Welcome to the Irish Culture & Customs newsletter which is published every week and sent out to nearly 3400 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:
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Greetings & blessings to all,

Happy first day of Summer! That's according to the Celtic calendar and pinch punch, first day of the month, white rabbit. That's according to Bridget's mother - and we're still not sure exactly what it means. But it's supposed to be for good luck.

We hope this edition finds you in good health, good spirits, and good company. And if this is your first issue, many thanks for becoming a subscriber. We're delighted to have you with us and please feel free to share our meanderings and musings with your family and friends.

As for ourselves, "mayhem" began long before we turned the calendar this morning. Since Easter, it's been one thing after another. Our daughter went to the emergency room with what she thought might be a heart attack. Thank God, it was simply an overload of stress. Then our middle child lost his job which is truly a major setback for him and his family. But we're hoping that the old saying "when one door closes..." will bring a better opportunity for him. In the midst of this, a very close family friend had a stroke. She's recovering and it doesn't seem to be as serious as it might have been. But we know only too well that even a "mild" stroke can do major damage. It remains to be seen what the residual effects might be.

It isn't all bad news. Another friend was admitted into hospital and is finally getting the care he needs; this is after months of one medical snafu after another. And, quite honestly, we didn't think he was going to make it.

And we're saving the best news for last in this litany of events. Our youngest son married to his partner Sarah. We have also learned that we will be grandparents again next November. And it will be on the first anniversary next year when the big party will take place; so don't be getting upset because you weren't invited to last Friday's nuptials - no one was except for immediate family. That's how the newlyweds wanted it.

So, if you were wondering why there hasn't been a newsletter in a while, there you have it. We did receive a few e-mails asking about it and it was nice to be missed. But, on the other hand, it was also a relief not to be inundated with queries!

On a much less personal note, this coming Thursday is shaping up to be a quite unique day in our lifetime. Though it will be quite understandable if you forget to tell your grandchildren about it.
On May 4, 2006, at two minutes and three seconds after 1:00am, the time and date will be: 01:02:03 04/05/06.
That's 123456.
This will never happen again in our lives.

Enough of the blather - on with the update!
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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 was
The week that will be, God willing
Events & Classifieds
Leave 'em Laughing

Launch of Black and Tan ice cream gets a frosty reception
But Ben & Jerry's deftly avoided an ambush by being quick to come out with its hands up offering an apology. A spokesman for the Vermont-based ice cream maker said: "We have had a small amount of contact from people letting us know how Black and Tan originated. We were not aware of that. "It was named because it's a very popular drink in the US.

Antrim: Rope bridge shortlisted for award
The famous rope bridge at Carrick-a-Rede is on the shortlist for the Northern Ireland Tourism Awards in the visitor attraction of the year prize. The bridge, originally put in place to allow fishermen access to an area known for its salmon, is now visited by up to one hundred and forty thousand visitors a year.

Carlow: If you can't move it, go round it
A group of council workers in Carol took a pragmatic view when an obstacle was placed in the way of their day's work. They had set out to lay fresh tar macadam on Beech wood Park, Palatine Road in the town when they discovered a car parked at the roadside. Apparently the owner of the car had gone on holiday and had not left her keys with anyone, so the workmen carefully laid the tarmac around the vehicle. However, to give them their due, the council workers returned to Beech wood Park when the car owner returned from her holiday, and covered the gap with fresh tarmac.

Clare: Visitor Facilities At Dolmen Site To Be Reduced
The capacity of visitor facilities proposed for the Poulnabrone tomb in the Burren has been halved in order to preserve "the spiritual quality of the landscape surrounding the tomb".

Cork: Lace-makers to visit Hungary
Veronica Stuart from Carrigaline, a gold medal winning maker of fine lace, is leading a group of lace-makers from Counties Cork, Wexford and Tipperary to the Lace House in Kilkunhalas, Hungary at the beginning of this month. There, the fifty-strong group will exhibit their work as well as giving demonstrations of lace-making and delivering lectures on the art of Irish lace making now and in the past. The group includes national and international award winners as well as national and international judges, and the women will also entertain their fellow-craftspeople with singing and dancing.

Dingle: May Fair is back in Raphia
The tradition of the May Fair in Raphia, which continued until the establishment of the Livestock Mart in the 1960s, has been revived by Raphia Reconciliation Project. This year's fair will include a farmers' market set up in the Cathedral Hall car park, while local fundraising groups will be allowed to set up their own stalls within the Cathedral Hall.

Dublin: One of the world's most significant and original doll houses has opened for the season in the capital. Work is still ongoing on Tara's Palace, which was begun in 1980 and has now opened in Malahide Castle, but viewing is allowed on the construction. The palace is designed and built on a one-twelfth scale in the style of three of Ireland's great 18th century mansions.

Galway: Races web site
The Galway Races have recently unveiled their newly updated and restyled web site www.galwayraces.com. The user-friendly web site contains all the information a race- goer would possibly need to know before planning a trip to the races, plus useful information for the veteran Galway Races punter.

Galway: Banner to come down
In what is expected to be the final installment of the Supermacs versus Galway City Council 'Eyre Square' stand-off, Supermacs have conceded to take down their latest banner, this one, ironically, congratulating the City Council on the completion of Eyre Square.

Galway: More than two years on, the plaza opens
Galway's Eyre Square, now a plaza, has opened to the public after a transformation that took an astonishing twenty-five months to complete. The new-look square has a children's playground and is still the site of the Galway Hooker fountain and the Browne doorway. The Skeffington Arms side of the square is now pedestrianised and an information booth has been placed at the top of the square; the official opening will take place at the end of May.

Kilkenny: Sewing needles a symbol of Bridie's life
When one of the country's oldest women, Bridie Phelan, died last week at the age of one hundred and five, one of the gifts brought to the altar during her funeral were her sewing needles, a symbol of the hundreds of dresses she made for the locality during her long life. Bridie, originally from Tullaroan and latterly resident at The Butts in Kilkenny, spent much of her life sewing wedding dresses, bridesmaids dresses and party clothes for her friends and neighbours. Widowed for the past forty years, she used to be taken to Mass in St Canice's each morning by her son Tom and they would always go for a short drive afterwards.

Laois: Unusual name for Abbeyleix playground
A new playground in Abbeyleix, opened in the grounds of Heritage House last week by Minister for the Environment Dick Roche, has been named Sult na Mara, or Seaside Fun. A somewhat unusual name for a landlocked playground, it was chosen by the first class pupils of Scoil Mhuire Primary School. At the opening a poem read by pupil Eamon Oxley explained that the name had been chosen due to the town's links with the Titanic, since some of the carpets for the ill-fated liner were made in Abbeyleix and are now on display in Heritage House. The local children also had a say in the equipment provided in the playground which, fittingly, includes sand and water features.

Mayo: Mary loses out to Ectra
In the debate among members of Ballina Town Council as to what name to give to the new road from Barnadearg to Killala Road, former president Mary Robinson has lost out to a much older rival. The councillors voted six to three to name the road Slí Ectra, after the fifth-century Princess Ectra who is said to be buried close to the road. The name was proposed by Councillor Padraig Moore on the basis of a cutting from a nineteenth century copy of the Western People which spoke of a pile of stones on the hill above St Patrick's Well which were believed to be an monument to the princess.

Tipperary: Visionary visits Kilcommon
The church, the parish hall and even the sacristy in Kilcommon were full to capacity one evening last week when the parish received a visit from Ivan Dragicevic, one of the Medjugorje visionaries. A three-hour ceremony conducted by the parish priest of St Patrick's, Father Dan Woods, included Mass, an address by the visionary and a period of silence while he experienced his daily vision of Our Lady. Outside the church a one-way system had been set up on local roads and a number of TV screens had been set up for those who were unable to find places inside the church.

Wexford: Business closes as directors retire
A store on Barronstrand Street in Wexford city which began life some two hundred years ago as a hardware store is to close its doors and the building is to be auctioned next month. Joseph Knox established Joseph Knox Ltd, and more than sixty years ago Billy and Eithne Kehoe took over the business, changing its direction until it became associated almost solely with Wexford Crystal and bone china. Now the couple have decided to retire and although the building is to be auctioned in mid-May Billy Kehoe expects that the shop will remain open until the end of the year.

ED NOTE: Most of the above news items are from The Irish Emigrant. Space does not allow us to print them all. To read every item, please click

Massachusetts USA: Riverdance founder Moya Doherty and her husband, John McColgan, have spent €20 million on the purchase of a holiday home and waterfront estate at Martha's Vineyard, the fashionable east-coast island renowned for its fine weather and celebrity appeal.

Help us keep this newsletter free by visiting our good friends at The Irish
To improve your chances of winning, they have compiled a STATS section based on previous draws. So enter now - you don't have to live in Ireland to play, winnings are tax-free and checks are mailed within 48 hours. Do you have the luck of the Irish? Play the Irish lottery and find out! You can't win it if you're not in it, so go visit their totally re-vamped web site! Please click her for full details:
Doors of Dublin: Glory be - we We had a sale! We also recommended that Bob Fearon, the man who came up with the original concept, buy the domain name Doors of Dublin. We were astonished when we found out it was available. We now plan on helping Bob flesh out the new web site with all that we can find out about Dublin doors - not just the Georgian ones around the famous squares, but other groups of doors as well. All of that said, have you seen the poster that started it all? This is the ORIGINAL sanctioned by the Irish Tourist Board - not a cheap imitation. We have a copy and it's just magnificent. Take a look for yourself - and also keep in mind that it's printed on heavy card stock - not your usual flimsy poster paper:

In reference to the recent query about Irish and Dutch genes, Jim writes:
Just read the response to Matt's query regarding Irish/Dutch heritage.  Although mathematically 87.5% is accurate, genetically it is probably wrong. With that many Irish genes to contend with, the poor Dutch genes wouldn't have a chance and would soon be consumed.  I know that is what happened to the component of my makeup that is (was) Swedish.
Ya sure, yabetcha.

David writes: I have been looking for an emblem or flag that has some connection with Kinsealy village in Co Dublin without any success. I would be grateful if you know of anyone or of any web site which might aid my search. Many thanks.

Your Very Own Ireland
This is a new site to us and we had a lot of fun exploring it. While it's mainly for people planning a trip, there's lots of info' that armchair tourists will find interesting as well.

The Reincarnation Station:
This was sent to us by our friend Audrey in California. Many people believe that when we die, we are re-born into a new existence in another form of life. Discover what you could be if and when you come back:

Someone to watch over you
Helen & Hartson sent us a lovely greeting at a time when we truly needed a lift. It's one of our favorite songs and the sentiment is well worth reading.

Eagles Nesting On Hornby Island, British Columbia
A pair of bald eagles is waiting to hatch their latest additions.  The
owners of the property on which they are camped out have placed a live
webcam nearby so that people can watch from the Internet. 
NOTE: Ifyou're a Mac user - it won't work on Safari for some reason.
Switch to Internet Explorer or FireFox to see the feed:

Who Wants to Be a Millionaire Another terrific time-waster from Hartson (may be this is why we don't get the newsletters out every week!)
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:

Last but certainly 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!

It only takes a second to feed hungry people, too:

Please help us keep our newsletter coming to your mailbox and visit our good friends at Lollysmith:
In stock right now, great gift ideas for Mother's Day, Father's Day, graduations First Communions, Christenings and more. also on order, more genuine blackthorn sticks from the same man himself who hand-crafted and presented them as gifts to President Kennedy and many other famous personages. Take a look at these and the many other unique items on offer. Please click
The same old story:

When I was a maid,
Nor lovers afraid,
My mother cried, "Girl, never listen to men."
Her lectures were long,
But I thought her quite wrong,
I said Mother, whom should I listen to, then?
James Kenney 1780-1849
There are more old drunks than old doctors - Anonymous
It was the Bank Holiday weekend and while on a sight-seeing journey, an elderly couple stopped at a restaurant for lunch.  After finishing their  meal, they left the restaurant and resumed their trip. When leaving, the woman unknowingly left her  glasses on the table and she didn't miss them  until after they had been driving about twenty  minutes.  By then, to add to the aggravation, they had  to travel quite a distance before they could find a  place to turn around. All the way back, the husband fussed complained and  scolded his wife relentlessly. And the more he chided her the more agitated he  became. To the wife's relief, they finally arrived at the restaurant. As she got out of the car and  hurried inside to retrieve her glasses, her old man yelled "While you're in there, you might as  well get my cap and credit card."
1. Under the 1801 Copyright Act, Trinity College is entitled to one free copy of every book published annually in the British Isles? The university library now has over two million volumes and needs a quarter of a mile of new shelving every year.
2. THE New York resort of Coney Island is named after a small uninhabited island off the coast of County Sligo?
3. The Union Jack was first flown not in England but over Dublin, on January 1, 1801, to celebrate the Act of Union? The Irish Rugby Football Union were so attached to it that they flew the Union Jack and not the tricolour at all matches until 1932, when the President of the Executive Council, William T Cosgrave, intervened. __________________________________________________________________
(Or books on Irish-related topics?)

Who wrote:
1. Mickey Slabdabber, a Limerick Odyssey
2. So Mammy Said
3. The Celtic Gods: Comets in Irish Mythology

Send in your answers and if you get two out of three correct, we'll list your name and web site (or your favorite Irish web site) in our next newsletter. In the meantime, here are the answers to our last quiz:

1. Patrick Pearse and the Politics of Redemption: Sean Farrell Moran
2. Dublin Castle and the 1916 Rising  - Leon O'Broin
3. Our own red blood: The story of the 1916 rising  - Sean Cronin

Hats off to the following Irish bibliophiles:
Cathleen Toft
Southsea Hants UK

Hartson Dowd
Tony Cuckson is an Anam Cara.  This Celtic term means : "Soul Friend."
He specializes in providing insight for the spiritual journey, Irish Blessings, words of comfort and wisdom and finding inner peace.  Visitors to Irish Blessings Master web site and Tony's Blog get the opportunity to develop a purpose driven life through articles, newsletters and other programs. 
 or visit Tony's Blog at

Lezlie Cohn-Oswald,
I LOVE your informative web site filled with everything Irish!  Thank you!
alt Lake City, Utah, USA (No, I'm NOT Mormon!)
"May the gift of "Persuasive Eloquence" (BLARNEY!) be with you always!"
 Helen Dowd
Please visit my web site: www.occupytillicome.com.  Thanks, everyone who has voted for my site.
ED. NOTE: Asof this writing, Helen is just 444 votes away from moving into the third spot on The Top Christian sites! So, please keep voting for her. Thanks!
How did you do on our last mind-mangler? It was a bit tricky, and some of you might say foul! In any event, we received a slew of wrong answers and/or partially correct answers.

Q. Bridie promised to take her daughter Biddy shopping on the day before the fourth day after the day after tomorrow. If today is Sunday the 3rd. on what day and date will Biddy take Bridie shopping?
A. We have no idea when Biddy will take Bridie shopping. However, Bridie will take Biddy shopping on Friday the 8th. Hats off to Jim Connoly who was first in with a complete and correct solution.

Now for our next brain bruiser - and we really like this one:
There's a three-syllable word that if you take five letters away from it, you will have a word for male. If you remove just four letters, you will have a word for female. And if you take the word as a whole you will have what Countess Constance Markewitz is considered to be.
Q. What is the word?

1. Article: Beltane Fires and Nettle Soup
2. Article: The May Day Dew - Should you roll naked in it?
3. Article: How to prevent Mayhem
4. Article: May - the month of mirth and merriment!
5. Article: Marry in May & Rue the Day
6. Kids Culture Corner - Making a May Bush
7. Culture Corner - arrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge, Co. Antrim
8. Circle of Prayer. Our 6th Novena in this series begins today and continues through May 9. So many are in need of our prayers - family and friends who are ill, in the hospital, going through so many different situations and difficulties. Specifically, we ask that you remember the family of Dr. William Halligan RIP, Barbara Harding, Scott H, Peggy, Peggy's mother Madeline, Sarah's grandmother Nell, Jane, Mickey, and also Linda Langerfeld. Whatever your spiritual leanings, please count your blessings and ask God to hear your prayers and intercessions for those less fortunate. And please don't forget to ask the Good Shepherd of us all to watch over our men and women serving in the military all over the world. To join us every morning or whenever time permits, please click
9 May Trivia contest. The new contest will be published asap. All entries must be in by May 31st. The winner of April's contest will be announced in the next edition.

SPONSOR: Please visit our loyal friends at the Celtic Attic:
Mother's Day, Dad's Day and Graduation are almost upon us. We have some lovely gifts for your dear Mum, Dad or that Grad. Shop Celtic Attic for all your holiday needs. We are offering Free Shipping on orders over $75.00 (some restrictions apply). The shipping will
be deducted from your order after it is placed. FREE GIFT with every order!



With everything that's happened during the past fortnight or so, we may just kick back and relax. That doesn't mean we won't be doing anything at all. As always, we'll update the news headlines every day, post the history for the date and try our best to keep you coming back on a daily basis.

So there you have it until we write again. We hope all of our family and friends in Ireland have enjoyed a safe and happy Bank Holiday. As for the coming week or so, if you're celebrating a special event, may it be a blessed and joyous occasion. And if you were wed this month or intend to tie the knot, be wary of the Irish verse:
Marry in May and rue the day!

May God keep you and yours in the palm of His hand but not close his fist too tightly upon you, and has 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
We were delighted to receive two very nice donations from Josephine B. in Ireland and Tricia in the USA. Go raibh maith agat! Your Irish wildflowers are on their way.
If you would like to help us keep our newsletter and the web site coming at no cost, please send whatever you can to Bridget or Russ Haggerty. Our snail mail address is 5670 Meryton Place, Cincinnati OH 45224. Of, you can send a donation via PayPal. The Url is:
and our email address is this one:
Many thanks in advance for your kindness.
Please check with the Wild Geese - they have a huge listing of events and we don't want to duplicate our efforts - or theirs.
If we receive a unique event not mentioned there we will be happy to list it here.

Cincinnati, OH - May 5 & 6, 8 p.m.
Columbia Performance Center, 3900 Eastern Avenue.
The New Gate Celtic Theatre presents Thunder in the Mountains, the true story of the MacDonald family as told to local playwright Kathryn Schultz Miller by a direct descendant. For more details, please visit
For reservations or information, e-mail
or call 513-617-0784

Thank God for church ladies with typewriters.
Our dear friend Hartson is the one we have to thank for the following gems. These sentences actually appeared in church bulletins or were announced in church services. We've seen quite a few of them before - but they're well worth reading again. Enjoy!
The Fasting & Prayer Conference includes meals.
The sermon this morning: "Jesus walks on the Water." The sermon tonight: "Searching for Jesus."
Our youth basketball team is back in action Wednesday at 8 PM in the recreation hall. Come out and watch us kill Christ the King.
Ladies, don't forget the rummage sale. It's a chance to get rid of those things not worth keeping around the house. Bring your husbands.
The peacemaking meeting scheduled for today has been canceled due to a conflict.
Don't let worry kill you off - let the Church help.
Miss Charlene Mason sang "I will not pass this way again," giving obvious pleasure to the congregation.
For those of you who have children and don't know it, we have a nursery downstairs.
Next Thursday there will be tryouts for the choir. They need all the help they can get.
The Rector will preach his farewell message after which the choir will sing: "Break Forth Into Joy."
Irving Benson and Jessie Carter were married on October 24 in the church. So ends a friendship that began in their school days.
A bean supper will be held on Tuesday evening in the church hall. Music will follow.
At the evening service tonight, the sermon topic will be "What Is Hell?" Come early and listen to our choir practice.
Eight new choir robes are currently needed due to the addition of several new members and to the deterioration of some older ones.
Scouts are saving aluminum cans, bottles and other items to be recycled. Proceeds will be used to cripple children.
Please place your donation in the envelope along with the deceased person you want remembered.
The church will host an evening of fine dining, super entertainment and gracious hostility.
Potluck supper Sunday at 5:00 PM - prayer and medication to follow.
The ladies of the Church have cast off clothing of every kind. They may be seen in the basement on Friday afternoon.
This evening at 7 PM there will be a hymn singing in the park across from the Church. Bring a blanket and come prepared to sin.
Ladies Bible Study will be held Thursday morning at 10 AM. All ladies are invited to lunch in the Fellowship Hall after the B. S. Is done.
The pastor would appreciate it if the ladies of the congregation would lend him their electric girdles for the pancake breakfast next Sunday.
Low Self Esteem Support Group will meet Thursday at 7 PM. Please use the back door.
The eighth-graders will be presenting Shakespeare's Hamlet in the Church basement Friday at 7 PM. The congregation is invited to attend this tragedy.
Weight Watchers will meet at 7 PM at the First Presbyterian Church. Please use large double door at the side entrance.