Greetings & Blessings to all,
Welcome to  our latest edition.  We hope it finds you and yours in good spirits, good health and good company.  We also hope all of our readers in the USA enjoyed  a safe and happy Thanksgiving Holiday - which brings  us Christmas...  already?  We know it’s been a while since we wrote, but didn’t we just put the decorations away?  
In retrospect, 2010 has been a dervish  of ups and downs with never a dull moment and that’s just our own personal perspective, never mind the roller coaster of events around the world - especially Ireland. Since the economic meltdown and  the record breaking freeze-up have dominated the Irish headlines recently, we won’t dwell on them here. Suffice to say we  irish are a stubborn, strong and tenacious people and we predict it won’t be long before the country bounces back, God willing.    
Before we get on with it - is this your first issue?  If so,  many thanks for joining us and if you like our musings and meanderings, please feel free to share them with your family and friends - go raibh maith agat! 
 Enough of the blather - on with the update!
SPONSOR: Please help us keep your newsletter coming - visit our good friends at the Celtic Attic:
Check out our newest custom item: Irish Bog Oak Plaques -  A piece of dark Irish oak which has been lying in an Irish bog for thousands of years is embellished with ancient Ogham in gold script. The result is a beautiful and unique reminder of your Irish roots. Irish sayings written in Ogham on 5000 year old Irish Bog Oak. Each Plaque is sent in a black presentation box with a beautiful wrap around sleeve together with the history of Ogham and Bog Oak. Just one of hundreds and hundreds of gifts to please every one  on your Christmas list! Plus, take 5.00 off an order of $50 or more exclusively through Irish Culture & Customs. Just put the code IC01 in the add a gift card section! 
Contact the Celtic Attic on line or by phone - and tell them Bridget & Russ said hello!
Tel: 1-360-286-2307
On line:
News: The County News for November was sent earlier 
From the Mailbag
Quotes, Toasts, Curses & Blessings
Joke of The Week
A Bit of the Wit
Did You Know
Know Your Writers
The week That Is
Leave 'em Laughing
Jim Smith has brought to our attention...
 an invitation to participate in a  Day of Prayer for Ireland on Friday December 3rd. To learn more please click
Many thanks, Jim!
Sarah McPherson writes:
I was wondering if you could clear some thing up for me please?  My neighbour, who is from Belfast, has given me her Shillelagh and has told me, I have to put it up above my house front door.  Can you confirm (or deny) this for me and if so tell me the significance (if there is any) of putting it above my door? Thank you and regards/
ED. NOTE: All we could find in reference to shillelaghs and doors was that you put them next to the door so they were easy to get at when going out (or readily available to give an intruder a whack!) 
Zari  writes:
I am looking for someone Irish to talk to about the culture and activities of Irish people.  This is for a project for a class I am taking and I need to interact with an Irish person and attend an event with Irish people.  I live in south west Virginia and there are not a lot of cultural centers in the area.  If you could help me out in any way or just point me in the right direction I would really appreciate it.  Thank you very much.
William Sullivan writes: 
My grandfather served in WWI; he was English who lived in Belfast and married a girl from Tyrone; his name was William Bernard Sullivan. My grandmother’s brothers also served and were killed -  all 5 of them. Their name was Armstrong and they were from Tyrone as well.  If you  know anywhere I can find out more, I would be grateful 
Carolyn Oates  from Wangaratta (NE Victoria , Australia) sent us 
a wee bit of Oz humour:   
On the highway a patrolman came along side a speeding vehicle. Glancing at the car he was astonished to see the woman behind the wheel was knitting. The trooper lowered down his window and yelled out ‘Pull over!’ ‘No’ the woman yelled back’ Scarf! 
Accuradio - Celtic Christmas
Hear the old carols you remember from when you were little as well as contemporary  seasonal tunes and songs all presented with Celtic flair:
Santa Fun Run
Ennis and Limerick will be a sea of red and white this December when hundreds of walkers and joggers take to the streets as part of the 2010 Santa Fun Runs. Find out more here:
Over 600 leading Irish and international brands have been given their own one stop shopping outlet, as An Post’s Online Shopping Directory launches a new name and an exciting new look.  Please click
"I am so Proud of Ye!"
 That’s what the Deputy Prime Minister of Northern Ireland, Martin McGuinness had to say after his recent tour of Cincinnati, Ohio’s first Irish Heritage Centre. A dream come true after decades of waiting, the centre is now officially open. To see what has been accomplished in just a year, please click
The Menorah -  a Favorite Irish Christmas Tradition?
For some reason, already lost in time and space, thousands of rural Irish homes have unwittingly adopted this famous candelabrum to celebrate – of all things – Christmas. It’s a festival of lights for sure, but somehow the Irish have followed them in an intriguingly new direction.
Not lost in translation: dictionary traces English words' Irish roots
Should you be insulted or delighted to be called a bosthoon? Would you wear a taggeen or drink it? And is it a compliment to be described as carnaptious? The new Oxford English Dictionary has embraced them all.  Find out more here:
The Irish Page - The Patriot Game
This time around, Jack & Vivian Hennessy of the Irish Page offer The Patriot Game  - an Irish ballad that critically examines the posture of the IRA during the 1950s. 
Sister Strikes Again
Our dear friend Mr. Wm Crotty sent us  the following link (Who said Nuns don't have a sense of humor ?  This one is clever, witty and oh so funny -  and she really is a nun!)
Siopa - our newest web site shop
We are pleased to introduce Siopa, a lovely shop located  in Dublin.  You can shop online and their owner Lulu O’ Sullivan (what a great name!) is looking forward to your visit. Please click
Cleaning for a Reason 
Many thanks to Pamela Boyd who sent us the following: 
If you know any woman currently undergoing Chemo, please pass the word to her that there is a cleaning service that provides FREE 
housecleaning - 1 time per month for 4 months while she is in treatment. All she has to do is sign up and have her doctor fax a note confirming the treatment. Cleaning for a Reason will have a participating maid service in her zip code area arrange for the service. 
Free Mammograms
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:
ED. NOTE: Maria Eryaatz advises that free mammograms are also available in all states via the VNA (visiting nurses association).
Click on 'Find A VNA' for the your nearest location.
Free Pet Food!
Last but certainly not least - our ongoing 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!
Free People Food!
It only takes a second to feed hungry people, too:
“My wallpaper and I are fighting a duel to the death. One or the other of us has got to go." Those were the last words of Oscar Fingal O'Flahertie Wills Wilde who died on November 30, 1900, in the Hotel D'Alsace, a Left Bank flophouse.
"Look at ME!" boasted the fit old man to a group of young people. "Every morning I do fifty push-ups, do fifty sit-ups, and walk two miles. I'm fit as a fiddle! And you want to know why? I don't smoke, I don't drink, I don't stay up late, and I don't chase after women!" He smiled at them, teeth white, eyes glittering, "And  tomorrow, I'm going to celebrate my 95th birthday!"
Really?" said  one of the young onlookers, "How?"
I was driving to Wicklow town and outside Wicklow town there's a kind of country road and I came to a cross section and there was one sign post and it had Wicklow on it and the other way was Wicklow. And there was a fella sitting there and I said does it make any difference? and he said "Not to me it doesn't." 
Dave Allen
1. St. Nicholas is the patron saint of Galway city?   
2. Christopher Columbus  is said to have prayed  in St. Nicholas’ Collegiate Church during a visit to Galway in 1477?   
3.  The church itself is the largest medieval church in Ireland still in continuous use? It has a fascinating history and if you’d like to learn more, here is the link to its web-site:
ED. NOTE.  December 6 is the feast day of St.  Nicholas and the night before it was once the custom in many countries for children to polish their shoes and leave then on the hearth in hopes that the good saint would fill them with treats. If you’d like to read our article Waiting for St. Nicholas, here is the link:
First off, the answers to our last quiz:
1.  Haunted Ireland - Her Romantic and Mysterious Ghosts, by John J. Dunne
2.  Haunted Hills - Ghost Tales of Ireland for Children, by Gordon Snell, and  Joan Ryan
3.  The Epics of Celtic Ireland:  Ancient Tales of Mystery and Magic, by Jean Markale
A round of pints and applause to the  following Irish literary sleuths:
Bob Humphrey
Bob nominated Midwest Irish Radio - well worth a listen:
Barbara Kidd-Hoffman
Barbara said her second choice for a favourite site was Ireland Information.
(She nominated us first, God bless her)
John V. Curry
A very proud Irishman.
Pamela Boyd-Shields
Tom McGuire
Rita Roche
Rita says she loves going on-line and reading the Irish newspapers. Here is a link to our news page where you’ll find a variety of newspaper links in the right-hand margin:
If you’d like to see your name on our list of Irish Bibliophiles, write and tell us who wrote the following (hint: they are all in our books section on the site)
1. An Irish Country Christmas
2. Dublin Carol 
3. All Silver & No Brass
Please send your answers to Bridget at
But first, the answer to our last bit of  skull-duggery:
Seven men are on their way to church when it starts to rain. Six men run but get wet,  The seventh stays still and remains dry.
Q. How  is that possible?
A. The seventh man is in the coffin the other six are carrying to the church (or the cemetery). 
As, always, our Riddle People didn’t let us down. Thank you to everyone who sent in an answer - right or wrong -  but first in with the correct solution was our old friend Jim Turley ( Go Notre Dame!)
And now for our next headbanger:
This runs fore to aft on one side of a ship, and aft to fore on the other. What  is it? 
Please send your answers to Bridget at
It would be helpful if you put riddle answer in the subject line. Thanks!
SPONSOR: Please help us keep your newsletter coming - visit our good friends at Lollysmith:
A new shipment of Walking Sticks has arrived  as well as the hard to find Blackthorn Crossheads; also,  new Dart Flights in Red, White, and Blue  and the latest must haves for dancers. Special gifts for  our men and women in the Military and Public Service are also instock.  Make your list, then come take a look - you’re sure to  find something for everyone!
1. Search Function Have you tried it out? You can find the search box in the banner on the left-hand side. Simply key in whatever word or words you wish and if they’re on the site, Google will find them!
2. Shopping Section: 
Christmas is coming to our shopping section - and may have already arrived when you receive this newsletter! Shop from the comfort of home and find the perfect Irish gifts  while at the same time support our efforts to bring you this newsletter and the website.  Many thanks in advance.
3. An Advent Memory
4. An Post at Christmas
5. Many Years Ago
6.  Beannachtaí an tSéasúir - Season's Greetings
7. Time at This Point of The Year
8. A Cold Day in Hell
9. Book Review: McAlpine’s Men - Irish Stories from the Sites
10. Preparing the Puddings
11. Basic Irish: Words and Phrases for the Holiday Season - Part 1
12. Kids’ Ireland - The Nightingale & The Rose
13. Music Review: Sunny Spells * Supergroups : Solas
 14.  December  Trivia Contest   
Once we get it posted, all entries must be in by December 31 st no matter what time zone you are in.
October’s winner is Patty Boutin, USA. Congratulations, Patty - and by now you should have received the prize you chose: The Celtic Warrior Pendant so generously  provided by our friend’s at the Celtic Attic.
November’s winner will be announced in our next edition. 
14. The Daily News
 Not all the news from  Ireland is about the economic meltdown or the big freeze. We publish headlines  from a variety of Irish newspapers - and we make a valiant effort to find material that’s not only positive but also relevant to Irish culture and customs.
15. Circle of Prayer
First off, please accept our apologies for the incorrect date on the last Novena Cycle. We hope it didn’t cause any confusion or inconvenience. Meanwhile, we are well into the new cycle:  Novena #2 began on November 25 and continues through December 3.     You can view the complete list of begin and end dates on our Circle of Prayer page here:
 As for our prayer requests,  whatever your spiritual leanings, please keep the following  in your prayers or meditations ,   a close family member going through chemo,  Hartson,  little Isabella,  Mickey,  Mary Sweeney, Tara H, Patricia's daughter Heather, the family and friends of the McTiernans,  and so many others,   especially those suffering severe financial hardship and also our military personnel serving their countries at home and abroad. Dear Heavenly Father, please keep them safe from all harm and bring those away from home back to their loved ones soon.  
SPONSOR: Please help us keep your newsletter coming - visit our good friends at 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: - and the best of Irish luck to you!
So that’s the long and the short of it until we write again - God willing and fingers crossed - about mid December
Meanwhile, Happy Hanukkah to all of of our Jewish friends  on December 2nd and if you are planning to be married or were wed in December, here is your special verse:
When December’s showers fall fast
marry and true love will last  
And for all of you  celebrating a birthday, anniversary or other special event between now  and when we write again, we hope it's an occasion filled with joy and happiness.
Pinch, punch, first day of the month white rabbit and with that  we’ll ’ll take our leave  - but not without this  blessing adapted :
May the songs of the season rise to greet you.
May the winter wind be always at your back.
May the frost shimmer soft upon your fields.
And, until we meet again,
May the love of the Christ Child
shine warm upon your home.
 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!
Celtic Blessing - sung by the St. Coca's Choir, from Kilcock, Co. Kildare
And this is for our dear friend Mary O’Hara who asked us to bring this phrase back:
May you be seven times better, a year from today!!
 in the Irish
Go mba seacht bhfearr a bheas tu bliain o inniu!!
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, 5814 Blue Spruce, Cincinnati OH 45224. Donations can also be made via PayPal at
Our email address there is
 Many thanks in advance for your kindness.
NOTE: All donations of $5.00 or more will receive this green ribbon bookmark  featuring metal brass-colored shamrock charm. 
You can get your own copy if you sign up by sending an email to:
or click on this link:
Please check with the Wild Geese - they have a huge listing of events and we don't want to duplicate their efforts:
Irish Abroad also has a comprehensive listing:
If we receive a unique event not mentioned there, we will be happy to list it here.
 Cincinnati OH - December 5th
The Riley School of Irish Music invites you to a holiday concert presented by students faculty and friends. Time: 2 to 5 pm. Place: Columbia Baptist Church, 3718 Eastern Avenue, Cincinnati, OH.
Concert, social hour and refreshments; free - donations  accepted.
Hollywood, FL - December 11
Irish-American Ceili Club
American Legion Hall - 7pm to 11 pm
211 North Avenue
Music: Noel Kingston. Lavish Christmas Buffet!
Admission $10  members, $12 guests.
For more info, please contact Patrick O’Dea: 
Email :
Next Ceili 1/15/2011
Carribean Cruise  - February 27
Patrick O'Flaherty  invites you to join him  and other entertainers   as they  set sail aboard the Norwegian Spirit on an 8-day, 7-night Cruise to the Caribbean, leaving from New Orleans on February 27, 2011. Ports of call include Costa Maya, Belize, Isla Roatan and Cozumel and the the highlight of the week  will be O'Houligan's Ball, where General Livingston and his wife Sara will reign over the festivities as the 2011 King and Queen.  Visit 
or contact Susie Denman at 1-800-427-8473 ext. 7808 for more information. 
Thanks to underwriting from the Riley School of Irish Music, the second Wednesday of every month,   The Irish Heritage Center, 3905 Eastern Avenue, Columbia-Tusculum, (in the former McKinley Elementary School)  will resume their  "Session Night", featuring both an instrumental session and traditional singing session in two separate rooms from 7:30-11pm.  Plenty of free parking behind the building. Come with your talents, tunes and stories. The bar will be open and there will be room for respectful listeners as well. For details, please contact:  
Or Cindy  at 
Stay up to date with all the upcoming events and click here:
Or call 754-281-7202 / 954-432-8292
The Irish Club is adjacent to St. Brides Church, the Journalists Church off Fleet Street. the construction of which gave us the standard wedding cake shape and is reputed to have been founded by St. Bridget herself alongside a St. Bridget's Well. To learn more about the club and upcomoming events, please visit their web site:
Friends of Ireland of Southern California Monthly Breakfast. Events are held on the 1st Tuesday of the month. Please call in RSVP to one of the contacts below one day in advance so we can accommodate you.
Barbara Walsh (714) 739-4195 Kathy Wisdom (714) 572-8277
Tom Kennedy (562) 425-2636 Jim O'Dea (626) 965-0307
First Friday of the month Céilís and ongoing Tuesday night Céilí and Sean Nós dance classes. Our season runs from October through June and next season we may be moving the dances to Saturday rather than Friday nights. For more details, please click
Lord only knows we could all do with more than a few laughs - so, we’re happy to share the following sent to us by our dear friend Mr.Bill Crotty. 
Don’t mess with children
A little girl was talking to her teacher about whales.  
The teacher said it was physically impossible for a whale to swallow a human because even though it was a very large mammal its throat was very small. 
The little girl stated that Jonah was swallowed by a whale.  Irritated, the teacher reiterated that a whale could not swallow a human; it was physically impossible.  The little girl said, 'When I get to heaven I will ask Jonah'.  The teacher asked, 'What if Jonah went to hell?'  The little girl replied, 'Then you ask him'.
A Kindergarten teacher was observing her classroom of children while they were drawing. She would occasionally walk around to see each child's work.  As she got to one little girl who was working diligently, she asked what the drawing was. The girl replied, 'I'm drawing God.'  The teacher paused and said, 'But no one knows what God looks like'  Without missing a beat, or looking up from her drawing, the girl replied, 'They will in a minute.'
 A Sunday school teacher was discussing the Ten Commandments with her five and six year olds.  After explaining the commandment to 'honour' thy Father and thy Mother, she asked, 'Is there a commandment that teaches us how to treat our brothers and sisters?'  Without missing a beat one little boy (the oldest of a family) answered, 'Thou shall not kill.'
One day a little girl was sitting and watching her mother do the dishes at the kitchen sink. She suddenly noticed that her mother had several strands of white hair sticking out in contrast on her brunette head.  She looked at her mother and inquisitively asked, 'Why are some of your hairs white, Mum?'  Her mother replied, 'Well, every time that you do something wrong and make me cry or unhappy, one of my hairs turns white.'  The little girl thought about this revelation for a while and then said, 'Mummy, how come ALL of grandma's hairs are white?'
The children had all been photographed, and the teacher was trying to persuade them each to buy a copy of the group picture.  'Just think how nice it will be to look at it when you are all grown up and say, 'There's Jennifer, she's a lawyer,' or 'That's Michael, He's a doctor.'  A small voice at the back of the room rang out, 'And there's the teacher, she's dead.'  
 A teacher was giving a lesson on the circulation of the blood. Trying to make the matter clearer, she said, 'Now, class, if I stood on my head, the blood, as you know, would run into it, and I would turn red in the face.'  'Yes,' the class said.  'Then why is it that while I am standing upright in the ordinary position the blood doesn't run into my feet?'  A little fellow shouted,  'Cause your feet ain't empty.'
 The children were lined up in the cafeteria of a Catholic elementary school for lunch. At the head of the table was a large pile of apples. The nun made a note, and posted on the apple tray:  'Take only ONE. God is watching.'  Moving further along the lunch line, at the other end of the table was a large pile of chocolate chip cookies.  A child had written a note, 'Take all you want. God is watching the apples.'