Welcome to the Irish Culture & Customs newsletter which is published every week and sent out to well over 2300 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
If, for any reason, you wish to unsubscribe, instructions are at the end - but we do hope you'll stay with us.
Greetings and blessings to all,

While it's lovely to be back, our weekend edition has become a mid-week issue - the issue specifically still being the presence of our grandson playing merry mayhem with our schedule. The operative word is playing. There isn't much time for writing letters when there are blocks with which to build, precarious towers, matchbox cars to go vroom across the room and a set of nested stainless steel bowls to beat and bang. It's been a lovely week and we're sorry we're late, but we're just as certain you will understand - especially those of you with grandchildren of your own. (This Sunday, we hope to send out a "bonus" edition.)

In the meantime, how about those Patriots? We were thrilled with the win. but full marks to the Eagles who were surprisingly tough opponents. Great game all round.

Happy Chinese New Year! We hope the year of the Rooster will be a good one for you and yours. We also hope you enjoyed pancake Day and/or Mardi Gras - whichever one you celebrate. Now it's six long weeks of Lent - but with that lovely bright spot to look forward to on March 17th when we can down a St. Patrick's Day pint in honour of our patron saint.

It's been another banner week for visits to the site and also for new subscribers to the newsletter. If you have just joined us, many thanks for becoming a part of our on-line family - and if you enjoy our musings and meanderings, please feel free to send them on to you own family and your friends.

Officially, the last day of January is the end of our annual fund-raising effort. It was a wee bit better than last year, and we're happy about that. We'd like to thank those of you who sent us a donation; it's not just the gift we appreciate. It's also the lovely words of encouragement and the knowledge that our efforts have tangible value. For that, there are no words to convey our gratitude.
Enough about us....
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News from Ireland:
Candidates sitting a driving test will be required to know how 10 parts of their vehicles are checked and serviced under new measures which come into force from next Monday. Instructors say the new regulations didn't go far enough - candidates should also know how to change a tire!

10,000 Shipwrecks Listed Off Coast
A list of over 10,000 wrecks of ships off the Irish coast has so far been compiled by a specialised unit of the National Monuments Service. Anne Lucey reports. The unit is now beginning to look at the sites, said Mr Fionnbarr Moore, senior archaeologist with the underwater archaeology unit of the service. Mr Moore has been asked to investigate whether two wrecks which have emerged in recent weeks at low tide on Banna Strand, Co Kerry, might be those of large merchant ships which went missing in the early 18th century.

From Around the Counties
Antrim: All-Ireland for Belfast
Belfast will be hosting the All-Ireland Irish Dancing competition for the first time in fifty years. The 2005 Oireachtas Rince na hEireann will be held at the Waterfront Hall and some three thousand dancers are expected to take part.

Antrim: Rare birds brighten watchers' winter
The arrival of smews - diving ducks from Finland and Northern Russia - are exciting local bird watchers. The streamlined ducks have been sighted on Portmore Lough in Co Antim. Their white heads, white crests and black eye patches distinguish the birds from others on the lough.

Armagh: Drumilly school honours patron saint
Students at St Brigid's Primary School in Drumilly, south Armagh, keep the tradition of St Brigid alive and honour the patron saint of their school by making crosses from green rushes. They started collecting the rushes from bogs in the last days of January and then weave them into crosses for the saint's feast day. Each year the school has a ceremony during which they sing songs to St Brigid and listen to tales, all the myths, and legends that surround her. The parish priest also comes to the school to bless the crosses for the children to take home with them.

Carlow - The Song for Carlow competition, the county's first ever song-writing contest which was launched by broadcaster Olivia O'Leary in November chose the finalists on February 5th. The competition, open to all amateurs, semi-professionals and professionals both in Carlow and beyond, stipulates that all lyrics must include Carlow placenames, landmarks or any other local features. The final will feature twelve selected songs and is scheduled to take place on March 9.

Dublin - Docks tower could rise higher The Dublin Docklands Development Authority wants to raise the height of the proposed U2 tower to 100 metres, only 20 metres lower than the Spire.

Sligo - Country music festival for Sligo
Sligo is set to receive a big tourism boost this Easter when Ireland's big names in country music converge on the town for a major country music festival. The festival will be staged in the Sligo Park Hotel on the last weekend in March and will feature well-known names like Robert Mizzell, Mike Denver, Susan McCann, Hugo Duncan, James Quinn, Brendan Quinn and Patrick Feeney.

Waterford - Lismore nuns can send themselves a card
The sisters of St. Mary's Abbey near Lismore are celebrating 50 years of their greeting card production. Sister Sarto Weihing , an American sister, and Sister Paula, an artist who designed the first Christmas cards at Glencairn. introduced card-making to the abbey in 1955.

From all over:
Manchester, England - During a special visit, President Mary McAleese praised the work of the Irish community. Her comments came as she joined 500-plus revellers at a gala dinner to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the city's Irish Association Social Club (IASC).

London, England - Mayor of London Ken Livingstone has outlined further details of this year's St. Patrick's Day celebrations in the city .The festival returns to Trafalgar Square for the first time since it was launched in 2002 and events are also taking place in Leicester Square and Covent Garden.

From the Mailbag:
Maureen Carberry writes: I am planning a trip to Ireland this year and I was wondering if you could find out when the ""Roche "clan is planning a reunion ? Roche is my Maiden name my father is from Co Cork.

Hendri writes: I have pictures of two lovely crystal lamps with the original silk lampshades. The pictures were examined at a Waterford Crystal store and we were told that they did not think that they were Waterford but they could not be sure, because they are very, very old. Is there an email address for the different glass producing houses in Ireland that might be able to identify these lovely crystal lamps. If not - is there a place where I can go and find out the names of the crystal producing places in Ireland? Perhaps a book or a website?

Eric writes: This may seem like a silly question but I can't find an answer anywhere and thought you may be able to help. At the start of an old Looney Tunes cartoon from appx. 1952 or so titled "Wearing of the Grin" with Porky in Ireland, a sign that you see in the cartoon reads: "Sure, and it's still 12 miles to Dublin Town". What does this mean, or what is it in reference to? I always assumed it must reference some poem or literary work, but I can't find any info.

Website spotlight:
Many of you have a web site and it gives us great pleasure to put the spotlight on your efforts. This week, we encourage you to visit:

The Wild Geese - for the epic history of the Irish diaspora

Links of the week:
We've all been very worried about the Holy Father. Here is what Jack & Vivian sent to share with you:
Since the hospitalization of Pope John Paul II there has been concern in much of the world about the health of the pontiff. The longer he remains hospitalized, the more likely it is that he will not be himself when he is released or may possibly die.
Thinking back over the life of this pope, the year 1979 stands out for those who are Irish or lovers of the Irish language. It was that year that the pope visited Ireland. Recalling the events of that time, I recently heard that Carolan's 71st tune, then unnamed, and now called Carolan's Welcome was played by the Chieftains before a large crowd to welcome him to Dublin.Because of the seriousness of his present condition, we are sending you the tune and some info on the event to remember him by. No lyrics have survived. Please say a prayer for his return to health.

One of the many bonuses of minding grandchildren is watching all the great kids' shows on PBS; check out this neat story from Between the Lions: .a lovely old book called 'Tales of the Irish Rats, Volume 1: How the Rats Were Rhymed Out of Ireland.'"

While we can't tell you how great you are in person, here's an alternative:

Pauline in England sent us a fun link:
Do you want a clean monitor? Screen a bit grubby? Get it cleaned without lifting a finger!

The Breast Cancer site is having trouble getting enough people to click on it daily to meet their quota of donating at least one free mammogram a day to an underprivileged woman. 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:

Enough of the blitherin' - on with the update....

Quips, quotes, proverbs & toasts
A bit of the wit
Joke of The Week
Did You Know
Writer's Quiz
The Week That Was
The Week Ahead
"Our Irish blunders are never blunders of the heart."
Maria Edgeworth, from Essay on irish Bulls.
Courtship in Ireland is said to be that period during which a girl decides whether or not she can do any better.
This one is from our good friend Audrey in California:
A gorgeous young redhead goes into the doctor's office and says that her body hurts wherever she touches it. "Impossible!" says the doctor. "Show me." The redhead takes her finger, pushes on her left breast and screams, then she pushes her elbow and screams in even more agony. She pushes her knee and screams; likewise she pushes her ankle and screams. Everywhere she touches makes her scream. The doctor says, "You're not really a redhead, are you? "Well, no" she says, "I'm actually a blonde." "I thought so," the doctor says. "Your finger is broken."
Please help us to keep this newsletter free - visit our good friends, LollySmith:
There you will find a wide range of Irish and Celtic gifts imported directly from Ireland, including Irish jewelry, Shamrock seeds, Connemara marble, tin whistles and bodhráns; they also offer Irish and Celtic themed gifts from American companies such as Russ Berrie and SilverMoon. And don't overlook their new Irish Coffee, Teas and Gourmet Fare as well as Guinness Gourmet Mustards made in Co. Tipperary, Ireland, Oh Ryan's Irish Potatoes, Soda Bread, Scone Mix, Mileeven Preserves and other delicious foods and beverages. Known worldwide for their quality gifts, great prices, quick shipping, and friendly personalized service, the friendly folk at Lollysmith are just a click away: http://store.yahoo.com/cgi-bin/clink?lollysmith+wSpfhS+index.html
1. Comedic genius and creator of the Keystone Cops, Mack Sennett was the son of Irish immigrants born in Nova Scotia?
2. While the current city fathers have problems with an estimated 3,000 roaming horses in the greater Dublin area, in medieval Dublin stray pigs were a cause of anxiety?
3. According to the Guinness Book of World Records. the longest-serving altar boy was Tommy Kinsella of Bray in Co Wicklow? He began serving Mass in the Church of the Holy Redeemer, Bray, in April 1917 and continued in the same church for 81 years until his death in 1999.
First, the answers to last week's quiz:

1. Wicked Irish: Howard Tomb
2. The Irish Face in America: Jim Smith, Pete Hamill, Julia McNamara
3. Ah, Those Irish Colleens: Helen Walsh Folson, Michael Allen Lowe

A round of applause and pints to this week's literary sleuths:
Déirdre McKiernan Hetzler
"Glorious Ireland in May"
May 25 - June 8, 2005
view this year's itinerary: www.tours2ireland.com

Carol Feltman
This is a great Irish site!
Everything you always wanted to know about Ireland, and then you find more!

Mary Sigrist
An Irish Fairy Tale for All Ages: Kick back and visit The Kingdom of the Bald Ferns in Old Ireland. Meet a group of young Irish cousins and their flying dragon, Flash. Trips to a fairy village called Oolagilbie; a dragon wedding; and a near escape from the trolls and ogres are just a few of the adventures of Flash and his friends. Visit and sign my guest book to hear from FLASH:

Bill Fitzgerald
Thank you for keeping it Irish!

Patricia Edwards
I recently found this site about Irish folklore - haven't managed to get through all the items yet, but it looks quite interesting!

Caye Skidmore
I love all the web sites. But I'd have to nominate your Irish Culture and Customs.
Go raibh maith agat, Caye :)

Want to see your name on next week's list? Try finding the following - we assure you, it's really easy! Who wrote:
1. Irish Puddings, Tarts, Crumbles & Fools
2. Trolleys and Squibs: A Golfer's Guide to Irish Links
3. Prayer Against Famine and Other Irish Poems Hint: You'll find all of the above titles and a favorite in our library here:
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 - preferably Irish. 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

First off - a recap of our last puzzle, which proved to be peskier than we anticipated.
Q It seems that Ross was going to boil a nice 20lb ham for St Patrick's Day dinner. The recipe calls for using exactly 2 1/2 gallons of water in which to boil it. The only pots Ross has are 5 gallons, 2 1/4 gallons and 3 1/4 gallons. Using only these pots, how can Ross measure out the 2 1/2 gallons of water that he needs?
A.So far, no-one has come up with the correct solution - the first time it's ever happened. So, we're going to leave this one go until our next edition which we hope will be out this Sunday. Give it a shot!
Help us keep this newsletter free by visiting our good friends at The Irish Lottery. Will this be the year you become a millionaire? There Are 42 Shades of Green - All you need are 6 to hit the Irish Millions! 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, 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 come visit our totally revamped web site! Please click here for full details:
1. Article - James Joyce's Dublin
2. Article - Celebrating aCandlemas in Old Ireland
3. Article - Article - Shrove Tuesday - Pancake Day!
4. Article - Shrovetide - The Marrying Season
5. Ash Wednesday & The Lenten Season in Old Ireland
6. Article - What if you were still single by Ash Wednesday?
7. Article - The Irish Link to St. Valentine
8. The Irish Kitchen - Recipes in Celebration of Spring
9. Basic Irish: Lesson 69 - A New Year
10. Kids' Ireland - Kate's Ancient Gift
11. Circle of Prayer - Our firstNovena in this cycle began on February 5 and ends on February 13. Please join us in prayer or meditation for His Holiness, Pope Paul II. the victims of the Tsunami, Mollie's son Casey, Pauline, Hartson, and Graine. We also hope you will offer your spiritual support for our ourmilitary personnel serving in Iraq, Afghanistan and all over the world. We ask that you especially remember a local young man, Matt Maupin, who was captured nearly a year ago, Paul and Ashley, the sons of friends. Also the three grandsons of a subscriber. We have personally experienced first-hand the power of prayer and we know that God listens and will answer.
12. On-going - Trivia Contest. Time is running out; all entries must be in by January 31st, whichever time zone you live in. Please note that we have another sponsor - The Celtic Attic who are offering a lovely prize. Check it out here: http://www.irishcultureandcustoms.com/TriviaContest.html

We were late with the language lesson - that's because Bridget changed her mind mid-course about the topic. It's now posted. A recipe for romance will go up Thursdsay and the new blessing and quotation are already posted. Russ has been busy working on the poetry pages and has completed bios for John Montague, Pat Ingoldsby and Paul Durcan. We're also waiting for a new children's story and Bridget is working on new Culture Corners. Seasonal articles have also been posted. And don't forget to check out our daily updates of news and history. For news, please click:
And we keep a week's worth of history here:

So, that about wraps it up until next time. If you're celebrating a birthday, anniversary, or other important event between now and when we write again, we hope it's a joyous occasion! We also hope that St. Brigid will intercede on behalf of you and yours and and God grant you an abundance of blessings, especially an early spring. 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
To avoid duplication, we list only those events not already mentioned in the Irish Heritage Newsletter or on the Wild Geese website. In fact, the Irish Heritage email group and the Wild Geese have joined forces to bring you a massive listing of Irish events all over the world! To subscribe to the list, send your e-mail address to group moderator George Trainor, at george@thewildgeese.com. The group's postings go out every other Friday and Saturday, in five separate e-mails, covering Irish history, myths and legends, news, jokes, Irish (Gaeilge) lessons, recipes, and more. Organizations, please alert them about your upcoming events, e-mail events@thewildgeese.com, fax: 208-978-9998. Deadline: The third Wednesday of the month for the following month's edition. Also visit The Wild Geese at:

and the site itself at www.thewildgeese.com.
If you're in Ireland, or lucky enough to be visiting, you can see what's on offer here:

Winston Salem - Now until March 3
Aisling: An Artist's Vision of ireland
Irish landscapes in oil, pastel, black and white photography by Amy Funderburk; Spine Gallery, Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center

Dublin - Now until mid-March
"Toy Stories", An Exhibition of Toys, Dolls & Games from the Past is on display at the National Museum of Ireland

Dublin, Ireland - February 9th-15th
Dublin will celebrate the Year of the Rooster with the second annual Dublin Chinese New Year Festival at the National Museum of Ireland, Collins Barracks.

Philadelphia, PA - February 14
11:00 AM to 1:00 PM Love Park - 15th St. & J.F.K. Blvd. Organized by the
Philadelphia AOH / LAOH County Board and the
Philadelphia Veterans Multi-Service & Education Center

Atlanta, Georgia - February 18
John Hume, Nobel Laureate and MP for Foyle, will speak on the current political impasse in Northern Ireland at the following venues:
Georgia State University at 1:30 pm
Emory University at 4:00 pm
For more details, please contact Jim Gaffey:
Tel: 770.448.0685
email: jfgaffey@bellsouth.net

Hollywood, Florida - February 19
IRISH-AMERICAN CEILI CLUB Shepherds Pie dinner & dancing to Paddy Noonan
7p-11p Members $8; Guests $11
For more info call 954-432-8292 or visit our web site:

Houston Texas - February 24-27
UST Hosts The American Conference for Irish Studies
Southern Regional Conference. The first major event in 2005 for the Center for Irish Studies. The conference features nearly 100 presentations by Irish Studies scholars, students, and interested persons from Ireland, Northern Ireland, Canada and throughout the United States on Irish Studies topics, including literature, history, politics, art, culture music, and immigration. For more information or to register, please visit

Houston, Texas - February 27
McTeggart Irish Dancers 3rd Annual - St. Patrick's Day Celebration and Fundraiser
3-7PM At the newest of Molly's Irish Pubs~ Olde City Pub 14124 Steubner Airline. For more details, please click

Galway City - March 5
The sixth NUI Galway Gala Banquet http://www.nuigalway.ie/news/main_press.php?p_id=190 , to be held in the Radisson SAS Hotel in Galway, will have as its theme the university's mission in international education. At the banquet the annual Alumni Awards will be presented, the winners to be announced in the next issue of Alumni Links.

Los Angeles, California - March 12-13


There are still some periods available up to 9 July, if you would like to spend your holiday in my cosy house on the beautiful Isle of Inishmore.
or 0041-1-2520918

Know of a church in need of a vestments cabinet? Russ has totally restored one he rescued from a Cincinnati church that was being demolished. We've used it over the years to store posters other art work and flat files. (Ad agencies and architectural firms could also put it to similar use). If you're interested in learning more about it and seeing a photo, please send us an email - bhaggerty@irishcultureandcustoms.com

The small girl had recently received a new watch and some perfume, which she was very excited about. Their family asked their priest over for dinner. The girl wanted so badly to tell the priest about her new gifts, but her mother insisted she wait until after dinner and not interrupt at meal time. Not able to contain her excitement, but not wanting to disobey, the little girl leaned over to the priest during dinner and whispered, "If you hear a little noise and smell something, it's me!"