Greetings & Blessings to all
 
Welcome to part 2 of our January/February  edition and La Fheile Bride sona daoibh! Happy St. Brigid’s Day! In the Celtic Calendar. it’s also Imbolc - the first day of spring and it certainly feels that way here in our Ohio Valley. Once again, we are being blessed with balmy temperatures that just might make it into the sixties. We welcome the respite from Old Man Winter, but it’s actually been a very mild season so far. Just a dusting of the white stuff here and there and that’s it; makes us a little bit nervous wondering what Mother Nature has up her sleeve for the next few weeks. Fingers crossed the groundhog doesn’t see his shadow tomorrow! Meanwhile, here is a link to a special St. Brigid Greeting Card. Hope you enjoy the card and that the music puts a little spring in your step.
http://www.irishcorner.com/epickup.php?card_id=r47a25239c6662
 
Onward. 
 
 
ANNUAL FUND DRIVE
Just since yesterday, we’ve had several contributions  - go raibh maith agat! And while it’s not the avalanche Bridget always yearns for, we’re hoping that a few donations here and there will add up to what’s needed over the next year to maintain the site and send out the newsletter. We’ve always said that if every subscriber sent a dollar, we would far exceed what we need. So, if that’s all you can afford, please don’t be shy about sending it. And again many thanks in advance for your kindness.
Contributions can be made via PayPal at this address:
bhaggerty@irishcultureandcustoms.com
 
Or by snail mail to:
Bridget & Russ Haggerty
5814 Blue Spruce 
Cincinnati
Ohio 45224
  
GREAT NEWS!
 


We have just learned that Orla Fallon has won  Best Harpist and Best New Irish CD (My Land) at the irish Music Awards. Orla won in two of the categories she was nominated. She was one of our favorite performers before we met her last October - and now she’s even more so. Just a delightful person with no airs about her at all -  except for the exquisite ones she plucks from her harp. Here’s a link to Orla performing one of the songs on My Land. Hope you like it:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BzZvr1ulSuk&feature=related 
NOTE: When you click through to the You Tube site, you will see other songs from the CD - they’re all good!
 
MISSED AN ISSUE?
If for whatever reason you think you might not have received one of our newsletters, they  are all archived beginning with the newest one first. Here’s the link:
http://www.ymlp.com/app/archive.php?&PHPSESSID=3450ae1f68fd263666664910b98c03d7&page=1
 
BELATED BEST WISHES
To our Aussie friends who recently celebrated Australia Day, our Chinese pals  who saw in the Year of the Dragon and our Celtic cousins, the Scots, who did their annual tribute to Robert Burns with haggis, kilts, pipes an a' that. We hope a good time was had by all (and we especially hope we haven’t left anyone out!)
 
Enough of the blather, on with the rest of the update: 
 
 
 
 
SPONSOR: Help support this newsletter and our web site by visiting our friends at The Celtic Attic:
Especially now when you can take advantage of their massive post holiday sale! And, exclusively for Irish Culture and Customs readers, take 10% off your order and get FREE shipping on orders over $50!   The discount will be removed AFTER you place your order.  Just put the code IC01 in the ‘add a gift card’ section! 
Contact the Celtic Attic on line or by phone - and tell them Bridget & Russ said hello!
Tel: 1-360-286-2307
On line:
http://celticcallings.com/shopping/merchant.mvc?Screen=SFNT&Store_Code=CSC&Affiliate=Bridget
 
 
 
IN THIS ISSUE:
Links
Joke of The Week
Did You Know
Riddle
Events
Leave 'em Laughing
 

 
LINKS
Ode to St. Brigid
A song of Brigid, goddess and saint, whose 'festival of the little lights' at Imbolc celebrates the birth of spring. She was once honoured, as the song says, " not just in Ireland, but in many countries ... a shining lantern, a flame throughout the land ... winter is hard and dark, but once Brigid's day comes, spring cannot be far behind "Sung by Blanche Rowen.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AqN3XAqoFDg&feature=related
 
St. Brigid’s Shrine
A very peaceful video shot at Faughart, Dundalk, Co. Louth with just ambient sound.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-ikMsmp2ZK4&feature=related 
 
Hymn to St. Brigid
An all too short and sweet hymn sung sean nos:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=25OqxhlAIys&feature=related
 
Irish Saints
Inspiring video that touches upon all of the major Irish saints including St. Brigid. Powerful music from Michael Card:
http://www.godtube.com/watch/?v=MME21NNU
 
The relics of St. Brigid in Portugal
Fascinating piece on how back in the Midddle Ages, three knights transported the skull of St. Brigid to Lumiar near Lisbon:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YIn_girfsNk
 
 
Please vote for The Daily Mews
Our long-time friend and supporter Pauline Dewberry has asked us to help her win About.Com Reader's Choice for the best web site about cats. We invite you to take a look at her site and then vote for her if you think it merits being known as the best. There are no prizes for the winner - just bragging rights. Here’s the URL:
http://www.thedailymews.com/
 
Irish Page: The Three Bog-Cotton Shirts 
Here is episode three of the on-going saga about how a sister found a little cottage and discovered that her brothers were living there.
http://www.irishpage.com/story/cotton/C3-Cotton(3).htm
ED. NOTE: We’d like to take this opportunity to congratulate the creators of The Irish Page, Jack & Vivien Hennessey. on their 28th wedding anniversary which they celebrated - on January 28th!
 
Desert Island Discs celebrates 70 years
When Herself read this on the BBC the other day, she was stunned. Can it really be 70 years?  Yes, indeed it can. Reading the story gave way to a wave of nostalgia which took Bridget back to her parent’s kitchen listening to the “wireless”. Desert Island Discs was one of the most popular shows in the O’Flaherty household along with Strike it Rich hosted by Eamon Andrews, Wilfred Pickles & Have a Go Flo, and of course anything that could be tuned in from Radio Éireann.  
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-16778273
 
1.4bn house is a work of art
Wicklow native Frank Buckley turned to artwork to spark conversations about the euro crisis. Mr Buckley first created mixed-media art using decommissioned banknotes and then made an entire house in which to showcase his work. The house contains a living room, bedroom and bathroom all constructed from bricks of shredded banknotes.
 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=beK0O25O9aY
 
JOKE OF THE WEEK
This is an oldie but goodie sent in by our good friend Gayla (haven't heard from you in a while, Gayla - hope and pray all is well)
 
Sister Mary Katherine entered the Convent of Silence. The Mother Superior said, "Sister, you are welcome here as long as you like, but you may not speak until I direct you to do so". Sister Mary Katherine lived in the convent for 5 years before the Mother Superior said to her, "Sister Mary Katherine, you have been here for 5 years. You may speak two words."  Sister Mary Katherine said, "Hard bed." 
"I'm sorry to hear that. We will get you a better bed. After another 5 years, Sister Mary Katherine was called by the Mother Superior. "You may say another two words, Sister Mary Katherine." "Cold food," said Sister Mary Katherine, and the Mother Superior assured her that the food would be better in the future. On her 15th anniversary in the community, the Mother Superior again called Sister Mary Katherine into her office. "You may say two words today." "I quit," said Sister Mary Katherine. "It's probably best", said the Mother Superior. "You've done nothing but gripe since you got here."
 
 
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! 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:
http://www.irishlotto.net/
 
 
 
DID YOU KNOW
 
1. Until the 1920s, on St. Brigid's Day, at Teltown, Co.Meath, couples could legally marry by simply walking toward each other? If the union didn't work out, they could 'divorce' by walking away from each other at the same place exactly a year and a day later.
 
2. Supposedly, the tradition of a woman being able to ask a man to marry her on Leap year originated with St. Brigid (or St. Patrick). But there is no evidence to support this.
 
3. In the liturgical calendar, February 3rd is the feast of St. Blaise which in Ireland and many other countries is observed with the Blessing of the Throats. The blessing is supposed to protect against illness or other problems associated with the throat. It’s based on St. Blaise saving the life of a small child who was choking. 
 
 
BOOK QUIZ
We’ve decided to start from scratch as the previous contest goes back a couple of months and we received just a few entries. We’ll see what kind of response we get with this one and then decide if we should continue doing it. So, it’s up to you dear reader...if you want to see the Book Quiz in the newsletter,  take a stab at it. It’s really not that hard.
Who wrote the following:
1. The Life of Saint Brigid: Abbess of Kildare 
2. St. Brigid’s Cloak
3. St. Brigid of Ireland
 
Please send your entries to:
bhaggerty@irishcultureandcustoms.com
It would be very helpful to put Book Quiz in the subject line. Thanks!
 
 
 
RIDDLE
Since our last riddle was a series of silly seasonal puzzles, we’re doing the same with the riddle as we did with the book quiz - starting over. 
 
And now for our next mind mangler:  
 
There was a shipwreck at sea and Sean, Mike  and Pat  were washed ashore on a small island. Reaching the shore, exhausted, they all fell asleep. Sean  woke first and saw that a box of bananas had been washed ashore. He ate one third of the bananas and went back to sleep. Next, Mike woke up an seeing the box of bananas, ate one third of what was left and fell asleep. Pat woke up next and assumed that the other two hadn't eaten any bananas, so he ate one third of what remained. When Pat had finished, there were eight bananas left over. 
Q. How many bananas were in the box originally?
 
Please send your answers to Bridget and put Riddle in the subject line. Thanks!
bhaggerty@irishcultureandcustoms.com
 
 
SPONSOR: Please help us keep your newsletter coming - visit our good friends at Lollysmith who would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your patronage  in 2011 year and wish you a very happy, health and prosperous New Year. And don’t forget - whatever the occasion,  birthdays, graduations, weddings or anniversaries, you’re sure to find the perfect present at  Lollysmith!  Stop by soon and tell them Bridget & Russ said hello. 
http://search.store.yahoo.net/lollysmith/cgi-bin/nsearch?lollysmith
 
 
So that’s the rest of it until we write again... 
God willing around St. Valentine’s Day. If you’re celebrating a birthday, anniversary or other special event between now and then, we hope it’s an occasion filled with love, joy and laughter. And if you were married in February or plan on tying the knot this month, here is your special verse:
 
When February birds do mate, 
you may wed nor dread your fate.
 
We’ll take our leave with this lovely blessing for the day that’s in it:
 
May the Mantle of Brigid be about you,
The memory of Brigid be within you,
And the protection of Brigid keep you
From all harm this day and night,
From dawn till dark, from dark till light.

And, as they say in Ireland, mind yourself. 
 
Slan agus beannachtái
 
 
Bridget & Russ
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.
ED. NOTE: We put the Irish back in per a request by Mary in New York - but we’re not sure it’s grammatically correct. We know we have several Irish speakers out there,  so please check it and let us know if we need to make any changes. Go raibh maith agat!
 
 
EVENTS
Irish Abroad publishes a list of events  here:
http://events.irishabroad.com/List.aspx?public=1&event=1. 
 
The Wild Geese also publishes events on its Facebook page:
http://www.facebook.com/IrishHistory?ref=ts
 
If you would like us to promote an event, please send details to Bridget and mention event in the subject line:
bhaggerty@irishcultureandcustoms.com
 
Cincinnati, OH - February 2, 4 & 9
The Irish Heritage Center is proud to present: 
The William Butler  Yeats Exhibition
On loan from the National Library of Ireland, the NY Times has described this as “One of the most important literary exhibitions yet staged internationally.”
For complete details, please visit the Irish Heritage web site:
http://wwwirishcenterofcincinnati.com
 
Crestview Hills, KY - February 10
The Tapestry Series at  Thomas More College will present an evening of Celtic music featuring 
Silver Arm, Murphy's Law and Ceol. For more details. please contact Cindy Matyi 
http://www.silverarmmusic.com/calendar.php
 
Hollywood, Florida - February 18
That’s when the Irish American Ceili Club will be holding its next Ceili AND celebrating its 40th anniversary! So mark your calendar now! Tommy & Sharon will be on stage, there will be lots of good singing and dancing, and the club is doing the cooking - it will be good! For more details please contact President Patrick O’Dea:
Irish32@aol.com
 
ON-GOING 
 
FRIENDS OF IRELAND  - LOS ALAMITOS,  CA 
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
 
CEILI OF THE VALLEY SOCIETY - Portland OR
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
http://www.myspace.com/ceiliofthevalley.
 
SLIGO EVENTS
http://twitter.com/sligoevents
 
 
ALWAYS LEAVE ‘EM LAUGHING
... Or maybe gnashing our teeth! The following is a letter written in 2007 to England's Secretary of State. It might explain some of the reasons global economies are in the toilet. The names have been deleted to protect the cheeky:
 
 
Rt Hon David Miliband MP
Secretary of State,
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA),
Nobel House
17 Smith Square
London SW1P 3JR 
 
16 May 2007
 
Dear Secretary of State,
 
My friend, who is in farming at the moment, recently received a cheque for £3,000 from the Rural Payments Agency for not rearing pigs. I would now like to join the "not rearing pigs" business.
 
In your opinion, what is the best kind of farm not to rear pigs on, and which is the best breed of pigs not to rear? I want to be sure I approach this endeavour in keeping with all government policies, as dictated by the EU under the Common Agricultural Policy.
 
I would prefer not to rear bacon pigs, but if this is not the type you want not rearing, I will just as gladly not rear porkers. Are there any advantages in not rearing rare breeds such as Saddlebacks or Gloucester Old Spots, or are there too many people already not rearing these?
 
As I see it, the hardest part of this programme will be keeping an accurate record of how many pigs I haven't reared. Are there any Government or Local Authority courses on this?
 
My friend is very satisfied with this business. He has been rearing pigs for forty years or so, and the best he ever made on them was £1,422 in 1968. That is - until this year, when he received a cheque for not rearing any.
 
If I get £3,000 for not rearing 50 pigs, will I get £6,000 for not rearing 100?
 
I plan to operate on a small scale at first, holding myself down to about 4,000 pigs not raised, which will mean about £240,000 for the first year. As I become more expert in not rearing pigs, I plan to be more ambitious, perhaps increasing to, say, 40,000 pigs not reared in my second year, for which I should expect about £2.4 million from your department. Incidentally, I wonder if I would be eligible to receive tradable carbon credits for all these pigs not producing harmful and polluting methane gases?
 
Another point: These pigs that I plan not to rear will not eat 2,000 tonnes of cereals. I understand that you also pay farmers for not growing crops. Will I qualify for payments for not growing cereals to not feed the pigs I don't rear?
 
I am also considering the "not milking cows" business, so please send any information you have on that too. Please could you also include the current Defra advice on set aside fields? Can this be done on an e-commerce basis with virtual fields (of which I seem to have several thousand hectares)?
 
In view of the above you will realise that I will be totally unemployed, and will therefore qualify for unemployment benefits.
 
I shall of course be voting for your party at the next general election.
 
Yours faithfully,
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx