Raised on his family’s farm at Meelick Cross, Co. Clare, Austin Brennan and his brothers Michael and Patrick joined the Irish Volunteers in 1913. Though the local company mobilised at Bunratty on Easter Sunday, 1916, they dispersed after learning of Eoin MacNeill’s countermand. In July 1917, he was sentenced along with his brothers to two years of penal servitude for taking part in illegal drilling. The brothers conducted a hunger strike, and were soon joined by other republican prisoners. Austin was eventually released in September 1917, after the Government had conceded to the demands of the strikers in the aftermath of Thomas Ashe’s death. Brennan fought in the War of Independence and took a pro-Treaty stance during the Civil War. He rose to the position of colonel in the Free State Army but was accused of taking part in the army mutiny in 1924. His case was later adjourned. He retired from the army and returned to the family farm in Co. Clare, before relocating to Clontarf, Co. Dublin, where he opened a guesthouse.
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