Happy New Year in the Celtic calendar
thbhliain faoi mhaise dhaoibh
Happy St Brigid’s Day!
Lá Fhéile Bhríde
We hope this issue finds you and yours on the pig’s back and as happy as a lark. If this is your first edition, many thanks for joining us and if like our musings and meanderings, please feel free to share with one and all.
Besides the start of the Celtic New Year and St Brigid’s feast day, February 1st is also Imbold - the first day of Spring. In the ancient lore, this was the day that Brigid, the Goddess’ snake comes out of the ground in which it hibernates and its behaviour was thought to determine the how much winter was left. Our American readers will no doubt recognize this as the origin of Ground Hog Day.
Imbolc was also the day the Cailleach — the hag goddess. Legend has it that if she intends to make the winter last a good while longer, she will make sure the weather is bright and sunny, so she can gather plenty of firewood. Therefore, people are generally relieved if Imbolc is a day of foul weather, as it means the Cailleach is asleep and winter is almost over. Our source for Cailleach was Liam Moloney who has a beautiful photo to accompany the info at:
SPEAKING OF WINTER...
If you live in the US East Coast, we hope and pray you and yours managed to escape brunt of the Juno combo snowstorm/hurricane. Our daughter and her family, who live in Framinghamhad the third highest total snowfall in the state - 33.5 inches! The good news is that they are safe and sound and looking forward to doing some snow sculptures when it warms up a bit. Several of our readers live in the region - you know who you are - God willing all is well with you, too.
It’s that time of year again when you can demonstrate in a tangible way that you like what we do. Last year was particularly difficult for us. And, it might have been for you, too, so you’ll know and understand what pinching pennies is all about. Which is why the smallest donation of a dollar is as welcome as as a larger contribution. If you would like to help us out, you can send your donation via PayPal - The email address is:
and our account there is
Or by snail mail. Please send to to:
Bridget or Russ Haggerty
5814 Blue Spruce Lane
Cincinnati Oh 45524
Many, many thanks in advance for your kindness!
Since last we wrote, we reached the 1000 ‘likes' goal Thank you! and we’re now going for the next milestone - 5000. If you haven’t visited us yet, please give it a go. We try to post something of interest about Ireland and the Irish every morning. If you approve of our page, please click that Like button - go raibh maith agat in advance! https://www.facebook.com/pages/Irish-Culture-and-Customs/327211532200
HIS AND HER BOOKS
Himself has finished the sequel to The Book: Potion, Pope and Perfidy, alleluia! Well, not quite. He’s still facing a couple months of editing, revising and then more of the same. If you would like to follow his progress, the book has its own home page and we’ll be posting updates there from time to time. .Here’s the link:
As for the blessings book being compiled at the hands of Herself, it’s still in the works. We’re estimating three more months before completion. Thanks to all of you who wrote and said you would interested in buying a copy. And for those who asked about the price, we’re thinking it will be between $5 and $10 depending on how we format it.
Enough of the bltherin’..on with the update...
Help us keep your newsletter going. Please visit our good friends at Lollysmith:
Valentine’s Day is just around the corner. For an authentic Irish gift, browse the vast array on offer at Lollysmith where you will find a wide range of merchandise imported directly from Ireland, including Jewelry, Shamrock Seeds, Connemara Marble, Tin Whistles, Bodhráns, and much more. Please stop by - they're always open and also offer Celtic themed gifts from American companies such as Russ Berrie Angel Cheeks, Silver Moon Jewelry, and Dorfman Pacific Hats. And definitely take a look at their authentic Blackthorn and Hazel Walking Sticks! Please click:
IN THIS EDITION
A favorite joke
A pithy quote
Did You Know
The Week That Is
And last but not least, Leave ‘em Laughing
ED. NOTE: Dear Riddle People, we promise you a Brain Bruiser in our next issue.
St. Brigid’s Day Traditions & Customs
There are many traditions and customs associated with St. Brigid’s Day and Clodagh Doyle, Curator, National Museum of Ireland – Country Life - highlights some of them.
Hymns, Prayers, Poems In Honour Of Saint Brigid
This excellent compilation was put together by the Brigadene Sisters whose story begins in 1807 when Daniel Delany, Bishop of Kildare and Leighlin, Ireland, invited six women to form a religious community in Tullow, Co Carlow on the first of February.
Hymn to St Brigid
St Brigid's Well & Rag Tree
St Brigid’s well with narration
I am Praising Brigid - Gabhaim Molta Bríghde
A haunting Gaelic song performed by Aoife Ní Fhearraigh
SPONSOR: Help keep our newsletter coming - please visit our friends at Celtic Calling/Celtic Attic
Decorate your home & life with a Celtic Twist: Choose from an amazing product line of custom items as well as traditional product lines. They carry Artwork, Crafts, Jewelry, Wedding Rings, Sun Catchers, Wind Chimes, Irish Kitchen Items, Wedding Gifts, Irish Slate, Stamps, Clothing, Home Decor, Signs, Christmas Ornaments & more. Shop now for St. Patrick's Day & Visit their Sales Pages for some great new items. Their current special is 15% off your order, plus a free gift, just put code cyber in the coupon code section to take advantage of this offer. To shop on line, please click:
And please visit their other sister site:
For hone Orders, please call: (360) 531-1107 10am to 5pm PST Week Days
A PITHY QUOTE
Now it's St Brigid's Day and the first snowdrop
In County Wick low, and this a Brigid's Girdle
I'm plaiting for you, an airy fairy hoop
(Like one of those old crinolines they'd trindle),
Twisted straw that's lifted in a circle
To handsel and to heal, a rite of spring
As strange and lightsome and traditional
As the motions you go through going through the thing.
From A Brigid’s Girdle for Adele by Seamus Heaney
A FAVORITE JOKE
St Brigid dies and goes to Heaven. God greets her at the Pearly Gates. "Be thou hungry, Brigid?" asks God. "I could eat, says she. So God opens a can of tuna, reaches for a chunk of dry bread and they share it. While eating this humble meal, St. Brigid looks down into Hell and sees the inhabitants devouring huge steaks, lobsters, pheasants, pastries, and wines. Curious, but deeply trusting, she remains quiet. The next day God again invites her to join him for a meal. As before, it is tuna and dry bread. Once again, St. Brigid can see the denizens of Hell enjoying smoked salmon, roast lamb, Guinness and Irish whiskey cake. Still she says nothing. The following day, mealtime arrives and another can of tuna is opened. She cannot contain herself any longer. Meekly, she says: "God, I am grateful to be in Heaven with you as a reward for my life of piety, obedience and generosity. But here in Heaven all I get to eat is tuna and bread and in the Other Place they eat like emperors and kings!
I just don't understand..."God sighs. "Let's be honest," he says, "for just the two of us, does it pay to cook?"
DID YOU KNOW
1. St Brigid was raised by Druids and as a child heard St Patrick preach?
2. She is buried at Downpatrick where St. Columba and St. Patrick are also laid to rest?
3. According to legend, St Brigid struck a deal with St Patrick to allow women to propose to men every four years? This is believed to have been introduced to balance the traditional roles of men and women in a similar way to how Leap Day balances the calendar.
Source: Time and date
Help us keep this newsletter free by visiting our good good friends at The Irish Lottery:
Drawings are held every Wednesday and Saturday, so enter now. You don't have to live in Ireland to play, winnings are tax-free and checks are mailed within 48 hours. Do you have the luck of the Irish? Play the Irish lottery and find out! Please click here for full details including a compilation of stats based on previous draws which could improve your chances of winning!
THE WEEK THAT IS
1. Article: Brigid - The Giveaway
2. Article: Brigid of the Songs
3. Article: Celebrating A Name Day in Old Ireland
4. Article: Celebrating Candlemas in Old Ireland
5. Article: The Holy Wells of Ireland
6. Article: The Irish Link to St. Valentine
7. Article: The Irish In Love
8. The Irish Kitchen: St. Brigid's Oatcakes
9. Basic Irish: The Language of Love - in Irish
10. Kid' Ireland: Kids' Ireland: Making Saint Brigid's Crosses
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. In anticipation of tomorrow- Pinch punch, first day of the month, White Rabbit! Tied the knot in February or planning a wedding? Here's your special Irish verse:
When February birds do mate,
You may wed nor dread your fate
We’ll take our leave with this timely old Irish verse:
And as they say in Ireland, mind yourself!
May the Mantle of St Brigid be about you,
The memory of St Brigid be within you,
And the protection of St Brigid keep you
From all harm this day and night,
From dawn till dusk, from dark ‘til light.
Slan agus beannacht,
Russell & Bridget
Get down on your knees and thank God you’re still on your feet.
Téigh ar do ghlúine is bí buíoch le Dia go bhfuil tú fós ar do chosa.
LEAVE ‘EM LAUGHING
And now for something completely different in case you might be getting a wee bit weary of St Brigid:
A priest and a bus driver both died and went to Heaven at the same time. They get to the pearly gates where St. Peter greets them. He motions to the priest, and they both hop in a jeep and go out the back door. There are about 50 acres of rolling hills with a little cottage on the knoll.
St. Peter turns to the priest and says "This will be yours for eternity. A perfect little cottage, right next to lovely pond, a lush little garden, and a library full of books."
The priest says, "Thank you so much. This I shall enjoy!" St. Peter drops off the priest, goes back to the pearly gates and motions to the bus driver.
They hop in a stretch limo and go out the front door. There are about 500 acres of land, with mountains and lakes and rivers. There is a huge 200-room castle on one of the mountains, and a wishing well that makes wishes come true. St. Peter says "This will be yours for eternity. You can live in that castle with servants to wait on you hand and foot, and you can have everything you want."
The bus driver looks and St. Peter and says "Well, now, don't think I'm not grateful, but why am I getting so much more than the priest?"
St. Peter just laughs and says "You brought more souls to Heaven! When the priest preached, everyone fell asleep. When you drove your bus, people prayed!"
With thanks to a fun site called Fish Eaters - well worth a visit!