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Welcome to the Irish Culture & Customs newsletter which is published every week or so and sent out to nearly 3,100 readers all over the world. You are receiving this newsletter because you signed up for it - God Bless you! If you'd like to read past issues, they are archived at: http://www.ymlp.com/pubarchive.php?Herself
If, for any reason, you wish to unsubscribe, instructions are at the end - but we do hope you'll stay with us.
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Greetings and Blessings to all,

We hope and pray this edition finds you in good health, good spirits and good company.
As for ourselves, it's been a relatively quiet week or so. Bridget is reminded of writing letters home to her parents when she was away at school: "Dear Mum & Dad. I am fine ; how are you?" We'll do our best to make this letter a bit more interesting than that!

Are you ready for the first day of Spring and the feast of St. Brigid? Don't forget that we have instructions on how to make a St. Brigid's Cross on the site. If those little boys and girls can make one, what's holding you back? Why not give it a try! Ours from previous years are all over the house (you should make a new one every year) and you can see how unskilled we are - but nevertheless, it always feels good to complete one and hang it up. If you're really sure you can't handle it though, then might we suggest buying one that's already made. Lollysmith has them and we have a link to the product in the ad below.

Speaking of spring - we have experienced that season and the other three during the past month; the magnolias are budding, the daffodils are up, we've had several inches of snow, fall leaves are still on the ground and the other day it was sunny and near seventy! One thing you can always count on in the Ohio Valley - if you don't like the weather, wait five minutes!

Earlier, we said it's been rather quiet around these parts, but in retrospect, there's always something going on. A dear friend was in the hospital for a while, but he's home now and is expected to recover. We heard from friends we haven't seen in 20 years or more. Tonight , four couples will be getting together for dinner - our own version of the Big Chill.

A dead phone and dishwasher have been fixed, and best of all, Russ is back to writing his book. So many distractions in the past several months, from his mother's illness to our son buying the house have had the both of us both mentally and physically pre-occupied. But we're never bored, so that's a good thing.

Did you see the "boiler-plate at the top of the newsletter - where we talk about the number of readers? We had a major uptick in subscribers and we'd like to say a special thank you to those of you who just joined us. We hope you enjoy this first issue and please feel free to pass it along to family and friends.

Enough of the blitherin' - on with the update!

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SPONSOR:
Please help keep our web site free and visit our good friends at Lollysmith!
Did you see on the news where eating porridge can help you lose weight and improve your love life? It's true and the Irish consumption of oatmeal has risen by 20%! If you'd like to join the ranks of this resurgence in old-fashioned goodness, we have authentic McCann's oatmeal in stock right now. Please click
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We also have authentic hand-made St. Brigid's Crosses from Ireland. Order immediately for delivery in time for her feast-day on February 1st. Please click
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IN THIS ISSUE:
News
From the Mailbag
Links of the Week
Quips, quotes, proverbs & toasts
Joke of The Week
A Bit of the Wit
Did You Know
Irish Author/Book Quiz
The Week That Was
What is & Will Be, God Willing
Leave 'Em Laughing
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NEWS FROM AROUND THE COUNTIES
Antrim: Couple mortgage their home for "Shelltown"
A Ballymoney-based couple who have been telling stories to their fourteen children for years have now mortgaged their home to finance a book and animation series. Bernard and Patricia Sparkes, who moved to Ballymoney from England some years ago, have secured the services of a number of stars in the production of the animation series of "Shelltown", including Kenneth Brannagh, Kerry Katona and Ronan Keating.

Armagh: Sold for £1k, £4m to be spent
Gosford Castle in Markethill was sold for just £1,000 but is to have £4m spent on its transformation into twenty-three private homes. The castle, the North's largest Grade A listed building, was the home of the Acheson family and was used by the government to store records; it was latterly a hotel.

Kildare: Athy castle to open its doors
The schoolchildren in the Athy area will be the first to be taken on guided tours of White's Castle in Athy when it opens its doors to the public for four days in the coming week. The five-hundred-year-old castle has never before been accessible as it has been in private ownership until recently, when it was purchased by Athy man Gabriel Dooley.

Kilkenny: Extras tread the red carpet
A number of people who were extras when the film "Breakfast on Pluto" was shot in Callan in September 2004 attended the premiere of the film in Dubln's Savoy Cinema last week. Those involved with the film, including Cillian Murphy, Eva Birthistle and director Neil Jordan spoke in complimentary terms of their time in the county.

Louth: Children to name new estate
The newest housing estate in Termonfeckin, beside Orchard Villas on the Clogherhead road, is to be named by schoolchildren. So far the pupils of Termonfeckin National School have come up with eleven possible names for the group of forty-four houses including Paddock View, Duffs Estate and Windmill Villas. (We are NOT making up the name of the school or the town!)

Mayo: Yet another bypass yields finds
The €63m bypass at Charlestown has yielded evidence of a major Neolithic settlement, according to archaeologists working on the route. The settlement is located close to the town's GAA pitch and artifacts from the Neolithic and early Christian periods have been found, including pottery, stone tools, a glass bead and pieces of flint. The early Christian enclosure also features a fifteen metre long souterrain which was probably used as a refuge by the people during cattle raids.

Sligo: Sinking of Blue Lagoon
The Blue Lagoon at Riverside in Sligo town is to be demolished and a new nightclub complex built in its place. A planning application has been lodged by Paul Maye of Carrick-on-Shannon for a nightclub, pub, café and offices to replace the entertainment centre, which has been at its Riverside location for more than forty years.

Tipperary: American sells house he never lived in
The American owner of Slevoir, on the shores of Lough Derg near Terryglass, has sold the Italianate mansion for more than €4m, though he never lived in it. The businessman from Chicago purchased the house sight unseen six years ago but subsequently found a property he preferred in another part of the country. Built in 1870, Slevoir was owned by the Hickie family until 1950, when it was bought by the Salesian Sisters; it became a private residence some thirty years later. The new owners, two businessman, are expected to convert the property into a hotel.

Waterford: Cathedral closed for repairs
All services normally held at the Cathedral of the Most Holy Trinity in Waterford have been moved to St Patrick's Church while the building undergoes major repairs. The cathedral on Barronstrand Street, built at the end of the eighteenth century, is the oldest Catholic cathedral in Ireland and now needs a new roof as well as underpinning of the walls and columns.

Westmeath: Birthday celebrations for Athlone character
Joe (Jock) Ryan, who moved from his native Scotland to Athlone in 1940, last week celebrated his ninetieth birthday with his ten daughters, three sons, forty-two grandchildren and thirty-six great-grandchildren. Pride of place, however, went to his wife of sixty-three years, Athlone woman Agnes, whom he met while she was visiting relatives in Scotland. They were married on St Stephen's Day, 1942 in St Mary's Church. The celebrations took place at the Shamrock Lodge Hotel and among the grandchildren enjoying the event were Donna and Joseph McCaul, last year's entrants in the Eurovision Song Contest.

Wexford: Finds halt building in Wexford town
The development works taking place on the site of the old Kelly's Bakery on North Main Street in Wexford town have been interrupted following the discovery of some mediaeval pottery by a team of archaeologists. They also uncovered what is suspected to be part of the old Quay Wall.

Wicklow: Centenary celebrations planned
A number of events are planned for the county during 2006, organised by an executive committee under the chairmanship of Pat Doyle of Wicklow County Tourism, with the launch taking place on February 25 at Wicklow County Jail; the actual establishment of the county of Wicklow took place on February 26, 2006 and celebrations will continue until that date in 2007.

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FROM THE MAILBAG
Last time, Noreen asked: Do you have a book/booklet of old Irish sayings in the Irish Language
For example: Nil aon tintean mar do thintean fein. Tog go bog e. Go ndeirigh an tadh leath. and so on. We received the following:

From the publisher of Bridget's Wedding Book, Ethna:
I've got just the book "Nil Aon Tintean" -$14.95 + $6 postage, and she can order by phone or online: Irish Books and Media, 1433 Frankln Ave East, Minneapolis MN 55404 USA
http://. www.irishbook.com
800-229-3505 -- ph
612-871-3358 -- fax

From Evelyn - I have one called "Irish Proverbs" by Laurence Flanagan. I don't remember where I got it but it is published by Gill & Macmillan and their website www.gillmacmillan.ie might have it available. The ISBN is: 0-7171-3166-1. Hope that helps!

Dianne Sweeney sent in a wide range of resources - too many to include here. If you're interested. please send us a message and we'll forward the info. Go raibh maith agat, Dianne!

Himself/Yourself. A reader asked where Himself/Yourself originated. We proposed that it might have something to do with the definition of Sinn Fein. John Cody wrote in to clarify:
Sinn Fein might be construed as we alone, but actually means 'ourself', nothing more. Use of the 'self' addition is rare in English & common in Irish. Even more common are special emphatic forms of he and she. In stage Irish, that comes across as himself and herself.
ED. NOTE: Agree? Disagree? In any event, we appreciate John taking the time to give what sounds like a logical explanation.

Christening Traditions: Carol writes: I am interested in finding an old Irish Saying for a child when he or she is baptized.I was once given a dollar for one of my children when she was baptized from an Irish woman in church. She stated that an old Irish tradition was if you had a dollar at Baptism you would always be wealthy. Any Ideas or thoughts about this? I would love to hear more about this tradition if possible!

Jenny wants to know about traditional Irish Christening or Baptism gifts. We always suggest money when asked this question, but perhaps some of you may have different, more creative ideas? Please let us know. Thanks!

Aran Yarn: This question came up a while ago and we were remiss in not saving the resources that were sent in. In any event, here is the query again - this time sent in by Eileen:
I am looking to purchase traditional Aran yarn (the type with the oil still in it) to knit a sweater with. Where can I get this yarn? I bought some years ago when traveling in Ireland and now wish to get more. Can you help me? I see sweaters and pattern books for sale but not yarn.
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LINKS OF THE WEEK

When Ireland Starved: An Gorta Mór 
 James Vincent MuIlin prepared the first state-approved Irish Famine Curriculum in the nation in 1996. He is a highly regarded Irish Scholar. Fore more details, please click
http://www.irishhistorydvd.org/Famine/

iWalks - the latest hot topic in travel!
FREE audio guides to Dublin. these convenient guides tell the story of Dublin.
Subscribe by copying the following link into your podcasting software
http://www.visitdublin.com/iwalks/iwalks.xml

Fáilte! Welcome to the IrishPage Live Chat Room!  
After the applet loads, click the button to enter the Bravenet Chat Room. When the Chat window appears, enter your name where it says Your Name and a short Profile. This profile could simply be the name of the State where you live. Then click the button to CHAT!
http://pub3.bravenet.com/chat/show.php/174967944

Best of Atlanta Poll
There are two key places in Atlanta where Irish/Irish Americans & their friends congregate:
Dinner: New York Prime owned by Bobby Donlon
Pub: FADO's owned by FADO Inc. (Kiernan McGill)
They are both in the running for 'BEST' in their class. Please consider voting for both at the site/pages below.
Best Steak House: New York Prime
http://cityguide.aol.com/atlanta/beststeakhouses/?page=voting
Best Bar/Pub: FADO
http://cityguide.aol.com/atlanta/bestbars/?page=voting

Rambles
A great source for reviews of folk, roots & traditional music, plus speculative fiction, folklore, concerts, movies & more.
http://www.rambles.net/

Another time-waster from Hartson
Who can resist bursting the bubbles on the bubble wrap!
http://www.virtual-bubblewrap.com/popnow.shtml

You are Love
Mamma says "this is a little slow starting but OH, SO worth the wait. Enlarge your screen after you open the site or you will miss some of the writing on the bottom. The music on this site is absolutely INCREDIBLE! http://www.youarelovemovie.com/
ED. NOTE: Unedited - When mamma ain't happy, ain't nobody happy

Hilarious Link
Takes a while to load and it isn't Irish. Feel free to skip - but it's too good for us not to mention.
http://www.lookatentertainment.com/v/v-444.htm

Free mammograms
Do you know of a woman who can't afford a mammogram? Here's how you can help. Go to the Breast Cancer site and click on their free mammogram link; if they get enough clicks , they'll be able to donate at least one free mammogram a day to underprivileged women. It takes just a minute and there's no cost involved:
http://www.thebreastcancersite.com

Last but certainly not least - our on-going gift to AG in California and all friends to animals, please click this link today and everyday. It only takes a second to feed an animal. Thanks!
http://www.theanimalrescuesite.com/cgi-bin/WebObjects/CTDSites.woa

It only takes a second to feed hungry people, too:
http://www.thehungersite.com

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QUIPS, QUOTES, ANECDOTES AND TOASTS
A face without freckles is like a night without stars
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OUR FAVORITE JOKE OF THE WEEK
With the Ryder Cup scheduled to be held in Ireland this September, we'll be posting as many golf-related jokes as we can find. This one came in from hartson - thank you!

Sean met a woman at a luxurious resort and fell head over heels in love with her. On the last night the two of hem went to dinner and had a serious talk about how they would continue the relationship. Sean began by saying to his new lady friend that while she meant a lot to him, "It's only fair to warn you that when I'm at home I am completely consumed by golf. I eat, sleep and breath golf. so if that's a problem,you'd better say so right now." "Well, since we're being honest with each other, here goes," she replied."I'm a hooker.""I see," replied Ed, and was quiet for a moment. Then he added, "You know, it's probably because you're not keeping your wrists straight when you tee off."
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A BIT OF THE WIT
RELICS: People who have been going to Mass for so long, they actually
know when to sit, kneel, and stand.
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DID YOU KNOW
The largest Wellington Boot race is held on New Year's Day at Castlecomer Race in Co Kilkenny? It is is run over a 6.4km (4-mile) circuit and has a turn-out of more than 400 runners, wearing Wellington boots. (not JUST Wellington Boots!)
2. The most points scored by an individual in an international championship match is 30 by Ronan O'Gara for Ireland (60) against Italy (13) at Lansdowne Road, Dublin, on March 4, 2000?
3. A series of carvings on a rock at Knowth, in the Boyne Valley, has been identified as the most ancient moon map discovered to date? It is estimated to have been carved around 5,000 years ago.
Source: Guinness Book of World Records

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IRISH WRITERS AND BOOKS QUIZ
To begin with, the answers to our last quiz:

1. The Legends of Irish Rugby by John Scally
2. Lady Gregory - An Irish Life by Judith Hill
3. The Islands of Ireland by Nutan

A round of pints and applause to our Irish bibliophiles:

Dérdre McKiernan-Hetzler
"Tour Glorious Ireland June 28 - July 12, 2006". To view the proposed itinerary, please click:
http://www.tours2ireland.com
ED. NOTE: You might like top know that your tour leader would be Déirdre. She is Dublin educated, a frequent visitor to Ireland, and carrying on the family tradition begun by her late father, Dr. Eoin McKiernan, founder of the Irish American Cultural Institute. She is also the sister of Bridget's publisher - Ethna McKiernan, who owns Irish Books & Media.

Hartson Dowd
An Irish Web-site that I am looking at is 'A Brief Timeline of Irish History
 http://www.beer-bytch.com/irish_histry.htm

Helen Dowd If you like pet stories, please check out my website at. There are some new stories. And thanks to the many who have voted for my site.
http://www.occupytillicome.com/pets/.

Dianne Sweeney
The reason for nominating Celtica is that it leads you onto other "Irish dedicated" website Although some sites were were/are originally set up as a commercial websites, the plethora of Irish Customs, Culture, and Heritage information to be uncovered within the links/sites is impressive.
http://www.celtica.com/Ireland/www.html

Josephine Battye
I nominate the website:
http:www.overheardindublin.com
ED. NOTE: We second the nomination - this is a great site!

Claire Hegarty
If you live in Dublin and don't have time to walk your pet, help is at hand:
http://www.urdogsbestfriend.ie/

Liezl Martens
I would like to nominate your website; there is always so much insightful and interesting things on there.
ED. NOTE: We appreciate that Liezl! God Bless.

Rita Roche
Baltimore MD

Want to see your name on our literary sleuth list? Who wrote the following:
1. St. Brigid of Ireland
2. Life of St. Brigid
3. The White Dove of Erin

ED. NOTE: Many books have the same title; please keep in mind that we are looking for Irish authors or Irish-related books.
Send us the correct answers to two out of three and the rewards are:
1. If you have a web site, send us your URL plus a short description and we'll publish it in the next newsletter. If you don't have a web site, please nominate a favorite - preferably Irish. Also, please remember that we list our sleuths in the order of entries received.
2. Receive a correct entry into the current "So You Think You're Irish" trivia contest. (In fairness to those of you who go to the trouble of actually finding the answers to the trivia contest, you'll get a bonus entry!)
NOTE: It would be very helpful if you would send your entries to: bhaggerty@irishcultureandcustoms.com
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RIDDLE
First off, the answer to our last cranium cruncher:
If overnight, He loses His head,
It will not rain on the day I wed.
Q. Who is He?
Hint: This one is based on an old Irish superstition and there is a clue in the rhyme and the question.
A. The Infant of Prague. The clue was in the initial cap of His and He which is always used when referring to Jesus in the written word. Bridget made this one up and knew it might be difficult and she was right. There were very few entries and just one correct answer. Well done to Claire hegarty ( no relation) in Dublin!
And now to a more traditional poser which we hope will generate a lot more answers!:
A car's odometer shows 72927 miles, a palindromic number.
Q. What are the minimum miles you would need to travel to form another palindromic number?

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THE WEEK THAT WAS
1. Review: Irish Drinking Songs for Cat Lovers
2. Article: Counties of Ireland - Carlow
3. Article: Emblems of ireland - The Book of Kells
4. Article: St. Brigit, The Giveaway
5. Article: Sure Begone & Begorrah to Oirish Greeting Cards
http://www.irishcultureandcustoms.com/AMisc/IrishCards.html
6. The Irish Kitchen - Crubeens
http://www.irishcultureandcustoms.com/2Kitch/1Home.html
7. Kids' Ireland - Never Groget Ireland
8. Basic Irish - A New Year and a New You
http://www.irishcultureandcustoms.com/3Focloir/Newyear.html#Gael69
9. Circle of Prayer: Our fifth Novena in this series began on January 22nd and ends on January 30. Whatever your spiritual leanings, we ask that you remember all those who are seriously ill, undergoing treatment, recovering from surgery or experiencing any number of difficult situations. We also ask that you remember the men and women in the armed forces who are so far away from their families and friends. To join us, please visit our Novena page:
http://www.irishcultureandcustoms.com/Blessings/CirclePrayer.html
10. January Trivia Contest. Hard to believe, but the last days of this contest loom. All entries must be in by midnight on January 31st, whichever time zone you're in:
http://www.irishcultureandcustoms.com/TriviaContest.html

WHAT IS AND WILL BE, GOD WILLING
A new month is just a few days away. That means we'll be working on a new Trivia contest as well as posting our articles related to St. Brigid and St. Valentine's Day. As always, we'll have our regular daily and weekly updates to the news , history, quotation and the blessing - both already posted.

So there you have it until we write again. Happy spring next Wednesday, pinch punch first day of the month, white rabbit, happy St. Brigid's Day, and Happy Candlemas! Celebrating a birthday, anniversary or special event this coming week? May it be filled with joy. And if you're to be married or tied the knot in February, here's the Irish verse:

When February birds do mate,
you may wed nor dread your fate.

Whatever the fates do have in store this week, may the Good Shepherd of us all enfold you and yours in the mantle of his tender, loving care and protection.And, as they say in Ireland, "mind yourself!"

Slan agus beannacht,
Bridget & Russ
http://www.irishcultureandcustoms.com
Get down on your knees and thank God you're still on your feet
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DONATION DRIVE 2006
WHEN A LOT OF PEOPLE GIVE A LITTLE, A LITTLE BECOMES A LOT
If you enjoy reading our newsletter or visiting the website, please support our efforts and send whatever you can to Bridget or Russ Haggerty, 5670 Meryton Place, Cincinnati OH 45224. Or you can send a donation via PayPal. The URL is:
http://www.paypal.com
and our email address is:
bhaggerty@irishcultureandcustoms.com
Many thanks in advance for your kindness
All donations over $20.00 will receive a package of Irish flower seeds from Dingle, Co. Kerry.
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EVENTS
To avoid duplication, we list only those events not already mentioned in the Irish Heritage Newsletter or on the Wild Geese website. In fact, the Irish Heritage email group and the Wild Geese have joined forces to bring you a massive listing of Irish events all over the world! To subscribe to the list, send your e-mail address to group moderator George Trainor, at george@thewildgeese.com. The group's postings go out every other Friday and Saturday, in five separate e-mails, covering Irish history, myths and legends, news, jokes, Irish (Gaeilge) lessons, recipes, and more. Organizations, please alert them about your upcoming events, e-mail events@thewildgeese.com, fax: 208-978-9998. Deadline: The third Wednesday of the month for the following month's edition. Also visit The Wild Geese at:
http://www.thewildgeese.com/pages/events.html

If you're in Ireland, or lucky enough to be visiting, you can see what's on offer here:
http://www.irishtravelideas.com/

Bellevue Kentucky - every Sunday at 10 pm
The B List pub owned by our son Ben haggerty is hosting Impromptu Irish music sessions. All are welcome. For more details, contact Ben at:
benhaggerty2002@yahoo.com

Alexandria, VA - Saturday, January 28th
Danny O'Flaherty Fund-raiser at Pat Troy's Ireland's Own, Old Town 7:00-8:30pm. Free Adm For more details, please click
http://www.pattroysirishpub.com
ED. NOTE: Danny wants to thank everyone for helping him and his family through Hurricane Katrina with Fundraisers we held at Ireland's Own, Mrs. O'Leary's and the DC Four Provinces. Danny will be appearing for 90 minute shows at these locations. He hopes to see you there.

Washington, DC - January 29th.
Danny O'Flaherty fund-raiser at Four Green Fields (formerly Ireland's Four Provinces of Ireland) 8:00-9:30pm. (Note the later time for this concert) Free Admission. For more details, please click
http://www.irelandsfourprovinces.com

Hollywood, Florida - February 11
Legendary Irish Entertainer Paddy Noonan will be on stage at the IRISH-AMERICAN CEILI CLUB 7p-11p at the American Legion Hall 211 North 21 Avenue, Hollywood FL
TICKETS @ $10 [members] & $12 [guests] IN ADVANCE ONLY at 954-432-8292
For details, please contact PATRICK O'DEA President, Irish-American Ceili Club
POB 220315, Hollywood FL 33022-0315
Tel: 954-522-4948 / email: irish32@aol.com

Houston, Texas - February 26
Gathering of the Celts sponsored by The Celtic Chorus of Houston in conjunction with St. Andrew's Celtic Festival - Houston Heights. For more information, please contact
diannashipman@att.net

Hollywood, Florida March 25
March Ceili at the IRISH-AMERICAN CEILI CLUB 7p-11p at the American Legion Hall 211 North 21 Avenue. For more details please visit:
http://www. irishamericanceiliclub.com

Houston, Texas - March 30
Role Of Irish Americans In The History Of American Catholicism- A Lecture By Dr. David O'Brien For more information, contact Lori Gallagher, Director ! of the Center for Irish Studies, at 713-525-3592 or irishstudies@stthom.edu.

Leesburg, Virginia - June 17th & 18th
The Potomac Celtic Festival in Leesburg VA is changing the June 2006 show date from heat (2nd weekend) to rain (3rd weekend) and competing with Father's Day. Come on out anyhow. For more details, please click:
http://www.potomaccelticfest.org/

Inishmore, Galway
Celtic Spirit Culture Weeks on Inishmore
Check out the progammed for 2006 http://www.celticexperience.net
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LEAVE 'EM LAUGHING
A little boy was waiting on his mother to come out of the butcher shop. As he waited, he was approached by a man who asked, "Son, can you tell me where the post office is?" The little boy replied, "Well sir, you just go straight up the road and it's around the corner on the right. The man thanked the boy kindly and said, I don't have my collar on but just so you know, I'm the new Presbyterian pastor in the village and I'd like for you to come to my church on Sunday. I'll show you how to get to Heaven." The little boy replied with a puzzled expression, "you must be joking. You don't know your way to the post office!"