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Greetings & Blessings to one and all,

Welcome to our year-end edition. We hope this issue finds you and yours in good health, good spirits, and good company. If this is your first newsletter, many thanks for joining us and please feel free to share our musings and meandering with your family and friends.

Much has happened since last we wrote. Ireland is still recovering from the terrible floods the likes of which have not veen seen for 800 years. We hope and pray that things have improved for all of those families and businesses which lost so much.

The weather is still playing havoc with our homeland as now the country is in the grip of a bitter cold snap which is expected to continue into the New Year. Mother Nature also thwarted the travel plans of people all over the world trying to get home for the Christmas holidays. God willing you made it!

On December 8th, the news came out that we had lost Liam, the last of the Clancy Brothers, RIP. For those of us old enough to remember when they got their start way back when, this was definitely the end of an era - but. all of them as well as Tommy Makem will live on whenever we play one of their recordings. In the next couple of days, watch for a tribute to Liam by our resident resident music reviewer William Ramoutar.

Speaking of music, we have held our drawing for the Irish Tenors Christmas CD If you were one of six lucky winners from literally hundreds of entries, your CD is either in the mail or will be soon. The interest in this promotion was phenomenal and we're hoping we can have another one soon.

In what seems like a flash, Christmas has come and gone. But we still have our gift exchange to look forward to as we do that on Epiphany - January 6th. That’s the date we celebrate the Magi bringing gifts to the baby Jesus.In our book, if it’s good enough for Him, it should be good enough for us. This means that we can enjoy a peaceful Christmas Day much like Thanksgiving with our focus on enjoying the company of our family and friends. All told, it’s been a delightful Christmas holiday season thus far and may it be the same for you and yours.


There’s no doubt that i2009 was difficult for many of us and we can only hope that the coming year will be a better one. But, even though we were personally challlenged by multiple assaults on our financial resources as well as being worried sick over Russ’ health, we have much to be thankful for. Thanks to amazing breakthroughs in medical science, Russ is cancer free; he is still recovering, but the prognosis is good. Thank God for that. And thank God, we still have a roof over our heads, clothes on our backs, food in the larder and a drop or two to toast with at midnight tonight. In a world of want, rare riches indeed.

We are also fortunate to have friends like your good self who make such a difference in our lives. Thank you for all the get well cards for Russ, the Thanksgiving wishes, the Christmas Greetings, and now the New Year’s cards. May God grant you and yours the same sevenfold!

Enough of the blather...on with the update...
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News - the county round up and more is being sent as a separate document
From the mailbag
Quips, Quotes, Proverbs & Toasts
A Bit of the Wit
Joke of The Week
Did You Know
Know Your Writers
The week That Is
Leave 'em Laughing
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Ann writes: I am looking for info on the Black Madonna …Irish Lore or Celtic?

Another question from a reader: My Grandmother made a potato, apple, flour, suet, rasin concoction. She boiled it in muslin for hours and then dried it out. Then she slice it and fried it in butter and sprinkled it with sugar. Does anyone know what this is called and where I can get a recipe. An Irish girl I worked with called it cooley (I think) dumpling and my grandmother called it Irish pudding. Thank you so much for your help.

RE: Liam Clancy Cap. Many thanks to those of you who sent in sources for the cap Like Liam Clancy (RIP) wore. Jaryd McKree found exactly what he was looking for and is thrilled.

In response to a request in our last newsletter, Dave offers the following: Lugach is pronounced LOO-ach... no name meaning clear... it might be derived from the name of the god Lugh. It is a female name given to the daughter of Fionn mac Cumhail There were no fada's in Sean-Gaeilge (Old Irish). Eolann is pronounced O-lan, It is a male name. Not aware of meaning and it too is an ancient pre-Christian name.
ED. NOTE: Go raibh maith agat, Dave!

Greg writes: I am originally from Ireland but can not speak it. Would you please be able to let me know what: ONLY GOD CAN JUDGE ME is in Gaelic writing. Thanks!

A New Year’s Greeting for all of our visitors and subscribers.

Happy Hogmanay to our Scot’s kin
Here is an alternative to the traditional Auld Lang Syne - a poem by Burns set to music and dedicated to his Nancy. Very sweet.

A traditional Auld lang Syne
Andre Rieu is one of our favourites. Here, he gives us another outstanding performance - as usual! We especially like the bagpipes in the middle. Enjoy!

The Hallelujah Chorus as done by monks who have taken a vow of silence
This tongue in cheek piece was sent to us by our friend Barbara Goins. It has a somewhat lengthy intro; if you just want to hear the music, start at1:38. Get set to laugh - a lot!

Christmas Greetings from Dublin Tourism
Beautifully done. We hope you like it as much as we did.

Congratulations to Jim Crotty
Our friend and sponsor of the gorgeous Shamrock print in our Trivia contest won first and second place in the annual Professional Photographers of Ohio Fall Conference, Well done, Jim. Also beautifully done is his latest Pictures You can hear which is a soothing slide show of a beach in North Carolina. It starts off with music and then ends with just the sound of the waves. Bridget could listen to it all day long.

Danny Carthy - Songwriter & Folk Singer
We were very happy to learn about this very talentedmusician and we hope you will enjoy finding out about him also. One of his compositions - Carlingford - was translated into French and recorded on a CD of Irish folk songs by French singer Renaud, the Album titled Molly Malone was number 1 in the French Album charts for a number of weeks and is still at number 6 . To find out more and to listen to a snippet of Carlingford as well as other songs, please click:

Kilkeel: An Old Timer Talking
Many thanks to MJ who sent us this link to where you can read a story of one lovely Irish gentle man.

The Irish page Latest Offering
In this fourth chapter Séadna is at home and content that he did not acquire the horse or the cow at the fair. They would only have caused him trouble. He continued in the cobbler shop, hired apprentices and prospered beyond belief. For more details, please click

A request from our good friend Pauline Dewberry
Pauline has written an essay for a conest on the BBC. She is asking us to read the essay and then vote on whether you like it or not. We have read it and it’s very good. We hope you will check it our here:

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:
A lovely toast for New Year's Eve
May peace and plenty be the first to lift the latch on your door, and happiness be guided to your home by the candle of Christmas. In the New Year, may your right hand always be stretched out in friendship but never in want.
Seamus MagAodh
Do you think you might be a might 'moppy'ater all the celebrating?
The meaning of 'moppy'? "Here are a few synonyms:
jarred, fluthered, plasthered, elephants, fluthery-eyed, spiflicated, mouldy, maggoty, full to the brim, footless, spaychless, scattered, well-on, cross-eyed, muzzy, sozzled, bat-eyed, and having quantum sufficio. In other words, under the influence of intoxicating liquor."
Edited and adapted from The Best of Myles by Flann O'Brien.
We usually publish this one right around the Christmas holidays - it’s probably our all-time favourite of the season.
The teacher asked each of her students how they celebrated Christmas. She calls first on young Patrick O'Flaherty. "Tell me, Patrick, what do you do at Christmas time? Patrick addresses the class: "Me and my twelve brothers and sisters go to midnight Mass and we sing carols. Then we come home very late and we hang up our pillowcases at the foot of the bed. Then we go to bed and wait for Father Christmas to come with all our toys." "Very nice, Patrick," the teacher says. "Now, Billy Murphy, what do you do at Christmas?" "Me and my sister go to church with Mum and Dad, and we also sing carols. When we get home, we put biscuits and milk by the chimney and hang up our stockings. We hardly sleep waiting for Santa Claus to bring our presents." "That's also very nice, Billy," she said. Realizing that there was a Jewish boy in the class and not wanting to leave him out of the discussion, she asked him the same question. "Now, Isaac, what do you do at Christmas?" "Well, we also sing carols," Isaac responds. Surprised, the teacher questions further. "Tell us what you sing." "Well, it's the same thing every year. Dad comes home from the office. We all pile into the Rolls Royce and drive to his toy factory. When we get inside, we look at all the empty shelves and sing, 'What a friend we have in Jesus.' Then we all go to the Bahamas."
1.Today’s lunar eclipse in Ireland is the first to occur on New Year’s Eve in 350 years? The last one was in 1656 and the next won’t happen for another 200 years.

2. Today is the 100th anniversary of the first manned flight in Ireland? In Hillsborough, Co Down. on December 31st, 1909, Harry Ferguson flew his plane made out of spruce wood and linen approximately 130 yards.

3. Radio Éireann's television service began transmission on New Year's Eve, 1961?

First off, the answers to our last quiz:

1. A shling Gayle by Geraldine O'Neill
2. Tara Flynn also by Geraldine O'Neill
3. The Summer of Lily & Esme by John Quinn

A round of pints and applause to the following Irish literary sleuths:

Tom McGuire

Jack Donahue
My favorite Irish site is the one devoted to the O'Donoghue Society originating out of England with Rod O'Donoghue. I also like yours.
ED. NOTE: Thanks. Jack

Déirdre McKiernan Hetzler
Personalized Tours of Ireland:
Imagine you’re in the country of your dreams with your favorite people. It could be your closest colleagues through the years from work, or your extended family, for a once-in-a-lifetime gathering. Instead of being herded onto a huge tour bus of strangers, you’re together in a small van getting a personalized tour of Ireland. To learn more, please click

Helen Dowd
ED. NOTE: At the moment Helen is in secondace on the top Christian sites listing. Please vote for her and pput her back on top. Thanks!

Hartson Dowd
Ancient Music of Ireland
A few pages mainly inspired by the collections of Edward Bunting, who had attended the famous Belfast Harp Festival in 1792 and had been engaged to note down the music from the last harpers, before it would vanish with them for ever.

Jack & Lee Patterson
Jack & Lee are presenters on Irish Shamrock Radio and would love to have you stop by for a visit:

If you’d like to see your name in our Irish bibliophile’s list, tell us who wrote the following:

1. An Irish Christmas Feast
2. An Irish Country Christmas
3. Dublin Carol
Hint: All titles can be found in our library

Please send your answers to Bridget:
Don't forget to nominate a favorite Irish site and it would be helpful if you put "Know Your Writers" in the subject line of your email. Thanks!
SPONSOR: Please help us keep your newsletter coming - visit our good friends at the Celtic Attic:
Start the new year off with a Celtic twist! Stop by the Celtic Attic where you’ll find more than a plethora of ways to show off your heritage throughout 2010. 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:
First off, the answer to our last mind-mangler:

What do you get when you divide the diameter of a jack-o-lantern by its circumference ?
A. Pumpkin Pie

Hats off to Don Kennedy who was first in. Well done, Don, who was first in with the correct answer. An honourable mention goes to Earlene Mara, a retired mathematics teacher who correctly points out that the answer should be a piece or slice of Pumpkin Pi because the diameter divided by the circumference is 1/pi.

And now for our next noggin’ nagger:

Sean was out for a walk when it started to rain. He did not have an umbrella and he wasn't wearing a cap. His clothes were soaked, yet not a single hair on his head got wet.
Q. How could this happen?

Please send your answer to:
It would be helpful if you put riddle answer in the subject line. Thanks!

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!

Every purchase through our shop links, helps support our efforts. Many thanks in advance.

3. The President’s Message

4. Article: An Irish Christmas - St. Stephen’s Day to New Year’s Eve

5. Article: An Irish Christmas - New Year’s to Epiphany

6. Article: Mumming - a Yuletide Tradition

7. Article: Oiche na Gaoithe Moire...

8. The Irish Kitchen Good libations for your celebrations!

9. Basic Irish: A New Year, A New You?

10. Kids’ Ireland: The day After

11. Trivia Contest: The new contest for January will be posted tomorrow. We don’t have a winner for December yet. http://www.irishcultureandcustoms.com/TriviaContest.html

12. Circle of Prayer: The first Novena in this current cycle began on Christmas Day and continues through January 2. Whatever your spiritual leanings we ask that you keep the following in your prayers and meditations: Jane Donahue, Mickey, Keyra who has a malignant brain tumor; the aunt of our friend Carlos who has advanced breast cancer; Jeff Minnick’s 3-month old son in the hospital with meningitis, Ronnie Kennedy and Joe Colum, Hartson Dowd, Burnett McManus’ friend who recently underwent surgery for lung cancer, Christy Banik, Joe Colum, Patricia's daughter Heather, the family and friends of the McTiernans, Laureena Blankenship, Sierra Mitchell, Katie Lacinak and so many others as well as all those who are suffering from the financial hardships of the economic downturn. And please don't overlook 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.

So there you have it until our next issue. Probably in mid-January.
Pinch Punch, first day of the month, White Rabbit - and if you tied the knot in January or plan to do so , here’s your special verse:

Marry when the year is new
Always loving, kind and true.

Also, if you or a loved one are celebrating a birthday, or other special event between now and next time, we hope it's an occasion filled with joy and happiness.

Safe journey and safe home to those of you travelling over New Year’s and we’ll take our leave with this lovely blessing by Fr. Andrew M. Greeley

May the God of new beginnings grant you a New Year of peace and love.

And as they say in Ireland, mind yourself.

Slan agus beannacht & Athbhlian faoi mhaise! Happy New Year!
(pronounced Ah-vleen fwee wash-eh)

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

Send an email to: bhaggerty@irishcultureandcustoms.com
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.


Hollywood, Florida - January 23
We hope your New Year's Resolution includes
seeing all your old friends at our next Ceili on January 23. Tommy & Sharon are on the bandstand &
we hope to see Y O U on the dance floor! For more details, please click

Or call Call Patrick @ 754-281-7202

Los Alamitos, California -1st Tuesday of every month
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

Portland, oregon - 1st Friday of the month
Ceili of the Valley Society - 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

A reprise from last year, but so appropriate , we couldn’t resist:
This is from our good friend AG in California:

'Twas the week after Christmas, and all through the house
Nothing would fit me, not even a blouse.
The cookies I'd nibble, the eggnog I'd taste
All the holiday parties had gone to my waist.

When I got on the scales, there arose such a number!
When I walked to the store (less a walk than a lumber)
I remembered the marvelous meals I'd prepared;
The gravies and sauces and beef nicely rared...
The wine and the rumballs, the bread and the cheese
And the way I'd not said, "No thank you, please."

As I dressed myself in my husband's old shirt
And prepared once again to battle the dirt...
I said to myself, as I only can
"You can't spend a winter dressed like a man!"

So...away with the last of the sour cream dip,
Get rid of the fruit cake, every cracker and chip.
Every last bit of food that I like must be banished
'Till all the additional ounces have vanished.

I won't have a cookie, not even a lick,
I'll want only to chew on a long celery stick.
I won't have hot biscuits, or cornbread, or pie,
I'll munch on a carrot and quietly cry.

I'm hungry, I'm irritated, and life is a bore...
But isn't that what January is for?
Unable to giggle, no longer a riot
Happy New Year to All and to All a Good Diet!