Welcome to the Irish Culture & Customs newsletter which is published every week or so and sent out to nearly 3800 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 on the pig's back, as happy as a lark, and as frisky as a foal frolicking in through the fields. A warm welcome to everyone and a special hello to all of our new readers. We hope you like what 's on offer and if so, please feel free to share with your family and friends.

Meanwhile, we hope you all enjoyed a warm and cuddly Valentine's Day. For our part, we knew there was going to be a big storm coming in, so we stocked up on all the important ingredients on our menu for romance - Brie being on top of Bridget's list, along with a nice crusty baguette, a bottle of champers and dark chocolate truffles. Decadent? You bet! In any event, we hope your Valentine's Day was as special as ours.

As for the storm, it started on Tuesday and didn't go away until Thursday. And the operative word in these parts wasn't snow. Our daughter described the view from her house as "a world of glass." Inches of ice cover everything and while it's awesome to look at, we're of a mind that we'd rather have the blizzard they got up north. You can shovel snow. We watched from our window as a huge elm had branches violently amputated. But a young oak is bearing up well. And we were reminded of a quote by Aldo Leopold: "The big sleet tore the neighboring elms limb from limb. But there's no sign of damage to our oak. What's a ton of ice, more or less, to a good oak."

So, where were you last Sunday when Croke Park hosted its first "foreign game"? Some are saying the legendary warrior Cú Chulainn cursed us for tainting the hallowed ground. But others are of the opinion that whatever the outcome, it is time for us to set aside politics and embrace sports of all sorts. It will be interesting to see what happens next Sunday when God Save the Queen is played before the Ireland vs. England game.

On to more immediate concerns: Gung hay fat choy! wishing you prosperity in Cantonese. Auspiciously for the Irish who have always venerated "the gentleman who pays the rent", 2007 is the Chinese year of the Pig. If you were born in 1923, 1935, 1947, 1959, 1971, 1983 or 1995 - you were born under the sign of the pig. Like the pig, you are highly regarded for your chilvary and pureness of heart, and you often make friends for life. For pigs in 2007, any recent setbacks or obstacles can be overcome so look forward to a year in which to really shine, either personally or professionally.
http://chinese.astrology.com/pig.html

So then - Happy Chinese New Year and have a great time on Shrove Tuesday and/or Mardi Gras. And for those of you who give up the drink for Lent, keep in mind that you get a special dispensation on St. Patrick's Day!

Enough of the blather - on with the update!
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SPONSOR: Help us keep this newsletter free by visiting our good friends at the Celtic Attic:
Need a dash of Irish flair for St. Patrick's Day? Want to send something really nice to your "mum" in Ireland & the UK for Mothering Sunday (March 18th this year)? Planning an Irish wedding? Whatever the occasion, we can help make it memorable with our wide range of gifts and novelties. Come take a look. And remember - we offer Free Shipping on most orders over $75.00 (some restrictions apply). Also, act now and take an additional 25%, YES 25% off any SALES PAGE item in our Sales Section! And don't forget to enter the Monthly Free Giveaway.  This month we have combined our free giveaway so you only have to fill out one form. Happy shopping from all of us at the celtic Attic!
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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
GENERAL:
Price of a pint to rise by 5c
And this time, stay-at-home drinkers won't escape the pinch. Diageo Ireland, brewers of Guinness and Carlsberg, has announced that the wholesale price of all its draught and bottled beers will go up by 2.7pc from March 5. Inclusive of VAT, that works out at an increase of about 5c on a pint. Publicans often add an increase for themselves at times of wholesale price hikes and beer prices in off-licences will also rise. Makes you want to cry in your beer.

Majority of Irish in favor of divorce
An overwhelming majority of Irish people would vote in favour of divorce if a referendum on the issue were held now, according to the latest Irish Times TNS mrbi opinion poll. A clear majority of voters also believes that the introduction of divorce has not undermined the institution of marriage.

FROM AROUND THE COUNTIES
Antrim: Fountain may be moved for Gaelic pitch
A new GAA pitch may take the place of a landmark Victorian fountain in Dunville Park, Belfast. The fountain was presented as a gift to Belfast in 1891 and the proposal is to move it to a new site at the corner of the park where the Falls, Springfield and Grosvenor Roads meet. In its place it is proposed to locate a small Gaelic pitch, five-a-side pitch and multi-sports surface.

Armagh: Catchy tune catches ear of advertiser
Armagh duo Cat Malojian, lead singer and guitarist, Stephen Scullion, and banjo player Jonny Toman, who describe their sound as "indie folk" , were delighted when Vodafone asked to use one of their songs, Life Rolls On. . You can hear it here:
http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/local-national/article2269408.ece

Clare: Way Cleared For Harris Statue In Kilkee
An Bord Plean la has cleared the way for the construction of a statue of the late actor Richard Harris. The proposal from the Richard Harris Memorial Committee had been passed by Clare County Council last August and last week, the board rejected an appeal against that decision.

Clare: Recently, An Taoiseach Bertie Ahern officially launched a major exhibition honouring Dr. Brendan O'Regan - the man credited with inventing airport duty free shopping. The Clare Museum exhibition, entitled 'Empowering the People: The Career and Achievements of Dr. Brendan O'Regan', celebrates the life of one of Ireland's most noted peace ambassadors and initiators of commercial and industrial initiatives.

Clare: Falconry centre planned for Ailwee
Ailwee Cave in north Clare has received the go-ahead to build a falconry centre at the site. The centre will house seventy to eighty birds of prey, including vultures, eagles, falcons, hawks, and Ireland's snowy owl.

Cork: Donnellys Bakery to close
It's one of the oldest bakeries in the country and has been operating on Shandon Steet in Cork city since the 1920s. Sadly, increasing costs and cheaper competition are forcing the family-owned business to close its
doors.

Cork: Macroom all set for solar power
Macroom, which was one of the first Irish street-lit towns in 1890, may be heading for another revolution - solar power. The local council and town clerk Kevin Curran have hopes that the town hall lighting and lights in the square could be run on solar power. According to Mr Curran, since the system is being upgraded soon it would be worth changing to an environmentally friendly lights system, as part of the European Energy Award proposal. Cllr Martin Coughlan said he welcomed the move, seeing that it was taking the ESB six months to fix one light.

Donegal: Medieval kiln found in Navenny outside Ballybofey
During excavation work on a construction site, builders found a medieval kiln. The kiln was used to dry corn and is believed to be over six hundred years old.

Down: Trust opens up family arts initiative
An innovative partnership between the National Trust at Castle Ward and Down Community Arts has led to the launch of "Great Explorations." On each Saturday until March, Castle Ward will be a haven of family arts activity, with something for everyone to enjoy - no matter what age or ability. Local community groups can explore creative writing, print-making, sculpture, archery, flower arranging and much more.

Dublin: 180 useless city signposts to go
The posts, which do not contain any signs, had been in various locations about the city since the scrapping of the orbital road sign system four years ago. An Taisce said the galvanised signposts detracted from the beauty of such areas as Merrion Square and other architecturally significant areas.

Dublin: Theatre to get facelift
The Gaiety Theatre which has stood on South King Street for more than one hundred and thirty years, is to close for five months so that refurbishment work can be carried out. The orchestra pit is to be enlarged and accommodation will also be provided for scenery in the area of the stage.

Fermanagh: Belleek to mark 150th anniversary
Belleek pottery is to celebrate its 150th anniversary this year with a limited edition reissue of fifteen items from its archives, including a Round Tower centrepiece from the nineteenth century and a Henshall basket from the 1960s. The pottery is the oldest in Ireland and is currently owned by Dr George Moore from Dundalk who lives in Washington DC.

Galway: Thousands attend annual Novena
Around 18,000 people daily attended the 26th Galway Novena during the nine day festival of faith. Meanwhile, the 3.30 session last Sunday afternoon was been cancelled to avoid a clash with the Ireland v France rugby match in Croke Park. Hmmm. This could not have pleased the Almighty and one has to wonder.

Kildare: First non-Irish teacher at Newbridge school
St Conleth's Vocational School has employed its first non-Irish teacher, Bozena Kaczmarczyk from Warsaw, Poland, to help break down language barriers for the twenty Polish pupils in the school.

Kildare: Athy to host Year of the Barrow closing ceremony
The Year of the Barrow, recently officially launched by President Mary McAleese, was created to promote better awareness and usage of the River Barrow, which flows through Monasterevin and Athy. The celebrations, which are to take place during the May bank holiday weekend, aim to highlight the river's benefits to communities and towns along its banks. Other events include the St Patrick's Day Parade with a river-based theme, a fleet of Heritage Boats to set sail in April and the Barrow Gold Treasure Hunt in May.

Kilkenny: Mart closure celebrated by theatrical event
The closure of Kilkenny mart will be marked by a unique theatre piece, which will comprise stories and personal recollections from the public. The event is entitled "The Last Lot" and was the result of inspiration from Mary Butler, Kilkenny's arts officer, who launched an appeal recently for contributions from people who would have links to the mart which was set up in 1956.

Laois: From barbershop to coffee bar
What was once Rocky Scully's barbershop for nearly fifty years on Main Street, Portlaoise, has recently been redeveloped into Egan's Coffee Bar and Roof Terrace. As the building is a protected structure, architect Jason O'Shaughnessy of Architecture 53Seven was faced with the challenge of merging the old and the new.

Leitrim: Million price tag on derelict property
A €1m price tag on a derelict property may seem excessive, but not perhaps when the house is situated on forty-nine acres with extensive frontage onto Lough Allen. Derrintober House has been described as a "gentleman's residence". It was last used as a home in the middle of the last century when a family worked the farm there.

Limerick: Grand Central to go
The former Grand Central cinema on Bedford Row, renamed the Central Studio in 1972, will be demolished soon with a modern new business venture taking its place. The demolition of the cinema, which was originally built in 1812 as a Primitive Wesleyan Methodist preaching house, will leave just the Royal remaining of six cinemas the city once boasted.

Longford: Killoe pub provides chauffeur service
Mikey and Mary Begley, who run Begley's in Killoe, have purchased a people carrier and have insured three people to drive it in order to facilitate their rural clients in reaching home at night. However according to Mary, this move might not save their business as clients are still wary of being stopped by gardai for random breath tests the following morning. Having run the bar for the past thirty years, Mikey and Mary have expended a good deal of money over the last nine years on redecorating the premises, which Mikey himself built. However they are not confident that the business will survive the latest Government directives.

Louth: Viking ship to be excavated at the Boyne
The ship is believed to be from the early medieval period, and carbon dating results in a few weeks will reveal precisely how old the vessel is. The wreck was discovered during dredging operations by the Drogheda Port Company in November. The ship lies close to Drogheda port and is between nine and sixteen metres long.

Mayo: County Council may honour Healy
A proposal that the €30m N5 Charlestown bypass should be named after the writer and political commentator John Healy is to be considered by Mayo County Council. Mr Healy, a native of Charlestown, was a columnist with The Irish Times and he championed the rural west of Ireland in the 1950s and 1960s when it was struck by emigration. He also wrote a bestseller, entitled "No One Shouted Stop: The Death of an Irish Town" in 1956. The book, which was about the economic poverty afflicting Irish rural communities, put Charlestown on the map. Mr Healy's wrote how Charlestown's youth had nothing but the two Rs - the Road and the Rail to emigrate to a better life.

Monaghan: Market House to be saved
With the granting of planning permission by the town council in Castleblayney for the upgrade of the exterior of the Market House, a long battle for the building has been won.

Offaly: St Monaghan's Day celebrated
St Monaghan's Day celebrations in Pullough were recently marked with a Mass in St Mary's Church celebrated by parish priest Father Aidan Ryan and Father James McKiernan. Pupils from Pullough National School told the story of the saint and sang hymns at the ceremony. St Monaghan's bones were on display at the altar after Mass, and the congregation then proceeded to the well, and on to Leamonaghan Cross where a new tree was planted by Alex McCabe and blessed by Father Aidan.

Tyrone: Footbridge links College to Arts Centre
A crane has lowered a twenty-tonne pedestrian bridge into place at Omagh linking Omagh College to the Strule Arts Centre over the River Strule. Both the centre and the bridge will be open this summer.

Wexford: Gorey Tidy Towns seek woodworkers
Gorey Tidy Towns are seeking people with woodworking skills to make bird-nesting boxes for the Wildlife and Natural Amenities section of the Tidy Towns competition. The bird boxes are to be sold to people so that birds will be attracted to their gardens and the proceeds will go towards the Friends of Wexford Hospital Cancer Day Care Centre.

FROM AROUND THE WORLD:
Hollywood, California: Clare actress to star in Danny Boy
Clare native Tara Leniston charmed 'Scarface' star Al Pacino into letting her act and co-produce 'Danny Boy', which begins shooting in Ireland in August. The former model, who starred in Jackie Chan's thriller 'Highbinders', met Pacino two years ago in London.
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SPONSOR: Please help us keep the newsletter coming - visit our good friends at the Irish Lotto.
There was NO winner in Wedneday's drawing. That means Saturday's jackpot will be about 3.5 million Euro. It's always been our fantasy that one of our readers will be the big winner, 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:
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FROM THE MAILBAG

In our last newsletter, we featured a link to a video and wondered who the singer is. Several of you wrote in and told us it's Garth Brooks and the song is Ireland. We don't think of ourselves as that fond of country music, but we thoroughly enjoyed this song! Many thanks to all of you who sent us the info'. As Joanne said "Not bad for a country singer!"

Pat Murphy would like to know the proper way to pronounce Tullamore. We think we know - but were not 100% sure.

Jane Graybill asks about "the bite of friendship" and would like to know exactly what the custom is and where it began. Off the top of our heads, we intuitively know this as the hospitality of the house. In the old days, you'd be breaking the ancient Brehon laws if you didn't offer a caller a bite to eat or a wee drop to drink. Does anyone have anything more to offer on this query?

Denise Mieche writes: What does calling someone a Skittering Ghost mean? I am not sure it is spelled correctly, as I've never seen it written. I have an Irish friend from the South (the Republic) who calls another friend this.

A couple of weeks ago, we received vital information from Bronagh O'Rourke on how to recognize the signs of a stroke. It's too long to reprint here, but it's also too important not to share it with you. So Bronagh has graciously offered to email it to any reader who requests it. Just forward your request to us and we'll pass it along to Bronagh.
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LINKS:

Irish Gardeners Forum
Recently, James Kilkelly contacted us about exchanging links and sharing information about his gardening forum. James is a National Botanic Gardens qualified garden designer working for private and commercial clients all over the west of Ireland. He is also contributing writer for various publications, chief of these being his weekly gardening articles for the Tuam Herald, Galway's longest established newspaper. If you'd like to join others in discussions about gardening in Ireland, please click
http://www.irishgardeners.com

Fethard at Home
This one was brought to our attention by Thomas Crane, author of Green is the Valley, Blue are the Hills. The site is the creation of one Joe Kenny who offers day to day happenings around the town, aerial photos he has taken himself, history, and much, much more. it's a labor of love and well worth checking out.
http://www.fethard.com
ED. NOTE: You can also access Thomas Crane's book here too:
http://fethard.com/crane/

On yer bikes! Hans & Peaty Tour of Ireland
With Flogging Molly singing I'm a Selfish Man in the background, these seemingly mature males take off in search of pubs. Appearances are very deceptive and this is what happens when they sample thirty pubs in SIX days.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KJEO89j8XsQ

The Real Ireland
Great music and dancing from Listowel - but you'll have to watch a few fun vignettes before that - so stay with it!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ImFOZBYsHQw

Irish music and dancing from 1963
Black and white video features a great band and couples up on the dance floor.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Iqp4I8bNq54&NR

Around the old turf fire
Round the old turf fire sit the old folk, bent with years,
As they watch us trippin' lightly they're smilin' thro' their tears.
So sadly they are dreaming of their youthful heart's desire
In those dear old days so long ago around the old turf fire.
You can hear the song here:
http://irishincense.com/acatalog/Irish_Gift_Idea-Turf_Fire_Aroma.html
Yearning for the unmistakeable smell of a peat fire burning in the hearth? Here's the next best thing: a nostalgic turf incense burner! And if you should decide to buy one, receive a 10% discount at check out if you include the code ICC200 .

The Irish Page - More O'Carolan
Detractors say he drank to excess, but Ireland's greatest composer would never have been invited into the great houses if he were a drunkard - nor could he have written such memorable music. Jack & Vivian of the Irish Page encourage you to be the judge. Be sure to turn your volume up and visit:
http://www.irishpage.com/songs/carolan/odesky-ph.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

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 , PROVERBS, TOASTS & SAYINGS

Here's a toast that's a bit contradictory - but then isn't that classically Irish?
If you must lie, lie in the arms of the one you love.
If you must steal, steal away from bad company.
If you must cheat, cheat death.
And if you must drink, drink in the moments that take your breath away.
Attributed to Brianne Kelly Darragh
ED. NOTE: According to Bridget's mother, it's bad luck to toast with an empty glass or clink one with another.
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A BIT OF THE WIT
Women were made to be loved not to be understood.
Oscar Wilde
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FAVORITE JOKE OF THE WEEK
With many thanks to Hartson. Makes you want to cry and laugh at the same time!
A woman stopped by unannounced at her recently married son's house.  She rang the doorbell and walked in.  She was shocked to see her daughter-in-law lying on the couch, totally naked.  Soft music was playing, and the aroma of perfume filled the room. "What are you doing?" she asked. "I'm waiting for my husband to come home from work," the daughter-in-law answered. "But you're naked!" the mother-in-law exclaimed."This is my love dress," the daughter-in-law explained.
"Love dress?  But you're naked!" "My husband loves me to wear this dress," she replied.  "It excites him to no end.  Every time he sees me in this dress, he instantly becomes romantic, and makes love to me for hours on end.  He can't get enough of me." The mother-in-law left.  When she got home, she undressed, showered, and put on her best perfume, dimmed the lights, put on a romantic CD, and lay down the couch waiting for her husband to arrive. Finally her husband came home.  He walked in and saw her laying there so provocatively "What are you doing?" he asked. "This is my love dress," she whispered, sensually. "Needs ironing," he said.  "What's for dinner?"
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DID YOU KNOW
1. The composer of Galway Bay was a medical doctor by profession? Arthur Colahan wrote music as a hobby and was actually born in Enniskillen, Co Fermanagh but grew up in Galway. He is now buried in an unmarked grave in Galway's Bohermore Cemetery.
2. The lyrics to Danny Boy were written by an English lawyer named Frederick Edward Weatherly? He was also an author and radio entertainer.
3.The son of a Jewish immigrant on the lower east side of New York wrote the lyrics to How are Things in Glocca Morra? E. Y. "Yip" Harburg is perhaps better known for writing Over The Rainbow for which he won an Oscar. ________________________________________________________________
KNOW YOUR IRISH WRITERS
To start off with, the answers to our last quiz:
1. In Search of Ireland's Heroes: The Story of the Irish from the English Invasion to the Present Day by Carmel McCaffrey
 
2. Weaving Tapestry in Rural Ireland by Meghan Nuttall Sayres and Laurence Boland

3. Pebble Cove by Maread O'Driscoll

A round of pints and applause to our latest list of Irish literary sleuths:

Helen Dowd
I invite you to come visit my web site and click on "Literary" for your choice of reading. And thanks to all who have voted for my site.
www.occupytillicome.com

Cathleen Toft
Here's a great web site well worth exploring:
http://www.irelandseye.com/aarticles/culture/talk/legend/myth.shtm

Patricia Edwards
This is of particular interest to me wherever I visit, so I like this site:
http://www.stonepages.com/ireland/ireland.html

Sheila W. in WV
My Favorite Irish site is Litriochwhich sells books written in the Irish Language. Have found many resources for learning the Irish Language through this site.
http://www.Litriocht.com

Want to see your name and favorite web site in our next newsletter?
Who wrote:
1. The Life of St. Patrick: Enlightener of the Irish
2. The Writings of St. Patrick: The Apostle of Ireland
3. Discovering St. Patrick
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SPONSOR: Help us keep your newsletter coming. Visit our good friends at Lollysmith:
In anticipation of all the upcoming holidays, we're fully stocked with a wonderful selection of gifts for St. Patrick's Day, Mothering Sunday (March 18), Easter, and more. And to make it as convenient as possible, we've combined gifts with holiday themes from throughout our shop on to one page. So come browse around a bit and check out our adorable tatty Teddy bears, inspirational Rosary beads of genuine Connemara marble, and many other great gift ideas.
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RIDDLE
Finally, we have received the official solution to our last riddle:
Q. What word can be spelled backwards and forwards and look the same right side up or upside down?
A. NOON

We had some good efforts. Mike Horan sent in BOB which we thought worked - but then on closer inspection, realized it didn't. Same with solos sent by Barbara Goold. Frank O'Halloran, Jody Ayres and Molly Yaeger sent in I which does work - but isn't the answer we were looking for. Hope we didn't miss any honourable mentions. And now a drumroll for our brilliant solver: Not to be thwarted, Barbara Goold who lives in Toronto tried again and and came up with the answer. Well done!
And now for our next brain bruiser:
How many 1 foot by 1 foot bricks would it take to complete a building that's 20 feet long on all four sides and 20 feet
high?
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THE WEEK THAT IS
1. Article: Shrovetide - the Marrying Season
http://www.irishcultureandcustoms.com/ACalend/Shrovetide.html
2. Article: Shrove Tuesday - Pancake Day!
http://www.irishcultureandcustoms.com/ACalend/ShroveTues.html
3. Article: Ash Wednesday & The Lenten Season in Old Ireland
http://www.irishcultureandcustoms.com/ACalend/AshWed.html
4. Article: What if you were still single by Ash Wednesday?
http://www.irishcultureandcustoms.com/ACalend/SinglebyAshWed.htm
5. Article: The Legend of the Claddagh Ring
http://www.irishcultureandcustoms.com/AEmblem/CladdaghRing.html
6. Article: Who was behind the doors of Ireland?
http://www.irishcultureandcustoms.com/ALandmks/DoorsofDublin.html
7. Article: Clare - The Banner County
http://www.irishcultureandcustoms.com/ACounty/Clare.html
8. Basic Irish - The Language of Love
http://www.irishcultureandcustoms.com/3Focloir/Lessons1.1.html
9. Kids' Ireland: The Nightingale & The Rose
http://www.irishcultureandcustoms.com/1Kids/NightingaleandRose.htm
10. The Irish Kitchen - In honour of the irish New Year, here's a page of Irish pork entreés, including a favorite of Bridget's dad, Pork Pie!
http://www.irishcultureandcustoms.com/2Kitch/rPork.html#IrishPorkPie
11. William Ramoutar's Music Review: Celtic Love Songs http://www.irishcultureandcustoms.com/AMusic/Ramoutar/LoveSongs.html
12. Circle of prayer - Our 2nd Novena in this cycle began on February 13 and continues through February 21. Before we get to our prayer list, we thought you'd like to know that our prayers do get answered; for example, Helen Dowd's sister Evelyn Splane and her companion Faith are back home safely from their mission to India, God bless them and the work. On the other ahnd, so many are in need of your prayers and meditations; whatever your spiritual leanings, please remember Simon Shepherd who needs a miracle if he is to live longer than another 18 months.; baby Joseph who is holding his own, Pauline Dewberry in hospital recovering from a bone marrow transplant, Patricia Edward's daughter Heather still enduring very difficult chemotherapy, little Emma Josephine, Mickey, Jane Fitz., and Scott H and so many others who need our spiritual support - especially our men and women in the military serving their country all over the world God willing, they will all be home safe and sound soon.
http://www.irishcultureandcustoms.com/Blessings/CirclePrayer.html
13/ Trivia Contest.  February is a short month! All entries must be in by midnight February 28, whatever time zone you are in. You'll find the quiz here:
http://www.irishcultureandcustoms.com/TriviaContest.html

So that's the long and the short of it until the next time.  If you're celebrating a birthday, anniversary or other special event between now and then,  we hope it's filled with joy, laughter and love. 

We'll leave you with this lovely Irish blessing:
May your hearth be warm, your home be grand, And your heart be held gentle in the Good Lord's Hand.
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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ANNUAL DOLLAR DRIVE
Officially, our annual dollar drive is over and while it was more successful than other years, we fell far short of our goal. That said, we are very thankful to everyone who sent in a contribution and we were particularly with the clever and creative reader who sent us a dollar for every county, God bless him! If you'd like to be just as clever and creative, we are always happy to receive your donations 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.

Cincincinnati, OH - March 2
Flook will be appearing at the20th Century Theater 3021 Madison Road 8:00 p.m. Winner "Best Group" BC Folk Awards 2006 Winner "Instrumental Album of the Year" LiveIreland.com's Livies Awards 2006. Check them out here:
http://www.Flook.co.uk

Ennis, Co. Clare- March 2nd-4th  
This year's Ennis Book Club Festival features  number of internationally renowned authors including playwright and novelist Patrick McCabe, author of 'The Butcher Boy' and 'Breakfast on Pluto' and Edna O'Brien, a County Clare novelist, short story writer, playwright and screenwriter. For complete details, please visit:
http://www.ennisbookclubfestival.com

Florence, KY - March 3
Irish Day at the races - Turfway Park Race Course; music and vendors begin at 12:00 noon and continue until 7:30 pm. In addition to the horse-racing, there's a wide range of entertainment on offer, from Irish dancers to the Friendly Sons of St. Patrick Glee Club. Did we mention the food and drink? For more details please click
http://www.irishdayattheraces.com

Philadelphia, PA - March 4 through 11
Philadelphia Flower Show: Legends of Ireland; Pennsylvania Convention Center.
http://www.theflowershow.com

Houston, Texas - March 9
St. Patrick's Emerald Ball & Reception and Silent Auction
Honoring the IRISHMEN OF THE YEAR The Carr Boys: Billy, Michael & David At the Houston Club, 811 Rusk at Milam. For information & Reservations call Dorothy Davitt: 281-358-2380

Cincinnati, OH - March 10
"Sacred Relics" - The History of the Irish in Cincinnati. Hibernian Hall, 3926 River Road from 12 noon to 6:00 pm. For more details please call (513) 245-9299 or email Patrick Mallory 
scealao@aol.com

Sligo - March 18
A School Reunion will be held in St. Joseph's Secondary School, Gurteen, Co. Sligo, Ireland. Mass will be celebrated at 5pm in St. Patrick'sChurch, Gurteen, followed by a reunion dinner in "Teach Murray" at 8pm. Names and Addresses of past pupils from September 1954 to June 1968 and copies of photographs would be greatly appreciated by the committee. Please contact Nicholas Ryan at 071 9182289, Nuala O'Dowd at 071 9182114, Ita O'Rourke at 071 9182089 or alternatively email:
orourkeita@hotmail.com or cphannan@yahoo.co.uk 
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LEAVE 'EM LAUGHING

With many thanks to snow-bound Judith in Cleveland:

A man is dining in a fancy restaurant and there is a gorgeous redhead sitting at the next table. He has been checking her out since he sat down, but lacks the nerve to talk with her. Suddenly she sneezes, and her glass eye comes flying out of its socket towards the man. He reflexively reaches out, grabs it out of the air, and hands it back. Oh my , I am so sorry, " the woman says as she pops her eye back in place. "Let me buy your dinner to make it up to you, " she says. They enjoy a wonderful dinner together, and afterwards they go to the theater followed by drinks. They talk, they laugh, she shares her deepest dreams and he shares his. She listens.
After paying for everything, she asks him if he would like to come to her place for a nightcap and stay for breakfast. They had a wonderful time.
The next morning, she cooks a gourmet meal with all the trimmings. The guy is amazed! ! Everything had been SO incredible! "You know, " he said, "you are the perfect woman. Are you this nice to every guy you meet? " "No, " she replies. . . . . " "You just happened to catch my eye."

Okay, okay, so it's a groaner. But it's not as bad as the one-liner that goes: One old codger says to the other, I'll bet after all these years together you don't know your wife's favorite flower. Oh, that's an easy one, his friend replies. Self-rising.