Welcome to the Irish Culture & Customs newsletter which is published every fortnight or so and sent out to going on 4200 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:
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Greetings and blessings to all,

We hope this edition finds you and yours in fine fettle and fit as a fiddle. And we especially hope that all of our readers in Ireland enjoyed a safe and happy Bank Holiday weekend that wasn't a total washout. We certainly could use some of that lovely liquid sunshine here in our Ohio Valley where we're experiencing the tenth day in a row of temperatures in the 90s and one of those days a record breaker at 100. Add to that the high humidity and it's horribly hot, steamy and miserable. But never mind - we know many of you would rather that than the constant rain so we'll stop complaining.

Since last we wrote, a deep sense of loss and sadness cast a pall over an otherwise joyful period of time which began with Padraic Harrington winning the British Open followed by the end of the British army's 38-year campaign in Northern ireland.

Even though we knew he was gravely ill, it still came as a shock when we heard the news that Tommy Makem had passed away. For many in our age group, he and the Clancy Brothers were the catalyst for turning us on to Irish music. Never mind that we might have grown up listening to Radio Eireann with our parents - this sound was different and it was to become hugely popular - ironically, first in the United States and not until later in Ireland after radio presenter Ciaran MacMathuna picked up a couple of their LPs when he was in America and played them on his Job of Journeywork radio programme. Does anyone remember that?

We hadn't listened to their music in a while and we still haven't. But Bridget has played a very special CD of Tommy's which has an attribution and his autograph written to her on the cover. It was sent to her by our good friend and music columnist William Ramoutar who has had the good fortune to meet and interview many of ireland's best musicians right in his studio in St. Augustine, Florida for his Irish Ways radio program. The CD is Ancient Pulsing which has Tommy reciting in his inimitable baritone voice gorgeous poems accompanied by equally seductive and sonorous Irish arrangements. If you'd like to find out more about it, we'll be featuring it on our home page in this coming week.

Meanwhile, a very belated "pinch, punch, first day of the month, White Rabbit," Did you get married in August - or do you plan to tie the knot this month? here's your special verse:
"Whoever wed in August be,
Many a change is sure to see."

Change is certainly the operative word in Ireland of late. Did anyone reading this newsletter believe we'd live to see the end of "Operation Banner" - the name of the British campaign in Northern Ireland? " Operation Helvetic has now gone into effect. An army spokesman said that it was just a coincidence that name was chosen. But Army sources say they were struck by the coincidence. The Helvetic Society was formed in 1762 to promote "friendship and love, association and harmony" among the Swiss confederates. Both Protestant and Catholic scholars and thinkers joined. A Helvitic Republic also ruled most of what is modern Switzerland at the start of the 19th century, but discord resurfaced: a civil war between Protestants and Catholics took place in the middle of that century. Hmmm.

Enough of the blather - on with the update:
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IN THIS ISSUE:
News
From the mailbag
Links
Quips, Quotes, Proverbs & Toasts
A Bit of the Wit
Joke of The Week
Did You Know
Know Your Writers
Riddle
The week That Is
Events
Leave 'em Laughing
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NEWS

What follows are news clips from around the counties and the world. Links for more news stories can be found on our web site here
http://www.irishcultureandcustoms.com/01News/Home.html
And more county news can be hound here:
http://www.emigrant.ie/summary.asp?iCategoryID=18

GENERAL:
Most popular baby names
Sean and Sarah were the most popular baby names in Ireland last year. Figures from the CSO show that just under 1,000 boys were named Sean last year, with Jack, Conor, Adam and James making up the top-five. Almost 700 girls were named Sarah, followed by Emma, Katie, Aoife and Sophie in the popularity stakes.Two new boys name - Senan and Tristan - are in the top 100 for the first time with Cameron, Calum and Rory also increasing in popularity.

FROM AROUND THE COUNTIES:
Antrim: Funding sought for historic trees
Funding has been sought from the Heritage Lottery Fund for the preservation of the group of trees known as The Dark Hedges in Armoy. The avenue of beech trees, on the Bregagh Road, has intertwined branches which form an arch over the road; they have become a favourite subject for photographers from all over the world. Planted some three hundred years ago, the avenue of trees is said to be haunted by a "grey lady". One suggestion for their preservation is the total closure of the Bregagh Road and the installation of car parks to allow the feature to become a tourist attraction.

Armagh: A last visit home
Just weeks before he died, singer and musician Tommy Makem made one last trip home to his native county, going against the advice of his doctors. While he was in the county his nephew, Peter Makem, drove him around to many of his favourite spots including Keady itself and Derrynoose. While he was in the North Tommy Makem was also conferred with an honorary doctorate by the University of Ulster for his contribution to Irish traditional music and song writing. According to his nephew, the singer wanted to see his home place, the place he left fifty-two years ago, for one last time.

Down: Pipeline construction reveals Bronze Age artifacts
Archaeologists working in conjunction with the pipeline work have found flint tools, an axe and some pottery and evidence of a number of fulachta fiadh. It is believed the artifacts are associated with a small barrow lying close to the pipeline. Some eighty-five kilometres of pipeline are being laid to supply fresh water from the Silent Valley to the towns of Newtownards, Bangor and Holywood.

Galway: Ní thea' to houses
 A small housing development planned for South Connemara has been given the thumbs down on the basis that it had the potential to have an adverse effect on the Irish language.

Galway: Hotel to close
One of the city's top hotels, Corrib Heights, which was formerly the Corrib Great Southern Hotel, is to close its doors for business at the end of next month leaving the seven-acre site wide open for development.

Kerry: Puck escapes new adornment
The goat which will reign over Killorglin at this year's Puck Fair almost had an additional adornment, following a directive from the Department of Agriculture. For European Union regulations ruled that King Puck would have to carry the regulation ear tag with an associated flock number. However when it was confirmed that the animal would be returned to the wild, it was decided the tag was not necessary. This year's festival, which was launched during the week, will take place from August 10 to 12 and among those attending the launch was ninety-year-old Pat Houlihan. Mr Houlihan's family has been long associated with the fair and he has established a basement museum in his Killorglin home.

Waterford: Viking museum mooted for Waterford
The development of a National Viking Museum will focus on the artifacts uncovered during work on the city bypass at Woodstown. The museum will be located in the city's Historic Quarter and it is hoped that the project will be realised in time for the eleven hundredth anniversary of Waterford city in seven years' time.

Wexford: Bronze Age replica takes to the Slaney
A replica of a Bronze Age boat has completed its maiden voyage of a six-hour voyage on the River Slaney, with two breaks for refreshment. The twenty-one foot vessel, built as part of a project funded by the Wexford Organisation for Rural Development, the county council and the South West Wexford CDP, was rowed from Enniscorthy to Ferrycarrig last week by the men who built her. Nick Ryan, Nick Murray, Brendan Power, Michael Barren, Andy McGarry, Joe O'Mahony, Peter Hanley and Tom Kehoe, built the St Louis under the tutelage of Andi McGarry, a community artist.

Wicklow: Ballyvolan brooch comes back to Ireland
A ninth century brooch which was found in Ballyvolan near Kilmartin over one hundred years ago is to go on display at the National Museum in Dublin. The silver brooch, decorated with bosses and interlaced birds, was discovered at Ballyvolan Fort but was given to the British Government in lieu of inheritance tax. Allocated to the Art Fund charity, it has now been donated to the National Museum of Northern Ireland. Since the Ulster Museum is at present undergoing extensive redevelopment they have lent the brooch to their Dublin counterparts for exhibition.

FROM AROUND THE WORLD
Vancouver, Canada: A poignant new setting for Ahakista stone
A black stone from Ahakista on the Sheeps Head Peninsula in west Cork has been incorporated into a wall erected in Vancouver which was officially unveiled last weekend. The wall, which is inscribed with all the names of the victims, is a memorial to the more than three hundred people who lost their lives over twenty years ago when an Air India plane crashed into the sea.
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SPONSOR/AFFILIATE
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Back to the books! Hard to believe that summer's almost over and a new year at school or college is right around the corner. Make shopping for all those needed supplies and textbooks easier while helping to support us at the same time simply by clicking through to Amazon from our site. We have links in our library and once you click through, you can then go anywhere else on Amazon and we still get credit. Many thanks in advance!
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FROM THE MAILBAG

Peter Brennan would like to know the author of the following quotation: "The English gave us our language, but we made it special." Was it Lady gregory? George bernard Shaw? Someone else altogether?

Candee manwaring writes: I have been a reader for some time and always enjoy the news. I started subscribing several years ago to educate myself for our dream trip to Ireland that we planned to take "someday". Well, someday finaly arrived this summer. After saving for 15 years my husband Tom and I finally made it!  We spent 20 wonderful, if soggy days, travelling all over the country. Now of course, the plan is to return in 2 years and the saving plan has already begun. Inspired by your terrific newsletter, Tom decided to create a blog to document our trip and keep in touch with friends and family back in the states.  We thought you might enjoy some of the pictures, since your story sort of gave us the idea.
check it out if you like.  It's a free site.
http:www.milseaininireland.blogspot.com
I think you'll agree that Tom's pictures are stirring- especially if you click on them and enlarge them to screen size. Enjoy! And again thanks for a great newsletter, I read it now with new eyes.
ED. NOTE: We visited Tom's blog and indeed, the photos are just beautiful. We encourage everyone to take a look!

Grace writes: Thank you for the wonderful newsletter. It gives me much pleasure to keep in touch with my Irish roots. I live in South Africa. My grandfather, James Roarty came from Bunbeg in Donegal. Fortunately I've been to Ireland to visit my relatives. I immediately felt at home. Here in South Africa I have started a project to help the poorest people in the communities who have not had opportunities of going to school. Many of them are unemployed. With help from far and near, even from Galway in Ireland, I have started a project for Mothers and Toddlers. They come to play sessions where the babies and toddlers play with toys they never would come across in their lives. We teach mothers and caregivers about nutrition and health and hygiene. It would be good to hear from anyone who has ideas and advice for this project.
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LINKS

Tommy Makem Tribute
A very moving slide show accompanied by Tommy singing Four green Fields. The person who created it mentions the flutter in Tommy's voice - apparently it wasn't' on the original recording. Never mind. It still brought Bridget to tears.
http://www.searchthetube.com/KsaQPobUZiM/Tommy_Makem___Four_Green_Fields

The poet and the balladeer
The great man himself reciting Patrick Kavanagh's heart-scalding Dawning of the Day followed by him singing his own composition Gentle Annie
http://www.searchthetube.com/yrIXPQ-Vspk/Tommy_Makem__Gentle_Annie

Tribute by Mareid Sullivan
This is a lovely rendition of the Curlew's Song - another beautiful Makem composition:
http://maireid.com/Never_Drift_Apart/5.The_Curlew.mp3%20

Irish Page Fortnightly Offering
This time around it's the very popular and equally as famous Minstrel Boy. which they have translated from the English into Irish. Enjoy! http://www.irishpage.com/songs/minstrel.htm 

Cast your vote for the best Viking costume
Take a look at the five finalists and then vote for your favourite. The winner will be announced 14th August, 2007 as part of RTÉs live webcast of the Sea Stallion's arrival at Dublin Docklands.
http://www.rte.ie/vikings/contest.html

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

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!
http://www.theanimalrescuesite.com/cgi-bin/WebObjects/CTDSites.woa

Free People Food!
It only takes a second to feed hungry people, too:
http://www.thehungersite.com
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QUIPS & QUOTES , CURSES & PROVERBS, TOASTS & SAYINGS
The following was edited from an email received from Ed Ward of the Milwaukee Irish Festival.

...Irish music has lost it's most passionate and ardent advocate. He battled his cancer in his own way and fought it bravely and without complaints. "Ever onward and upward' he would say. I spoke to him about 2 weeks ago the day after he returned from Ireland. We talked for about a half an hour about his trip, how wonderful it was to see the parade of people who came to visit him in the hotel, relatives, old friends, the archbishop. He said he was very sad when he boarded a plane to leave Ireland - clearly knowing he would not see it again. He desperately wanted to make it to Milwaukee this year so we discussed plans on what we would do as it was evident he would not be able to perform. But he planned to be there anyway.

We are going ahead with these plans and Tommy's slots will be billed as "REMEMBERING TOMMY MAKEM" and will be led by his nephews Tom and Jimmy Sweeney, Brian Doherty, Kevin Evans and Eugene Byrne and other close friends. The Makem and Spain Brothers will also be in Milwaukee so it should be a special celebration of Tommy's life and love for the music of Ireland.

ED. NOTE: Amen
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A BIT OF THE WIT
when he was asked if he had any plans to retire, Tommy Maken said "Yes, of course. I retire every night and in the morning when I awake I realise just how lucky and privileged I am to be able to continue doing the things I love to do."
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SPONSOR: Help support our newsletter and web site by visiting our good friends at the Celtic Attic:
We've been away on an extended buying trip and have just returned happily weighed down with a grand collection of Celtic treasures. Come see what's new! Also, if you have kids or grandkids who like to colour, just eMail kc@celticattic.com put Alpha Soup in the subject line and we will eMail you our Alphabet Soup, Dinosaur Snack book in PDF and word format.  Normal price is $3.99 so do take advantage of this cute coloring book now!
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FAVORITE JOKE OF THE WEEK
This one was sent in by John Murphy - thanks, John!

Irish exercise routine:
1. Begin by standing on a comfortable surface, where you have plenty of room at each side. With a 2kg potato sack in each hand, extend your arms straight out from your sides and hold them there as long as you can. Try to reach a full minute, then relax.
2. Each day, you'll find that you can hold this position for just a bit longer. After a couple of weeks, move up to 5kg potato sacks. Then 25kg potato sacks and then eventually try to get to where you can lift a 50kg potato sack in each hand and hold your arms straight for more than a full minute (We're at this level).
3. After you feel confident at that level, put a potato in each of the sacks .
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DID YOU KNOW
1. At the 1961 Newport Folk Festival Tommy Makem and Joan Baez were named the most promising newcomers on the American folk scene?
2. With the Clancy Brothers Tommy Makem was listed among the top 100 Irish-Americans of the 20th century in 1999?
3. When taking requests at their performances, the standard repertoire of folk and Irish music, both well-known and little-known were always welcome. However, hackneyed cliches such as "Danny Boy", "When Irish Eyes are Smiling", and "Toorah Loorah Looral" were forbidden?
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KNOW YOUR IRISH WRITERS
But to begin with, the answers to our last quiz
1. Irish Furniture by the Knight of Glin and James Peill
2. Cumin na ban and the Irish Revolution by Cal McCarthy
3. Connemara: Listening to the Wind by Tim Robinson

A round of applause and pints to our latest literary sleuths:
Helen Dowd
hanks to all of you who have voted for my site. Hope you enjoy reading a few of the stories. http://www.occupytillicome.com/

Hartson Dowd
ED. NOTE: Hartson also nominates His wife's site and thanks everyone for voting to make her one of the top ranked Christian sites on the internet. If you enjoy reading a wide variety of wholesome stories, inspiratonal poems and more, it's well worth a visit - and a vote!

Anne Skerrett
I would like to nominate the web site of the American Foundation for Irish Heritage which "was established to honor the glorious contributions the Irish in America have made to the growth and development of the United States of America."
http://www.irishamericanheritage.com/

Déirdre McKernan-Hetzler
A new tour for next spring is in the planning stages. Please keep checking our web site for the latest updates. Hope you can join us!
http://www.tours2ireland.com/

Roberta Brady
While this site hasn't been updated in a very long time, there's still a lot of information here that's worth looking at if you're interested in different aspects of Irish history.
http://larkspirit.com/history/

Paul Conroy
If you'd like to learn how to play the tin whistle, this is an excellent place to begin - and best of all, there is no charge whatsoever!
http://www.whistletutor.com/

Want to see your name and favorite web site in our next newsletter?
Who wrote:
1. Green Speak - Ireland in Her Own Words
2. Every Dark Hour
3. In My Sister's Shoes
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SPONSOR: Please help us keep the newsletter coming - visit our good friends at the Irish Lotto.
It's' always been our fantasy that one of our readers will win; but, as they say in Ireland, you can't win it if you're not in it. And here's the best part - you don't have to live in Ireland to play and your winnings are not subject to Irish taxes! Click here for more details or to buy a ticket:
http://www.irishlotto.net
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RIDDLE
But first. the answer to our last skull scratcher:

After teaching his class all about roman numerals (X = 10, IX=9 and so on) the teacher asked his class to draw a single continuous line and turn IX into 6. The only stipulation the teacher made was that the pen could not be lifted from the paper until the line was complete.
Answer: To turn IX into 6, add a curved line before the IX... SIX!
As always, our Riddle People their usual brilliant selves, but it was Shaun Lynch from Canada who was first in. Well done!

And now for our next mind mangler:
You can do it in vessels for getting you clean.
You can do it to fabric to stop being seen.
You are doing it when you've come up short.
You've done it too when you've equalled in sport.
This may sound like there should be images but then,
You can do all those things without pencil or pen.
What is it?
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THE WEEK THAT WAS
1. Article: Lughnasa - Celebrating the Harvest
http://www.irishcultureandcustoms.com/ACustom/Harvest.html
2. Article: Haymaking in Ireland Long Ago
http://www.irishcultureandcustoms.com/ACustom/Haymaking.html
3. Article- Season of the Corn
http://www.irishcultureandcustoms.com/ACustom/SeasonCorn.html
4. Article: Give Me Your Hand - Music for an Irish Wedding Ceremony
http://www.irishcultureandcustoms.com/Weddings/MusicCeremony.html
5. Article: The Galway Races - A Winning Bet Everytime!
http://www.irishcultureandcustoms.com/ACalend/GalwayRaces4.html
6. The Irish Kitchen: Irish Apple Cake
http://www.irishcultureandcustoms.com/2Kitch/rDessert1.html#AppleCake
7. Basic Irish - Back to School
http://www.irishcultureandcustoms.com/3Focloir/Lessons3.html#Gael19
8. Kids' Ireland - The Salmon of Knowledge
http://www.irishcultureandcustoms.com/1Kids/Salmon.html
9. Culture Corner - Poulnabronne
http://www.irishcultureandcustoms.com
10. Music Review: Irish Ways
http://www.irishcultureandcustoms.com/AMusic/Ramoutar/IrishWays.
11. Circle of prayer - Novena # 3 in this cycle began on August 3 and ends on August 11. This week we had good news on babyMaggie who now weighs 6lbs and is thriving; also three year old Dominic whose last three spinal taps showed no badcells. Their families want to thank you for all of your prayers as does our good friend Penny whose second surgery in six weeks also showed no sing of anything amiss. And your writer Bridget would also like to say thank you as her last exam with the cardiologist this past Tuesday went very well! However, amid the good news, we did hear about Mary's family, in particular for Roseann who had a severe stroke yesterday leaving her paralyzed on one side with a  50/50 chance of surviving.   Before the stroke Roseann has been taking care of her husband of 43 years who is in poor health, has lost a leg and is in a wheelchair.  She also has a grandchild with Down's Syndrome.  Their family is carrying a heavy burden - please send your prayers and healing thoughts to them. Also Liadan, the sister of Bridget's former publisher Ethna MkKiernan recovering from a stroke; Penny; who is recovering from surgery; And please don't forget Hartson, Pauline, Heather and so many others who need our prayers or meditations, especially our men and women in the military serving their country all over the world. Please God, they will all be home safe and sound soon.
http://www.irishcultureandcustoms.com/Blessings/CirclePrayer.html
12. Trivia Contest: Have you entered our new contest for August? There's still plenty of time. All entries must be in by midnight, August 31st, whatever timezone you're in.
http://www.irishcultureandcustoms.com/TriviaContest.html
ED. NOTE: Congratulations to Amanda Ryan in Utah who was the winner of our July contest.

So there you have it until we write again. If you're celebrating a birthday, anniversary or other important event between now and then. we hope it's an occasion filled with joy and happiness. And if this is your first edition, many thanks for joining us; we hope you enjoyed our musings and meanderings and if so, please feel free to pass them along to family and friends.

In the meantime, may the Good Shepherd of us all hold you and yours in the palm of His hand - but not squeeze His fist too tightly upon 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!
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Help keep the newsletter coming
Officially, our annual dollar drive is over but we are always happy to receive donations at any time of year. If you'd like to help us out you can send a little something through PayPal:
http://www.paypal.com
and to this account:
bhaggerty@irishcultureandcustoms.com

or by snail mail to:
Bridget & Russ Haggerty
5670 Meryton Place
Cincinnati, OH 45224.

Go raibh maith agat in advance for your generosity and kindness.
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ANNOUNCEMENTS & EVENTS
Please check with the Wild Geese - they have a huge listing of events and we don't want to duplicate their efforts:
http://thewildgeese.com
If we receive a unique event not mentioned there we will be happy to list it here.

Dublin, Ireland - Now through August 18
Tall Tales Theatre Company celebrates its tenth birthday in collaboration with Bewleys Café Theatre by presenting a season of new Irish plays by women. All performances s daily at 1.00pm [includes light lunch]. For more details, please click
http://www.bewleyscafetheatre.com

Estes park, Colorado - September 6-9th 2007
31st annual Longs Peak Scottish Irish Highland Festival. It's a great time for the whole family with Irish dance, piping and drumming, massed bands, jousting whiskey tasting, and more. . For details, please visit:
http://scotfest.com
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LEAVE THEM LAUGHING
Father O' Malley answers the phone.
'Hello, is this Father O'Malley?'
'It is'
'This is the IRS. Can you help us?'
'I can.'
'Do you know a Ted Houlihan?'
'I do'
'Is he a member of your congregation?'
He is'
'Did he donate €10,000 to the church?'
'He will.'

And a parting shot from the Bard of Armagh:
"If your nose is running and your feet smell, you're upside down."

Rest in peace, Tommy. You will be greatly missed.