Welcome to the Irish Culture & Customs newsletter which is published every week or so and sent out to more than 3,700 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:
http://www.ymlp.com/pubarchive.php?Herself 
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Greetings and Blessings to all,

Happy belated St. Brigid's Day! Did you get your crosses up? We hope so. We were also delighted to learn that our ad in our last edition resulted in our good friends at Lollysmith selling out! "The power of Bridget media" is how they described it to us! Many thanks to all of you who bought one or more crosses and we have been assured that they will be back in stock very soon. In our humble opinion, we don't think the good Saint will mind if you're late putting up a cross in her honour.

It's been a very busy day or so here ; the first of the month always means a flurry of activity, from posting a new trivia contest to re-doing the Culture Corners. Russ is also working on re-doing the shops so they're easier to navigate. We hope you like the result.

How was Candlemas where you are? The old Irish saying for February 2 is: If Candlemas Day is bright and clear, there will be two winters in the year. Well, we had snow showers followed by sunshine - and the forecast is for the temperature to keep falling. By early next week, the forecast is bitterly cold with the lowest temperatures in two years. And we were so hoping the mild weather would continue!

February 3rd - the feast of St. Blaise. In many Roman Catholic churches in Ireland and all over the world, a special blessing of the throats takes place. Two candles are blessed, held slightly open, and pressed against the throat as the blessing is said. Saint Blaise's protection of those with throat troubles apparently comes from a legend that a boy was brought to him who had a fishbone stuck in his throat. The boy was about to die when Saint Blaise healed him. It just so happens that February 3 is also the birthday of our resident Irish speaker Aideen. She is the one who does all of our translations and pronunciations - a herculean effort over the past several years. So Lá Breithe Shona, Aideen!

Before we forget our welcome altogether: we hope this edition finds you and yours in good health, good spirits and good company. And if you are a new subscriber, a very special hello. We hope you enjoy your first edition - and please feel free to share it with your family and friends.

Enough of our blitherin' - on with the update!
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SPONSOR: Help us keep this newsletter free by visiting our good friends at the Celtic Attic:
Want to give your sweetheart something Irish for Valentine's Day? Need a dash of Irish flair for St. patrick's Day? Are you 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:
The mayor of New York, Michael Bloomberg, is to travel to Mayo today to mark the introduction of direct transatlantic flights between Ireland West Airport, Knock, and New York
ED. NOTE: Direct flights will also be available from Boston's Logan Airport.

Chapter One Awarded Michelin Star
Long-described as the best non-Michelin starred restaurant in Ireland, has finally joined Dublin's big three in being recognised by the culinary bible. The Parnell Square restaurant, where chef Ross Lewis plies his art, was awarded its first Michelin star in the new edition of the guide. Restaurant Patrick Guilbaud in the Merrion Hotel retains its two stars, while Thornton's, which remains on one star, has failed to the regain the star it lost last year. The rating for Derry Clarke's L'Ecrivain on Baggot Street
stays unchanged on one star.

RTÉ calls for radio drama entries
The annual RTÉ PJ O'Connor Radio Drama Awards has issued a call for amateur playwrights to enter the 2007 competition. The aim of the competition is to encourage new writers to radio drama and to raise awareness of the possibilities and scope of radio as a medium in the field of drama. Rules, entry forms and more are here:
http://www.rte.ie/radio1/pjoconnorawards

FROM AROUND THE COUNTIES
Clare: Tulla Stables Studios wins Best Public Building
At the Burlington Hotel in Dublin recently the county council received an award at the Local Authority Members' Association for 'Best Public Building 2007' for the Tulla Stables Studios. The Stables beat stiff competition from the New Wing at Cork Maternity Hospital and the libraries in Carlow and Longford. The building, which was developed by the Arts Office of the county council, comprises six artist studios and a community room. Siobhán Mulcahy, Arts Officer of Clare County Council, and Tulla-based architect, was the design leader of the development.

Cork: Douglas villa proposed for endangered list
Members of the Irish Georgian Society have nominated Vernon Mount in Douglas for inclusion on the list of the world's one hundred most endangered sites, compiled by the World Monuments Fund. Built in the late eighteenth century for the then sheriff of Cork Sir Henry Browne Hayes, Vernon Mount is now owned by Irish businessman Jonathan Moss, who is based in the US. The Irish Georgian Society hopes that the listing will draw attention to the building, which is now in a bad state of repair, and that it might also attract funding for restoration.

Derry: City pub becomes an art piece
The customers of Derry city pub Tinney's Bar will have to sup their pints at a most unusual venue for the next while when the pub becomes an art exhibit at Void gallery. The pub's interior has been ripped out and re-housed inside the gallery as part of Null art group's Molly Aida project. The bar will continue business as usual, where pulling pints is all part of the show. The project is based on the movie "Fitzcaraldo", where the boat Molly Aida is moved across land and mountain to continue its voyage. Guest artists will host Art in the Bar, a series of interventions throughout the exhibition.

Donegal: 19th century event prompts 21st century research
A New Mexico scientist has spent the last three years investigating the report of a ball of lightning which, according to eye witness William Fitzgerald, an engineer, " ploughed a one hundred metre trench" down a slope of the Glendowan Mountains in Churchill in 1868. Dr J. Pace Vandevender has paid six visits to Donegal in the course of his investigations into the phenomenon which he believes was ball lightning powered by a mini black hole. He is due back into the area in March and he has been assisted on his visits by Churchill historian Niall McGinley. A similar event which took place some ten kilometres away in 1981 is also to be investigated.

Down: Carlingford Lough to be linked by bridge
The government has assured the SDLP that €14m will be spent on a bridge at Narrow Water, Carlingford Lough, which will link Down and Louth. The cross-border investment arises from the State's National Development Plan, to be spent over the next seven years. The bridge would connect villages on the Cooley Peninsula in Co. Louth to Warrenpoint and Newry in Co. Down. The plans were first discussed over thirty years ago, and South Down assembly leader PJ Bradley said the news of the project was a victory. The project will decrease travel time from Newry to Carlingford by twenty minutes and will promote tourism, taking in the coast and Mourne and Cooley mountain ranges.

Fermanagh: Devenish family to play in Scór na nÓg
The only competitors from Fermanagh to play at the Ulster Final of the GAA's Scór na nÓg competition are the Maguire family from Devenish. Eoghan, Blathine and Ruairi Maguire are an instrumental band attached to the Garrison club who will travel to Silverbridge, Co. Armagh this Saturday to perform their finest tunes. At just eleven, thirteen, and sixteen years of age, the competitors are well-known traditional musicians. Their parents Francis and Bernie and tutor Seamus Sweeney from Ballyshannon have influenced their music and encouraged them to entertain in all parts of Fermanagh and the surrounding counties

Galway: Two Galway men in skyscraper photo
Two men in a world-famous image of construction workers in 1932 have been identified as Galwegians. The men relaxing hundreds of feet above ground in Charles Ebbets's Lunch Atop a Skyscraper were thought until very recently to be Italian immigrants. Publican Martin Whelan from Shangalish has proved that at least two of the men, Matty O'Shaughnessy and Patrick (Sonny) Glynn, hailed from his parish. A copy of the Ebbets image in his pub includes a caption signed by the son of one of the workers. Matty and Patrick had left south Galway in the 1920s and one of their building jobs was on the Rockefeller Center.

Galway: The fastest road car in the world - the 1.1million euro Bugatti Veyron - is set to be delivered to a Galway car dealer next month, the first in the country.

Kerry: Moyvane bids to be rid official name
Moyvane in North Kerry, known as Newtownsandes for official and legal purposes, has proposed to drop its official name. Most people of the village near Listowel are in favour of dropping Newtownsandes because it is named after the tyrant landlord George Sandes, who evicted his tenants in the late 1890s. One of the oldest villagers, eighty-seven year old Dan Keane, yesterday complained that some locals were too lazy to vote in the last plebiscite. Fr Daniel O'Sullivan changed the name from Newtownsandes to Moyvane in 1939.

Kerry: Dan still going strong at 105
He may have been 57 years old before he sampled his first taste of alcohol but, for Castlemaine man Dan Keating it was one of those very special occasions when he enjoyed a tipple as he celebrated his 105th birthday. The party - the sixth major celebration since Dan turned 100 - was attended by up to 60 well-wishers from all over Ireland. As he looks forward to a brand new year, a very healthy looking Dan says that he simply plans to take every day as it comes - which still includes a daily walk in his native Castlemaine!

Kildare: Levitstown grotto built
After members of Athy Civil Defence played a significant part in the fortieth anniversary of Cuan Mhuire, the alcohol and drug rehabilitation centre in Athy, Sister Consilio volunteered the services of two former residents to build a grotto to Our Lady at the slipway at Levitstown. Already at the slipway a garden of remembrance commemorates those who lost their lives on the water, and now a new grotto is being constructed by stonemasons Mike Stone and Jimmy Kiely. It will be replica of the one built last year to commemorate the centre's forty years and will be handed over to the people of Levitstown on completion.

Mayo: St Murdach's goes national at Easter
The televised Holy Week and Easter services for this year will be broadcast from St Muredach's Cathedral in Ballina, the first time that the annual ceremonies will come from the west of the country. Principal celebrant will be Father Brendan Hoban and the broadcasts will take in four days, from Holy Thursday to Easter Sunday.

Monaghan: Some of railway line to be preserved
It has been agreed by the town council in Carrickmacross that no further development will be carried out on the former railway station, which is now derelict. It was also proposed by the mayor, Matt Carthy, that a protection order be placed on the route of the old line from Carrickmacross to Inniskeen, although some development has already taken place on this road out as far as the new roundabout. The councillors believe that such a move would aid the campaign to bring back the railway to the town. To date only the railway line that runs across bridges in Monaghan town had been protected.

Roscommon: Council moves to protect Mount Talbot House
County Manager John Tiernan recommended to council members at this month's meeting that Mount Talbot House be added to the list of Roscommon's protected structures. The move follows a notification from Director of Services John Cunningham that stones from the property were being sold off. Mount Talbot House, which is recognised as being of significant archaeological and historical importance, is owned by a Mr McConnell. The council members recognised the fact that he had put a large amount of his own money in maintaining the property and that he should be given some financial assistance.

Sligo: Was it the wind or was it the good people?
While commonsense would suggest that damage to electricity poles near Sooey was caused by the gales experienced in the area of the past few weeks, some of the locals aren't so sure. The two poles were part of a line on the Ballintogher road and they were sited within about twenty yards of a fairy fort. ESB workers had to straighten the seventy-foot poles just after Christmas, but they were then knocked to the ground and had to be re-erected. The next day one was bent at an angle while the other was on the ground once again and more repair work had to be carried out. A local man has pointed out that such severe damage was not apparent to the other poles in the sequence.

Tipperary: Plans for new village at Lough Derg
Two companies, Gladedale and Castlecourt Developments, plan to build a new village development on the shores of Lough Derg. The site is close to Terryglass, which has won the National Tidy Towns competition twice. If the project gets planning permission it will include twenty-one apartments, fifteen houses and twenty-two sustainable energy houses. Plans are also in the pipeline for a hair and beauty salon, public bar with restaurant area, créche and marine shop. Other services will include an art gallery and studios, a youth recreation area, a children's play area and a tennis court. Permission for a health centre with spa, lounge, swimming pool, and gym is also being sought.

Tyrone: Signs of an early spring all over the county
At least three different organisations in Tyrone have recorded signs of an early spring which, they maintain, illustrate the effects of global warming. Sharon Liszewki of Garden Creations in Omagh has commented on the disturbed blooming pattern of flowers at the centre, brought on by the very hot summer last year. She also said she had already heard song thrushes calling for a mate. At the Argory, outside Dungannon, a warden has reported that both snowdrops and daffodils are in flower, at least a month early, while Rick Cook of the Cullion Community Woodland in Gortin reports that changes in the tree cycle have attracted red squirrels to the wood.

Wicklow: Morgan Doyle staying put
Morgan Doyle Ltd, Arklow's famous furniture and clothes shop, has insisted that it is not leaving the town's Main Street any time soon. Though the company are currently seeking planning permission for a huge new warehouse unit in Croghan Industrial Estate, they are staying put for the moment. If the planners at Arklow Town Council approve, the new facility would increase the shop size from its current 7000 square feet to more than 29,000 square feet. The plans for the new building include showrooms on the ground floor and mezzanine floor levels, office space, a boilerhouse, car parking and drainage.

Wexford: Ploughing contest raised over €6,000
Bannow Rathangan Vintage Club raised €6,080 last Sunday for Wexford Hospice Homecare with a vintage ploughing competition which took place on land loaned by the Cullen family at Killag, Duncormick. There were over fifty participants in the contest who had raised money and paid for an area to plough. Michael O'Brien of Adamstown was the only competitor who arrived with a pair of horses, with most of the contestant using vintage tractors.

FROM AROUND THE WORLD:
Canada: Donegal: Kingston to have first Gaeltacht
Students who attended Irish classes in Donegal plan to establish the first Gaeltacht in the world outside Ireland. Cumann na Gaeltachta in Kingston, Canada, set up by Belfast man Séamus Mac Com Charraite in 1995, purchased a sixty-acre site last September for their Gaeltacht. The green site is located in South East Ontario near the US border and it is hoped that sixteen cabins and a cultural centre will be built. Mr Mac Com Charraite and members of the cumann were regular students with Oideas Gael in Glencolmcille, south Donegal. The Canadian Gaeltacht will officially be opened this June.

Dubai: One of our readers. Mike Good moved there recently and is thoroughly enjoying himself. He says: "Curiously we Irish have a major role here and we are punching well above our weight. Many major enterprises are often Irish run, e.g. Emirates Airline, Dubai Duty Free (one of the cornerstones of Dubai commerce) and of course the Arab love of horses has them well established around The Curragh back home. Anyway last week we had the honour of a visit from none other than The Taoiseach himself! He was leading a 140 strong trade delegation of Irish businesses interested in developing business here in the United Arab Emirates. Bertie is a very fine fellow indeed and a very entertaining speaker. One of the highlights of his visit was for him to unveil an Austin McQuinn sculpture at The Irish Village, which is one of the most successful of many Irish pubs here. I was there last Paddy's Day & one of 3,000 partygoers! This statue is an important work as it is the first time the artist, a graduate of Crawford Art College in Cork, had been commissioned to create a permanent-sited sculpture overseas. The sculptor was approached by Gerard Kearney, General Manager of the Irish Village, to create the bronze sculpture of a "seisiún", three life-sized musicians performing on the banjo, bodhrán and box."
ED. NOTE: We're hoping to hear more from Mike and perhaps turn his experiences into an article - especially the upcoming St. patrick's Day Celebration!

London: The nominations have been announced for the 2007 Laurence Olivier Awards, the most prestigious theatre awards in the UK, and they include Dublin-born Colm Meaney for the best Performance in a Supporting Role. Colm, who is widely known as Miles O'Brien in Star Trek: the Next Generation, played the part of the conniving father in Eugene O'Neill's Moon for the Misbegotten.

London: Irish boat companies sailed their way into London recently looking for a slice of the multi-million pound British leisure market. Exhibitors from across Ireland joined those from Britain, Europe and across the world at the Collins Stewart London Boat Show this month to show what Ireland has to offer to boating enthusiasts and holidaymakers.
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SPONSOR: Please help us keep the newsletter coming - visit our good friends at the Irish Lotto.
Well, unless you're a reader from Kilkenny, we rather doubt that you scooped the biggest jackpot in ten years last week. That said, the climb upwards has started all over again as there was NO winner in Saturday night's drawing. That means Wednesday's jackpot will be about 2.5 million Euro. 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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FROM THE MAILBAG

Strange as it might seem, we didn't have any messages that haven't already been covered in other categories. Still out there though are requests to find the origins of the word Craic which at least one reader is working on, a source for an Irish straight razor and how we can get a bottle of Murphy's Whiskey delivered from Ireland to the USA legally. We'll keep you posted on progress!
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LINKS
Poem: St. Brigid Passes
Actually, we did get a request from a reader who asked if we knew the words to the poem. It's been recited on Irish radio in previous years and she was hoping we could find it for her. Well, she beat us to it and found it for US! With many thanks to Christine Gifford, here is the special St. Brigid's Day program put on by one of our favourite RTÉ presenters Ciarán Mac Mathúna:
http://www.rte.ie/radio1/specials/1077593.html

Ireland's Heritage Music Theatre and Festivals Explorer
Find out what's happening throughout the country. Great if you're planning a trip anytime soon!
http://www.cultureheritageireland.com/?p=86

Fionn Film Series
Quite by chance we stumbled on this link to a series of forty films which feature various aspects of Irish life as told by school children - from setting up an oyster farm in Clarinbridge to learning all about silver and lead mining in Glendowla, Fair warning - it's easy to get hooked into watching them all at one go.
http://www.sci-spy.ie/fionn_films/01.aspx

Another video of a vacation in ireland.
The camera work's a bit shaky but the song is nice. Does anyone know the title and the singer?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SxJJVZ0uW9o

1994 Eurovision song winner - Ireland
We'd never hear this song before - The Rock 'n Roll Kids; it's really quite good. Hope you think so.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rfFf4EVvoaI

Talking Irish on one of the islands
Wonderful video until the people start dancing. It's a pity the film maker didn't use the ambient sound that accompanied the dancing. Would have been a lot easier on the ears than the truly out of place contemporary rock. Oh well.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2hrRVPM57qs

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
That the tap may be open when it rusts!
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A BIT OF THE WIT
An old woman, born and raised in Connemara, was visiting family in America and was trying impress upon her grandchildren the beauties of her home and the goodness of its people when one of the young ones spoke up. "Do you think", he said, "that all of the virtues originated and have been preserved by all people in Connemara?" "Not at all, she retorted. "But most of them." Slyly, the young one then said "Do you think Jesus Christ was from Connemara? The old lady hesitated a moment and replied "He was good enough to be a Connachtman!"
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FAVORITE JOKE OF THE WEEK
This one is in honour of the Superbowl tomorrow. We are remaining neutral as to which team we'd like to win. If you're a Colts fan, you will need to revise things a bit.

This morning a Gary, Indiana kindergarten teacher explains to her class that she is an Indianapolis Colts fan. She asks her students to raise their hands if they are Colts fans, too. Not really knowing what a Colts fan was, but wanting to be liked by their teacher, their hands flew into the air.
There is, however, one exception. Susie has not gone along with the crowd. The teacher asks her why she has decided to be different. "Because I'm not a Colts fan" she retorts. "Then," asks the teacher, "what are you?" "I'm a Chicago Bears fan," boasts the little girl. The teacher asks Susie why she is a Bears fan. "Well, my Dad and Mom are Bears fans, so I'm a Bears fan, too" she responds. "That's no reason," the teacher says. "What if your mom was a moron, and your dad was an idiot. What would you be then?" Susie smiles and says, "Then I'd be a Colts fan."
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DID YOU KNOW
1. There are more redheads in Scotland than in Ireland - or any other country for that matter? Eleven per cent of the population has red hair.
2. Carrigan Moss, which is gathered on beaches in Connemara, is valued world-wide as an aphrodisiac? The locals use it to cure sore throats!
 3. Four of every five children born in Ireland between 1931 and 1941 emigrated from Ireland in the 1950s?
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KNOW YOUR IRISH WRITERS
To start off with, the answers to our last quiz:

Rites of Brigid by Seán Ó Duinn
Brigid of Ireland by Cindy Thompson
The Story of Brigid of Ireland by Diana Leathan

Please clap your feet for our brilliant Irish bibliophiles:

Déirdre McKiernan Hetzler
"Glorious Ireland"
May 24 - June 7, 2007 watch for this year's itinerary:
http://www.tours2ireland.com

Christi Broersma
One of the sites I love is "The Wild Geese."  For history it can't be beat!
Chris   :-)
http://www.thewildgeese.com

Margaret Brogan
Hard books to find in Phoenix, Arizona, USA, so God bless the Internet!
Thank you for your wonderful newsletter! (Also) please include Irish Culture and Customs has become a personal fave.
ED. NOTE: Margaret sent us a a very nice message which we have selected as our Letter of the Month for January.

Mary Ann McKay
For those who want to really experience Ireland, but don't want to do the driving, the best tour guide operator in all of ireland is
http://www.vagabond-ireland.com
Rob Rankin and his drivers take small groups around on trips lasting from 2 to 7 days in four-wheel drive Land Rovers. We have taken the west of ireland and Northern Ireland trips and they were both terrific. The drivers are history majors so not only so they know their history, but they can delight with tales of mythology and they know where to find the best pubs! These tend to be adventurous tours and can include horseback riding on deserted beaches or surfing and they always include short hikes to fascinating out of the way historical sites. You'll see Ireland in a way that can't be had from a coach bus.

Want to see your name and favorite web site in our next newsletter?
Who wrote:
1. In Search of Ireland's Heroes: The Story of the Irish from the English Invasion to the Present Day
2. Weaving Tapestry in Rural Ireland
3. Pebble Cove
Hint: They are listed as best-sellers in a recent Emigrant book review. Send in your answers and if you get two out of three correct, we'll list your name and web site (or your favorite Irish web site) in our next newsletter.
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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'r fully stocked with a wonderful selection of gifts for your Valentine, St. patrick's Day, 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.
http://store.yahoo.com/cgi-bin/clink?lollysmith+wSpfhS+teandgrgi.html
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RIDDLE
We've had a couple of answers to our last noggin' noodler that are acceptable as honourable mentions, but thus far, we have not received the official solution. Have we stumped our brilliant Riddle People. Say it isn't so!
Q. What word can be spelled backwards and forwards and look the same right side up or upside down?
A.
Hint: The word appears as part of a name in this newsletter.
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THE WEEK THAT IS
1. Article: Celebrating a Nameday in Old Ireland
http://www.irishcultureandcustoms.com/ACustom/NameDay.html
2. Article: St. Brigid, The Giveaway
http://www.irishcultureandcustoms.com/ASaints/Brigit.html
3. Article: Brigid of the Songs
http://www.irishcultureandcustoms.com/AWriters/Pearse.html
4. Article: Celebrating Candlemas in Old Ireland
http://www.irishcultureandcustoms.com/ACalend/Candlemas.html
5. Article: Counties of Ireland - Cavan
http://www.irishcultureandcustoms.com/ACounty/Cavan.html
6. Basic Irish - The Language of Love
http://www.irishcultureandcustoms.com/3Focloir/Lessons1.1.html
7. William Ramoutar's Music Review: For February, William has chosen Celtic Love Songs
http://www.irishcultureandcustoms.com/AMusic/Ramoutar/LoveSongs.html
8. Circle of prayer - Our 9th  Novena in this cycle ends today and a new one begins tomorrow. This week we heard heart-wrenching news about a young father who has been diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumour. This is one that just sets you back on your heels because medical science says there's no hope. But once again, the phrase "take it to the Lord in prayer comes to mind. So, whatever your spiritual leanings please pray for this young man; we also heard that while Baby Joseph continues the battle, there really hasn't been much improvement. Please pray for that little one as well as our dear friends Pauline Dewberry, Aideen, Hartson, Mickey, Patricia Edward's daughter Heather who is having a very difficult time with her chemo treatments, Helen Dowd's sister who is a missionary in India, little Emma Josephine, Fiona Mary's mother, 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
9. . Trivia Contest. The new contest for February is posted and we have a winner for January: Congratulations to Judi Jemison, USA! If you'd like to be in our next drawing, please send us your answers by midnight February 28, whatever time zone you are in. You'll find the quiz here:
http://www.irishcultureandcustoms.com/TriviaContest.html

So there you have have it until we write again.  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.  And if you were married in February or might be tying the knot this month, here's your special verse:
When February birds do mate
You may wed, nor dread your fate.

Meanwhile, for all you football fans, may your team come out on top at the Superbowl. And God willing, may Ireland win in Wales at the Six Nations.

We leave you with this lovely St. Brigid blessing
Through her holy intercession with our Father in Heaven, may St. Brigid bless you and and make you generous in your giving, pleasant in your greeting, honest in your speaking, loyal in your loving, clear in your thinking, strong in your working , and joyful in your living and when it's time for your homecoming, may there be peace in your passing and a warm welcome in heaven.

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 tickled this past week 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.

Hollywood, Florida - February 10
From 7:00 pm until 11 pm The irish-American Caeli Club will be celebrating its 35th anniversary with a deluxe steak, salmon or chicken dinner music by Paddy Noonan and Kathy Durkin. To reserve your tickets please call 954-432-8292 by January 31st. Or for more details, please click
http://www.irishamericanceiliclub.com

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

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
You might be a Culchie (Irish redneck) if:

You take your dog for a walk and you both use the same tree.
You offer someone the shirt off your back and they don't want it.
Your working TV sits on top of your non-working TV.
You come back from the recycling centre with more than you took.
You think a hot tub is a stolen indoor plumbing fixture.
You took a fishing pole to the aquarium in Galway.
You've used your ironing board as a buffet table.
You've used a toilet brush as a back scratcher.
Somebody tells you that you've got something in your teeth and you take them out to see what it is.
You take being called a muck savage by a jackeen* as a compliment.
You think Sherlock Holmes is a new housing estate in Limerick.
On your first date you had to ask dad to borrow the keys to the tractor
You think God looks a lot like Derek Warfield and heaven looks a lot like the World Ploughing contest in Tullow.
The Halloween pumpkin in your window has more teeth than you do.
You can tell your age by the number of rings in the bathtub.
You think loading the dishwasher means getting your wife sloshed.
You wish your outhouse was as nice as those at the park.
You've ever barbecued black sausage or white pudding on the grill.
You think Dom Perignon is a mafia leader.
A flute isn't an instrument, it's an eejit.
Wellie tossing was your favorite game as a child. It still is.
You own a t-shirt that says on the front if I throw a stick will you run away.
Your idea of a three piece suit is overalls and long underwear, and a grandfather shirt - which really did belong to your grandfather.
Your everyday brew is Smithicks but when you're celebrating a big event like a United win, it's Vodka & Red Bull.
You greet people with How's she cuttin'? A suitable reply is Grand altogether if you are in good form, or Survivin' if not.

*jackeen - slang for dubliner