Welcome to the Irish Culture & Customs newsletter which is published every weekend and sent out to going on 1700 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.yourmailinglistprovider.com/pubarchive.php?Herself
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Greetings and blessings to all...

A warm welcome back and a special hello to our newest subscribers. It was really exciting to see our numbers go up to nearly 1700 readers. Many thanks for signing up and please feel free to share our musings and meanderings with your family and friends.

We hope this edition finds you fit as a fiddle and in fine fettle! As for ourselves, we're sorry to report there is no news of our missing pet, Roxie. However, we still cling to the hope she will come home - especially since so many of you wrote to say you are praying for her and told us about cats who showed up months, even years, later! The outpouring of comforting messages has been astonishing and we thank each and every one of you for trying so hard to make us feel better.

Around the country, Mother Nature let it be known how fickle and extreme she can be, what with tornadoes in Texas, blizzard conditions in Minnesota, and temperatures in the mid-seventies here in the Ohio Valley; however, we can't put the winter woolies in mothballs yet, the forecast is for freezing cold and snow showers on Monday. As Bridget's mother used to say "don't cast a clout until May is out!"

Speaking of mothers - March 21st is Mothering Sunday in Ireland, the equivalent of Mother's Day in the USA. So, if your mother lives there (or elsewhere in Europe), be sure to do something special for her.

Other than the newsletter, have any of you received an e-mail that appears to come from Irish Culture and Customs? It may say 'from' staff@irishcultureandcustoms.com and it may also have an attached folder called "More info" with instructions to open the folder. This message did not come from us. It is our understanding that this is a very nasty virus or worm, so don't, under any circumstances, open the folder. Simply delete the message and cross your fingers that the cyber-police will catch the egits who are doing this.

Enough about us...

In news from Ireland:
Co. Armagh: Armagh City and District Council has agreed in principle to take over the running of the Navan Interpretative Centre which is attached to the neolithic fort; some people are predicting that after being closed for three years, it could reopen this summer.

Dublin: The inaugural IRMA Honours went to Christy Moore for his remarkable achievements and contribution to Irish Music over the last forty years. The black tie gala event was attended by a host of stars from the world of music and entertainment including Edge, Ali Hewson, Guggi, Rasher, Brenda Fricker, Paul McGrath, D-Side, Paddy Casey, Damien Dempsey, Neil Hannon, Joe Dolan & David Kitt.

Co. Waterford: Marine experts believe that an abundance of sprat in the Waterford estuary is one of the factors in attracting a school of some forty dolphins to the area last week.

Co. Galway: Chef Padraic Kielty recently returned from the Istanbul Gastronomy Festival with three gold medals and two silver medals. Padraic is head chef at Vina Mara Restaurant in Galway's Middle Street and he is already the holder of a number of national awards for his cooking skills. Chefs from twenty-two different countries took part in the competition and the Irish team, of which Padraic was the only member from the West, came home with a total of twenty-nine medals.

Co. Limerick: The centuries old gates at St Mary's Cathedral, Limerick, have been replaced as a gift from the giant Aughinish Alumina plant on the Shannon Estuary.

Co. Longford: One man who already knows he has a place in the Olympic line-up in Athens is Fenagh's Derek Burnett, the only full-time clay pigeon shooter in Ireland. Having come fifth in the World Championships in Finland two years ago, Derek's place is assured and he has been able to spend his time preparing for the event.

Co. Kildare: The first European-based company to receive the new Information Security Standard IS 17799 is Wyeth Medical Ireland, based in Newbridge. A special ceremony was held at Government Buildings, where Taoiseach Bertie Ahern presented Wyeth with its certificate of compliance.

Co. Derry: A plaque is to be erected to the memory of the late James McCafferty at the Foyle Arts Centre on the Magee campus of the University of Ulster. The memorial to the musician, who died in 1995 and who had a long association with music in Derry and throughout Ireland, has been initiated by the university in conjunction with Derry City Council and the Honourable Irish Society.

In news from all over:
Twickenham, England - Six Nations Rugby: Ireland won a marvellous victory against World Champions England at Twickenham today to put themselves in with a chance of winning a first Triple Crown since 1985. A try from Girvan Dempsey and four penalties and a conversion by Ronan O'Gara were enough to give Ireland a narrow 19-13 victory.

Cincinnati, Ohio: It's happened again - the annual pilfering of the St. Patrick statue from Holy Cross-Immaculata Church. The stone statue, which stands at least six feet, was carried away by six strapping men in kilts. St. Patrick was then loaded into an Acme Tree Service truck, while the church congregation sang, "When Irish Eyes are Smiling." Bagpipers and dozens of others dressed in green paraded through the streets with the statue, posing for crowds with flashing cameras. The annual thievery dates to 1970, the year Holy Cross, the traditionally Irish parish, merged with Immaculata, the German parish. Following the final Mass at Holy Cross church, Jim Crowley and friends loaded St. Patrick onto a flatbed truck - but not before they swapped him with a smaller, one-foot version of St. Patrick that Crowley borrowed from Crowley's Irish Pub. The stealing and parade have since become a tradition, carried on by the Ancient Order of Hibernians The statue reappears just in time to lead the annual St. Patrick's Day Parade, which this year is on March 14.

From the mailbag:
We received the following request from Frances:
My mother, Frances McGinley was born in Letterkenny and lived right beside the church of St. Columkill. She came to America in 1929 and brought with her a box of garton clay from Garton near Churchhill that only the male members of the Friel family, who were the direct descendents of St. Columkill, were able to lift without it falling apart. She also believed it would keep people safe while traveling. Can you tell me something about this legend of "lifting the garton clay"? Thank you.

We also received this request from Gary:
Can anybody please help me to find a Russian translation of "It's a Long Way to Tipperary" ? This is a serious inquiry. Any leads would be most appreciated.

Links of the week:
Sacred Space
A site created by the Irish Jesuits featuring a daily prayer for the Lenten season in 18 languages, including Irish:

Garryowen - hear the famous tune
Our friend Debbie Froschauer is the mother of a young man leaving for Iraq very soon; she thought you might enjoy these links to her son's regiment, 1st squadron, 7th Cavalry.

Donegal Nature Calendar
Stuart is one of the members of a list we belong to called the Donegal Club. He's an excellent photographer and has created a wonderful day by day calendar of the flora and fauna close to where he lives:

Leprechaun Madness - thanks, Hartson!

Some St. Patrick's Day fun for the children

And another fun one from Hartson - St. Patricks Day "blinkies"

Our patron saint's remarkable story will be brought vividly to television in "Patrick," an hour-long docudrama airing on the Hallmark Channel. For details and to view a streaming video promo, please click

The Irish Shrine at Lemmon Street, Southwest Baltimore City
Many thanks to Walt who brought this site to our attention

St. Patrick's Day Festival Competitions
What better way to celebrate St. Patrick's Festival than right in the heart of Dublin. The luxurious five star Conrad Dublin is offering one lucky winner the opportunity to celebrate in style:

Just for fun - Rock Songs For Folks Over Fifty - Hilarious!

And last, but definitely 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!

Enough of the blither and blather - on with the update:
Help us keep this newsletter free - please visit our newest sponsor: Irish Abroad
IrishAbroad.com is the largest online Irish community website worldwide with over 158,000 registered members. The site is dedicated to all people around the world who have an interest in anything Irish and Ireland. IrishAbroad.com provides a wealth of content, which includes Irish-related news and features from around the world, genealogy, history, culture, recipes and much more. It is important to note that IrishAbroad.com is not just a content website but also an interactive site where users get involved in discussions, add their own photo albums, add events, search for other members in their area, buy gifts, send e-cards and have access to premium email service among many other things.
A Bit of The Wit
Joke of The Week
Did You Know?
Quotes & Quips
Know Your Irish Writers & Books?
New This Week
The Week Ahead
I saw a notice that said "Drink Canada Dry" and I've just started.
Brendan Behan
Please help us to keep this newsletter free - visit our good friends, LollySmith:
Welcome to our Irish Gift Shop where there's still time to look the part - and party on St. Patrick's Day! Caps, shirts, walking sticks, Guinness gear and glasses, lapel pins and more! Also, don't overlook another important date this month - if your mother lives in Europe, Mothering Sunday is March 21st! Come browse to your heart's content and should you decide to buy, you'll enjoy great prices, quick shipping, and friendly, personalized service
A Kerryman was playing Trivial Pursuit. It was his turn. He rolled the dice and landed on "Science & Nature." His question was, "If you are in a vacuum and someone calls your name, can you hear it?" He thought for a time and then asked, "Is it on or off?"
1. Murphy is the most common surname in Ireland? In Irish it means 'sea hound.'
2. Dublin has the oldest maternity hospital in Europe - the Rotunda? (a most appropriate name, we're thinking!)
3. The word quiz was invented by an 18th century Dubliner? He won a bet that he could introduce a new word by chalking it on walls around the city. Since nobody knew what it meant, the word acquired the meaning it has today.
Help us keep this newsletter free by visiting the The Irish Lottery:
Did you know that 34 Millionaires were created by the Irish lottery in 2003? You could be next! 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 and all winnings are tax-free. Do you have the luck of the Irish? Play the Irish lottery and find out! Please click here for full details:
"What were we celebrating? At this rate, the Angelus doesn't have a chance of remaining on RTÉ if we've managed to get St. Patrick out of his own parade."
Irish Times reporter Stephen Harris on not seeing a single figure of the saint in the 1998 St. Patrick's Day Parade in Dublin.
To begin with - the answers to last week's quiz:
1. The Writings of St. Patrick: The Apostle of Ireland - Charles H. H. Wright
2. St. Patrick's Purgatory: Lough Derg - Joseph McGuinne, Joseph McGuinness
3. The Spirituality of St. Patrick - Lesley Whiteside

A round of pints and applause for our Irish bibliophiles:
Patricia Edwards
This site belongs to a friend I met over the park walking our respective dogs. She is a folk singer/composer and guitarist and so far I have attended one of her gigs locally. Her music is a mixture of Celtic & New Age and I enjoy listening to it, especially as her latest CD has a tune called Guinevere (my nickname on msn sites).

Lisa Pickens
Would you like to become a host family in the USA for an Irish boy or girl this summer? Check out the Children's Friendship Project for Northern Ireland:

Ellen Parodi
Namely Gifts at http://namelygifts.com
Personalized Name Keepsakes and Gifts
Something for every name on your gift list!

Hartson Dowd
The Complete Ireland Web Page

Helen Dowd
Please have a look at Bob Miller's SkyWriting.Net. He has put on one of my stories:

Pauline Dewberry - editor
A warm, witty website about the author's 6 felines and their shenanigans!

Want to see your name and favorite site on our list? Try to find the following authors - we assure you, it's really easy! Who wrote:

1. St. Patrick's Day - A Love Story
2. A Fine St. Patrick's Day
3. The St. Patrick's Day Shillelagh
Hint: You'll find all the titles 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. 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
First off, the answer to last week's poser:
Mr. and Mrs. Murphy have six daughters and each daughter has one brother.
Q. How many people are in the Murphy family?
A. Nine
Congratulations to Brenda Ross who was first in with the correct answer. An honorable mention goes to Susan who said "probably just the eight, the boy would have run off long since!"
Now for our next head-banger:
A man was going on a one-way bus trip. He intended to ride for a certain distance, get off the bus and walk back to town. If the bus travels at a rate of nine miles per hour and he was to jog back to town at a rate of three miles per hour, how far would he ride so that he'd be back in eight hours?
Help keep our newsletter free - visit Go Ireland:
Go Ireland are delighted to offer a very wide range of Walking and Hiking Tours in Ireland, in some of the most scenic, historical and culturally rich regions on this beautiful island of ours. Enjoy the natural beauty, the cultural diversity and the Heritage of Ireland and everything else which makes Ireland so special - the people, the humour, the hospitality, the unforgettable scenery, the history and yes - the passion, the poetry, the creativity. Check out:
1. Home Page - See what's new or recycled at a glance:
2. New - Basic Irish: This week's lesson is on Irish wildlife
3. New - Culture Corner: St. Patrick's Cathedral
4. New - Kids' Ireland Culture Corner: The Donkey in Ireland
5. New - Trivia Contest for March. Congratulations to our winner for February - Mary Hutchinson from Canada. As the Irish say, you can't win it if you're not in it, so give it a go. Whatever time zone you live in, all entries must be received by March 31st.
6. Republished - Article: Mothering Sunday in Ireland. It always falls on the fourth Sunday in Lent which means it's coming up fast - March 21st!
7. Republished - Article: I, Patrick, the Sinner
8. Republished - Article: Emblems of Ireland, the Shamrock
9. Republished - Article: A Taste of Ireland - the Potato
10. Republished: Kids' Ireland - St. Patrick from Slave to Saint
11. On-going - Circle of Prayer: Our 9th Novena in this cycle begins today and ends on March 14. No new requests this week but please continue to keep the following in your prayers or meditations: Doug, Ryan Declan, Eileen's brother Bob, her son Christopher, Maggie's family and friends, Bob and Kathy in Utah, Debbie's friend Bertha, Rita, Lindsea, Dianne, Claire, C.J., baby Christopher, Sam, Steven & Margaret, the Mulligans and our men and women in the military, especially Paul and Ashley serving in Iraq. Whatever your spiritual leanings, we hope you will join us each day:
12. On-going - Irish News: Headlines for the past week
13. On-going -This month in Irish History:
14. We didn't want to end on 13, so might we suggest browsing through our shops for authentic Irish gifts?

We'll be doing a piece on the 2004 St. Patrick's Day Festival in Dublin; we'll also have the usual blessing on Sunday and quote on Wednesday. We are remiss in not getting a recipe from Hartson posted - we'll try to do that early next week. And, we have a huge backlog of music and book reviews to get through. First up, No Irish Need Apply by the Gallant Sons of Erin. Look for that early in the week as well.

So that's about the long and the short of it , except for the always critically important dates on our wild and wacky calendar - some important, others just plain old fun and frivolous: We got a bit ahead of ourselves last week in mentioning Dentist's Day and Frozen Food Day which are both celebrated on March 6. Tomorrow and Monday is Purim, a Jewish holiday of joy which celebrates how the Jews of Persia narrowly escaped annihilation thanks to the bravery of Queen Esther. March 8 is also International Working Women's Day. On March 9, it's 0rganize Your Home Office Day (it will take us much longer than one day to do that!). It's also Employee Appreciation Day. March 10 is Alexander Graham Bell Day which commemorates when he transmitted the first successful phone conversation, saying to his assistant, "Mr. Watson, come here!" In England, March 10 is also No Smoking Day. March 11 is Johnny Appleseed Day and Worship of Tools Day (huh?) On March 12, you can celebrate the birthday of the USA Girls Scouts which was founded on this date in 1912, or you can putter in the garden in honor of Plant a Flower Day. This day is also the anniversary of when Coca Cola was first sold in bottles. Wonder how it was sold before? Celebrating a birthday, anniversary or other special event this week? We hope it's a joyous occasion for you and yours! BTW, in last week's newsletter, we forgot to mention that March 4 is the anniversary of when Clayton F. Summy published the song Happy Birthday to You. The year was 1924. Can't wait to find out what's coming up for the rest of the month? Check out: http://www.butlerwebs.com/holidays/march.htm or

Until next time, may God keep you and your loved ones from all harm, 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 give whatever you can 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! Many thanks in advance for your kindness.
Events & Classifieds
Note: To avoid duplication, we list only those events not mentioned in the comprehensive listing put together by The Wild Geese. To check their Events Page, please click:
The Irish Heritage Newsletter also lists events - if you'd like to subscribe, just send a note to George at Steeler059@aol.com
And, if you're in Ireland, or lucky enough to be visiting, you can see what's on offer here:

Dallas, Texas - Saturday March 6 & Sunday, March 7
North Texas Irish Festival, Fair Park, Dallas.
This is the largest Celtic Festival in the Southwest, at which the finest of World and Regional Celtic Bands will be featured on 4 stages. There will be vendors galore, Celtic Assoc. and Clan booths and the best Irish food around. For more details, visit the website at www.ntif.org.

New York City - March 9 through March 21
The Irish Arts Center will be presenting the show "An Evening with Ronnie Drew (formerly of the Dubliners) and special guest Mike Hanrahan." The Irish Arts Center is located at 553 West 51st, New York, NY 10019. Tickets are $35/$40 and may be purchased from Smarttix at 212- 868-4444 or online at www.smarttix.com

Ft. Wright, Kentucky - Friday, March 12
Silver Arm will play at St Agnes Church St. Patrick Day's Party. For more info' and future performances, visit their website:

Zurich - March 13-14
Sean-nós work-shop with Treasa Ní Mhiolláin from Inis Mór, Aran Islands. For more details, please contact Elizabeth: info@irish-culture.ch or visit their website:

Melbourne-based graduates' dinner - March 19
The 5th Annual Irish University Link Dinner, for graduates of Irish universities living in Melbourne, is taking place at The Celtic Club, 316-320 Queen Street, Melbourne at 7:00pm on Friday, March 19 For more information or to book tickets please contact the Queen's University Belfast Alumni Association secretary, Danny Rooney, at mailto:rooneydanny@hotmail.com, or the UCD Melbourne Chapter President, Gerry O'Reilly, at mailto:goreilly@iinet.net.

Houston, Texas - March 19
An Evening Of Traditional Celtic Entertainment performed by St. Brigid's Flame, plus Sing-Along With The Celtic Chorus of Houston. The Knights of Columbus Council 803 (Anchor Room) 2616 Louisiana. For more info, please write to Dianna: diannashipman@att.net

Galveston, Texas - March 28
Galveston 1894 Grand Opera House - James Galway, flautist. More details coming.

Zurich - April 3 & 4
Irish Set Dancing Workshop with Pat Murphy (Westport) and Tony Ryan (Galway) For more information, please visit our website:

Parsippany, NJ - April 15 to 18
Traditional Irish Weekend
Each year Comhaltas Ceoltoiri Eireann in North America holds a Traditional Irish Weekend in a North American city. The location this year is The Hilton in Parsippany, NJ, about 45 minutes outside of New York City. The event attracts over 3,000 people, many staying the entire weekend to attend music sessions, ceilis and music/language workshops. Renowned traditional musicians, many All Ireland Champions, will be conducting the music workshops. For full details, please visit our websites:
http://www.ccenorthamerica.com or http://www.Comhaltas.com
You can also contact Jim Madden at NewJerseyIrish@aol.com

Dublin - Day of Welcomes from April 19 to May 1
The 'Day of Welcomes' on Saturday 1st May marks the historic day when 10 new countries join the 15 current member states of the E.U. For more details, click

ReJoyce Dublin 2004
Celebrating the centenary of Bloomsday, the day on which James Joyce's masterpiece "Ulysses" is set. Ireland is planning a world-class, five-month festival lasting from 1 April 2004 to 31 August 2004. For more details, click

Nova Scotia, Canada - May 26-29
Cais Conference/Reunion, Saint Mary's University, Halifax. The theme is "Mother Tongues: The Languages of Ireland." For details, please click

6th Int'l McManus Clan Association Gathering May 25th through May 31st
For full details please visit our website at:
or contact Phil McManus at Manus@aol.com

June 7th through 14th - 100 Years of the Abbey Theatre in Galway and Dublin. Trip includes 3 nights in Galway and 3 nights in Dublin. For more information, contact Kathleen Dixon Donnelly, Ph.D., at kdonnellycom@aol.com

7th Clann McKenna Rally - June 25th through Sunday June 27th
For details, please write plunkettmckenna@eircom.net
or click on the following link:
Send an email to: bhaggerty@irishcultureandcustoms.com
OR click on this link: