Greetings & Blessings to all!
Welcome to our February edition  - we hope it finds you and yours in good health, good spirits and good company. As for ourselves, we’re getting ready for what we hope will be a last blast of old man winter - and Titan - supposedly the biggest storm of the season! Of course, when we went to the grocery store this morning, the place was packed with panicked people stocking up on the four traditional essentials - bread, milk, TP and beer! Herself also made sure she had plenty of wine and Himself picked up an extra ration of Guinness. What we’re really afraid of is losing power as we’re supposed to get a lot of ice before it turns into snow. So, we’re hoping and praying for the best and if you’re in Titan’s path, be safe and stay warm.
Since last we wrote, Ireland has also been pounded by severe weather - and under our Links section, you’ll find the link to a video of just how rough it’s been. Lots of prayers and fingers crossed if you were in those areas hardest hit that you and yours made it through okay. Is it just us, or has this winter been a lot rougher and longer than usual?
On a happier note, the countdown to St. Patrick’s Day has begun and despite the bad weather, our daffs are up plus  we spotted gaggles of Canadian geese on a nearby pond - sure signs spring can’t be too far away... 
And sure harbingers of spring...Pancake Day, Ash Wednesday and Lent - all starting next week. Are you giving anything up for the forty days?  When she was a kid, Herself used to give up her favorite Flake bars - quite the  sacrifice!  
With many thanks to our daughter Catherine for sharing this with us - so we can share it with you!
This tiny shoe was found in 1835 by a farmer on a remote sheep trail on the Beara Peninsula in Ireland. It measures 2&7/8" long and 7/8" at its widest. It is black and shows wear at the heel. The farmer gave the shoe to the local doctor, and eventually it was passed to the Somerville family. It was reportedly examined by scientists at Harvard University and found to have tiny hand stitches, well-crafted eyelets, and appeared to be made of mouse skin.
Makes you think doesn't it?
Once a year, we ask for a small contribution toward the costs of sending out the newsletter and maintaining the web site. We appreciate even the smallest amount, but if you send us a donation of  $5 or more your name  will go in the hat for several drawings of Irish books and CDs. PLUS any donation over $5 qualifies for  a beautiful Irish angel ornament made of glass.  Please send whatever you can afford to 
Bridget or Russ Haggerty
5814 Blue Spruce
Cincinnati OH 45224
Or you can send a donation via PayPal: 
Our account there is:
Go raibh maith agat in advance for your kindness!
AND thank you to all of you who have already made a donation.
The  2014 giveaway event is here and one lucky person could win over $500 worth of free Irish knitwear. All you need to do is enter the raffle by filling out a simple entry form:
Once a winner is randomly chosen they will be provided with over 50 sweaters & cardigans to choose from. The winning prizes are from their 2013 knitwear selection And they  will gift wrap all pieces so they can be given as gifts.
In the January edition we asked you to pray for Denny Devine, - a devoted husband, dad and grandfather who has been diagnosed with terminal lung cancer. After weeks of chemo, his condition hasn’t worsened, but it hasn’t improved either, so they are going to try radiation. We know first hand that miracles can happen and we’re hoping - and praying - Denny and his family will be granted one. Thank you so very much.
We try to update our page on a regular basis. To see what we’ve been up to, we invite you to pay us a visit and Like Us!
Many thanks for joining us and if you like our musings and meanderings. please feel free to share them with your family and friends. And please encourage them to sign up. The more of us, the merrier!  
Enough of the blather- On with the update!

SPONSOR: Help support our efforts - please visit our friends at Lollysmith
‘Tis almost the time for the wearin’ o’ the green and at Lollysmith you can find a wide variety of ways to express  pride in your Irish heritage on St. Patrick’s Day and every day including authentic hawthorn walking sticks, classic flat caps, lapel pims, scarves, socks, and more. We invite you to browse their online shop - and if you place an order, please tell them Bridget & Russ said hello! 
From the Mailbag
Quips, Quotes, Proverbs & Toasts
A Bit of the Wit
Joke of The Week
Did You Know
The week That Is
Leave 'em Laughing
Mr. Wm Brennan asked us to make mention of  St. Kevin and the miracle of the Blackbird in our next newsletter. We are very happy to accommodate him - here is the link to our article on the web site:
We would also like to thank Mr. Brennan for the nice comment about our efforts to share what we learn about Ireland Irish Culture;  and that also goes for those of you who put your appreciation of what we are trying to do into words as well as donations. Makes all the hard work worth the effort. 
LISTEN: One of these songs will be Ireland’s 2014 Eurovision entry 
The winner will actually be chosen on the Late, Late Show tonight (in Ireland). Here’s your chance to see if you agree with which song is voted to represent Ireland
New coastal route set to drive tourists wild
The Wild Atlantic Way — a 2,500km coastal route stretching from the Inishowen peninsula (specifically the Donegal village of Muff) to Kinsale, Co Cork — is expected to become one of the country’s main tourist attractions. Take a look at the videos on You Tube and see if you don’t agree:
Prince William and his duchess  flip pancakes in Northern Ireland
They each do rather well with the flipping, but it’s their interaction with a child that makes this short video worth watching
Epic storm filmed off the Irish coast
Footage so mesmerizing, Herself jumped when the man filming the giant waves coughed. Fair warning - if you get seasick easily, don’t watch!!
A murmuration of starlings
A short film that follows the journey of two girls in a canoe on the River Shannon and how they stumble across one of nature's greatest phenomenons. Be patient - it begins as what you think is going to be just a slide show...but astonishing video. Enjoy.
BiteSize Irish
Learn to speak Irish in bitesize pieces and at your own pace. To enjoy a 21-day free trial, just click on the link 
 This time around, in deference to the Lenten season and eating a lot of fish,here is a very old proverb:
Don’t bless the fish until it gets to the land”  
I’m giving up drinking for Lent and giving up Lent for St. Patrick's Day
With thanks to Anna in Gulfport Mississippi
John Smith was the only Protestant to move into a large Catholic neighborhood. On the first Friday of Lent, John was outside grilling a big juicy steak on his grill. Meanwhile, all of his neighbors were fixing fish. This went on each Friday of Lent. On the last Friday of Lent, the neighborhood men got together and decided that something had to be done about John - he was tempting them to eat meat each Friday of Lent, and they couldn't take it anymore. They decided to try and convert John to be a Catholic. They went over and talked to him and were so happy that he decided to join all of his neighbors and become a Catholic. They took him to Church, and the Priest sprinkled some water over him, and said, "You were born a Baptist, you were raised a Baptist, and now you are a Catholic." The men were so relieved, now their biggest Lenten temptation was resolved. The next year's Lenten season rolled around. The first Friday of Lent came, and just at supper time, when the neighborhood was sitting down to their fish dinner, came the wafting smell of steak cooking on a grill. The neighborhood men could not believe their noses! WHAT WAS GOING ON? They called each other up and decided to meet over at John's place to see if he had forgotten it was the first Friday of Lent. The group arrived just in time to see John standing over his grill with a small pitcher of water. He was sprinkling some water over his steak on the grill, saying, "You were born a cow, you were raised a cow, and now you are a fish."
SPONSOR:  Ireland's Showcase 
A family owned company based in Co Kilkenny, they are  dedicated to the world-wide promotion of Irish crafts and design; they work with well-known names and yet to be famous artisans and crafts people throughout the country. Their collection includes Irish designed and Irish made jewelry, pottery, ceramics, art, sculpture and more - all unique to the hands of an Irish artist, and all unique to the island of Ireland.
DID YOU KNOW - In celebration of this year’s Oscars: 
1. Wicklow man Daniel Day-Lewis is the only actor to date who has ever won three Best Actor oscars?
2.  Dubliner Barry Fitzgerald won Best Actor in a supporting role in 1944 for Going My Way?
3. Also  born in Dublin, Brenda Fricker won Best Actress in a supporting role in 1989 for My Left Foot?
She  was once heard to say
“When you are lying drunk at the airport you’re Irish. When you win an Oscar you’re British.”
If you’d like to read more Irish Trivia, please click
 SPONSOR: Help support our efforts - please visit our friends at the Celtic Attic
It’s not too late to shop for St. Patrick’s Day - or any day! AND just for our readers, take 20% off your order. Simply put  20josh in the coupon code section and the discount will be automatically taken off your total when you check out. PLUS get a candy bag and a FREE gift with each and every order.  Contact the Celtic Attic on line or by phone - and tell them Bridget & Russ said hello!
Tel: 360-813-1113 or 360-531-1107.
On line: 
First off, the answer to our last brain bruiser
A man on his deathbed informs his three sons that he will leave them his horses. To the eldest son he leaves half of his horses. To his second son he leaves one third of them, and to his youngest, he leaves one ninth. After he passes away, the three sons went to get their horses, but discovered there were 17 animals. They did not want to sell or kill any of the horses, and they could not think of a way to divide the horses exactly as their father wished. Just then their next door neighbor came riding along on his horse and listened to their problem. Immediately the neighbor thought of a way to divide the horses just as their father had wished.
Q. What was his easy solution?
A. The neighbour brings his horse making 18 horses. The eldest gets half or 9 horses, the second son gets two thirds or 6 horses and the youngest gets one-ninth or 2 horses. As 9 + 6 + 2 = 17, the neighbour goes home with his horse and every one gets their allowance.
As always, our Riddle People didn’t let us down, but first in was Shaun Lynch, a bodhran player in the greater Montreal area. Well done, Shaun!
And now for our next skull scratcher:
Two fathers and two sons went fishing. Each one of them caught one fish. When they went home, there were only three fishes - how is that possible?
Please send your answer to:
It would be helpful if you put Riddle in the subject line. Thanks!
1. County News: The bits and bobs that used to come by mail are now on line here:
2. National News: We keep two week’s worth of headlines and links here:
3. Shops: St. Patrick’s Day is right around the corner
4.  Shrove Tuesday Pancakes
 5. Article: What if you were still single by Ash Wednesday?
6. Article: The Lenten Season in Old Ireland
7. Article: Shrovetide - The Marrying Season 
8. Article: Emblems of Ireland -  The Shamrock
9. Poetry Corner - Thomas Moore
10. The Irish Kitchen: Recipes for the Lenten Season
11. Basic Irish:  Lent & Easter
12. Kid’ Ireland:  The Young King - edited & adapted from a story by Oscar Wilde
13. Music Review: From Uist to West and Beyond!
Thanks to our resident reviewer William Ramoutar, we’ve had the pleasure of discovering Julie Fowlis
14. New Map Your Vote Poll
Should the Irish government invite Pope Francis on an official visit to Ireland? To cast your ballot, click through the following link:
15. Home page updates: new blessing, quotation and Culture Corner
SPONSOR:  The Irish Lottery:
In operation since 1988, it's one of the oldest online sites in the world. With subscribers in 89 countries it is also among the most reliable. Jackpots are never lower than US $1,500,000 and are frequently worth in excess of US $5,000,000 Here's the best part - you don't have to live in Ireland to play and all winnings are Tax Free! It’s always been a fantasy of ours that one of readers would scoop the big prize, but you can’t win it if you’re not in it. Play from the comfort of home here:
So that’s the long and the short of it until we send out our special St. Patrick’s Day edition. If you are planning on getting married between now and then or tied the knot in the month of March  here is your special verse:
If you marry when March winds blow
Both joy and sorrow you will know
And, if you are celebrating a birthday, anniversary or other special event between now  and our next edition, we hope it's an occasion filled with joy and happiness. 
Also, Pinch, punch, first day of the month, White Rabbit!
With that, we’ll take our leave with this lovely old blessing  
May soft be the grass you walk upon,
May fair be the skies above you,
May many be the joys that surround you,
May true be the hearts that love you. 
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. 
Téigh ar do ghlúine is bí buíoch le Dia go bhfuil tú fós ar do chosa.
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A classic that’s been around for donkey’s years - but it’s well worth retelling! 
Sean goes into the pub and asks for three Guinness. He sits there and sips from the first one, then the second, and the third. He does this until finally all three pints are finished. He pays the bill and leaves. A couple of nights later he comes back and repeats the ritual. This goes on for a while and finally the bartender's curiosity gets the better of him and he asks why the three Guinness and why drink them all together the way he does. "Well, " says Sean, "My brother Michael is in the USA and my other brother Liam is in Australia. We can't meet in the pub and share a Guinness, so we have an agreement that whenever we go have a drink, we order three pints and pretend we're together." The bartender thinks to himself, "What a wonderful idea." A few months go by and one night Sean comes in and he orders two Guinness. The bartender is afraid to ask, but Sean seems fine, so finally the bartender says, "I see you've only ordered two Guinness tonight. Did something happen to one of your brothers? "No, no," says Sean, "They're both fit as a fiddle and healthy as horses!" "So why only the two Guinness?" asks the bartender. "Ah, well now," says Sean, "I've given up Guinness for Lent."