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Greetings & blessings to all,
No joke it really is us! It's lovely to be back, albeit about a week later than planned. Remember that old platitude, if you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans? What we didn't plan on was Bridget's tumble down the stairs turning out to be a fractured humerus (and not amusing at all). And since it's her writing arm and she's under doctor's orders not to move it, it's been a wee bit difficult to put this edition together. But we hope you'll bear with us. The good news is that she won't need surgery.
So, we have a lot to catch up on. Belated Happy Mother's Day to all the mams, mums and mammys in Ireland and wherever else the day is celebrated on the 4th Sunday in Lent. Still to come is Mother's Day in other parts of the world where it takes place on the 2nd Sunday in May.
If that's not confusing, how about moving the clocks forward? That also took place in Ireland last Sunday, but it doesn't happen in the USA and other countries until this coming Sunday.
Something we're definitely not mixed up about is wishing a Happy Spring to everyone in the northern hemisphere. Here, in our valley, the daffs are blooming, the plum trees are budding and you can almost hear the grass growing. Another thing that's growing is our subscriber list. Thanks so much for joining us and we hope you will share our musings and meanderings with your family and friends. A warm welcome to you and a warm welcome back to all of our readers. We hope this edition finds you with spring in your step and sunshine on your shoulders.
Enough of the blither and blather - on with the update!
Please help us keep our newsletter coming to your mailbox and visit our good friends Lollysmith:
Just in time for the hill-walking snd the spring sauntering, a brand new collection of genuine blackthorn sticks - and very special they are indeed. This group is from the same man himself who designed sticks amd presented them to President Kennedy and many other famous personages. Take a look at these and the many other unique items on offer, including Hanna hats of Donegal and Connemara marble jewellery.
IN THIS ISSUE:
From the Mailbag
Quips, quotes, proverbs & toasts
A bit of the wit
Joke of The Week
Did You Know
Know Your Writers
The week that was
The week that will be, God willing
Events & Classifieds
Leave 'em Laughing
Ireland's bank-heavy stock market, long among the strongest performers in Europe, ended the week last Friday above the 8,000-mark for the first time.
Unemployment in Northern Ireland is at a record low, an
overall rate of 4%, compared to 4.6% in December 2004. The UK unemployment average is 5%.
Top British award for 'Irish Times' photographer Bryan O'Brien
He was recently presented with the 13th Picture Editors' Award in the Guildhall in London. The first Irish-based photographer to win the prestigious award, O'Brien received the BG Group Photographer of the Year award after being shortlisted with three other finalists from over 200 entries.
Knockout blow to ye olde wooden truncheons
The gardai's wooden truncheons, the main police weapon here for centuries, is to be completely phased out and replaced by lightweight retractable batons. For more on this story, please click
Sale of cigarettes in packets of 10 to be banned?
The Department of Health is to begin consultations on banning packets of 10 cigarettes, it was just announced.
ED. NOTE: Does anyone remember the sale of packets of two, five and ten coffin nails? Bridget well remembers her mother buying Woodbines and Weights in quanitities like that. But that was in London in the 50s.
O'Sullivan teas up for charity
Manager Eddie O'Sullivan is urging the people of Connacht to invite their neighbours round for tea - and it's all in the name of charity. Mr O'Sullivan has thrown his weight behind a tea day in aid of the West of Ireland Alzheimer Foundation. The tea day takes place on Friday, April 7, when the foundation hopes householders all over the west will play host to their friends and neighbours.
FROM AROUND THE COUNTIES
Antrim: Titanic artifacts go on show
An exhibition at the Odyssey complex in Belfast features a child's china-headed doll which was found floating after the Titanic went down in 1912; the doll was named Philomena after the vessel which retrieved it.
Clare: Shout with a Clare voice
The Clare village of Kilkishen is set to see a showdown of the county's best shouters in September with the first festival for those who can voice the 'distinguished Clare shout'. The festival between September 22 and 24 will have a competition to find the best shouter, which organisers say will not be the loudest but the most authentic and distinguished.
Derry: Pedestrian use for artefact
As part of a two-year project which will see the restoration of all of the cannon in Derry city, one has been discovered being used as a traffic bollard on Shipquay Street. It is not yet known the exact age of this particular cannon but, should it be found to date from the time of the Siege of Derry in 1688, or even earlier, it will be restored and placed on display.
Down: Literary pilgrimage in Banbridge
Recently, a group of literary enthusiasts set out from Banbridge on a trail which took in all the places associated with the Bronte family. The tour included the ruins of the cottage in Emdale where Patrick Bronte, father of the writers, was born, and the parish church and school at Drumballyroney where he both taught and ministered before moving to England. At the Bronte Homeland Interpretative Centre actors in period costumes re-enacted scenes from the lives of the Bronte family including the grandparents of Charlotte, Emily and Anne, Alice McClory and Hugh Bronte.
Dublin: Archbishop James Ussher Anniversary Exhibition
He was the Anglican Archbishop of Armagh from 1625-1656 and a prolific religious scholar who most famously published a Biblical chronology claiming that the Earth was created at nightfall preceding 23 October 4004 BC. To mark the 350th anniversary of his death in 1656, Trinity College Dublin is running an exhibition of his writings and correspondence.
Dublin: Last man standing in Swords
The very last house on the right-hand side of Malahide Road in Swords has closed its doors and Liam Heron has bowed to the inevitable. The house was built by Liam's father in 1932 and he was very reluctant to leave it, but he has spent the last while living in the shadow of giant cranes and the almost constant noise of construction work on apartment blocks just yards from his back garden. Liam has sold the house to a developer and expects that it will be demolished in the near future to make way for more apartments. Meanwhile he has bought a new home at Longlands.
Galway: What is Ireland?
When asked what immediately came into their heads when they thought of 'Ireland', a group of students from Scoil San Phroinsias in Tirellan responded with answers ranging from cows to tin whistles, to Eminem. The exercise was part of a school outreach programme which is currently being run by three NUI, Galway graduates who are involved with the Washington-Ireland Program for Service and Leadership.
Mayo: Sculpture Park reopens in Kiltimagh
Less than a year after vandals smashed three of the statues, the works have been fully restored, new fencing has been erected, seats have been replaced and a new water feature installed. To acknowledge the support of the Western People, a new statue has been cast and has been placed in Main Street. Entitled "Western Day" and created by Sally McKenna in bronze, it depicts a man sitting reading the newspaper.
Offaly: Information plaque unveiled in Kilcormac
The Tidy Town group in Kilcormac saw one of their three projects come to fruition recently with the unveiling of an Information Plaque on the square. The plaque was unveiled by Fergus Sweeney, son of the late Frank Sweeney, the words of whose song, "The Offaly Rover" are included on the plaque; a blessing was then given by Father Daly.
Tyrone: Re-dedication for 19th century church
St Mary's Church in Cloughcor, outside Strabane, is to be rededicated on Sunday when the auxiliary Bishop of Derry, Dr Francis Lagan, will perform the official re-opening and blessing of the church. First opened in 1823 and one of the oldest churches in the Derry diocese, the church's first parishioners stood or knelt on an earthen floor. Central heating was installed in the middle of the last century and the latest refurbishment has included a new altar and two new statues of the Risen Christ and Madonna and Child carved in wood. Father John Doherty and Father Paul Farren have also organised the publication of a booklet to mark the rededication ceremony.
Waterford: Three milestones to be celebrated
A Mass to be held in the Holy Cross Church in Tramore in June will celebrate three different wedding anniversaries. Any couples who were married in the church or in Carbally Church in 1956, 1966 or 1981 will be invited to join in the celebration of their Golden, Ruby or Silver Wedding Anniversaries. Also included in the celebration will be all those living within the parishes of Tramore and Carbally who were married in those years although in another church. The Mass will be a thanksgiving for the marriages and also an offering of thanks for all the care represented by the marriages over the years.
Wicklow: - Major celebrations are planned for the 400th birthday
of Ireland's youngest county, Wicklow. A hotbed of Irish rebellion against
English rule, the "garden of Ireland" formed part of Co Dublin until 1606.
Special events will mark the occasion and the Great Sugar Loaf Run, which
dates back to 1870, will be recreated to raise funds for charity. A banquet
will be held in Avondale House, once home to Charles Stewart Parnell.
Wicklow comes from the Viking word Vikinglow, meaning "meadow of the
ED NOTE: Most of the above news items are from The Irish Emigrant. Space does not alllow us to print them all. To read every item, please click
FROM AROUND THE WORLD
Ireland/USA: Happy cows break less wind and help save the planet
Farmershere can help cut greenhouse gases if they keep their cows happy, according to a new study. Conducted on both sides of the Atlantic, research and field trials tested a high fibre feed programme.
FROM THE MAILBAG
Joan writes: Do you have any readers by the name of O'Sullivan from Cork? If so say hello to them from me Joan O'Sullivan of Crescent City, California. Thank you.
Smather? We hope to smash this mystery to smithereens once and for all! Many of you sent in the Wikipedia entry and other suggestions but it was Judy in Ohio who came up with the correct answer. It's a cake with jam and other ingredients in it. This was a contest question on Midwest irish Radio out of Co. Mayo and the presenter was Gerry. If you haven't listened in, you really should. They take requests and the presenters are very responsive. Lovely people as well. The URL is:
BTW: Did you know smithereens is derived from the Irish word "smiderin" meaning fragment? And smather is a slang word which means mess? So now you know.
St. Patrick's Blue: Another mystery to solve which is driving Bridget mad - as well as a teacher who is being badgered by her students for the origin. For whatever reason, we can't find a definitive source which will confirm that there is such a thing as St. Patrick Blue or where it came from. Help!
Matt asks: Does anyone know how to calculate the following: If one parent is 75% Irish and 25% Dutch, and the second parent is 100% Irish, what will the children be?
Cartoonist taking the mick? A reader sent us a cartoon which appeared in the Washington Post. It showed St. Patrick saying to people kneeling in prayer: I've driven the snakes out of Ireland. Now go paint yourselves green and vomit in the streets. The caption was "St. Patrick's Day explained." Many people have taken offence, and initially, one might think the cartoonist was insulting Irish Catholics. But, perhaps we should look at it from a different perspective.
In our own humble opinion, we think the good saint would be appalled at what's happened to the celebration of his feast day. And we think in a cynical way, that's what the cartoonist was trying to say. What's your opnion? Our suggestion is that we adopt two celebrations. One we could call All Snakes Day andthat one could be for all the wannabe Oirish who give the rest of us a bad name. The other festival could be a revival of the way it once was. perhaps we could have a candlelight procession to the church for Mass and then a parade to the local pub for just a few drinks afterwards?
Top 100 April Fools Day hoaxes of all time
Are you old enough to remember Richard Dimbleby's report on the Swiss spaghetti harvest?
Our Lady of Perpetual Motion Marching Band
For nearly three decades, listeners to WEBN have been entertained by a programme which has become a classic. Tune if you can:
We Are Irish - Canada
We support and promote Irish culture and the businesses and associations that are intertwined within it. Add us to your Favourites, visit often and watch "We Are Irish" evolve.
Colours and lovely music
Once upon a time the colours of the world began to unravel...
Hartson sent this one a long time ago. It's well worth a look:
An Irish music and movement program for children ages 0-4 and the adults in their lives to enjoy together. A class where we sing songs, chant chants, wiggle our fingers and toes, laugh, bounce and dance.
A program that might be educational, but you'll be having too much fun to notice!
Another great golf game
And just as addictive! Thanks, Hartson:
We've run this one before, but it's so much fun, especially for the kids:
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:
Last but certainly not least - our on-going 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!
It only takes a second to feed hungry people, too:
QUIPS, QUOTES, PROVERBS & TOASTS
The first of April some do say,
Is set apart for All Fools' Day,
But why the people call it so,
Neither I, nor themselves do know.
But on this day are people sent
On purpose of pure merriment.
Poor Robin's Almanac, 1790
ED NOTE: If you'd like to know about April Fool's Day in Ireland, see our article:
BIT OF THE WIT
What do you call a Kerryman under a wheelbarrow?
OUR FAVORITE JOKE OF THE WEEK
A couple goes for a meal at a Chinese restaurant and orders the "Chicken Surprise." The waiter brings the meal, served in a lidded cast-iron pot. Just as the wife is about to serve herself, the lid of the pot rises slightly and she briefly sees two beady little eyes looking around before the lid slams back down. "Good grief, did you see that?" she asks her husband. He hasn't, so she asks him to look in the pot. He reaches for it and again the lid rises, and he sees two little eyes ooking around before it slams down. Sputtering in a fit of pique, he calls the waiter over, describes what is happening, and demands an explanation!
"Please sir," says the waiter, "what you order? The husband replies, "Chicken Surprise."
"Ah... so sorry," says the waiter, "I bring you Peeking Duck."
Help us keep this newsletter free by visiting our good friends at The Irish
To improve your chances of winnings they have even compiled a STATS section based on previous draws. 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! You can't win it if you're not in it, so go visit their totally re-vamped web site! Please click her for full details:
DID YOU KNOW
1. The fastest time to drink one pint of stout? Patrick Carelli drank a pint of Guinness stout in 2.94 seconds at Keeling's Bar in Donabate, Dublin, on March 31, 2001.
2. The Largest floral arrangement (number of blooms) was created by The Irish Cancer Society on march 23, 2003 and consisted of 37,500 daffodils? It measured five metres (16ft), was portable and covered with a single sheet of cellophane bound by a giant bow.
3. The most skips in 24 hours (individual) was by Jim Payne who skipped a record 141,221 jumps of a rope in 24 hours at City Square, Waterford, from March 26 to 27, 2004?
DO YOU KNOW YOUR IRISH WRITERS?
(Or books on Irish-related topics?)
1. Endurance: heroic Journeys in Ireland
2. The Sailor in the Wardrobe
3. The Emigrants Farewell
Send in your answers and if you get two out of three correct, we'll list your name and website (or your favorite Irish website) in our next newsletter.
In the meantime, here are the answers to our last quiz:
1. The Island of St. Patrick: Church of Ruling Dynasties, etc: Ailbhe Mac Shamhráin
2. Patrick, the Pilgrim Apostle: Maire De Paor
3. St. Patrick of Ireland: A Biography: Phillip Freeman
Hats off to our brilliant Irish bibliophiles:
Belated Happy St. Patrick's Day! Here are literally thousands of links to information about St. Patrick and his feastday:
Many thanks to all of you who continue to vote for my web site. Please visit and vote every day if you can.
ED NOTE: We are thrilled to report that Helen is less than 2000 votes away from reaching #3 on the Top Christian sites listing. The Dowds are very dear people to us and also a great help - so we do urge you to support their efforts. Thank you!
If you like cats you will love this site. It's full of warm, funny stories that will make you laugh and occasionally shed a tear. Join us as my wonderful feline companions and I share what life is like - living in a multi-cat household. It will be a journey you won't soon forget!
ED NOTE: Did you know there's an old Irish belief that you shouldn't trust anyone who doesn't like cats?
Tour Glorious Ireland June 28 - July 12, 2006
Dublin educated and a frequent visitor to Ireland, Déirdre is carrying on the family tradition begun by her late father, Dr. Eoin McKiernan, founder of the Irish American Cultural Institute. As a retired pastoral and campus minister, she brings an added emphasis to the personal touch with which the McKiernan name is associated.
Mary K. Ruggiero
I've upgraded the site (more jokes and poems, more links), so I hope visitors will sign the guestbook since I love to hear from new friends!
This is a wonderful website with International food and drink recipes - and some great traditional irish recipes!
DOORS OF DUBLIN
Undoubtedly, you have seen posters that show the Georgian doors of Dublin, but did you know that they're all knock-offs of the one that made its debut in 1970? There truly is just one original and it has just been re-introduced by the same people who created the first and only international award-winner. You can own this genuine signature symbol of Ireland by clicking here:
First off, the answer to our last mind mangler:
The same five letters can be anagrammed into four different words that fill in the blanks in the sentence to make(somewhat) good sense. What are the missing words?
The farmer with hundreds of acres, deeply cares about the amount of rainfall, and races around with artificial watering systems when the ground is dry enough to scare him about the possibility of crop failure.
As always, we had a great group of Riddle People who came up with the correct solution, but alas were too late to be first in. that accolade goes to Joseph Clifford in California. Well done!
And now for our next brain bruiser:
What is the only English word with two synonyms that are antonyms of each other?
THE WEEK THAT WAS
1. Article: Mothering Sunday in Old Ireland
2. Article: A Powerful Woman
3. Article: St. Ita, Foster Mother to the Saints of Ireland
4. Article: The Doors of Dublin
5. Kids' Ireland: The Changeling
6. The Irish Kitchen - Springtime Recipes
7. Basic Irish: Mothering Sunday
8. Circle of Prayer. We began a new cycle of Novenas on March 17th and the Novena page has been updated to give you a list of future dates. Our 2nd Novena in this cycle began on March 26 and will continue through April 3rd. We also added a Novena to St. Joseph who is the patron saint of workers as well as the unemployed. So many need our prayers - family and loved ones who are ill, in the hospital, going through so many different situations and difficulties. Specifically, we ask that you remember Peggy, Jane, Mickey, and Linda Langerfeld. Whatever your spiritual leanings, please count your blessings and ask God to hear your prayers and intercessions for those less fortunate. And please don't forget to ask the Good Shepherd of us all to watch over our men and women serving in the military all over the world. To join us every morning or whenever time permits, please click
And here is a lovely link that may lift the spirits of someone in need of our prayers:
Thanks as always to Hartson and Helen who are always sending us the most inspiring web sites.
9. Trivia Contest . Have entered yet? Time's running out! All entries must be in by midnight, March 31st. Please click
The Week That is and will be, God Willing
A new month is alway a busy time for us. We'll have a new Trivia contest, culture corners, lesson and we'll be re-publishing recipes for the Lenten seasaon. It's hard to believe Easter is just a couple of weeks away! As always, we'll update the headlines daily and we'll post the history for each day.
So that's the long and the short of it until the next issue. (And Bridget will do her best not to wait another fortnight before we show up again!)
"Pinch, punch, first day of the month, white rabbit" this Saturday and if you're celebrating a special event in the coming week, we hope it's a joyous occasion. If you're on the road Téigh Slán (safe journey) and wherever the road may take you, we ask that God watch over you and yours and keep you from all harm. But do help Him out a bit - 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
IF MANY GIVE A LITTLE, A LITTLE WILL BECOME A LOT
We'd like to say Go raibh maith agat to Noelene for her very generous donation. Your wild Irish flower seeds are on their way, Noelene! If you would like to help us keep our newsletter and the web site coming at no cost, please send whatever you can to Bridget or Russ Haggerty. Our snail mail address is 5670 Meryton Place, Cincinnati OH 45224. Of, you can send a donation via PayPal. The Url is:
and our email address is this one:
Many thanks in advance for your kindness.
Amherest, Massachusetts - March 31st
Winnie Czulinski will have her "regular" segment with Louise Dunphy, host of the
"Celtic Crossings" radio show in Amherst, Massachusetts,
Louise's entire show runs 12 noon to 2:30 pm EST -- I "come on" around 1:30 pm, until
2 or 2:30 pm EST.Our theme will be "Men In Kilts" - as this is a passion both Lou and
I share ;-) We'll be talking about the history of tartans, about the use of kilts in Celtic music today, probably about the Nathan Warmack affair again (don't know if you heard of this...just Google the guy's name...Louise interviewed him on her show a while ago)...and she'll be playing lots of great music by Celtic folk/rock bands, who give us girls an eyeful with hunky hairy legs stomping around beneath manfully-swirling pleats of terrific tartans!
Check with the Wild Geese - they have a huge listing of events and we don't want to duplicate our efforts - or theirs.
LEAVE 'EM LAUGHING
From the top 100 April Fool hoaxes of all time:
Guinness Mean Time
In 1998 Guinness issued a press release announcing that it had reached an agreement with the Old Royal Observatory in Greenwich, England to be the official beer sponsor of the Observatory's millennium celebration. According to this agreement, Greenwich Mean Time would be renamed Guinness Mean Time until the end of 1999. In addition, where the Observatory traditionally counted seconds in "pips," it would now count them in "pint drips." The Financial Times, not realizing that the release was a joke, declared that Guinness was setting a "brash tone for the millennium." When the Financial Times learned that it had fallen for a joke, it printed a curt retraction, stating that the news it had disclosed "was apparently intended as part of an April 1 spoof."
Dutch Elm Disease Infects Redheads
In 1973 BBC Radio broadcast an interview with an elderly academic, Dr. Clothier, who discoursed on the government's efforts to stop the spread of Dutch Elm Disease. Dr. Clothier described some startling discoveries that had been made about the tree disease. For instance, he referred to the research of Dr. Emily Lang of the London School of Pathological and Environmental Medicine. Dr. Lang had apparently found that exposure to Dutch Elm Disease immunized people to the common cold. Unfortunately, there was a side effect. Exposure to the disease also caused red hair to turn yellow and eventually fall out. This was attributed to a similarity between the blood count of redheads and the soil conditions in which affected trees grew. Therefore, redheads were advised to stay away from forests for the foreseeable future.
In reality, Dr. Clothier was Spike Milligan.