Brian Mor Ó Baoighill (1939 - 2012)
Brian Mor Ó Baoighill (1939 - 2012)
A New York native, Brian was born in what was then euphemistically known as “Irish West Harlem”. Brian's parents, with him in tow, moved during WWII to “the suburbs”, the old South Bronx of the beautiful borough on the mainland of America. His wonderful sister Margo was born in the South Bronx.
Brian, like so many of Narrowback contemporaries, endured the vicissitudes of a parochial education. He majored in advanced hooliganism and his fondest memories are those spent down Cypress Avenue, his weekly trip to the New York Public Library over on Alexander Avenue, playing ball day in the summer of the PS 65 schoolyard, shooting dice in the same schoolyard, observing girls, graffiti (tagging), reading everything he got his hands on, and, when not reading, drawing his literary images.
Inevitably, when discussing his old Bronx stomping grounds, the conversation will end up in a bar. Not just any bar, but the Shannon View, where his Dad worked. This notorious emporium became the designated locale for a disparate clientele as one could ever imagine; New York’s finest (on & off duty), NYC Transit employees, Con-Ed workers (on & off duty), career A&P clerks, undertakers, corrections hacks, construction workers, sandhogs, Irish-Americans, part-time gangsters, insurance men, tugboat hands, erstwhile IRA heroes, bohemians and John Birchers, taxi drivers, and a lot of thirsty men and escorted women.
The jukebox was devoted to Irish music; from the McNulty family and Ruthie Mórrissey, to Michael Coleman and Paddy Killeran, while the conversation ranged from baseball to the Black and Tans. It was here that Brian found approbation for his family's tales of British terror in post-1960 Ireland.
When the '50s campaign ended, Mór was working for his Dad in Queens. It was here that he met a man who was to change his life's mission. The man Séamus McDevitt, an American-born IRA man who, at the cessation of hostilities of the border campaign, was released from a Free State jail and deported back to America, a country he had not seen since a small child. Séamus was living in America but his heart and soul were living in Donegal, where he was persona non grata to the Free State and to his own family.
McDevitt took care of Brian’s higher education, giving him book lists, periodicals, old newspapers and historic recordings in Irish, laced with revolutionary slogans in Irish and Béarla. Brian found a direction for both himself and his art (Fág an Beallach).
With the tragic death of his mentor McDevitt, Mór rededicated himself to the ancient cause, and he traveled to Ireland in 1966 for the 50th Anniversary of the Easter Rising. Brian found himself involved in the Republican experience of waiting and waiting for something to happen in Ireland.
Brian was active in Irish Northern Aid from its start and was appointed to the Irish People newspaper in 1972. His career with the newspaper (on and off over the next 20 years) is the stuff that legends are made of, from, or whatever. He was an officer of Cumann na Saoirse and prior to his death, was putting together a retrospective of his Republican and Irish American art for the past 30 years, and his vision of the future of our culture.
Brian considered the high points of his journalistic endeavors as being denounced in the House of Lords and Commons several times for his unique cartoon art; being fired and rehired by the forces of darkness that enveloped the former Republican movement; Radio Free Éireann, which he help found over 25 years ago; and of course, a great working relationship with John (Mr. Sensitivity) McDonagh, from the Times Square incident to Inwood and back down to Wall Street. Brian continues his life’s work for the inevitable victory of Fenianism, i.e.: the establishment of a 32 county sovereign Irish Republic, (and the plight of the small farmer).
In pop culture, Brian Mór Ó Baoıghıll will always be known as the man who illustrated the Mouse on the Barroom floor. But as an artist and an activist, he was so much more. When the twin towers were attacked in New York City, Brian drew the iconic sketch of a policeman, fireman, and emergency service worker standing on the smoldering pile, with the caption “. . . because it’s what we do.” To this day, it is found on t-shirts, precincts and fire stations throughout the city. When the Irish political prisoners were on hunger strike in 1981, Mór designed wall murals in their memory, and was behind the electronic sign in Times Square sending Christmas Greetings to Irish Republican prisoners in 1983, and delighted in the fact that the U.S. ambassador to England had to answer for his artwork. He was the official cartoonist of the Irish People Newspaper in New York City – and one of his proudest moments was when he was condemned by the House of Parliament in England for one of his drawings. In between political cartoons, Mór painted murals on the walls of bars and restaurants across the country – including the Comic Strip in New York City, a wall mural with the history of NYC at Robert Emmet’s, and Eddie Murphy’s comedy club in Miami.
Brian Mór was the go-to Irish-American graphic artist. He designed album covers for Black 47, Joannie Madden, Cherish the Ladies and Seanchie. His artwork filled both the old and new Rocky Sullivan’s Bar. Mór designed a coat of arms for Da Vinci Code author Dan Brown, illustrated Christmas cards, and designed a line of Irish china. His artwork is hung in the Bloody Sunday Museum in Derry, Ireland. Mór was one of the founders of Behind the Green Curtain on WBAI, which eventually became Radio Free Éıreann, and he was an active contributor until his death. Ironically earlier this year, Mór’s poster memorializing Theobald Wolfe Tone and The United Irishman, first displayed in New York City Hall, was hung in place of a picture of the Queen of England in Belfast City Hall. While Mór rallied against it being hung in a government office in Ireland still under British rule, somehow, it is fitting that it is there.
Brian's Graveside Eulogy
Given by; John McDonagh
Thank you, Joan, for inviting me to speak. I am here to pay tribute to the life and legacy of my friend, Brian Mor. It is an impossible task – for in every way, Bernie was larger than life. His wit, his talent, his commitment to a free Ireland and even his very name were larger than life. Mor, in Irish, means “Big,” and to me, Bernie was my big brother, my mentor, my best friend. Fortunately, there is no need to sum up his legacy in a few words – Bernie has left behind a treasure trove of artwork, cartoons and writing. He has laid the foundation for future generations to follow – and we will be forever in his debt.
One of Bernie’s favorite author’s, Evelyn Waugh, once wrote “your actions, and your action alone, determines your worth.” I am lucky to have been part of his actions and I’d like to share a few with you. Bernie was a character that only being born the son of immigrant parents in New York City could produce. Born in Harlem, Bernie later moved to the South Bronx, where his adored sister Margo was born. His mother’s biggest complaint was that he kept drawing on the walls of their apartment – Bernie’s friend Joe can tell stories about how many times she had to repaint the walls. How lucky we are that Bernie kept drawing on walls, and that we can still see his artwork on the walls of the Comic Club, Rocky Sullivan’s and Robert Emmett’s, to name a few.
Although a born and bred New Yorker, Bernie never forgot his family ties to Donegal, and at the Irish People Newspaper, found the perfect place to blend his Fenian passion with his artistic skills. Bernie and I worked together for many years, and as crazy as some of my ideas might have been, Bernie found a way to make them even more outlandish. One of our finest moments was standing in the middle of Times Square on December 16, 1983, watching the electronic sign board send Christmas Greetings to Irish Prisoners of War. Our second finest moment was enjoying the stir it made. I'll never forget sitting in the Blarney Stone with him, as we watched Bill Butell, anchor of Channel 7 news in NY, say "IRA hijacks sign in Times Square. More at 11." Bernie looked as though he had just won the lottery, knowing that his art was being shown around the world. In the pages of the Irish People, Bernie’s cutting political cartoons were the first thing that people looked for when opening the paper. And whether hung on someone’s refrigerator, or condemned in the House of Commons, they made a big impact. One of Bernie’s greatest gifts was his ability to blend history with current events. Whether hosting Radio Free Eireann, writing a scathing article or lampooning a subject in a cartoon, Bernie’s knowledge of Irish history was beyond reproach – and perfectly juxtaposed with the issue of the day.
You often hear people say “what can I do? I’m only one person?” Bernie’s legacy shows just what one man can accomplish. Bernie’s artistic talent should have made him a millionaire. But he was generous to a fault with his gift. Bernie’s worth will not be measured in dollars, but in his actions – giving his talent to further ideals he fervently believed in; mentoring younger artists; sharing his wisdom with those wise enough to listen. It seems wrong to live in a world without Bernie – we had so much more to do. We need more paintings, murals, cartoons. Bernie was so looking forward to his niece’s graduation this spring. And he had such grand plans with Joan! Joan took such good care of Bernie – he was planning on a lifetime of better days with her, and with his family. But knowing Bernie, I think he would find these words by Edna St. Vincent Millay fitting:
My candle burns at both ends
It will not last the night;
But ah, my foes, and oh, my friends -
It gives a lovely light.
I miss you Bernie. See you on the other side.
Brian Mor Ó Baoighill Tributes
Farewell to my good friend, mentor, and founder of Radio Free Eireann. A true artist, a true New Yorker, and a true METS fan
Faoi Bhrıan Mhór--about Brian Mór
Ar dheıs láımh Dé go raıbh anam uasal –-- May he rest on the right hand of God
Ní bheıdh a leıthead ann go deo aríst --- The likes of him will never pass this way again
Miceal Ó Coisdealba -- M Costello
I am deeply saddened to hear about Brian's passing. He was a real giant in my view and an intellectual above many of his peers. I feel cheated for not knowing him better. We could have been friends. We are all affected in ways that are yet to be known.
Sorry to hear about Brian Mor's death. May he rest in peace. I will include him in my prayers and masses this week. Hope you are keeping well.
Father Pat Farragher
Sorry to hear about the death of Brian Mor RIP. I have been keeping him in my prayers. He certainly was a gifted artist. Hadn't realised that he had Clonbur connections. Will remember him in my prayers and Masses.
Go n'diana Dia Trocaire ar a anam uasal Gaelach. (May the Lord have mercy on his noble Gaelic soul)
Father Stephen Farragher
Was overcome with sadness when I heard that Brian Mor had passed. What a great Republican Historian, Artist and Storyteller. .. When I heard his voice on Radio Free Eireann I dropped everything to listen to him. Thank You Bernie for your support and words of wisdom you will be missed, but, not forgotten. Go mbeannaí Dia duit
He will be missed and I don't think we will ever have such a great artist, Republican, raconteur and historian that Bernie was. With sadness
I have been privileged to have known Brian as a friend and fellow traveler for the past four decades. He was a walking encyclopedia with a unique ability to lay bare the foibles of strutting politicians and other haughty characters in one his hard-hitting cartoons. He will be sorely missed, but, fondly remembered as an icon of Irish Republicanism. --- Ar dheis láimh Dé go raibh anam uasal
Tomás Ó Coisdealba
Brian was an indefatigable artist of prolific output. His work touched many and scorched more. He had been ill for some time but never failed to keep in touch with us. Always there, offering moral support, while expressing regret that his eyesight would not permit him to add to his prodigious volume of work. A bane of the Section 31 mentality that so often managed to co-opt those it once censored, Brian was a tireless advocate of those who would not be silenced. He will be remembered long after the censors have been forgotten.
Let us not look for you only in memory,
you would want us to find you in presence,
beside us when beauty brightens,
when kindness glows
and music echos eternal tones.
I am truly sorry to loose Brian Mor, but I am blessed to have known him and so very proud to call him my friend.
Brian Mór and the Year of the Dragon
Throughout the Far East it is said that, during a Year of the Dragon, great men are born, and other great men pass from this world into the next. Sadly the truth of this belief has just been underscored with the passing of our mighty man, Brian Mór Ó Baoighill. We mark with sadness the loss of a good and faithful comrade.
Yet as the death of the poet and the visionary Pádraic Pearse did not mean the end of that Irish Republic over which he presided for all too short a time, neither does the passing of Brian Mór mean the end of his influence and impact in the service of that same Irish Republic and of the ideals expressed in its 1916 Proclamation.
The political writings and poetry of Pearse continue to inspire; the political cartoons and the artwork of Brian Mór will similarly continue to inspire. Just as many who wer
O’Donovan Rossa, on Lá Lughnasa 1915, in witness to the miraculous ripening of the seeds sewn by the “Men of ’65 and ’67,” so let us pray to see the similar ripening of the seeds sewn by the mighty pen of Brian Mór – our great unrepentant Fenian. While it is true that the world will not see his like again, it is also true that his mighty deeds will live after him.
Like Pearse after 1916, Brian Mór will remain a beacon of truth to counter the West Brit mentality of those who would collaborate in the political and cultural genocide of the Irish nation in the interest of their own personal gain. Brian Mór was not about Brian Mór, he was about the Fenian Faith. To paraphrase Pearse, they have left us our Fenian dead, and so long as we hold those Fenian graves, Ireland unfree shall never be at peace. Ar dheis láimh Dé go raibh a anam uasal
† Liam Ó Murchadha, do sgrí
Brian Mor leaves a major void among the activists for Irish
freedom. He was always there.
I'm so sorry to hear of the passing of Brian Mor. He was a true Republican, and will be missed. His wonderful artwork will live on after him.
"You will live forever in our hearts and minds, our friend and brother, may you rest in eternal peace"
It is with great sorrow I sit down to pass along a few kind words about a wonderful man. I always admired his talent as an artist, but I will remember him more for the friend he was to my parents, Mike and Mary Costello. A friend of theirs for 42 years, always standing side by side in support of all things Irish and never wavering. To say the Cause has lost a soldier simply falls short, they lost an icon. His legacy will most certainly carry on through his art, but his love and perseverance for his people will not be forgotten. God Bless You Bernie
Robert and Janie Eriksen
Brian was, first and foremost, a true Irish Republican; an unrepentant Fenian who gave so much of his time and energy to the cause of Irish freedom and unity.
Amongst his many attributes Brian was a renowned Celtic artist, a prolific satirical cartoonist, a historian and a fountain of knowledge and wisdom.
He was our friend and fellow traveler who now takes his rightful place in the ranks of our departed Fenian stalwarts. He leaves us with fond memories, but, also with a void that will never be filled. Farewell dear friend.
Ar dheis láimh Dé go raibh anam uasal
Brian was truly a great artist. I always looked forward to his cartoons with childlike expectation of what he would produce next to make us laugh. He had that talent of putting a lot in each piece of work; something else hidden that would jump out at us from some corner or other.
I'm certain that his work will be enjoyed for years to come. May he rest in peace.
Thomas ( Dixie ) Elliott
Sorry to hear of Brian's death. His piece in the museum will keep his memory alive to the Bloody Sunday Families. Pass on our condolences to his family.
I am greatly blessed to have known Brian Mor, to have been his friend and touched by the beauty and brilliance of his mind. I will be forever grateful for the warmth and deep friendship he shared with my parents, Mike and Mary Costello. I will be forever motivated by his tireless, selfless work on behalf of the oppressed and otherwise forgotten people of Ireland. I am comforted to know that despite the tragedy of his passing, Brian has walked into the loving embrace of our Father where he is now at rest. However I can not deny a great sense of loss; the world seems less bright, less colorful, less alive.
I believe the legacy of Brian Mor will live on and in the coming days and months, I will be moved again by the the magic of his art and I will be reminded of all that was great about the man. It is never easy to lose a friend, but I firmly believe that at some place, at some time, all friends will once again gather before the Lord. Until then, Brian, rest peacefully and know that we love you, miss you but will be together again.
May the Lord continue to bless all of us,
The Costello Family --- Martin, Cheryl, Matt, Kathleen and Thomas
It is with a sad heart that I learn of the death of Brian Mor. I have known Brian for more than thirty years. He will be sorely missed by the international Irish Republic family. Brian was an ardent Irish-Republican, a gifted artist, public speaker, debater, political cartoonist, and all around good person. He will be remembered as a progressive Republican who rejected the political gospel espoused by Adams and company long before many progressive Republicans. Although Brian has left us his art work will live on. One can only wish that in his honor we will see a united Ireland. May he rest in peace.
Chosaın Brıan Mór Ó Baoıghıll an Phoblacht at thug an Pıarsach do mhuıntır na h Éıreann ar Luaın Cháısce sa mblıaın 1916 ar feadh a shaoıl. Ba í sın Poblacht na hÉıreann, 32 chonntae de’n sean Náısıún Gaelach. Dúsaıd an Fear Mór an deıs iontach ealaınte a bhí aıge chun cúıs an Phoblacht sın agus chun cúıs shaoırse na h Éıreanna choınneáıl ós cómhaır daoıne an domhaın -- Ar dheıs Dé go raibh a anam uasal Ghaelach
For his entire life, Brian Mór Ó Baoıghıll defended the Irish Republic that Mac Pıaraıs proclaimed on Easter Monday. That was the 32 county Irish Republic of the ancient Irish nation. The Big Man used all of his artistic talents to keep that Republic along with the cause of Irish freedom in the forefront amongst the people of the world. May his noble Celtic soul rest on the right hand of God
Clann Dhubhda Nua Eabhrach
As with every other person who knew Brian I was saddened to hear of his passing. My heart goes out to Joan on the loss of her beloved Brian. Although I was not a member of his inner circle of friends I knew him well enough and met him often enough to admire his keen intellect and artistic talents. He was a unique person who was steadfast in his beliefs and was a faithful, reliable and supportive friend to his fellow voyagers. Ar dheis láimh Dé go raibh a anam uasal
Tara and Michael
It was an honor to know you Brian and to witness your tireless effort in the cause of Irish unity.
In grateful appreciation of your enduring efforts on behalf of Irish freedom.
Fondly Brigid Brannigan-Farrell
We salute you Brian, a dedicated Irish Republican you fought the good fight tenaciously and left us a legacy through your art.
Bob & Anne Daley .Whippany & Armagh
Brian Mor O Baoighill, known to many of us as Bernie O’Boyle, was more things than can possibly be captured in a brief tribute.
First and foremost, he was a committed republican, out for nothing more and nothing less than the 32 County Republic.
His republicanism informed his cartoons which brought biting political satire to a new level. You cannot fully appreciate a Brian Mor cartoon until you have looked into every edge and every corner, where the treasures are often hidden.
The more you know about contemporary Irish republicanism and its cast of characters, the more you appreciate them. An annotated version of the Brian Mor cartoons would amount to a dissertation on the Provisional betrayal, but probably no one but Bernie could do that project justice.
He was also a distinguished graphic artist whose work was exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art. His famous drawing of a cop, a fireman and an EMT medic headed toward the burning World Trade Center brought some comfort to many who lost a friend or loved one there. Many people will tell you about the one particular Brian Mor work they cherish the most.
Bernie was also a one of the world’s great raconteurs – always opinionated, sometimes infuriating, but never dull. Anytime I was lucky enough to spend an hour or two in is company I came away marveling at everything he knew and trying to remember at least some of the wonderful stories I had heard. The fact that I’d scarcely gotten a word in edgewise never seemed to matter.
“Take him all in all we shall not look upon his like again.”
It’s impossible to adequately pay tribute to Brian Mor without also paying tribute to his partner, Joan Messina. Among other things, we have Joan to thank for all the marvelous accomplishments of his later years.
As Bobby Sands once said --- "Everyone, Republican or otherwise, has their own particular part to play. No part is to great or to small. No one is to old or to young to do something."
Brian Mor's part in the struggle for Irish freedom was
demonstrated not only through his tireless efforts in
the NY Irish-American community but also in his
remarkably witty cartoons and wondrous art work. His
contributions are to vast to be measured. Brian Mor was
a great friend to all and a true Irish Republican. The
world has lost a rare and true talent. He will be
He was a true Irish Republican to the very end. He had no compromise in him. He had no truck with anyone who veered from the path.
He was a very creative guy who knew where his political beliefs stood.
Professor Séamus Metress P.hD
Upon receiving the SR Sarah Clarke Award, I sent him a note of thanks and told him how honored I was to receive that award. I was just as honored to have that artwork in my keeping.
Eileen Metress, Emeritus Professor
I was honored to have worked with Brian Mór on the Ohio Historical Society’s, Gorta Mór Marker at Sawyer Point Park ,Cincinnati next to the Bengals/Reds stadiums. The Day of the dedication, Brian came out from New York City to see his beautiful art work and meet us all. The people from Cincinnati were so pleased that this world famous artist would be so humble to visit us. An Gorta Mór Marker, like him lives on!
Brian Mór Ó Baoighill was an Irish Republican treasure who takes his place with Tone, Emmet, Pearse, McGarrity, Flannery and Sands all wanting A Nation Once Again, 2012! We will miss his stories, history lessons and great sense of humor
Slán Pal, Liam and Mary Cahill Ohio.
What can you say about Bernie? He was one in a million. I'm not sure when I first met him - he seems to have been a figure in all my life in America. I think I met him up on Kingsbridge Avenue in the Bronx in the 70's, probably Dirty Nelly's. He was always quietly supportive of everything I did in music. He reminded me of the old school Republicans back in Wexford - except that Bernie was always outspoken in his views and cared little what anyone thought of him. When it came to the artistic, there was nothing really like him. You gave him an idea and before you had finished explaining it, you knew he'd come up with something better. He's a link to my past in both Ireland and the US and the world is a poorer place without a man of his principle. Ní beidh a leithéad ann airís.
Larry Kirwan, Black 47
While we mourn the loss of one of Ireland’s true sons we must also pause to reflect upon the legacy that is Brian “Bernie” Mór. For those of us privileged to know Bernie we should celebrate the fact that he greatly enriched our lives. Whether it was through his art, his intellect, or his wit and conversation, Bernie was a human of the highest degree. As a true champion not just of Irish rights, but of all human rights, he taught us to always seek justice and stand fast regardless of the odds.
If it is true as Ghandi once stated that “A nation's culture resides in the hearts and in the soul of its people” then Ireland has lost a truly great heart and a wonderful soul. But let us not forget that Bernie’s life and legacy also embodied another teaching of Ghandi that “A 'No' uttered from the deepest conviction is better than a 'Yes' merely uttered to please, or worse, to avoid trouble.”
So while we mourn the passing of our friend and brother we also celebrate a full life, an engaging man, and a legacy to be envied. Rest well Bernie. Tiocfaidh ár lá
The Costello's --- Rory, Cindy, Zack and Bryce
I first came across his artwork in the Irish People newspaper. A paper he also wrote column in, a caricature of himself sitting on top. He once told the story of a Greek taxi driver stopping to pay his respects at 'The Long Green Mile' the night Bobby Sands died. An exceptionally well written piece, so poignant, that it would be remembered a decade later and be re- printed in the journal commemorating the 10th Anniversary of the 1981 Hunger Strikes. I listened to him, John and Cait on Radio Free Eireann. Later still, I worked with him in the National Irish Freedom Committee. I did more then just work with him though, I learned from him. He was at the centre of Irish Republican activism in America since the struggle reignited in 69/70 and the Irish American community should honor his efforts always. There is no question he was a great artist, but he so much more. A Fenian in our time. Rest in peace, my friend. Deepest condolences to Joanie
Na bigi ag caoineagh, nil tada dho thios ansin ach amhain an cludach a bhi air ....
" let ye not be crying because there is nothing of him down here, only the covering that was on him in this life...."
the circle of life is upon us all ~ slan to a mighty man of great humanity and love ~ a republican, fenian and an inspiration to us all
Trainor - Farragher - Cullen family
You didn't have to agree with Brian Mór O'Boyle's politics to appreciate the genius of the man. Brian was a definitely a Fenian but he was also an artist, illustrator and cartoonist in the great Irish American tradition of George McManus and Dan O'Neill. Like those two giants Brian was a bomb thrower -- his work was the product of a mischievous mind and an almost childlike sense of fun.
I also remember him as being generous with his time and his talent. I treasure the cartoon he did for me depicting the crazed onslaught of Daniel O'Donnell fans when I penned a pretty harsh review of the Donegal crooner for the Irish Voice back in the day. I regret that the innate conservatism and lack of imagination and diversity in the New York Irish media deprived Brian of the wider audience that his devilish creations deserved.
Brian didn't suffer fools. He also had a sharp nose for phoniness and pomposity and an innate distrust of respectability. He believed that battle of ideas -- no matter how unpopular -- was more important than the passive acceptance of conventional wisdom, and in recent times he did great work for Anthony McIntyre's Pensive Quill blog. He'll be missed.
A true Fenian and very talented man. He will be missed by all.
"I'm very sorry to hear of the passing of Brian Mor. I've long been a fan of his ability to capture succinctly the complex details of Irish politics. His art will last forever."
Robert W. White. Department of Sociology, IUPUI, 425 University Boulevard , Indianapolis, IN 46202
My sincere condolences to Brian's family. He was a true warrior for the cause of Irish freedom.
It was a
great shock when we heard the passing of
the Republican Brian Mor Ó Baoighill.
Irish Republican in Continental Europe
are deeply saddened of his passing.
While one Fenian has left us and taken
his place among the most noble of the
earth, we will keep his memory by
continuing his struggle for a free and
Brian Mor was indeed a giant among Irishmen, an unrepentant Fenian to the core. He had a keen artist’s eye, a historian’s perspective and a scathing wit. His slings and arrows were always on target, even if I happened to be on the receiving end. I will miss his golden voice and I will always treasure my time with Bernie among the trenches of WBAI and Rocky Sullivan’s. The craic was always mighty when Bernie was present. Much love to Joan who stood so strong by his side.
Mary Ann Wadden
Sympathy to one all. We have lost a
I have not seen
Bernie in over 50 years but he is not a
man you would easily forget. Bernie was
perhaps the first Renaissance man I ever
met before I knew what the word meant.
An athlete who painted his football
helmet in vivid colors when that was
"not done". An enormously gifted artist
who even as a boy had a distinctive
painting style so unique that you could
pick it out wherever you saw it. The
first person who ever defined for me his
concept of "perfect happiness". A
political activist who did not fit any
label. and finally, the first person who
explained to me that "cordial" could
mean something other than being
Brian Mor was an inspiration to Republicans everywhere. A man who never gave up the ideals of the true 32 County Republic. A man with both a sense of the world and a sense of humor, with the knowledge of when to blend the two. He has illustrated our times as no one else has, or could. He will truly be missed by all who care about Irish Freedom.
D. S. Levey
It is with a heavy heart that I bear the knowledge of Brian Mor’s passing. When I was a child, he gave to me one of his paintings; it still hangs in my house to this day. I have always admired the incredible artistic talent and creative vision that was put into such a unique work. While I was unable to get to know him as well as I would have liked, a deep regret I hold, I have been often told by my Grandfather of Brian's vast intellect, wit, and stout devotion toward the Irish Republican cause. He will be greatly missed.
Matt “The Cat” Costello
My first experience with Brian Mór happened back when
I was the webmaster for irishfreedom.net
- about a week after I started a scandal
broke loose and I had the task of
posting Bernie’s cartoons to the
website. The state of technology back
then required that someone brave traffic
and go to Bernie’s place, then drive a
third of the way down NJ to my house for
them to be scanned and posted. To make
matters worse, Bernie was on a roll, and
turning out three or four a day.
Amazingly, despite the speed with which
he put them out, not a single one was
mass produced or inferior. Each one was
stamped with his signature wit and
unsurpassed skill. It was the first
time I ever had the privilege of working
with such a talented artist, and I doubt
very much I should be so blessed as to
meet another in this lifetime.
It is with a heavy heart we write about the passing of Brian Mor O Baoighill. He was gifted, intelligent and always ready with his quick wit. Whether we had heard his deep voice on the radio or at an event, read his clever cartoons and commentaries or appreciated the beautiful artwork, when you experienced Brian you knew you were witnessing a genuine talent. But it’s not just what he gave us that we will miss. It’s what he didn’t have the opportunity to give us yet, what we haven’t seen, what clever ideas we’ll never know, that we will miss.
We think of ourselves at this time, how sad we are, how much we will miss him, what we didn’t get a chance to experience. But Brian worked for many years for others and now it’s time for us to think of him, thank him for his many gifts and pray for him.
Rest in Peace Brian. Until we meet again, may God hold you in the palm of his hand.
Una, Michael, Sean and Alicia McLaughlin
What a terrible loss! If Hapgood were to write Types from City Streets today, he could not have failed to include a chapter on Brian Mór Ó Baoighill. You simply didn’t know the real New York until you had sat down with him for a drink, until you had heard him tell the story of a prank he had enjoyed playing (or watched him plan out the next prank he had in the works).
Bernie was by turns a source of inspiration, guidance and encouragement to activists and artists alike. He was a library of ancient lore and a database of behind-the-scenes intelligence. In times of crisis – and he lived through more than his share – Bernie was the very North Star of Irish politics in America. His gift for conveying trenchant commentary through the medium of skillful art has not been equaled in our time, either in the Irish community or beyond it.
Our deepest sympathies go out to his family. In particular, we send out our prayers for Joan, along with our thanks for having been such a great companion to Bernie through the years. --- Go m-beadh an t-anam uasal sin láimh dheis Dhia!
The Collins Family
Bernie was a great man. He was a true friend, unwavering Republican and mentor to many, including myself. I greatly valued his many talents and qualities which include his phenomenal memory, quick wit, sense of humor, love of life, intelligence, generosity of his time and talents, sense of social responsibility, devotion to his friends and loved ones, artistic talent, political wit, and so much more. He was kind and gentle spirit. I am grateful to have known him. His shoes will never be filled. He is greatly missed by many. My deepest condolences to Brian’s partner, Joan Messina and his family.
Jane Enright, Cumann na Saoirse Náisiúnta, New York City
“Life has moved on but in ways which would not have been possible without the sacrifice, courage and devotion of those whose lives were taken. Let us remember with quiet pride and quiet admiration those who gave so much.” -Lord Eames.
Bernie was one of those inspirational and selfless individuals that I admired and to whom I say -- thank you.
Since as long as I can remember Bernie has been a constant in my family’s life. His artwork has hung in the hallways of my family’s home as a constant reminder of Ireland 's struggle for its freedom and unification. Bernie is not truly lost to us as his artwork will live on and continue to inspire those of us who continue to struggle, as he did, for a unified, Gaelic and prosperous Ireland.
Ar dheis láimh Dé go raibh anam uasal
Fiona Ni Choistealbha
Irish Republicans were saddened to hear the news of the death of Brian Mór Ó Baoighill, in New York. Brian was a life-long Irish Republican activist and a man steeped in the history and revolutionary Fenian tradition of Irish America.
Brian’s unique gifts as an artist were given selflessly to aid the cause of a free Ireland. His paintings were used to highlight the plight of the Hunger Strikers in 1981 as well as every other facet of the ongoing struggle against British rule in Ireland. Famously in December 1983 he was responsible for an electronic sign in New York’s Time Square sending out Christmas greetings to Republican prisoners. Brian took great pride in the fact the British Ambassador was questioned over the sign. Brian used his artwork as a weapon against imperialism and in defence of the men and women of no property. Among his last works were cartoons in opposition to the visit by the Queen of England to the 26 Counties in May of last year.
In June of last year he wrote an open letter to the Lord Mayor of Belfast to protest at one of his poster artworks, commemorating Theobald Wolfe Tone and the 1798 Rising, being hung in Belfast City hall. Brian saw this as merely an attempt to distract from the fact that Belfast and the rest of the Six Counties were still occupied by British forces. In his own inimitable style Brian finished his letter by declaring: “When the Belfast City Hall is located in a united Ireland, not the United Kingdom, I would be honored to see my artwork displayed. Until then, I request that it be taken down. Moving the picture of the Queen of England from one wall to another does not in any way make Belfast part of a United Ireland. I object to my artwork being used to pretend otherwise.”
Brian’s involvement in the cause of Ireland stretches out over five decades, he was a founder member of Irish Northern Aid (NORAID) in 1972 and worked with the Irish People newspaper for almost 20 years. In 1986 he rejected the attempts of a reformist leadership to hijack Republican Movement and was among the founders of Cumann na Saoirse of which he remained an officer up to his death. Brian had a deep understanding and knowledge of Irish history and was a living link with previous generations of Irish Republicans who fanned the flames of revolutionary Republicanism such as Michael Flannery, Joe Stynes and George Harrison. Brian very much followed in their footsteps and ensured that the torch was passed to a new generation. Brian Mór was a friend, comrade and mentor to succeeding generations of activists in the cause of Irish Freedom in the US and Ireland over many years and was always willing to give freely of his time and experience.
Brian leaves behind a gap in the ranks but his legacy of unflinching loyalty and tireless commitment to ideal of the All-Ireland Republic of Easter Week is an inspiration to his friends and comrades on both sides of the Atlantic. In the words of Thomas Davis: “The rudder of our ship was he, our castle’s corner stone.”
Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam
letter of appreciation
I can not thank you all enough for the love that you have shown me
and most importantly, Bernie over the last few weeks. All the
prayers, tributes, positive thoughts, phone calls and emails
have been very much appreciated. They provided me with much
needed strength and comfort during this difficult time.