Recent death of Brendan Bracken
The death has recently taken place at his home in South County Dublin of Brendan Bracken, nephew and namesake of Brendan Bracken who served as Minister for information in Winston Churchill’s War time Cabinet.
Brendan Bracken Snr. hailed from Templemore and was born on February 15, 1901 in a pleasant Victorian house in Church Street, Templemore, the second son and third child of JK Bracken, Fenian, G.A.A. founder member and first Chairman of Templemore Urban District Council and of his wife, Hannah Ryan of Borrisoleigh.
Brendan Bracken Snr. was to distinguish himself in Great Britain as the founder of the Financial Times newspaper, an MP for North Paddington at the age of twenty eight and as the right hand man and, as noted, Information Minister to Winston Churchill during World War Two (1939 to 1945).
It was Bracken who proposed Churchill in Parliament as Prime Minister following the resignation of Chamberlain, Bracken who best supported Churchill when he suffered from the blues or the black dog as he called it and, when the war was over Bracken was created 1st Viscount Bracken of Christchurch.
He died, unmarried, in 1958 and regrettably, from the historian’s point of view, ordered that his private papers be burned.
He is the subject of two full length biographies, one by Charles Lysaght SC and in the last two years, Bracken was featured in a comprehensive exhibition organised by Trevor White in the Little Museum of Dublin in St. Stephen’s Green.
On this very day, February 12, 2020, Bracken’s birthplace is going under the hammer in the Templemore Arms Hotel, a mere snip with a guide price of €150,000. It is full of historical significance, given that JK Bracken, Brendan Snr’s father, a stonecutter and gravestone maker by profession was a well known Fenian and nationalist politician.
Who knows whether secret Fenian meetings (otherwise known as the Irish Republican Brotherhood or IRB) might not have been held within it’s walls before JK Bracken fell out with Sir John Carden and left Templemore for Ardvullon House, a period property near Kilmallock, Co. Limerick when Brendan was just two and a half, and died shortly afterwards while still in his early fifties.
Brendan Bracken would then move to Dublin and later to Australia before travelling to England where he passed himself off as a public school boy to impress all and sundry, especially Churchill.
Now his nephew, Brendan Bracken, son of Bracken’s older brother Peter and himself a Public Relations Consultant (he moved from being P.R.O. with Irish Life to founding Bracken PR in 1991) has himself been laid to rest in Deans Grange Cemetery, Dublin. He died after a prolonged illness at the age of 72.
Let us just hope that the new owner of the Bracken birthplace in Templemore’s Church Street will be sensitive to it’s significance and ensure it’s preservation for the future.