Welcome to the Irish Culture & Customs newsletter which is published every weekend and sent out to nearly 1600 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...

La Naomh Vailintin Shona Dhuit - Happy Valentine's Day! In honour of the occasion, we have created a special card for you here:

A warm welcome back to everyone - and a special hello to our newest readers. Many thanks for subscribing and please feel free to pass our musings and meanderings along to your family and friends.

We hope this edition finds you in good health, good spirits and in good company - especially the last part on this most romantic day of the year!

As for ourselves, it was a very busy week preparing for the first visit of our real estate lady who came over to price the house. Would that we lived on the outskirts of Dublin or San Francisco! What would nearly 5,000 square feet, 3 floors, 5 bedrooms, etc., go for? Anyway, we're almost ready to bury the statue of St. Joseph and God willing, we'll get a fair price when Toad Hall goes on the market, hopefully at the beginning of April.

We were very happy to receive a couple more donations to help support our efforts - you know who you are - thank you and God Bless! But, we were also a little puzzled by a couple of emails from readers with suggestions as to how we could raise funds to support the web site. To clarify the situation, it's the newsletter that needs your help. As soon as each issue goes out, we're busy preparing for the next one - and it does take a lot of time to put each edition together. We're determined to keep it free for as long as we can - and especially for so many of you who have written to say what pleasure it brings to you each week. So, if you can, donate what you can; cash is lovely, but we will also gladly accept home-made soda bread, scones and other goodies!:)

Our granddaughter Caity was over and saw the pics of Fieval on the web site. At six years old, they don't hold back; where was HER photo, she demanded!? Irish Culture & Customs wasn't around when she was little, but we have been remiss; to make amends, tomorrow, we will be posting a photo of her helping to babysit Fieval for the first time. We'd love your suggestions for an appropriate caption! Here's the URL - but keep in mind, the pic won't be there until about mid-morning Sunday, EST
Enough about us:

In news from Ireland:
A new musical based on Ireland's dance-hall era, "Dance Hall Qs & Hucklebuck Shoes" is currently touring nationwide. The two-and-a-half-hour show features an exciting line-up with three of the original showband legends being portrayed by their children. Richard Rock is playing his famous Dad, Dickie Rock; Claudine Day is playing the part of her mother Eileen Reid and Brian Dunphy, after six years in the lead role in Riverdance, is playing his Dad Sean Dunphy. RTE's Ronan Collins narrates the show and a giant screen shows nostalgic video footage of the original Showband stars. The tour ends on February 24 at Goffs in Naas. For other locations and dates, please drop us a line - we have a list.

Co. Cavan - This year marks the centenary of the foundation of the Camogie Association and the Cavan Camogie Board have decided to mark the occasion with the publication of a history on the part played by the county in the development of the game.

Co. Limerick - The town of Croom hit the headlines on an American prime time news programme recently. They carried the story of the Mill at Croom and how it has become Ireland's first non-smoking designated bar and restaurant. The area of Croom, the Mill and its mill wheel was seen by millions of people throughout the USA.

Co. Tyrone - Staff and owners of the Conway Inn in Cookstown are raising money for the special baby unit in the Antrim Area Hospital by launching a risqué calendar. Twelve brave models were found among the Inn's bar staff and customers who were more than happy to strip off for a worthy cause.

Co. Limerick - Anyone who brands Limerick city a one-horse-town in future will have to be corrected - because it's officially a no-horse town! It has been confirmed that of the 250 horses within the city, not a single one exists on paper as none are licensed and that fact comes directly from the horse's mouth - City Hall.

Dublin - Dublin Tourism is still looking for pics for their 2005 calendar - and the photographers who took them! The theme of the calendar is Dubliners & Dublin Landscape. The competition is open to everyone, both residents and visitors.

Dundalk, Co. Dublin - Tomas Faircheallaigh, a global ambassador for Irish dancing, has died. RIP. President of the Irish Dancing Commission for 25 years, Mr O Faircheallaigh worked to establish Irish dancing teaching exams and qualifications. He lived in Booterstown, Co Dublin, but died in his home town of Dundalk. He was 99 years old.

Navan, Co. Meath - Excavation work to find the remains of a pikeman killed in the 1798 rebellion will resume later this year. Digging at the unmarked grave, said to hold the bones of Fear Pic Gan Ainm, was started in the belief that his remains would be exhumed without any trouble. But the exhumation came up against a wall, literally.

Dublin - To celebrate the 100th Anniversary of the most famous "first date" ever, when James Joyce dedicated his novel "Ulysses" to that day - Thursday 16th June 1904 - noted Dublin artist Roger Cummiskey is offering a limited number of original sketches available mounted and ready for framing for a fixed price of €40.00 Euro including postage.

In news from all over:
Paris, France: In the Six Nations Rugby Championships, a late try from Jean-Baptiste Elissalde helped France to a comfortable 35-17 win over Ireland. We may not be off to a stellar start, but fingers crossed we'll win over Wales next weekend.

New York: State Assemblywoman Margaret Markey (D-Maspeth) has announced that the New York State American-Irish Legislators Society will be sponsoring its 5th annual College Scholarship Essay Competition. The competition, open to high school juniors and seniors expecting to graduate by 2004 or 2005, has first, second and third place prizes of $1,500, $1,000 and $500, respectively. For more info' and details, please email: mcenenj@assembly.state.ny.us.

National Geographic Channel: What sank the Britannic, the Titanic's sister ship, which was also built in Belfast and also ended up on the seabed? The luxury liner is the star of a fascinating new TV programme - Inside the Britannic. Check your local listings for dates and times.

Syracuse. NY - Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams will march in the annual St. Patrick's Day Parade on March 13 and then attend a reception of the local Ancient Order of Hibernians chapter later.

Paris, France: Did you know France is continental Europe's biggest consumer of Irish food and drink? Ireland exports €500m worth of food and drink to France every year.

From the mailbag:
Nóra wrote to let us know about a change of address; what caught our attention was the tag after her name:
"Preserve Wildlife - Pickle a Squirrel Today"
Thanks for the laugh, Nóra!

Dublin radio personality and writer, Mattie Lennon sent the following request: I am compiling a collection of the writings of Dublin Bus workers, past and present.If you worked for Dublin Bus or its precursor (The Dublin City Services section of CIE) I would welcome a poem, essay, short story, humorous article or any piece from you. You can email it to me at lennonaspect@iol.ie

Our friend Audrey in California gave us an update on Allyson Roach, the sister of Ashleigh who died so tragically in the recent terrible fires. Allyson left the hospital this past week on her 21st birthday. She is now in rehab, can sit on the edge of her bed, breathe without the help of a ventilator and communicates with her parents by nodding her head and using letters on a board to ask them questions. Until now, for fear of infection, she couldn't have visitors or plants in her room. Next on the agenda is a huge bouquet of fresh flowers from her family.

No-one has responded to Vicki's request for the title of a children's story that revolves around an Irishman, a train, and a bull. About the only thing she remembers is the phrase the Irishman used, "Kershma Krashma Doosha". Anyone have any clues?

No Irish Need Apply signs - Many thanks to all of you who sent in sources. We've forwarded the info' on to Katie.

A Mr. Porter asked us where he might find Connemara marble cuff links; a query to our good friend Owen at Lollysmith and he found them! Now Owen is hoping to have them in stock for Father's Day - we'll keep you posted.

Links of the week:
Just launched at Bellaghy Bawn, a peatlands awareness website dedicated to all aspects of peatlands including formation and cultural influences as well as the issues that threaten peatlands:

Feelin' Irish for a Day, a Month, or a Year: Celebrating St. Patrick's Day doesn't have to be confined to March 17 any more than being Irish would confine you to Dublin on that day. There will be parades and dancing, beer and some blarney, on both sides of the Atlantic, and some bargains that last more than 24 hours:

From Jack & Vivian: Owen Roe O'Neill was one of Ireland's greatest generals. The music on this page was written to memorialize him. We hope that you enjoy it and the small biography which is included. Cumha Eoghan Ruaidh Uí Néill - A Lament For Owen Roe O'Niall: http://www.irishpage.com/songs/owenroe.htm

We know we have a lot of dog lovers in our group - this one's just for you:

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 blitherin' and blatherin'...on with the update:
Please help us to keep this newsletter free - visit our good friends, LollySmith:
Welcome to our Irish Gift Shop where the countdown to St. Patrick's Day is well underway. We have what you need to look the part - and party! Caps, shirts, walking sticks, Guinness gear and glasses, lapel pins and more! Stock up now before the rush begins and enjoy great prices, quick shipping, and friendly, personalized service
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
On their 50th wedding anniversary, a couple summed up the reason for their long and happy marriage. The husband said, "I have tried never to be selfish. After all, there is no "I" in the word 'marriage.'" The wife said, "For my part, I have never corrected my husband's spelling."
This one was sent in by Tony Keaveney - thanks, Tony!
A Kerry man went for a job at the local stables and the farmer said "Can you shoe horses?" The Kerry man thinks for a minute and then says "No, but I once told a donkey to get lost."
1. The Dutch Blue Guards, the personal bodyguard of King William III, were devout Catholics to a man?
2. Tom Gallagher of Derry invented the modern cigarette in 1888?
3. The last ever Great Auk was killed on the Saltee Islands of Co. Wexford by local fishermen in 1845?
Do you enjoy reading the Irish Culture and Customs newsletter? If so, help support our efforts with a dollar donation - that's less than 2 cents an issue! FREE shamrock seeds for all contributions over $25.00! Please send your donation to Russ and Bridget, 5670 Meryton Place, Cincinnati, OH, 45224. Donations can also be made via PayPal at
Our email address there is haggertyr@primax.net
Many thanks in advance for your kindness.
This timely quote was sent in by Hartson - thank you!
"To love oneself is the beginning of a lifelong romance."
Oscar Wilde - from An Ideal Husband, 1895
To begin with - the answers to last week's quiz:

1. Modern Irish Love Stories by David Marcus
2. The Darling of My Heart - 2000 Years of Irish Love Writing by Laurence Flanagan
3. Of Irish Women - Medieval Irish Love Poetry by Malachi McCormick

As one Irish wag once quipped, please clap your feet for:

Ellen Parodi
Personalized Name Keepsakes and Gifts. Something for every name on your gift list! Visit Namely Gifts at

Déirdre McKiernan Hetzler
"Glorious Ireland in May" May 25 - June 8, 2004
To request a brochure or see the itinerary, please visit us at: http://www.irishbook.com/tours.htm

Helen Dowd
See Bob Millers' site for poems, stories, quotes, humor, cartoons, and a special inspirational message for St. Valentine's Day:

Hartson Dowd
Le gach dea ghuí - Best Wishes - Irish Corner:

Sean Brady
Some of it's a bit of ould blarney, but there's lot's of fun stuff here as well:

Sue O'Brien
Free to listen to, copy and download, this page provides access to the most popular Irish traditional, drinking and folk songs!

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. A Fine St. Patrick's Day
2. St. Patrick's City - The Story of Armagh
3. St. Patrick's Day Shamrocks

Hint: You'll find all the titles here: (Just in time for St. Patrick's Day -a great little crafts book for children ages 4 to 8)
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
Help us keep this newsletter free by visiting the The Irish Lottery:
Remember the Irish Hospital Sweepstakes? It was replaced by the Irish Lotto in 1988. Since then it has become 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! You have to be in it to win it. Please click here for full details:
First off: the answer to last week's head-banger:
There is a well known story of a famous mathematician, who showed his brilliance even as a young boy. While in elementary school, he was given the problem of finding the sum of all the whole numbers from one to 100. For most of us it would be a long and difficult task of adding "1+2+3+4 etc." This young lad, however, solved the problem in his head in just a few moments.
Q. What is the answer and how did he manage to do it in his head?
A. He adds the numbers from the two extreme ends of the sequence to simplify the problem. 1 99=100, plus 2 98=200, plus 3 97=300, and so on until he comes to 49 51=4,900. He then adds the 50 in the middle and the 100 at the end, which make 5,050.
Well done to Linda Yermolaev who was first in with the correct answer.
Now for our latest cranial cruncher:
Sue and Hugh were on holiday in Ireland. They were driving along a deserted country road from Ballinasloe to Tuam. They came to a multiple fork in the road. The sign post had been knocked down and they were faced with choosing one of five different directions. Since they had left their map at the B & B and there was no one around to ask, how can Sue and Hugh find their way to Tuam?
1. Home Page - See what's new or recycled at a glance:
2. Republished - Article: The Irish in Love - part 2
3. Republished - Article: The Irish in Love - Still Waters Run Deep
4. Republished - Article: Anam Cara
5. Republished - The Irish Kitchen: A Romantic Irish Menu for Valentine's Day
6. Republished - The Irish Link to St. Valentine's Day
7. On-going - Trivia quiz for February
We've had a great many entries - and the majority are from Canada. Not Canadian? Then put your country in the running - enter today! All entries must be received by midnight, February 29, whatever time zone you're in.
8. On-going - Circle of Prayer: Our 6th Novena in this cycle began on February 8 and ends on February 16. Our 7th begins next Tuesday. This past week, we learned of Doug who at only 35 has been diagnosed with Lou Gehrig's disease. We're also praying for Paul, the only son of a dear friend who is about to be shipped to Iraq, and also for Ashley, another friend's boy who is already over there. Please keep them and all of our men and women in the militiary in your prayers and meditations. Please also remember 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, and the Mulligans. Whatever your spiritual leanings, we hope you will join us each day:
9. On-going - Irish News: Headlines for the past week
10. On-going -This month in Irish History:

Here it is, St. Valentine's Day and and Bridget still hasn't finished that article on superstitions related to love and marriage. Oh well, the wedding season is in full swing, so it won't be out of date for a while - yet! Next week, we'll have a new children's story from Grainne, our next Irish lesson from Aideen, and a recipe from Hartson. As always, we'll have a new blessing on Sunday, a new quote on Wednesday, and whatever else we can think of to keep you coming back - also, don't forget, the news and history are updated every day.

So that's about the long and the short of it for now, except for the always critically important dates from our wild and wacky calendar - some important, others just plain old fun and frivolous: Besides being Valentine's Day, it's also Ferris Wheel Day in recognition of the birthday of George Ferris who invented the Ferris Wheel in 1893. February 15 is Canada Flag Day, National Gum Drop Day, Jewelry Day, Second Honeymoon Weekend and the anniversary of the sinking of the USS Maine, 1898. Feb. 16 is President's Day in the USA and the anniversary of when nylon stockings were first patented (1937); Feb 17 is Gambia Flag Day and Pluto Day (which observes the discovery of the planet). February 19 is National Chocolate Mint Day and, on a more serious note, the Japanese-American Internment Day of Remembrance. Each year, on this date, the anniversary of Executive Order 9066, the Japanese American internment is remembered both for the pain it caused and the lessons that can be learned - with the hope that history will not repeat itself. This date is also when U. S. Marines landed on Iwo Jima. (1945). And last, but not least, Feb 20 is Northern Hemisphere Hoodie-Hoo Day. At high noon (local time) citizens are asked to go outdoors and yell "Hoodie-Hoo" to chase away winter and make ready for spring, one month from now. Celebrating a birthday, anniversary or other special event this week? We hope it's a joyous occasion for you and yours!
Can't wait to find out what's coming up for the rest of the month? Check out: http://www.butlerwebs.com/holidays/february.htm

Until next week, may you and your loved ones be showered with an abundance of blessings and may God in His infinite mercy keep you 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
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:

Binghamton, NY
The Irish Show hosted by Stu Fralich
Sunday mornings 9am to 11am on WYOS radio 1360am
Have a request or question? Tel: (607) 724-7206 (leave message) or send a message to irish_show@hotmail.com
Stu also invites you to visit their web site: http://www.theirishshow.com

Hollywood, Florida - Saturday, February 21
Irish-American Caeli Club
Put on your dancing shoes, 'cause we've got the maestro himself, Dermot O'Brien for your listening & dancing pleasure at the American Legion Hall, Post 92, 211 North 21 Avenue, Hollywood. Questions? Call Patrick at 954-522-4948 or visit our website at:

Irish Aires Fund-Raiser
Houston's only all-Irish radio program on KPFT-FM needs your support! They are currently holding their winter fund-raiser and would welcome any and all contributions. For more details, please click

Cultural Holidays on Inis Mór
The new programme with the dates for 2004 is uploaded now on our homepage:

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.

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

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

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

Day of Welcomes from 19/04/2004 to 01/05/2004
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
celebrates 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

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: