Welcome to the Irish Culture & Customs newsletter which is published every fortnight or so and sent out to going on 5000 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:
If, for any reason, you wish to unsubscribe, instructions are at the very end - but we do hope you'll stay with us. And if you need to update your info' or change your email address, you can do that at the end, too.
ED. NOTE: To ensure that future mailings you receive from us aren't mistakenly blocked by antispam software, be sure to add us to your list of allowed senders and contacts.
Greetings & Blessings to all,
We hope this edition finds you and yours on the pig’s back, happy as a lark, and fit as a fiddle! As for us, Herself is better and would like to thank everyone who asked after her health. That said, we had to cancel our trip to Washington DC for our nephew Ian’s graduation from college - a huge disappointment for both of us, but it couldn’t be helped. We’re now hoping to go for the July 4th holiday. Of course, it doesn’t make up for missing one of the biggest days in Ian’s life but it will be good to stand him a congratulatory pint or two when we do get to see him. We would also like to extend congratulations to all of the graduates all over the world and wish them the best of luck in the future.
So, here we are at the end of May already. The month of mirth and merriment went by so fast, we hope that means it was as much fun for you as custom says it’s supposed to be!
In the USA, we celebrated Memorial Day last weekend - the traditional beginning of summer and barbecue season. but more importantly, a time to remember all of those in the military who paid the ultimate price. Just about every community has a parade and we went to one in which our granddaughter Caitlyn was a participant. It was very moving to watch representatives of all the armed services march by and the occasion was especially enhanced with a fly over of F16 jet fighters from Wright Patterson air force base. Between the brass bands, the flag waving, and the sea of red, white and blue attire on marchers and spectators alike, it was a wonderful experience - made even more so when our granddaughter marched by with her Brownie troupe! We hope all of our readers in the US enjoyed as safe and happy a Memorial holiday as we did. This weekend, it’s the turn of folks in Ireland and the UK to enjoy the June Bank Holiday - didn’t you just have one? Fingers crossed you will also have a safe and happy time of it!
The hummingbirds are back! The feeder has been out for a couple of weeks and Russ was getting a wee bit concerned as there was no sign of his favorite feathered friends - that is, until a couple of days ago he spotted our first visitor of the season. Since then, we’ve both seen these natural wonders stopping by for a sip of nectar. What we’re looking forward to now is sitting on the patio and watching what can only be described as the hummingbird version of Star Wars as they dart back and forth like X-Wing fighters defending their territory!
Enough of the blitherin’...on with the update - but, before we forget...Is this your first edition? Many thanks for joining us and if you like our musings and meanderings, please feel free to pass them along to your family and friends.
SPONSOR: Please help us keep your newsletter coming - visit our good friends at the Celtic Attic
Exclusively for readers of the Irish Culture & Customs newsletter, now through June 10th receive a $5.00 gift card with every order and a FREE GIFT with every order. Also, to honor all the Dad's and Grad's out there, get 10% off ALL orders over $75.00 Plus 1/2 off Shipping on each and every order. And don't forget to enter their monthly give-away - they always have wonderful prizes! Enter here:
Order on line or by phone - and tell them Bridget & Russ said hello!
Order by phone: Tel: 360-765-0186
Order on line:
Last - but certainly not least: Celtic Attic is pleased to announce its New Tours to Ireland program. To have details forwarded to you, please click
IN THIS ISSUE:
From the mailbag
Quips, Quotes, Proverbs & Toasts
A Bit of the Wit
Joke of The Week
Did You Know
Know Your Writers
The week That Is
Leave 'em Laughing
What follows are news clips from around the counties and elsewhere. Links for more news stories can be found on our web site where we post the latest headlines from Ireland every morning and we keep two week's of previous news: http://www.irishcultureandcustoms.com/01News/Home.html
And more county news can be found here:
FROM AROUND THE COUNTIES:
Antrim: BBPT to take over south Belfast building
The Belfast Buildings Preservation Trust is to take over the Good Shepherd Gate Lodge on the Ormeau Road in Belfast and will make it the Trust's headquarters after restoration work is carried out. The mid-nineteenth century building was the home of the convent's caretaker but has been derelict for many years.
Armagh: Magheralin hall closes its doors
After eighty years of serving the community Magheralin Evangelistic Memorial Hall is closing its doors this weekend. Known locally as Soye's Hall, it was built in the 1930s by Jimmy Soye, manager of Johnston and Allen's linen factory, in memory of his late wife. The construction work was undertaken by local builder William Callaghan and the hall opened as a mission centre, with non-denominational meetings featuring speakers from every church background.
Carlow: Fr Byrne has idea for 'credit crunch wedding'
Having heard from a number of young couples that the cost of a wedding was deterring them from taking the final step, Father Paddy Byrne from Bagenalstown has come up with a novel alternative. He has suggested that, as is common with baptisms and First Communions, several couples should be married at the same time during the course of the weekly Mass, and hold their receptions either in the local parish hall or in their own homes. Father Paddy has suggested that a specific Sunday in June or July could be set aside for couples who would like to be married, and he also points out that the cost of hiring a parish hall is about €20 an hour.
Carlow: New Poet Laureate has Hacketstown links
Carol Ann Duffy, the newly appointed Poet Laureate in Britain, has strong links with the county although she was born in Glasgow. Ms Duffy's grandmother, Agatha Hart, came from Carlow and her grandfather, Michael Black, was from Hacketstown. She has visited both places on many occasions with her mother and will shortly be back on her third visit this year. The new Poet Laureate, the first woman to hold the position, has published more than thirty books and will now compose poetry for state occasions. As payment she will receive some £5,000 in cash in addition to the traditional vat of sherry.
Cavan: Kilnaleck loses title due to recession
The downturn in the economy, which has resulted in the closure of pubs all around the country, has seen the village of Kilnaleck lose its title. It was once able to claim that it had the highest number of pubs per head of population in the British Isles, but over the past twenty years half of the 14 public houses in the village have closed. The two most recent to close their doors were the Central Bar and Brooks Inn, the former having been run by the Smith family for more than fifty years.
Cavan: Maguire twins continue in limelight
Gifted young golfers Leona and Lisa Maguire from Ballyconnell are continuing to make names for themselves in the golfing world. Last week Lisa took first place in the Lancome Irish Women's Close championship, held in Co. Cork. Although her twin sister Leona was eliminated early in the competition, she had her own moment in the sun when she was named as Sportswoman of the Month by the Irish Times/Irish Sports Council. Her nomination follows her success at the Scottish Open in Troon and the French International Under-21 championships. While the fourteen-year-olds continue to concentrate on their golf, they also have to give some time to their Junior Certificate exams, which they sit next year.
Clare: New stage school opens in Ennis
Clare's aspiring actors, or those who just want to have a taste of the performing arts, have a new opportunity with the opening last week of a branch of the international children's part time theatre school Stagecoach. Principal of the new facility, based at Cois na hAbhna on the Galway Road in Ennis, is John Lucey, an actor living just outside Galway who, with his wife, runs the Galway branch of the stage school. The official opening was performed by television actress Aisling O'Neill, well known for playing the character 'Carol' in "Fair City".
Clare: Bishop sings in night club
Dr Willie Walsh, Bishop of Killaloe, was a member of a choir that recently sang in a Dublin night club called, rather inappropriately, Sin. However the Ennis-based Forever Young choir, co-founded by retired insurance broker Tom Meaney, was making its night club debut in the middle of the day as part of the final year project of student Ciara McMahon, whose father is also a member of the choir. The twenty-five members are almost all over the age of seventy and meet every Tuesday night in the ante-room of St Peter and Paul's Cathedral in Ennis.
Cork: Two boxers honoured in city
Lord Mayor of Cork Brian Bermingham recently unveiled a plaque in the centre of the city to boxer Mick Leahy, the first Irish-born boxer to win a belt in Britain; he won the British Middleweight title in 1963. Mick was also one of only three men to beat five times World Middleweight champion Sugar Ray Robinson. The plaque was unveiled in Bishop Lucey Park on the Grand Parade. In the same week the city honoured a modern boxer, Dubliner Bernard Dunne who recently became WBA Super Bantamweight champion, with a civic reception hosted by the Mayor in City Hall.
Cork: Drishane Sisters celebrate centenary
More than sixteen hundred past pupils and friends of the Convent of the Infant Jesus gathered in Drishane last week for a series of events to mark the sisters' centenary. When the convent was founded the sisters established a Knitting School and two years later a boarding school was opened, and subsequently a residential school of housecraft and a farm. The events to mark the centenary included flowers being placed on the graves of deceased nuns in Drishane cemetery, and a pageant in the Green Glens Arena in Millstreet which featured the local pipe band and Scór dancers.
Derry: Claudy girl wins flights for her class
Aoife Harvey, a pupil at St Colmcille's primary school in Claudy, has won a competition sponsored by Aer Lingus to design a T-shirt for participants in this year's Belfast Marathon. Aoife and a fellow-pupil were among six entries shortlisted and Aoife's design was chosen as the winner. Her prize includes a free flight for herself and all her classmates in year five, and they have not yet decided whether the preferred destination will be Paris or London. However Aoife, for whom this will be a first flight, would prefer London as she would love to see Big Ben.
Derry: City military site to be restored
Fort George, a former shipbuilding site which was in use during the Second World War, is to be restored following the granting of £3m in funding. The site is also believed by some to be linked to the Siege of Derry in 1688.
Derry: Historic Policing Board meeting in Derry
Last week a meeting of the Policing Board in Derry made history when it was conducted entirely through Irish. A live translation service through headphones was available for the more than one hundred people who attended the meeting, chaired by former Mayor of Derry Gearoid O hEara. Assistant Chief Constable of the PSNI Judith Gillespie, in describing the meeting as a truly historic occasion, said she never would have believed, when she joined the force nearly thirty years ago, that she would be attending such a meeting. Speakers in Irish at the event included two PSNI constables, Una McVeigh and Peadar Heffernon, as well as chairperson elect of the Board Barry Gilligan.
Donegal: Triple bonus for birdwatchers
The area around Buncrana reservoir has become a magnet for birdwatchers in recent days since three of the country's rarest birds of prey have been seen there together. The sea eagle, the golden eagle and the merlin falcon have all been seen flying over the reservoir, prompting birdwatchers to travel from as far away as Cork to view the unusual sight. It also became the venue for the weekly outing of the Inishowen Wildlife Club and they were rewarded when the sea eagle was observed snatching a large trout from the Fullerton Pollen Dam.
Donegal: Donegal Corridor to be used once more
The top secret Donegal Corridor, used by Allied airmen during the Second World War, will once again echo to the sound of a flying boat when a war veteran will take the controls for the first time in sixty-four years. Eighty-six-year-old Ted Jones, now living in Dublin, will take to the skies from his former base at Enniskillen and fly along the narrow strip of airspace to the Atlantic. One of his memories is of the night-time missions when they used to fly towards the St John's Point lighthouse in Donegal Bay and shine a bright light down on to the lighthouse keepers.
Down: Downpatrick to have a new cinema
The Grand on Market Street in Downpatrick closed down in the early 1990s and since that time the town has been without its own cinema. Now, however, a new facility will shortly be available, with brothers Martin and Gerald Barrett opening the one-thousand seat six-screen Eclipse Cinema. The brothers have not yet revealed the title of the first film to be shown.
Dublin: Connolly's great-grandson joins fight for Moore Street
James Connolly Heron, the great-grandson of 1916 leader James Connolly, was one of a group of five hundred who recently symbolically linked arms around the buildings on Moore Street where the leaders of the Rising spent their final hours. The protected buildings, numbers 14 to 17 Moore Street, are now threatened with partial demolition as part of the proposed development of the Carlton Cinema site. The "Save 16" group, focused on the house in which James Connolly lay wounded before his capture and execution, is ready to take the case to the High Court if necessary.
Fermanagh: Re-enactment of Eisenhower's visit to school
In 1944 General Eisenhower paid a visit to Portora Royal School in Enniskillen and recently the school staged a re-enactment of the top-secret visit. The General had inspected the American troops on the school's playing fields before they headed to the Front and the re-enactment was staged by the Wartime Living History Association, which provided both the troops and the general.
Fermanagh: Obama has relatives at the Castle
Two people who work in Enniskillen Castle, and both of them from Bellanaleck, have discovered that they can claim a connection to US President Barack Obama, if a somewhat tenuous one. When Marion Maxwell was researching her family tree she was able to trace a connection through her great-grandmother, who came from Moneygall in Co. Offaly. Marion passed on the news to other relatives, the Thornton family who are also from Ballanaleck, and George Thornton was able to tell his son Julian of their illustrious relative; Julian also works in Enniskillen Castle.
Galway: Coach station named after famed hurler
The new coach station on the Fairgreen Road in Galway has been named in honour of one of the county's great hurlers. The official naming of the Seán Duggan Centre, which houses Galway Coach Station and the Webworks Building, was carried out by the city's Mayor Pádraig Conneely. Seán Duggan comes from a College Road family steeped in hurling - his grand-uncles were members of a College Road team that won the city's first county titles in the late nineteenth century. Seán himself played with Liam Mellows and was a member of the senior inter-county team for ten years from 1943.
Galway: A dive into Aran blow-hole
Orlando Duque from Colombia, a world champion diver, was on the Aran island of Inis Mor recently to perform a dive into Poll na Peist, or the Serpent's Lair. It is a rectangular hole in the rock at the bottom of cliffs and was at one time believed to be the home of a sea serpent. Having undertaken the Aran dive the thirty-four-year-old is now hoping to bring a cliff diving competition to Ireland.
Kerry: Licensed to sell - food
A new bar in Killarney has had an unusual condition attached to the planning permission granted by the Town Council. Christy and Pádraig Quill own the bar in the old milk market at Bohereencaol and they have been told that they may only sell drink to people who have eaten in the attached restaurant. Objections to an increase in late-night noise came from a number of local residents, all of whom live within one hundred metres of the premises. They also pointed out that there are some forty bars within two hundred and fifty metres of the Quills' premises.
Laois: Centenary Mass for Graiguenasmuttan couple
An anniversary Mass was celebrated in Ballinakill Parish Church by parish priest Fr Sean Conlon for a couple who died within a day of each other one hundred years ago. Members of the Keys family gathered together from Ireland, France and the United States to remember their grandparents, John and Margaret, and the family provided their own choir for the Mass. The couple had seven children but Margaret died some time after the birth of the youngest. John set off for Abbeyleix to sell stock to pay for his wife's funeral and died at the fair. The couple's children were taken in by Margaret's sister Ellen and by Mary Carter in Kylegrove.
Leitrim: Two small arrivals at Tonnagh
Brendan Flynn's farm at Tonnagh, Carrick-on-Shannon recently welcomed two new arrivals - both unusual. First to arrive was Half Pint, a miniature horse which was fourteen inches high at birth and is expected to reach a maximum height of just twenty-eight inches. He will be kept by the Flynns as a future herd stallion. The second arrival, and a first for the county, was a baby black alpaca, known as a cria, which is slightly larger at eighteen inches high. The cria, which has been christened Arnie by the Flynn family, will be kept as a companion to Half Pint.
Limerick: Harp orchestra in Austria
The National Harp Orchestra, based at Harbison's Irish Harp Centre and Music School in Castleconnell, is representing Ireland at the European Youth Festival in Austria. The twenty-five members of the orchestra are led by Janet Harbison, who set the school up seven years ago with her husband Malcolm Gillis.
Longford: Diamond jubilee for Kenagh priest
Father Dennis Newman, who celebrated his first Mass in the old Clough Church, has recently celebrated the diamond jubilee of his ordination. After two years ministering in Ireland Father Dennis went on the foreign missions to Kenya and he has been working in that country for the past fifty-eight years. He is based in the diocese of Nakuru and has written on the history of the diocese. Although he has been overseas for so long, the Kenagh native has never lost touch with his native place and returns home every year to visit his brother Pat and Pat's wife Lucy.
Longford: Silver Jubilee for Goldsmith Festival
This year's Goldsmith Festival, taking place in Ballymahon on the last weekend of the month, will also mark the twenty-fifth anniversary of the event which aims to highlight the importance of the work of Oliver Goldsmith and also Goldsmith Country. Opening with an art exhibition in Cooney's Hotel, the festival will have the theme "Oliver Goldsmith: Poet, Playwright and Novelist".
Meath: Kells cross on the move again
The mediaeval monastic cross of Kells, which was moved to a site outside the heritage centre following a traffic accident in the mid-nineties, might well be relocated to its original position at the gate of the Kells Monastery. Mayor of Kells Brian Collins is to ask the people in America who had offered to provide a roof for the cross, if they would agree to making a donation to preserve the historic artefact in the centre of the town. The Save Our Cross Committee had written a letter to the Town Council proposing a thermostatically controlled secure glass case for the ninth century cross.
Meath: Nobber excavations concluded
The excavations have revealed evidence of both late Bronze Age and Early Mediaeval activity. Bronze Age discoveries include a fullacht fiadh and an accompanying deer antler, as well as an adjacent round house measuring six metres in diameter. The remains of six properties, with two corn-drying kilns, two baking ovens and pits have proved to be dated from mediaeval times.
Tipperary: GAA medal comes home to Burgess
A medal won in the first All-Ireland Gaelic football final by Michael Slattery from Burgess, which has spent many of the intervening years in Australia, has now been presented to the Burgess club, although it was won with a Limerick team. The medal passed from Michael Slattery, who emigrated to Australia in 1887, to his son Bill and to Bill's godson Mike Quinn. Mike, now in his sixties, is single and has no one to whom he can bequeath the medal, but through a friend, Joe McCafferty from Co. Donegal, the medal was returned to Ireland and has now been presented to Kitty Looby, whose husband Paddy was a nephew of Michael Slattery.
Tipperary: Bloody Sunday footballer honoured in Grangemockler
A commemorative plaque has been unveiled in Grangemockler to honour Michael Hogan, the footballer shot dead by police and auxiliaries in Croke Park on Bloody Sunday in 1920. The unveiling, part of the ceremonies to mark the one hundred and twenty-fifth anniversary of the GAA, was carried out by GAA president Christy Cooney. The morning's ceremonies, which were attended by members of Michael Hogan's family still living in the area, also included a memorial Mass and the laying of a wreath at the grave of the twenty-four-year-old.
Tyrone: Fish return to Ballinderry
For more than forty years no fish have been seen in the Ballinderry River due to pollution, but following the completion of a £13m wastewater treatment works in Cookstown, hundreds of fish, including brown trout, are now spawning downriver from the new treatment works, at Killymoon and Ardtrea.
Tyrone: Pipe Band Championships come to Dungannon
Recently, Dungannon played host to the Tyrone Pipe Band Championships under the Chieftain of the Day, the town's Mayor Lord Morrow. The event took place at Dungannon Rugby Club for the first time and Aughintober Pipe Band, led by Pipe Major Glen Ferry and Leading Tip Chris Johnston, took first place in the Grade 3A category as well as winning in the best pipes and best drums categories.
Waterford: Bones found as pub is demolished
The location of the former Egan's Bar on Barronstrand Street in Waterford yielded skulls and bones belonging to some thirty people during construction work on the site. The services of an archaeologist have been enlisted to examine the bones but local historian Jack Burchill has already noted that the old Egan's site was a school and monastery, part of the Blackfriars Abbey, until its dissolution by Henry VIII in 1540.
Westmeath: Athlone children involved in Volvo Ocean Race
The Athlone Springs Hotel, with Lough Ree Yacht Club, held a competition for local national schools in which they were asked to build replicas of the Green Dragon, the Irish entry in the race. Mary Mollen's pupils in St Oliver Plunkett Boys National School in Moate took the prize and will receive an all-expenses paid school tour to Galway during the stopover. They will have VIP access to the quayside and will have a chance to meet the Irish team.
Wicklow: Fans rally round trader Jim
More than one thousand people have signed a petition in support of pensioner Jim Stakem, who for the past thirty years has run a fast food facility at Glendalough, in addition to holding the key to the barrier and keeping the toilets in good condition. For the past two years Jim has been the only trader to tender for the job of providing refreshments at the important tourist site, but this year three other tenders were received by the county council and he was informed that the licence had been granted to the highest bidder. Jim has been a popular trader in the upper car park with his wife Margaret and many are both sad and outraged that he has lost the pitch.
Wicklow: Ballinacor to benefit from Catherine's garden
The Ballinacor Community Project will be the recipient of all monies raised over the four days that Catherine McCann will be opening her garden in the Glenmalure Valley to the public. Catherine's Shekina Sculpture Garden comprises a total of fifteen works in granite, limestone, wood, bronze, metal, stainless steel, glass and enamel, by various Irish artists and collected by her over the last seventeen years. The one-acre garden also includes two ponds, a patio, a stream with a bridge, a gazebo and lawns. The garden will be open for a day in each of the months of June, July and August.
FROM AROUND THE WORLD:
Rome, Italy: The Pope joins Facebook
The Pope is keeping up with the times by entering the world of social networking sites and smartphones with the launch of a Vatican portal that includes Facebook and iPhone applications. The new portal is the latest update in the Vatican's efforts to broaden the Catholic leader’s audience and reach out to a young audience. Earlier this year, he got his own YouTube channel. To view the Pope's Facebook page, please click
Boston Mass, USA: Cellist Liz Davis Maxfield, who recently graduated from Berklee College of Music, Boston, has been granted a Fulbright Scholarship to undertake the Masters in Traditional Irish Music Performance degree programme. She hopes to write and publish a method book on adapting traditional Irish fiddle and guitar styles for cello. http://www.lizdavismaxfield.com
ED. NOTE: We checked out Liz' web site and listened to several cuts from the three CDs she is featured on. Well worth the visit.
India: Slumdog Millionaire director on a rescue mission
Danny Boyle, whose mother was from Ballinasloe in Co. Galway, recently went to Mumbai to oversee the purchase of a new home for one of the child stars of his Oscar-winning movie. To read this great story and view Danny reunited with the kids please click
SPONSOR: Please help us keep your newsletter coming - visit our good friends at Lollysmith:
Genuine irish Dirt for sale! Yes - it's true! They are now stocking packets of the 0uld sod which you can buy separately or as a gorgeous gift package which includes a Belleek porcelain bowl, shamrock seeds and the Irish dirt to grow it in. And, just arrived - a brand new batch of authentic blackthorn walking sticks! They're all different and what makes the Lollysmith site even more enjoyable is the name and description they give each stick!
FROM THE MAILBAG
In our last newsletter, Audrey wrote:
Growing up, it was known we were Irish but it was not fully celebrated to my liking. That brings me to my question. I heard something referencing Blood memory or memory blood. They said something about things being felt or a memory you couldn't explain going through generations in families ? It would certainly explain a lot.
In response, Grainne Rowland wrote:
The only "Blood Memory" kind of thing I've heard is this: "What's bred in the bone will out". Hope this helps. It always seemed to me that the more I learned about Ireland made me even more eager to learn, with an almost overwhelming "need" to know more. That longing seems to go bone deep. That sounds plausible as does the following from Lucy French:
Blood Memory is our genetic connection to a language, songs, spirituality and teachings. It is the good feeling we experience when we are near these things. Basically, a blood memory is something that is believed to be hard wired in our DNA. Hope this helps with Audry's question.
Shelley Vette writes:
I just want to say that your newsletters have been so helpful. I have a radio programme I call Celtic Capers, and I've enjoyed passing on your jokes and info. I especially appreciate your info on various Saints Days, the newsletter for St Patrick's Day was especially helpful. Although our town (Dannevirke, New Zealand) is small (pop 5,000) we had our St Patrick's Day concert in the Town Hall and it was well supported. Thank you for helping me to promote Irish music and culture. I've not a drop of Irish blood myself, but I can speak the blarney.
ED. NOTE: It really warms the cockles of our hearts when we receive such nice letters. Thanks Shelley!
Karin has a question:
I was thinking about my first trip to Ireland when I was 8. It was 1964 and we arrived by ship to Cobh. My uncle met us at the train station and brought us back to Galway by a hired bus. On the way back, he blessed himself passing a church and told me this little rhyme. I am hoping you know the exact words. I read them somewhere but not sure where I found it.
It is something like this:
"when I pass this church, I will stop to make a visit.
For when my day may come the Lord won't say 'who is it?' "
Do you know the exact words?
ED. NOTE: We don’t know the verse - can anyone help??
Kim Keller also has a question:
my son who is 13 had to make a "Coat of Arms" for a class at school and in the middle he drew a huge shamrock symbolizing his Irish heritage. His teacher told him that when he was a little older he would tell him about "four ob a la" I don't know how to spell it so I'm hoping you can decipher it and let me know. If I find it inappropriate (based on the fact that the teacher won't share until he's older) then I won't share with him either, however, I am extremely curious as to the meaning of this word.
ED. NOTE: We have no idea! Fingers crossed someone will!
Charlene also has a question:
I was recently told of an old custom called bagging or tying. If the betrothed spent the night with the bride, he was bagged or tied as to not do anything before the wedding. I could have been misled, but please tell me either way.
ED. NOTE: We thought we knew just about all the Irish wedding customs, but this one is new to us as is another one we read recently where a laying hen was tied to the newlywed’s bedpost to ensure fertility! It’s our humble opinion that many of these customs may be Celtic as opposed to exclusively Irish. If anyone can shed any light on Charlene's query, we would be most grateful.
Volvo Ocean Race in Galway
This past week, the City of the Tribes has been host to the Volvo Ocean Yacht Race crews and their vessels following their 3000 mile leg across the Atlantic from Boston. On this official web site you can watch a brief video which endeavors to capture the excitement and anticipation.
Four Green Fields by Tommy Makem
One of our all-time favorites written and performed by the great man himself, RIP. It never fails to bring a lump to the throat and a tear to the eye.
ED. NOTE: If you're a fan of Tommy Makem & The Clancy Bros., this web site is a treasure trove of videos and lyrics.
The Irish Page
This time around, Jack & Vivian offer a poem by Ireland's famous poet O'Carolan. Charles MacCabe was absent from Kilronan at the time of Carolan's funeral. But it is fitting that he, and no other, should write the elegy of a man whose life's experience had marched so closely with his own; a fellow-harper and boon companion, he was probably better able to appreciate Carolan's genius than most of their contemporaries.
Irish Dictionaries at yourDictionary.com
The yourDictionary web site provides links to language resources for approximately 300 different languages, including Irish. http://www.yourdictionary.com/dictionary-articles/english-irish.html
Featured Irish Blog - Writer on the way home
From time to time, we plan on linking to Irish blogs we discover as we browse the web. This one belongs to Niamh Griffin, a writer who recently moved back to Ireland. Please click
O'Donoghue Clan Reunion
The O'Donoghue Clan Reunion will take place at Milwaukee Irish Fest, August 13-16 2009. Whether your a Donoghue, Donaghoe, Donoughe, Donaho, Donahoe, Donough, Donahue, Donahow, Doneghoe, Donehue, Donighue, Donoho, Donohoe, Donahugh, Donohough, Donohow, Donohue, Donaughue, Donaghie, Donaghy all derived from Gaelic Ó Donnchadha. Any Spelling or Not Even Close....All are welcome!
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:
ED. NOTE: Maria Eryaatz advises that free mammograms are also available in all states via the VNA (visiting nurses association).
Click on 'Find A VNA' for the your nearest location.
Free Pet Food!
Last but certainly not least - our ongoing 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!
Free People Food!
It only takes a second to feed hungry people, too:
QUIPS, QUOTES, PROVERBS & TOASTS
God is good, but never dance in a small boat.
A BIT OF THE WIT
And God said, 'Let there be light' and there was light, but the Electricity Board said He would have to wait until Thursday to be connected.
JOKE OF THE WEEK
A man owned a small farm in Aberdeenshire. The Department of wages claimed he was not paying proper wages to his staff and sent a representative out to interview him. 'I need a list of your employees and how much you pay them,' demanded the rep. 'Well,' replied the farmer, 'there's my farm hand who's been with me for 3 years. I pay him £200 a week plus free room and board. The cook/housekeeper has been here for 18 months, and I pay her £150 per week plus free room and board . Then there's the half-wit. He works about 18 hours every day and does about 90% of all the work around here. He makes about £10 per week, pays his own room and board, and I buy him a bottle of whiskey every Saturday night. He also sleeps with my wife occasionally.' 'That's the guy I want to talk to - the half-wit,' says the agent. 'That would be me,' replied the farmer.
DID YOU KNOW
1. Galore is derived from the Irish words go leor - big enough?
2. If you're bashful or shy, Irish folklore says you should take a dip in the River Shannon?
3. Murphy & Kelly are the most common Irish surnames?
KNOW YOUR IRISH WRITERS
To begin with, the answers to our previous quiz:
1. Never Throw Stones at Your Mother: Irish Insults and Curses by David Ross
2. Mothers and Sons by Colm Toibin
3. Mother Ireland - A Memoir by Edna O'Brien
A tip of the hat and a pat on the back to our literary Irish sleuths:
I truly love Irish Abroad as I have just won their Mar/Apr competition for 2 round-trip tickets to Ireland on Aer Lingus!
ED. NOTE: We wrote to congratulate Pamela who told us that she was last in ireland in 2007. She got married last year and they didn’t take a honeymoon, so she and her husband will use this free trip for that purpose. We can’t think of a more romantic destination!
The Fey Fox.
Whoever this might be didn’t nominate a site - but did include several quotations and we particularly liked the following:
Kindness is more important than wisdom, and the recognition of this is the beginning of wisdom.
Donna K. Fetter
Donna didn’t nominate a site either, but she did include the following comment:
“Never throw stones at your mother.” I never heard of it but thought it would be fun. I looked it up on Amazon. I can buy a new copy for $47. or a used on for .06! Not sure what that says about the contents!
ED. NOTE: Please let us know what you think, Donna!
John C. Laney
An enjoyable site to while away the hours is irish Page
Favourite place to visit: the less-traveled Beara Peninsula, especially the Healy Pass,
ED. NOTE: We definitely agree. And Tom has come up with a great idea. if you don’t want to nominate a favourite web site, tell us where in Ireland you’d like most to go. BTW, Russ just finished a book about the Beara Peninsula called The Edge of Ireland. We hope to post a review soon.
Irish Madness by Kierah is a wonderful collection of some of Kierah's original fiddle music along with some of her favourite Canadian and traditional Irish tunes.:
A favorite Irish site -The ONE, the ONLY - Irish site is:
ED. NOTE: Exciting news! Helen is less than a thousand votes from reaching first place in the top Christian sites listing. She has worked very hard to make her site well worth a visit AND well worth voting for. Please visit: http://www.occupytillicome.com/
Déirdre McKiernan Hetzler
ED. NOTE: As of this writing, Déirdre is in Ireland escorting her annual tour. We encourage you to take a look at the itinerary and then perhaps consider going next year?
If you’d like to see your name in our Irish bibliophile’s list, tell us who wrote the following:
1. I Never Knew That About the Irish
2. Ireland’s Misfortune: The Turbulent Life of Kitty O’Shea
3. Irish Wit: From Behan and Wilde to Yer Man in the Pub
Please send your answers to Bridget:
Don't forget to nominate a favorite Irish site and it would be helpful if you put "Know Your Writers" in the subject line of your email. Thanks!
SPONSOR: Please help us keep your newsletter coming - visit our good friends at the irish Lottery:
In operation since 1988, it's one of the oldest online sites in the world. With subscribers in 89 countries it is also among the most reliable. Jackpots are never lower than US $1,500,000 and are frequently worth in excess of US$5,000,000 Here's the best part - you don't have to live in Ireland to play and all winnings are Tax Free!
There was ONE winner of Saturday nights jackpot. Was it you? It’s always been a fantasy of ours that one of readers would scoop the big prize, but you can’t win it if you’re not in it. Play from the comfort of home here:
First off, the answer to our Thinker Stinker:
Q. What does man love more than life
Fear more than death or mortal strife
What the poor have, the rich require,
and what contented men desire,
What the miser spends and the spendthrift saves
And all men carry to their graves?
A. Nothing! As always, the Riddle People had no trouble solving this one and we were swamped with correct answers. But first in was Gina Mackey. Well done, Gina!
And now for our next Head Banger:
You are in a place called Haggerty’s world and there is only one Law. There is a mirror, but no reflection. There is pizza with cheese, but no sausage. There is pepper, but no salt. There is a door, yet no entrance or exit. What is the law?
Please send your answer to:
It would be helpful if you put riddle answer in the subject line.
THE WEEK THAT WAS
1. SHOPPING SECTION: Graduations, Weddings - Father’s Day -It's that time of year when the gift-giving is almost as busy as Christmas! Find something perfect whatever the occasion in our shopping section where you'll discover a selection of the best Irish and Celtic shops on the internet or anywhere else:
ED. NOTE: Every purchase through our shop links, helps support our efforts. Many thanks in advance.
2. Article: The Irish Soldiers in the American Civil War
3. Article: The Irish Soldiers in WWI
4. Article: It’s a Long Way to Tipperary
5. Article: Danny Boy
6. Poetry Page: Francis Ledwidge
7. Basic Irish - May & the Month of Mary
8. Irish Kitchen: Nettle soup - to keep the rheumatics away!
9. Kids' Ireland: The Story of Bottle Hill
10. Music Review: Ghosts of our Past by The Bible Code Sundays
11. May Trivia Contest. Have you entered yet? Just a dayleft and it’s really not that difficult. All entries must be in by midnight May 31st no matter what time zone you are in.
12. Circle of Prayer: The fourth Novena in this cycle began on May 22 and continues through May 30. Our fifth Novena begins on May 31st. Since last we wrote, we heard that little Corey had been taken to heaven. His brave parents ask that we be happy for him and thank God for giving hem the precious time they had together. So very moving and too easy to give in to sadness at the loss of one so young. Whatever your spiritual leanings, we ask that you remember Corey’s family in your prayers and meditations as well as James Leahy, another little boy still fighting his battle against cancer, Hartson Dowd who continues to have problems with ongoing infections, Burnett McManus whose friend recently underwent surgery for lung cancer, Christy Banik, Joe Colum, Patricia's daughter Heather, the family and friends of the McTiernans, Pauline Dewberry, Laureena Blankenship, Sierra Mitchell, Katie Lacinak and so many others as well as all those who are suffering from the financial hardships of the economic downturn. And please don't overlook our military personnel serving their countries at home and abroad. Dear Heavenly Father, please keep them safe from all harm and bring those away from home back to their loved ones soon.
So that’s the long and the short of it until we write again next month. Pinch Punch first day of the month white rabbit! and if you tied the knot in June, here’s your special verse:
If you wed when June roses blow,
Over land and sea you’ll go.
If you are celebrating a birthday, anniversary or other special occasion between now and our next edition, we hope it's an occasion filled with joy and happiness.
We'll take our leave with this lovely blessing to round out May and the Month of Mary:
May God and His Holy Mother take the harm of the year away from you.
And, as they say in Ireland, mind yourself !
Slan agus beannacht,
Bridget & Russ
Get down on your knees and thank God you're still on your feet!
Celtic Blessing - sung by the St. Coca's Choir, from Kilcock, Co. Kildare
DID SOMEONE FORWARD THIS ISSUE TO YOU? Subscribe for FREE!
Send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org
OR click on this link:
ANNOUNCEMENTS & EVENTS
Please check with the Wild Geese - they have a huge listing of events and we don't want to duplicate their efforts:
If we receive a unique event not mentioned there, we will be happy to list it here.
Dublin Ireland - Fringefest 2009
The 15th Dublin Fringe Festival invites submissions for its annually anticipated, culture jamming line-up of contemporary arts this September. As in previous years, the call for applications has been heard around the world, as the Fringe continues its search for new, exciting and challenging work through all arts communities. Closing Deadline for applications is: Friday 3 April. For more details, please click
Valtocado, Mijas, Spain - June 5-7
Andalusian International Artists Group Annual Art Exhibition. Exhibiting artists include Roger and Dolores Cummiskey from Dublin, Ireland. For complete details, please click
ED. NOTE: Roger is one of the generous sponsors of our Trivia Contest. To view his work and find out more details about the exhibition, please click
Raleigh, NC through June 6
Artspace Summer Arts Program Instructor Exhibition featuring the works of Amy Funderburk - Gallery 2, Artspace, 201 East Davie Street, Raleigh, NC 27601
For more details, please click
To view Amy’s whimsical paintings including Manifestation of Rabbit, depicting a Standing Stone in Cnoc Áine,
Knockainy, Co. Limerick,, please click
Media PA - June 14
Operation First Response Annual Walk for the Wounded - Rose Tree Park. The purpose is to support our Nation’s Wounded Heroes and their families personal and financial needs. For details, please click
Houston, Texas - through June 20
Theatre Southwest is very pleased to present The Beauty Queen of Leenane by Martin McDonough. For details, please visit their web site:
Zurich - June 27
Storytelling Night and Workshop with Niall de Búrca from Galway. For complete details, please write to Elizabeth Zollinger:
Also, be sure to visit the Celtic Spirit web site for for details about cultural holidays on the Aran Isle of Inis Mor:
Inishmore, Aran Isles - August
House to rent. Because of my “time out” I won’t spend so much time in my house this year. So there are more dates available for rentingfrom end of July 09 on. Rent: 280-430 Euro/week. More Information on my web site:
Or ph.: 0041 (0)44 2520918
Los Alamitos, California -1st Tuesday of every month
Friends of Ireland of Southern California Monthly Breakfast. Events are held on the 1st Tuesday of the month. Please call in RSVP to one of the contacts below one day in advance so we can accommodate you.
Barbara Walsh (714) 739-4195 Kathy Wisdom (714) 572-8277
Tom Kennedy (562) 425-2636 Jim O'Dea (626) 965-0307
Portland, oregon - 1st Friday of the month
Ceili of the Valley Society - First Friday of the month Céilís and ongoing Tuesday night Céilí and Sean Nós dance classes. Our season runs from October through June and next season we may be moving the dances to Saturday rather than Friday nights. For more details, please click
LEAVE 'EM LAUGHING
This is an oldie but goodie sent in by Eileen Creegan. Well worth repeating Thanks Eileen!
While on vacation in Rome, I noticed a marble column in St. Peter's with a golden telephone on it. As a young priest passed by, I asked who the telephone was for. The priest told me it was a direct line to Heaven, and if I'd like to call, it would be a thousand dollars. I was amazed, but declined the offer.
Throughout Italy, I kept seeing the same golden telephone on a marble column. At each, I asked about it and the answer was always the same: a direct line to Heaven and I could call for a thousand dollars.
Then - I went to Ireland.
I finished my tour in Ireland. I decided to attend Mass at a local village church. When I walked in the door I noticed the golden telephone.
Underneath it there was a sign stating: "DIRECT LINE TO HEAVEN1 Euro
"Father," I said, "I have been all over Italy and in all the cathedrals I visited, I've seen telephones exactly like this one. But the price is always a thousand dollars.
Why is it that this one is only 1 Euro?"
The priest smiled and said, "Ah, but you see, you're in Ireland now. It's a local call."