Welcome to the Irish Culture & Customs newsletter which is published every week and sent out to over 2300readers 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.yourmailinglistprovider.com/pubarchive.php?Herself
If, for any reason, you wish to unsubscribe, instructions are at the end - but we do hope you'll stay with us.
Greetings and blessings to all,

We hope this edition finds you in good health, good spirits and good company. We also hope that for all of you in the northern hemisphere, you're warm and out of the wind and weather. Here in the Ohio Valley, the forecast said we'd get an inch or so of snow last Wednesday and we ended up with six or more; we were then warned of impending doom, gloom and disaster with another storm that was supposed to hit yesterday. This time, all we got was a coating of ice and a dusting of white stuff. We've decided that whatever the weather people say, we'll ignore them and just look out the window.

While we dodged the bullet with the latest wintry blast, our neighbours to the north and our friends and family in the northeast are being clobbered. Last we heard, Massachusetts had declared a state of emergency and a couple of other states were considering it. We remember those nor'easter winter storms when we lived in the Boston area and if you live there, we certainly empathize.

Have a question about your Irish Roots? We have re-established our connection with Eileen O'Duill in Dublin who is a professional genealogist; if you would like her to answer a question, send her an email:
From time to time, we'll publish the questions and answers on our genealogy page on the website.

We're happy to report that the past week brought in a couple more donations; however, when one considers that we have well over 2000 subscribers and we haven't heard from even 1%, it's a bit disheartening. Bridget has this fantasy based on the scene in the movie Miracle on 34th Street when all the mailmen came into the courtroom carrying sacks and sacks of mail for Santa Claus. It would indeed be a lovely miracle if a similar thing happened to us. So, if you can, please send a dollar to help us defray expenses like renewing our domain name each year and paying for our internet service. It all goes toward helping to keep this newsletter free. It also helps toward footing the bill for a furnace repair last Thursday. Just when we least needed it or could afford it, a coupler thing wore out and had to be replaced. Russ asked the repairman how he might find one that was reliable; the man said" I dunno, do the Japanese make 'em yet?"
Enough whinging - and enough about us....
Please help us to keep this newsletter free - visit our good friends, LollySmith:
Did you know they now ship to Canada? Explore what they have on offer, including great items from Guinness, Hats of Ireland and Roundstone Bodhrans from Galway. They also stock authentic Irish whistles from the leading makers like Fádóg, Clare, Walton, Guinness & Clarke. One of the oldest musical instruments in Ireland. the Irish whistle is affordable, easy to learn and can be used to play music your entire family will enjoy - from haunting airs to lively reels. Come take a look - browse to your heart's content, and remember, when you buy from Lollysmith, you'll always enjoy great prices, quick shipping, and friendly, personalized service.
News from Ireland:

As of last Thursday, January 20, the speed limits in the Republic of Ireland, where both miles and kilometres have been used for many years, changed to metric. Because of rounding up after mph to km/h conversion, limits on main roads in towns and cities will get a small boost. But, more significantly when it comes to safety, the limit on rural roads, which make up 90% of the road network, is being slashed by 10mph from 60mph (97km/h) to 50mph (80km/h). We're not sure if this will make any difference to Dubliners who drive like maniacs - one can only hope and pray.

Launch of 2005 Pride of Place Award
Co-operation Ireland's prestigious Pride of Place Award 2005 will be officially launched on 1 February. Local Authorities from across the island are encouraged to nominate community groups in their area who have made an invaluable contribution to community development.

Antrim: new toilets for Rathlin
Even though councillor Michael Molloy questioned whether the amount was too much, Moyle District Council has agreed to spend £37,000 on land at Rathlin Island foreshore for a proposed new public toilet block. Councillor Madeline Black said: "I think we should go ahead with the scheme because it is very important for tourism."

Derry: Noted past pupil at anniversary celebrations
Seamus Heaney returned to his old school last week to deliver the first in a series of anniversary lectures to mark the one hundred and twenty-five years of the school's existence. A bust of the Nobel Laureate, who attended St Columb's College in Derry during the 1950s, by local artist Maurice Harron was unveiled during the evening as well as artwork by students at present attending the college.

Dublin: It was reported in the irish Times last week that Bewley's is in negotiations with a leading restaurant and pub chain about the possibility of establishing a wine bar café at its Grafton Street outlet in Dublin.

Galway: New route across the Corrib
Shannon Ferries has applied for permission to create Ireland's first cable-operated car ferry The ferry will cross Lough Corrib at its narrowest point and will eliminate a 30-mile road route between north Galway and Connemara. Connecting Knockferry and Kilbeg, it will accommodate 24 cars on a seven minute passage by water

Kildare: Shopping on a grand scale
Tourist Outlets Ltd is planning to build an outlet village comprised of 33 retail outlets close to the motorway exchange. It's expected to be open in time for the 2006 Ryder Cup in Straffan.

Limerick: New life for Clarina
Eight miles from Limerick, on the Askeaton Road, the village is to get 300 new homes, a hotel and a shopping centre. The plan is spear-headed by property developer Tim Walsh who was inspired by the demise of his own village, Killumney, in Cork.

Wicklow: Kingfishers rule at Druid's Glen
The golf course at Druid's Glen, which already plays host to a number of kingfishers along the river at the thirteenth hole, is to see an increase in the thirty-five species of bird at present located there. A project to establish a bird sanctuary at the golf resort is being undertaken by local man Derek Mulrooney whose innovations include improving the habitat and providing nesting boxes, and a feeding programme for the swans, ducks, and pheasants who have made the 400-acre site their home. The main component however is the provision of more banks for the kingfishers to make their nests.

News from all over
Southeast Asia - Alltech Ireland, a company headquartered in Dunboyne, Co Meath, has drawn up plans with local charities to build up to 40 boats for villagers in two Thai villages whose livelihoods were wiped out by the tsunami.

From the mailbag:
Christine writes: Hello from cold stormy North Ron (Orkney), but it is as nothing here compared to the terrible disaster in South Uist a week ago, when a family of five were swept into the sea by the hurricane as they tried to get to safety.
On a lighter note: Do you know the poem Angels' candles - Oiche Nollag? I have read it somewhere in the last few days, thought it was in the newsletter, it has now been set to music - lovely words, the stars are angels' candles. Does anyone have the rest, I'd like to write it in the album I'm making for a grand-daughter. Keep well and warm in all this wintry weather. God bless.

Teresa writes: am looking for a first communion bible and medal for my grandson's first communion, any ideas for Irish made gifts?
NOTE: We've looked on the internet but so far, we're having no luck finding Irish-made Communion medals or bibles. Any clues?

Links of the week:
Hartson sent us The Bears. Move your mouse cursor across the bears - you do not have to click the mouse button. Amazing how they do this!! http://www.nobodyhere.com/toren.hier

If you've ever wondered what to do with many of the items associated with a wedding, Eileen sent us a link to the Making Memories Breast Cancer Foundation, a nationally recognized non-profit organization formed for the express purpose of granting memory-making events to terminal breast cancer patients. They accept wedding gowns, bridesmaid dresses, veils, slips, shoes, mothers' dresses and flower girl gowns.

Bev sends us a link she decsribes as silly but cute:

She also sent us a link to a site filled with other useful links - fun to explore!

Elizabeth Z sent us a link to gorgeous photos of Ireland

Penny R sent us a link to a lovely site featuring gardens in Scotland and Northern Ireland (places to stay, too)

The Breast Cancer site is having trouble getting enough people to click on it daily to meet their quota of donating at least one free mammogram a day to an underprivileged woman. 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:

Enough of the blather - on with the update....

Quips, quotes, proverbs & toasts
A bit of the wit
Joke of The Week
Did You Know
Writer's Quiz
New This Week
The Week Ahead
Happiness is no laughing matter
Richard Whately, Archbishop of Dublin
Anybody can be good in the country.
Oscar Wilde
After just a few years of marriage filled with constant bickering, the Kerry couple decided the only way to save their marriage was to try counseling. When they arrived at the counselor's office, the counselor jumped right in and opened the floor for discussion. "What seems to be the problem?" Immediately, the husband held his long face down without anything to say. In contrast, the wife began talking 90 miles an hour, describing all the wrongs within their marriage. After 15 minutes of listening to the wife, the counselor went over to her, picked her up by her shoulders, kissed her passionately and sat her back down. Afterwards, the wife sat speechless. The marriage counselor looked over at the husband, who stared in disbelief. The counselor said to the husband,"Your wife NEEDS that at least twice a week!" The husband scratched his head and replied, "I can have her
here on Tuesdays and Thursdays."
Help us keep this newsletter free by visiting our good friends at The Irish Lottery. Will this be the year you become a millionaire? There Are 42 Shades of Green - All you need are 6 to hit the Irish Millions! One of the most trusted lotteries in the world, drawings are held every Wednesday and Saturday. Best of all, 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. Please click here for full details:
1. Hector Berlioz was married to Harriet Smithson an Irish actress from Co. Clare? Even though their marriage was troubled and short-lived, his love for her inspired him to write the Symphonie Fantastique.
2. According to ancient Irish folklore, you can get rid of freckles if you wash your face in the distilled water of walnuts?
3. The willow tree has a soul in it which speaks in music? That's an old Irish proverb and it's supposedly whyIrish harps are traditionally made of willow.
To begin with, , the answers to last week's quiz:
1. The Names Upon the Harp by Marie Heaney
2. The Book of Irish Families: Great & Small by Michael C. O'Laughlin
3. The Complete Book of Irish Family Name by Michael C O'Laughlin

A pat on the back to this week's Irish bibliophiles:

Hartson & Helen Dowd
For easy-read stories, poems, Bible studies, odds'n ends, devotional, inspirational and missionary articles, we invite you to have a look at: http://www.occupytillicome.com/literary.html
(easy link to the literary list.)
Or please visit

Patricia Edwards
I'm running out of sites to recommend! This is a 'game' that a friend in Alabama sent me . But, be careful - it's addictive!

Carol Feltman
I am enjoying the following site very much very much and I am still reading through carefully. Have a look--it is wonderful - so informative as well as entertaining

Mary Sigrist
An Irish Fairy Tale for All Ages: Kick back and visit The Kingdom of the Bald Ferns in Old Ireland. Meet a group of young Irish cousins and their flying dragon, Flash. Trips to a fairy village called Oolagilbie; a dragon wedding; and a near escape from the trolls and ogres are just a few of the adventures of Flash and his friends. Visit and sign my guest book to hear from FLASH: http://www.geocities.com/flashandschnootz

Déirdre McKiernan Hetzler
"Glorious Ireland in May." To preview May 25 - June 8, 2005.view this year's itinerary, please visit

Debbi Felker
Anyone whose spirit comes alive in the midst of all things Irish will feel right at home on Fantasy-Ireland! Learn all about popular Irish and Celtic symbols. Sample a few easy Irish recipes. Find the perfect Irish baby name. Plan an Ireland vacation or Irish wedding. Take a journey to the past in the castles of Ireland. All this and more await you on Fantasy-Ireland!

Want to see your name on next week's list? Try finding the following - we assure you, it's really easy! Who wrote:

1. Almost There : The Onward Journey of a Dublin Woman
2. Nights of Rain and Stars
3. Croke Park: A History

Hint: You'll find all of the above titles and a favorite in our library here:

Send us the correct answers to two out of three and the rewards are:
1. If you have a web site, send us your URL plus a short description and we'll publish it in the next newsletter. If you don't have a web site, please nominate a favorite - preferably Irish. Also, please remember that we list our sleuths in the order of entries received.
2. Receive a correct entry into the current "So You Think You're Irish" trivia contest. (In fairness to those of you who go to the trouble of actually finding the answers to the trivia contest, you'll get a bonus entry!)
3. Click through on the Hint URL above, tell us the title and earn another entry into the Trivia drawing.
NOTE: It would be very helpful if you would send your entries to: bhaggerty@irishcultureandcustoms.com

To start off, the answer to last week's thinker stinker:
Bags and Beads. You are given 5 bags. There are 10 beads in each of the bags. In four of the bags, the beads each weigh 10 kilograms.  In the remaining bag,  each bead  weighs only 9 kilograms. All the bags and beads look identical. You must find out which bag has the lighter beads. The problem is that all the bags look identical and all the beads look identical. You can use a scale, but it has to be a single-tray scale, not a two-tray balance scale.  Also, you may use the scale only once.
Q. How can you find out which bag has the lighter beads? 
A. Label the bags from 1 to 5. Take 1 bead out of Bag 1, and label it 1. Take 2 beads out of Bag 2, and label them both with a 2. Take 3 beads out of Bag 3, and label each with a 3. Continue this pattern with Bags 4 and 5. Put these 15 beads on the tray of the scale. 
If all 15 weighed 10 kilograms, the scale would register 150 kilograms. But since one or more of the beads weighs only 9 kilograms, the scale will register less than 150. Subtract the number on the scale from 150. Your answer will tell you the number of the bag with the lighter beads. (If the scale registers 148, it's bag #2. If the scale registers 145, it's bag #5.)
Congrats to our Fighting Irish football fan Jim for being first in. And now for this week's head-banger:
Four couples are going to the movies. Each row holds eight seats.
Kate & Sean don't want to sit next to Mary & Patrick, and Mary & Patrick don't want to sit next to Moira & Kevin. On the other hand, Roisin & Conor don't want to sit next to Kate & Sean.
Q. How can the couples arrange themselves so that they all sit where they would like?
Russ has spent a great deal of time gathering up all of the quotes, anecodotes and trivia bits from all the newsletters going back a year or so, so we now have three year's worth divided up into appropriate pages. The quotes department has been greatly expanded in all four areas and our Irish Trivia section is now triple its original size. Have fun looking through it all, especially if you're a recent subscriber.
1. Article - Symbols and Emblems of Ireland - the Penny or TinWhistle
2. Article - Making St. Brigid's Crosses
3. Article - Brticle - Brigid of the Songs
4. Article - St. Brigid, the Giveaway
5. The Irish Kitchen - Irish Egg Cake
6. Discovering Ireland - In NewYork
7. Irish Shops - religious. Until after her feastday on February 1, , we're spotlighting St. Brigit. Anachron is located in the right margin on the home page
8. On-going - Circle of Prayer: Our 8th Novena continues through January 25. Our 9th and final Novena in this cycle begins on Wednesday 1/26. Please join us in prayer or meditation for the survivors and the victims of the Tsunami; also for Susan's dad who is very ill; for the family of Pfc. Kenneth VonRonn 1st Battalion, 69th Infantry, aka Fighting 69th, who died Jan. 6, along with six soldiers from a Louisiana National Guard unit. He is the 4th member of NY's Fighting Irish to die in Iraq. for Matt Maupin who has now been missing or held hostage in Iraq for going on ten months; for the safety of Paul and Ashley, the sons of personal friends and for all military personnel stationed in Iraq, Afghanistan, and all over the world. Please also remember Mollie's son Casey, Mary from NY, Pauline recovering from surgery; and Graine. We have personally experienced first-hand the power of prayer and know that God listens and will answer.
9. On-going - Trivia Contest. The last week for the January contest is coming up. All entries must be in by January 31st, whichever time zone you live in. Please note that we have another sponsor - The Celtic Attic who are offering a lovely prize. Check it out here: http://www.irishcultureandcustoms.com/TriviaContest.html
Don from the USA is the winner of our December contest.

Still trying to stay ahead of the calendar, we'll be posting an article on Candlemas and the first of a series of articles on love in Ireland. As always, we've posted a new blessing for Sunday, we'll have a new quote on Wednesday, and we'll have a new recipe from Hartson next Thursday. In general, we'll do whatever else we can to keep you coming back for more. And don't forget our daily updates of news and history. For news, please click:
And we keep a week's worth of history here:
Help keep our newsletter free - please visit our friends at Molly's Irish Imports
LAST WEEK FOR OUR 25% OFF READER DISCOUNT! Irish Culture and Customs readers are invited to take 25% off all clothing and woolen items at Molly's Irish Imports from Jan. 15-31, 2005. Please write "code 25" in the comment section of your order to receive the discount. Your new order total will be emailed to you. So, let the winter wind blow while you stay cozy and warm wrapped in Irish woolens - luxurious capes, ruana shawls, sweaters, scarves and hats made from the finest Irish wool will keep you beautifully comfortable. All of Molly's woolens are made from the highest quality Merino or new Irish wool for softness and longlasting durability.
See what's in store for you at Molly's Irish Imports, online at:
So there you have it for another week except to say that if you're celebrating a birthday or other special event between now and next time, we hope it's a joyous occasion! We also wish our Scots friends, a guid Burns Night on February 25 (hold the haggis!), our friends in Oz a Happy Australia Day on January 26 ,and, on the same date, a memorable celebration of Republic Day in India.

Until we "meet" again, the Grace of God and the favor of Patrick on all that you see and all that you do. 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
Are you a loyal reader of our newsletter? Your voluntary donation will help us keep sending it around the world each week. Please send a dollar or more to Russ and Bridget, 5670 Meryton Place, Cincinnati, OH, 45224. Donations can also be made via PayPal at
Our email address there is bhaggerty@irishcultureandcustoms.com
FREE shamrock seeds for any donation over $25 and any thanks in advance for your kindness.
Events & Classifieds
To avoid duplication, we list only those events not already mentioned in the Irish Heritage Newsletter or on the Wild Geese website. In fact, the Irish Heritage email group and the Wild Geese have joined forces to bring you a massive listing of Irish events all over the world! To subscribe to the list, send your e-mail address to group moderator George Trainor, at george@thewildgeese.com. The group's postings go out every other Friday and Saturday, in five separate e-mails, covering Irish history, myths and legends, news, jokes, Irish (Gaeilge) lessons, recipes, and more. Organizations, please alert them about your upcoming events, e-mail events@thewildgeese.com, fax: 208-978-9998. Deadline: The third Wednesday of the month for the following month's edition. Also visit The Wild Geese at:

and the site itself at www.thewildgeese.com.
If you're in Ireland, or lucky enough to be visiting, you can see what's on offer here:

Dublin - Now until mid-March
"Toy Stories", An Exhibition of Toys, Dolls & Games from the Past is on display at the National Museum of Ireland

Winston Salem - Now until March 3
Aisling: An Artist's Vision of ireland
Irish landscapes in oil, pastel, black and white photography by Amy Funder
Spine Gallery, Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Centerburk

Houston, Texas - January 19 and every Wednesday evening at 7:00 pm
Ar mhaith leat Gaeilge a labhairt? Would you like to speak Irish?
Beginning Irish Conversation Brian O'Neill's 5555 Morningside This Irish class is tailored to the beginning student who has had no prior exposure to Irish.
If you have any questions please contact Tim Theisen (tyson) at
Jeaniebotl@aol.com or phone me at (713) 263-9691

Co. Sligo - January 28-30
The Yeats Winter School returns!
The aim of the weekend is to provide a basis for reading, exploration and thinking about Yeats' work. The Winter School is organised by the Yeats Society Sligo and full details can be found at

Hollywood, Florida - February 6
TY Park, 12 noon - 5pm. Members are free & guests only $5!
For more info call 954-432-8292 or visit our web site:

Philadelphia, PA - February 14
11:00 AM to 1:00 PM Love Park - 15th St. & J.F.K. Blvd. Organized by the
Philadelphia AOH / LAOH County Board and the
Philadelphia Veterans Multi-Service & Education Center

Hollywood, Florida - February 19
IRISH-AMERICAN CEILI CLUB Shepherds Pie dinner & dancing to Paddy Noonan
7p-11p Members $8; Guests $11
For more info call 954-432-8292 or visit our web site:

Houston Texas - February 24-27
UST Hosts The American Conference for Irish Studies
Southern Regional Conference. The first major event in 2005 for the Center for Irish Studies. The conference features nearly 100 presentations by Irish Studies scholars, students, and interested persons from Ireland, Northern Ireland, Canada and throughout the United States on Irish Studies topics, including literature, history, politics, art, culture music, and immigration. For more information or to register, please visit

Houston, Texas - February 27
McTeggart Irish Dancers 3rd Annual - St. Patrick's Day Celebration and Fundraiser
3-7PM At the newest of Molly's Irish Pubs~ Olde City Pub 14124 Steubner Airline. For more details, please click

Galway City - March 5
The sixth NUI Galway Gala Banquet http://www.nuigalway.ie/news/main_press.php?p_id=190 , to be held in the Radisson SAS Hotel in Galway, will have as its theme the university's mission in international education. At the banquet the annual Alumni Awards will be presented, the winners to be announced in the next issue of Alumni Links.


There are still some periods available up to 9 July, if you would like to spend your holiday in my cosy house on the beautiful Isle of Inishmore.
Information: http://www.celticexperience.net
or 0041-1-2520918

Know of a church in need of a vestments cabinet? Russ has totally restored one he rescued from a Cincinnati church that was being demolished. We've used it over the years to store posters other art work and flat files. (Ad agencies and architectural firms could also put it to similar use). If you're interested in learning more about it and seeing a photo, please send us an email - bhaggerty@irishcultureandcustoms.com

Another funny verse sent to us by Hartson:

A row of bottles on my shelf caused me to analyze myself:
One yellow pill I have to pop goes to my heart so it won't stop.
A little white one that I take goes to my hands so they won't shake.
The blue ones that I use a lot tell me I'm happy when I'm not.
The purple pill goes to my brain and tells me that I have no pain.
The capsules tell me not to wheeze or cough or choke or even sneeze.
The red ones, smallest of them all go to my blood so I won't fall.
The green ones, very big and bright prevent my leg cramps in the night.
Such an array of brilliant pills helping to cure all kinds of ills.
But what I'd really like to know is what tells each one where to go!

There's always a lot to be thankful for if you take time to look for it. For example I am sitting here thinking how nice it is that wrinkles don't hurt!

We echo that sentiment, Hartson!