Welcome to the Irish Culture & Customs newsletter which is published every week and sent out to nearly 2200 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,

Hello from the water-logged Ohio Valley. After last week's shoveling marathon, all rain and no snow makes Russ a very happy boy! However, the amount of precipitation both here and around the country isn't good news for a lot of people - and probably a good many of our readers. We surely hope you and your loved ones are safe and that the weather isn't causing you too much trouble.

We also hope this week's edition finds you in good health, good spirits and good company and we're happy to welcome quite a few new subscribers. If you enjoy our musings, please feel free to pass them along to your family and friends.

Were your New Year's revels were as much fun as ours? Just four of us got together for a cut-throat Euchre game until we toasted the year in at midnight. For the past few years, we've made New Year's Eve a slumber party, i.e. you have to stay over. So, after we watched the ball descend, sang a bit of Auld Lang Syne and drank some more bubbly, we toddled off to bed. Evidence of how lively we were was when we viewed the living room next morning - four poppers and debris from same, plus a few glittery bits Bridget had put up to augment the Christmas decorations.

There was enough champagne left over to have Mimosas with our traditional New Year's Day brunch - a big fry-up and we have to say it was one of the most pleasant New year's we've ever enjoyed. No hangovers and no major mess. The rest of the week had us busily shopping for our gift exchange on Epiphany. We each pull a name so we're only buying for one person and we can hit the sales. However, we were a bit thwarted by work schedules since the 6th fell on Thursday. So, we're doing it on Sunday. The kids really look forward to this occasion, not because of the presents but because we make a Shepherd's Pie with the left over prime rib roast. The difference between being a kid and a grown-up.

As usual, we turned the candles off in each window and formally ended the Christmas season. It's always a bit sad when we do that - but we're sure that our local utility company has been very happy about our month-long personal festival of lights! Which brings us to an always bit of a sticky subject. It takes a good deal of time, effort and out of pocket to keep the newsletter and web site going. Once a year we make a request for your financial help - so here it is; if you can't contribute, don't fret - you'll still get your newsletter and we'll still maintain the web site. But if you can help us out it would be greatly appreciated. Over Christmas, we were delighted to receive a couple of donations and it really does our heart good to know that our musings and meanderings mean something to you. Enough of the begging - and enough about us!
Please help us to keep this newsletter free - visit our good friends, LollySmith:
Did you know they now ship to Canada? Explore what they have on offer, including great items from Guinness, Hats of Ireland and Roundstone Bodhrans from Galway. They also stock authentic Irish whistles from the leading makers like Fádóg, Clare, Walton, Guinness & Clarke. One of the oldest musical instruments in Ireland. the Irish whistle is affordable, easy to learn and can be used to play music your entire family will enjoy - from haunting airs to lively reels. Come take a look - browse to your heart's content, and remember, when you buy from Lollysmith, you'll always enjoy great prices, quick shipping, and friendly, personalized service.
News from Ireland:
General: Top baby names in 2004
In the Republic, Harry, James and Anna took the top Slots. In Northern Ireland, the most popular names were Jack and Katie.

A record 6.4 million people visited Ireland from abroad in 2004. Also, according to a report released last week by Fáilte Ireland, 97% of visitors would recommend a holiday in Ireland.

Some 47,000 older people, lone parents and carers (care-givers) did not receive their welfare benefits worth up to €179 this past week because they were mistakenly paid twice the normal rate last week.

The Government has cleared the way for the development of retail superstores by the Swedish furniture group Ikea and the US warehouse giant Costco Wholesale. The Minister for the Environment, Mr Roche, said the change will apply only to sellers of durable goods and not to food retailers.

Hundreds of Aer Lingus trans-Atlantic passengers were delayed in Dublin, Shannon and New York last weekend after two of the airline's planes were damaged by freak gusts of wind at Dublin Airport. In Co. Meath, tornado-like winds toppled cars, threw garden sheds around like toys and damaged 70 homes.

Antrim: Famous bakery now under new management
An era ended on Christmas Eve in Lisburn when the owners of the Regal Bakery in Antrim Street, Billy and Diana Crothers, retired. The Regal Bakery was originally opened by Billy's father, Richard Henry Crothers, in 1955.

Cork: City Launches European Capital Of Culture 2005 this weekend
By the time the launch is over, organizers estimate that close to 100,000 will have attended the festivities, while more than 60 European journalists and film crews will be on standby to capture it all.

Derry: Record month for Derry port
It was a fitting end to the one hundred and fiftieth anniversary celebrations for Derry port when Lisahally Docks reported its busiest month on record. A total of one hundred and seventy thousand tons of goods came through the port in December, including coal from Colombia and South Africa, oil, fertiliser and agricultural feed. Timber from both Latvia and Scotland also came through.

Donegal: Young Angler Lands First Salmon
A 14-year-old fishing enthusiast has become the youngest angler to catch the country's first salmon of the new year. Andrew Desmond from Dunfanaghy caught the 8lb salmon while fishing on the River Lennon in Ramelton, last Saturday.

Dublin: The Irish Times is moving
After 110 years at its current offices on D'olier Street in the centre of Dublin, the Irish Times is moving its head office to nearby Tara Street.

Dublin: UK honour for Dublin collector
Tom Burke, who ten years ago founded the Royal Dublin Fusiliers Association, has been awarded an honorary MBE in the New Year's Honours List for his work in collecting stories of Irish people who fought in the First World War. These stories are gathered on the following web site:

Galway: Country's first drive-in cinema
The Wellpark Centre on the Dublin Road in Galway is to be the site of Ireland's first drive-in cinema, with waiters rollerskating between the service area and their customers. Due to open next March, it is unclear yet whether the new facility will be the only cinema in the country where smoking will be allowed.

Galway: Skating on thin ice at the Claddagh
High winds put paid to New Year's Day ice-skating in Galway city when a large section of the 'Galway City on Ice' marquee at Nimmo's Pier was blown into Galway Bay just an hour and half before it was due to open to its first customers of the year. After deliberating for two days the organisers decided the damage was too severe to re-open the festive project.

Kerry: Nonagenarian a link with the past
The last surviving workman from a privately-owned Muckross House in Killarney celebrated his ninetieth birthday during the Christmas holiday. Danny Cronin, the third generation of his family to work on the estate, was employed as a wheelwright and carpenter and after the Vincent family left, he was employed by the National Parks and Wildlife Service as clerk of works for Killarney National Park, Garnish Island and Derrynane.

Louth: Dundalk's Navvy Bank re-opened
The recent re-opening of Navvy Bank, a popular Dundalk town walkway, has been welcomed by local residents who can once again enjoy the scenery of Dundalk Bay and the Cooley mountains.

Meath: Showjumper Paul Darragh, RIP was remembered at his funeral Mass on Friday as a "dashing" competitor who made Ireland "better known, better appreciated and better understood throughout the entire world".

Offaly: Birr was the place to be last year for the warmest weather. Birr hit the top temperature of 27 degrees Celsius over the August bank holiday. On the other hand, Kilkenny recorded the lowest air temperature of -7.7 degrees and ground temperature of -15.6 degrees on January 29th, the lowest temperatures there for 20 years.

Waterford: New statue for Holy Family Church
To commemorate the Golden Jubilee of Marian Park in Waterford city the residents decided to present a statue of the Infant of Prague to the Holy Family Church, since the church has also recently celebrated its Golden Jubilee. At the Vigil Mass on New Year's Eve the statue was carried in procession who then placed it in position on a plinth.

News from all over:
Barbados: The home of the late racehorse owner Robert Sangster has been put on the market at $37 million.

Chicago: The biggest maker of chewing gum in the world, Wrigley, lobbied the Government against plans to introduce special taxes on gum to defray the cost of cleaning it from the streets.

From the mailbag:
A reader from Israel is learning Irish and would like to find someone with whom to practice - either a pen-pal or someone living in Israel. Please contact us if you're interested Thanks.

Travis writes: I am making plans to propose to my girlfriend who comes from a traditional Irish Catholic Family. I was curious if there are any Irish customs for the guy when he is asking the father for his blessing. Is it custom to present a certain gift? Any information you can provide me will be so valuable. Thank you.
NOTE: We wrote back to Travis that in the old days, a young man would take a friend with him to the father's house. The friend would boast of the young man's character while plying the father with whiskey to "soften him up." Other than that, we don't know of any traditional gifts. Your input would be appreciated - thanks!

Peter writes: I have 5 sons and the number of grandchildren seems to be growing. and I start a bank account for each one as they arrive. In the past I had some of the old Irish money available, but no longer. Do you know where I can get some of the pre-decimal coin or bills either here or back home?

Tim Lynch (from Listowel, Co. Kerry) & Donna Mahoney are leading a pilgrimage/tour to Ireland in April 2005 for 10 days, focusing on Celtic Spirituality. Interested? Send Tim an email at LLLCenter@aol.com or call 828 - 421-8466
Tim needs only 2 more travelers by 1/15 to make it happen.

Links of the week:
Donations have been pouring in to Irish charities to support those helping the victims of the tsunami, and nearly €10 million has already been collected from Irish fundraising efforts. Would you like to help? Click here for Irish-based organisations collecting funds online:

Our friend and generous Trivia Contest sponsor, Dublin artist Roger Cummiskey is also doing what he can to help, from collecting donations to arranging an art auction. To learn more, please click

On a lighter note, Hartson can always be relied upon for fun links. (He says he's been turned into Animal Welfare for promoting unsanitary conditions!) Ready for the pooper scooper game?

Need a lift? Try this link sent in from Judy. Thanks, Mrs. F!

Need a laugh? Take a look at West Michigan's candidate for Irishman of the year

We received this fun link twice - thanks John and Beverly! http://web.icq.com/friendship/swf/0,,16961_rs,00.swf

If you like learning about the latest in Irish music and musicians, you'll love Jigtime:

A belated Christmas present from Celtic Spirit. If you book a Culture Week before end of January you will get 5% reduction for your chosen week on Aran. Check out:

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 blather' - on with the update....

Quips, quotes, proverbs & toasts
A bit of the wit
Joke of The Week
Did You Know
Writer's Quiz
New This Week
The Week Ahead
This great quote is one of many sent in by "Leo" - thank you!
If you think health care is expensive now, wait until you see what it costs when it's free. P.J. O'Rourke
Life's too short not to be Irish! Unknown
This is adapted from one sent in by "Morgana" in England. Thanks!
A garda pulls over a speeding car. He says, "I clocked you at 80 miles per hour, sir." The driver says, "Are you sure? I had it on cruise control at 60, perhaps your radar gun needs calibrating." Not looking up from her knitting the wife says: "Now don't be silly dear, you know that this car doesn't have cruise control." As the garda writes out the ticket, the driver looks over at his wife and growls, "Can't you please keep your mouth shut for once?" The wife smiles demurely and says, "You should be thankful your radar detector went off when it did." As the garda makes out the second ticket for the illegal use of a radar detector unit*, the man glowers at his wife and says through clenched teeth, "Woman ,didn't I tell you to keep your mouth shut!" The garda frowns and says, "And I notice that you're not wearing your seat belt, sir. That's an on the spot 60 euro fine. "The driver says, "Well, you see sir, I had it on, but took it off when you pulled me over so that I could get my license out of my back pocket." The wife says, "Now, dear, you know very well that you didn't have your seat belt on. You never wear your seat belt when you're driving." And as the garda is writing out the third ticket the driver turns to his wife and barks, "WHY DON'T YOU PLEASE SHUT UP??" The garda looks over at the woman and asks, "Does your husband always talk to you this way, Ma'am?" Smiling sweetly, she replies. Only when he's been drinking, sir."

*While it is legal to own a radar detector in the Republic of Ireland, it is actually illegal to use it.
Help keep our newsletter free - please visit our friends at Molly's Irish Imports
Let the winter wind blow while you stay cozy and warm wrapped in Irish woolens from Molly's Irish Imports. Luxurious capes, ruana shawls, sweaters, scarves and hats made from the finest Irish wool will keep you beautifully comfortable. All of Molly's woolens are made from the highest quality Merino or new Irish wool for softness and longlasting durability. See what's in store for you at Molly's Irish Imports, online at:

1. An Obscure Protestant sect, the Dippers, baptize their members in the waters of Lough Erne which they believe to be the true River Jordan.?
2. Scotland's capitol, Edinburgh, is named after the Irish nun Edana who founded a convent there in the 6th century.?
3. In 1750, the Church of Ireland Bishop of Raphoe was shot dead while carrying out a highway robbery? (As Russ says, "a novel way to take up a collection!)"
To begin with, the answers to last week's quiz:

1. The Princes of Ireland: he Dublin Saga - by Edward Rutherfurd
2. Round Ireland With a Fridge - by Tony Hawks
3. Somewhere in Ireland, a Village is Missing an Idiot - by David Feherty

Congrats to our Irish bibliophiles:

Hart & Helen Dowd
For easy reading, please visit http://www.occupytillicome.com

Déirdre McKiernan Hetzler
"Glorious Ireland in May." To preview May 25 - June 8, 2005.view this year's itinerary, please visit

Brenda Ross
Luxury travel planning with Celtic soul. Specialists in developing custom itineraries in Ireland for individuals, families and small groups.

Dallas Franklin
The 'GOD ezine' is published monthly, sent out on the 1st of each month. Always something to help you expand your psychic awareness and connect you to your spirit.
http://www.giftsofdivinity.com <http://www.giftsofdivinity.com

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: http://www.geocities.com/flashandschnootz

Barbara Levingstone
Lancashire UK

Patricia mEdwards
Gt. Britain

Want to see your name on next week's list? Try finding the following - we assure you, it's really easy! Who wrote:
1. Dublin Pub Life & Lore
2. McCarthy's Bar
3. The Story of the Irish Pub: An Intoxicating History of the Licensed Trade in Ireland

HINT: All three titles can be found 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, the answer to last week's head banger:
Two girls were born the same day, at just about the same time, in the same hospital, the same year, and they have the same parents.
Q.How is it possible that they aren't twins?
A. They were two of triplets! What a brilliant group we are! We had a slew of answers but the first one in with the correct solution was Marilyn from Binghampton, New York. Congratulations! And now for this week's brain drain:
In honour of March Madness coming up, and we don't mean St. Patrick's Day,iIn the NBA how many men are on the basketball court for each team?
1. Article: Oiche na Gaoithe Moire - The Big Wind
2. Article: New Year's Day to Epiphany http://www.irishcultureandcustoms.com/ACalend/NewYears.html
3. The Irish Kitchen - Homemade Buttermilk
4. Basic Irish - New Year's Resolutions
5. Article - Washed Walls
6.Burying the Baby Jesus
7. Kids' Ireland - Kate's Ancient Gift. This is a reprint of a story that was lost from our index, but has now been found!
8. Library: Celebrating Irish Festivals. Never miss an opportunity to honour your Irish heritage. Located in the right margin on home page
9. Irish Shops - religious. This week, we spotlight St. Ita whose feast day is coming up. Anachron is located in the right margin on the home page
10. On-going - Circle of Prayer: Our sixth Novena in this cycle ended on December 6th and or 7th one began on Friday, January 7. Please join us in prayer or meditation for the survivors and the victims of the Tsunami; for Matt Maupin who has now been missing or held hostage in Iraq for going on nine months; for the safety of Paul and Ashley, the sons of personal friends and for all military personnel stationed in Iraq, Afghanistan, and all over the world; the families of Molly and Aideen. Molly lost her father (RIP) on Christmas night and Aideen lost her mother (RIP) the week before For Mollie's son Casey, Mary from NY, Pauline recovering from surgery, Michael Davitt in Houston, Hartson & Helen, Graine, Barbara G's mom who just had a stroke, Cheryl, and for little Sebastian We have personally experienced first-hand the power of prayer and know that God listens and will answer.
11. On-going - Trivia Contest. The new quiz for January has been posted. 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 have a winner for December but they haven't contacted us yet.

With mid month looming, we'll be working on new Culture Corners. Do we dare mention Co. Cork? Since Cork city is the EU's culture capital for 2005, it seems only fitting that we finally do something about continuing our Irish counties series; we're also planning on another recipe and whatever else we can think of to keep you entertained. As always, we'll have a new blessing (posted on Sunday), a new quote posted on Wednesday and we'll update the news and history pages daily.
For news, please click:
And we keep a week's worth of history here:
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. Please click here for full details:
So that's the long and the short of it for another week except to say that if you're celebrating a birthday or other special event between now and next time, we hope it's a joyous occasion! Where's our wild and wooly calendar? Unless we receive a massive outpouring of please bring it back, we've decided to shelve it for now.

Until next time, may you and yours be wrapped in the mantle of God's love and grace - and as they say in Ireland, mind yourself!
and Slan agus beannacht!

Bridget & Russ
Get down on your knees and thank God you're still on your feet
Are you a loyal reader of our newsletter? Your voluntary donation will help us keep sending it around the world each week. Please send a dollar or more to Russ and Bridget, 5670 Meryton Place, Cincinnati, OH, 45224. Donations can also be made via PayPal at
Our email address there is bhaggerty@irishcultureandcustoms.com
FREE shamrock seeds for any donation over $25 and any thanks in advance for your kindness.
Events & Classifieds
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.

If you're in Ireland, or lucky enough to be visiting, you can see what's on offer here:

Philadelphia, PA - January 9th
2nd Annual A.O.H./L.O.H. Division 51 Communion Breakfast
Holy Name of Jesus Church. For tickets or more information, please contact Jay & Cheryl McCarrie at 215-425-5810 or Phil and Marian Bowdren at 215-426-2772

Hollywood, Florida - January 15
The Irish-American Club presents a New Year's Celebration:
For full details, visit us online @

New York City January 22 - Northern Aid Testimonial Dinner
It will take place at the Southgate Hotel, 7th Avenue and 31st Street, Manhattan. For more details or information please call 212-736-1916 or Noraid1971@aol.com. Tickets may be purchase online through the Homefront Store at http://www.inac.org/homefront/product_info.php?products_id=61

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

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.

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

This came in from John O'.There are many (bumper stickers) here we haven't seen before. Thanks, John!

Bumper stickers that caught my eye
Conserve water. Take a bath with a friend.
I am not indecisive. I think?
Keep Dublin Clean. Eat a Pidgeon
Follow me. I'm on my way to Jesus.
If You Can Read This, I've Lost My Trailer.
The Earth Is Full - Go Home.
I Have The Body Of A God - Buddha.
Cleverly Disguised As A Responsible Adult.
If We Quit Voting, Will They All Go Away?
Cover Me, I'm Changing Lanes.
He Who Hesitates Is Not Only Lost, But Miles From The Next Exit.
I Refuse To Have A Battle Of Wits With An Unarmed Person.
You! Out Of The Gene Pool - Now!
I Do Whatever My Rice Krispies Tell Me To.
Fight Crime: Shoot Back!
(Seen Upside Down On A Jeep) If You Can Read This, Please Flip Me Back Over
Remember Folks: Stop Lights Timed For 35 mph Are Also Timed For 70 mph.
Body! By Nautilus; Brain By Mattel.
Boldly Going Nowhere.
Caution - Driver Legally Blonde.
Heart Attacks . God's Revenge For Eating His Animal Friends.
Honk If You've Never Seen An Uzi Fired From A Car Window.
How Many Roads Must A Man Travel Down Before He Admits He is Lost?
Grow your own dope. Plant a man.
All Men Are Animals; Some Just Make Better Pets.