!!! 

Brenna Briggs is the author of the Liffey Rivers Irish Dancer Mysteries.

Monday, October 28, 2013

The Knocker Ghost In Ireland Annual Blog

No. This photo is not the Knocker ghost in Ireland. It is one of many truly bizarre statues/sculptures you see on the way into Mineral Point, Wisconsin, from New Glarus on Highway 39. It's called Highview and it is a natural for Halloween although that is certainly not its intention

Here are some more residents of Highview:

.Anyway, make sure you stop by Highview if you are coming/going to/from Mineral Point. It is well worth anyone's time. And it's free.

Now to the 100% TRUE STORY of our County Sligo Knocker in 2004:

It all seems so ordinary when the supernatural crashes into your daily routine. 
It is hard to stand back and look at our intrusion with a proper perspective. How could it seem so unspectacular? A ghost knocking furiously at your lovely Irish cottage door every few days?
This beautiful path leads to the front door of my first home in Ireland in 2004 in Dromard, County Sligo.
Charming. Quaint. Etc. 
This path is haunted by a spirit who wants to be admitted into the cottage. It knocks at any hour--mostly at night but sometimes during the day.
The spirit knocked around 7 times before we moved. 
It would pound on the front door like an anxious child escaping from a bully who wanted someone to open the door immediately. There was urgency to the knocking. Each time it happened I or one of my family would open the door expecting to see a human form. We never did. No one was ever there. 
The local parish priest stopped over one night and asked if there was anything he could do for us.  I almost said "no thanks' but then caught myself. I told Father O'Horo about the knocker and he asked if I had any holy water. I did not but I had water from the Dromard St. Patrick's Holy Well. He said that was fine and sprinkled it all over the threshold saying prayers of an exorcism nature.

Then he ate some fried chicken and left.

Months later after Mass and NOT ONE MORE KNOCKING INCIDENT, I thanked him again and he had no idea what I was even talking about. He had completely forgotten the whole thing.
So Happy Halloween and All Saints/Souls Days!
Brenna Briggs is the author of the Liffey Rivers Irish Dancer Mysteries 

Monday, October 21, 2013


I know how worried everyone has been about Miss Brenna driving around in or being driven around in the BMW from hell for the past two years. At least I have worried about myself!
What with a mysterious blue light flashing from the headlights area 24 hours a day for a MONTH until we finally took it to a man who works on these luxury cars and were told that it is ILLEGAL to have a flashing blue light and that it had not been installed by any BMW dealer. But he figured out how to disconnect it. Hmmm?  And the car always thinking it was 40 degrees below zero, and the back wheel almost flying off the car and the front passenger window deciding not to work anymore....I could go on and on but will spare you. Oh--driving through the edge of Hurricane Isaac in Missouri in 2012 there was a pelting, cannot-see-the-road kind of rain. Since the car thought it was 40 below, it would only spew out HEAT, no air, creating a driving sauna bath nightmare. We compensated by turning off the air flow and opening both front windows with me frantically wiping the wind shield while my husband somehow drove. The rain was, of course, blowing in sideways soaking us non-stop for 50 or so miles. 

No air conditioning but hey--this was a BMW? I grew up with no air conditioning in houses and certainly not cars my family owned so I dealt with that flaw. I am not a wuss.

But now it is all ancient history. The BMW is dead and hopefully in hell where it belongs. It went out not with a cry but a whimper. 

I had traveled with my husband to the Irish American Heritage Center in Chicago for IBAM 2013.  Saturday night, after a wonderful day for both of us, (T.Evan Williams debuted there with his Eleanor Butler book and I sold lots of Liffey Rivers books) we looked forward to returning to the inexpensive Howard Johnson I had cleverly booked in expensive Chicago land. It was out near O'Hare, where, if you don't have a car, you spend more money than you could ever imagine in cabs--totally canceling out any savings you had so cleverly arranged with a less expensive hotel. 

The car had battery juice but nothing else. Road Service said it had to be towed. Right. Where? Our insurance company said it had to be within a 15 mile radius and knowing that even a lug nut for a BMW is a day's wages for most people, we declined and called the owner. Miraculously, he wanted the car back and the happy ending here is that he paid for the tow back to Wisconsin to the field where the BMW sat for two years before we leased it from him. I hope the mice eat it.

Rest In Peace Red BMW. Not. You go directly to wherever Bad Cars Go!


Tuesday, October 1, 2013


Yay! It's 2013 IBAM Chicago time. 
Come to the Irish American Heritage Center to jump headfirst into a pool of Irish and Irish American authors, artists, musicians and traveling exhibits,theatre, etc. etc.  

New authors such as T. Evan Williams with THE SECRET LIFE OF ELEANOR: REBEL COUNTESS OF DESMOND will be there.

T. Evan Williams will be featured at 2:00 pm on Saturday in Room 109 discussing the Elizabethan Conquest of Ireland. 

I will be there with all six of the LIFFEY RIVERS IRISH DANCER MYSTERIES.

Book No. 7, THE MYSTERY OF THE POINTING DOG is available after November 1st.

Worth exploring--Liffey Rivers "Find Your Inner Spy" workshops for children but----adults would fit right in as well. Bring a magnifying glass if you turn up. Hours are on Saturday and Sunday at 3:00. Also on Sunday, I will present A HISTORY OF WEREWOLVES IN IRELAND in the Literary Salon at 1:30.

If you can't afford to fly to Ireland (join the crowd) come to IBAM instead.That's what I do.

Hope to visit with you at IBAM!

All authors will be lining the hallways at IBAM so make sure your peripheral vision is working so you don't just walk on by....


Friday, August 9, 2013








Wednesday, June 19, 2013

TWA FLIGHT 800 Disaster: What was going on in London at Gatwick airport earlier the same day?

My husband and I were en route to London via TWA the day before this horrific tragedy happened.

Our plane was delayed in Saint Louis for many, many hours. My husband is an impatient person and when he finally had had 'enough,' he approached the airline rep who was trying to calm the masses with comp tix to Paris which also included connections to where you were headed from Paris. It sounded good to me.  An unexpected trip to Paris!

He was behind the last person in line who got a ticket to Paris via NYC--the day BEFORE the plane went down, so this is not a story of a near missed death event. Just the irony of being that close the day before! 

Our 16-year-old son who had left me before my husband got back, had taken another plane to New Orleans with the understanding that we were going to be going to Paris before we got to Ireland. He feared we had been on the doomed plane.

But here's the thing: When we finally got on the regular flight from Saint Louis to London late at night, we sat at the gate, fully boarded, for a long time while a stewardess walked up and down the aisle asking if (I am not kidding) there was a 'Mr. Smith' on board. 

Unclaimed suitcase? 

When we finally arrived completely off-schedule at Gatwick Airport, we exited the plane and walked with the other disgruntled passengers into the terminal.  

It looked like a war zone. 

There were unsmiling, definitely tense British soldiers forming a walkway for us to walk through--with automatic weapons held in position. I went into the toilet to put my contact lenses in thinking that the airport must have had a bomb threat but when I came out 5 minutes later, there was NO sign of the soldiers!

They had apparently come to meet our flight, found nothing and then left. We boarded another small airline flight to Shannon, Ireland, some hours later and did not learn about the TWA crash until the next night on the news. So. WHY did soldiers greet us like someone on our flight was dangerous and ...WHO WAS MR. SMITH?

This happened on the same day (afternoon in the UK) that TWA Flight 800 blew up. Somebody was afraid of something related to TWA but I never heard a single word about our unusual reception in England.

Too bad I did not have Liffey Rivers with me. Maybe she would have seen something unusual on our plane?

Brenna Briggs is the author of the Liffey Rivers Irish Dancer Mysteries.