Greetings & Blessings to all
Two weeks until St. Patrick’s Day! What are your plans? God willing, we’ll be going to the annual O’Flaherty blarney bash - (Bridget’s brother). It’s always great fun and definitely one of the first harbingers of spring. That would be in normal years.
2012 is proving to be much different with balmy temperatures and nary a trace of the white stuff all winter. Even places like up state New york and the East Coast have apparently escaped the kind of season they experienced in 2011. However, along with spring-like weather comes a caveat - when a warm spell  comes to an end as it did yesterday, it can often spawn very unsettled conditions. For all of you monitoring the news about the tornados in our region, and perhaps worried about how we fared - thank God we are okay. Not so for many living a relatively short distance away where there were similar scenarios to what happened earlier in the week in Kansas and other midwest states. If you or any of your loved ones live in these areas, we hope and pray you and yours are safe. And to remind us of just how close the storm system came, our local news reported that debris in the form of checks, mail, and books from Henryville in Indiana had been picked up by people here in Cincinnati. That’s so hard to believe, but when it comes to a tornado, the unbelievable can and does happen. 
Since last we wrote, we celebrated St. Valentines Day and our Celtic cousins in Wales observed St. David’s Day on March 1st. Whether you participated in one or both festive occasions, we hope you enjoyed yourselves. As for us, we did splurge and indulged in a steak dinner with a bit of the bubbly on the side - can’t do that very often, but lovely when we do even if it isn’t  T-bones & Dom Perignon! (And thanks to all of you who sent us a Valentine’s Day greeting - very sweet). BTW, Michelle W.-  if you are reading this, we tried to send you a thank you, but our email bounced back. So please accept our go raibh maith agat here.
Is this your first issue? If so, many thanks for signing up. And if you enjoy our musings and meanderings, please don’t hesitate to share them with your family & friends - and do  encourage them to join us; we are tantalizingly close to 5000 members and we’d love to celebrate our tenth anniversary of Irish Culture & Customs  this coming August by exceeding that number. And just may be, we can come up with a nice recognition for that 5000th member! We also plan on acknowledging our first member - think it might be you?
A huge thank you to all of you who sent in a contribution; we didn’t mention it last time, but Russ sorely needs to replace his computer. As you might imagine, it gets a lot of wear and tear! Every donation this year is going toward that new machine as well as the usual out of pocket expenses. So, please keep the funds flowing - as little as a dollar is all we ask. That said, for contributions of $5 or more, we do have rewards: 50 entries into every prize drawing we have this year (the next one is March 17th), and your choice of a shamrock bookmark or a lucky Irish blessing coin. We’ve also added Irish flag lapel pins and a St. Patrick coin to our little stash of rewards. Just let us know what you would like and please also include your snail mail address when you send your donation.
Contributions can be made via PayPal at this address:
Or by snail mail to:
Bridget & Russ Haggerty
5814 Blue Spruce 
Ohio 45224
Many thanks in advance for your kindness!
If for whatever reason you think you might not have received one of our newsletters, they  are all archived beginning with the newest one first. Here’s the link:
Enough of the blitherin’, on with the rest of the update: 
SPONSOR: Help support this newsletter and our web site by visiting our friends at The Celtic Attic:
There’s still time to order everything you need for your St. Patrick’s Day celebrations including hats, sunglasses, tee shirts and more! And, exclusively for Irish Culture and Customs readers, take 10% off your order and get FREE shipping on orders over $50!   The discount will be removed AFTER you place your order. 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:
From the Mailbag
Joke of The Week
Did You Know
Know Your Irish Books & Writers
Home page Update
Leave 'em Laughing
Pam writes:
My mother, who is Irish, told me that there is a tradition of giving a bride-to-be a "pound party".  The way she described it sounded like a gift at a bridal shower, where you give the bride a pound of flour, a pound of sugar, a pound of potatoes, etc to help her establish her kitchen. I Have tried unsuccessfully to find anything about it on line.  Have you ever heard of anything like that before?
ED. NOTE: We haven’t. Has any one else?
Veronica writes:
I'm helping some non Irish open an Irish pub in New Jersey. I'd love if the staff would wear a few Irish, Mead and Tipperary Tartan neck ties. I've seen a site but they are expensive to buy for the lot and equally so to expect the wait staff to purchase for themselves.  Have you any ideas where I can find any?
Frank writes:
I need help with language translation.  I live in Kansas City, Missouri, USA.  For the last 18 years I have sponsored & built a parade float for our annual St. Patrick's Day celebration.  This year is the 40th year for the event.  The parade committee has named this year "Forty Years of Failte" as a parade theme.  I know some phrases & words my grandmother used to speak, but alas, can not speak them correctly.   I would like to name our entry this year  "A hundred Thousand Thanks for Forty Years of Welcomes". What I have is cead mile buiochas 40 bliain failte.  I am sure this is not proper grammar or sentence structure.  Can you help me with the proper arrangement of words & pronouncement? 
Nora writes:
I'm a graduate student at the Josef Korbel School of International Studies currently taking a Cross Cultural Communications class.   The purpose of my survey is to see how the Irish identity and culture may have evolved over the last two generations, if it has at all
 ED. NOTE: If you would like to assist Nora with her survey, please send her a request for the two-page document. Here is her email address:
Glen writes:
Curious to see if you have heard of Exploring Ireland, they want to help us put together a self drive trip to Ireland in October 2012. Thanks!
St. Patrick’s Festival, Dublin
Everything you might want to know and more in the run up to the biggest and best festival in the world!
Irish Times Slide Shows
An amazing collection that covers just about every thing from the last wedding at Columb Barracks to Bertie Ahern announcing his plans to step down. It’s all here:
Irish Saints
Inspiring video that touches upon all of the major Irish saints. Powerful music from Michael Card:
Irish Page: Na Trí Leinteacha de'n Cheanabhán Móna - The Three Bog-Cotton Shirts 
This time around. Jack and Vivian Hennessy bring you Chapter six in the on-going saga.
Irish History Podcast - Tellin’ It Like It Was
A remarkable site with an incredible amount of information from the Rise of Brian Boru and the Dái Cas to Changing Times in Ireland and much, much more.
The CorrsBuachaill On Eirne (Translated!!)
In anticipation of watching Andrea Corr in The Boys and Girl from Co. Clare this evening (just arived from Netflix) we’ve been listening to the Corrs on YouTube whilst writing the newsletter. hope you enjoy  this one tune as much as we did - and there are many. many other great tunes to listen to after you hear this one!
Inspirational Speeches
We’re making an exception to our all Irish links because this one is too good to pass up. It’s a brilliantly produced sequence of inspirational lines edited from loads of films (can you name them all?). With many thanks to Russ’ sister who brought this one to our attention.
In memory of one of our favourite comedians Hal Roach who just passed away ,RIP. He was famous for groaners. Here’s just a sampling:
- Did you hear the one about the Kerryman who was disqualified from the Tug-o-war competition...
for pushing?
- O'Donnell raised his glass and said "My wife! She's an angel"  Murphy replied, "Ah you're lucky. Mine's still alive."
Two cannibals were eating a comedian. One turns to the other and asks, "Does this taste funny to you?"
-Miss Flanagan was of marrying age, but had no prospects.  So she put an ad in the paper that simply read "Husband Wanted".  Well, wouldn't you know two days later she has over 100 replies - and they all said the same thing: You Can Have Mine.
More here:
 SPONSOR: Please help us keep your newsletter coming - visit our good friends at the Irish Lottery:
In operation since 1988, it's one of the oldest online sites in the world. With subscribers in 89 countries it is also among the most reliable. Jackpots are never lower than US $1,500,000 and are frequently worth in excess of US $5,000,000 Here's the best part - you don't have to live in Ireland to play and all winnings are Tax Free! It’s always been a fantasy of ours that one of readers would scoop the big prize, but you can’t win it if you’re not in it. Play from the comfort of home here:
1. According to old custom, a piece of candle, a coin and a small quantity of wine or spirits should be placed next to someone who has died? The candle was to give the deceased light, the coin was to pay the fare over the river of death, and the liquor was to sustain him or her on their journey.
2. William Barclay "Bat" Masterson - gunfighter, buffalo hunter, frontier lawman, and newspaperman - was the son of Catherine McGurk who was from Northern Ireland?
3. Robert Louis Stevenson, the author of Treasure Island, took a supply of Guinness with him on his travels to Samoa?
To begin with, the answers to our previous quiz:
 1. The Life of Saint Brigid: Abbess of Kildare by Jane G. Meyer
2. St. Brigid’s Cloak by Reg Keating* 
3. St. Brigid of Ireland by Alice Curtayne
* Bryce Milligan also wrote a book with the same title
A round of pints and applause to the following Irish bibliophiles:
Rita Roche, Maryland
Bob Humphrey
Ruth Craig
Anna Rose Brocein, Texas
Tom McGuire
Deidre Mckiernan-Hetzler
ED. NOTE:  Deirdre is available to escort people on private tours of Ireland. Her father is the acclaimed Dr. Eoin McKiernan, RIP, who founded the Irish American Cultural Institute in 1962 and who also began personally escorting tour groups back to his homeland. For more details, please visit Deidre’s web site: 
And now for our next quiz - a feature we are continuing because you let us know you want it to: 
Who wrote:
1. Discovering St. Patrick
2. The St. Patrick's Day Shillelagh
3. Sacred Ireland
Hint: All titles are in either children’s  or  adult books on the web site:
Please send your entries to:
It would be very helpful to put Book Quiz in the subject line. Thanks!
First off, the answers to our previous mind mangler:  
There was a shipwreck at sea and Sean, Mike  and Pat  were washed ashore on a small island. Reaching the shore, exhausted, they all fell asleep. Sean  woke first and saw that a box of bananas had been washed ashore. He ate one third of the bananas and went back to sleep. Next, Mike woke up an seeing the box of bananas, ate one third of what was left and fell asleep. Pat woke up next and assumed that the other two hadn't eaten any bananas, so he ate one third of what remained. When Pat had finished, there were eight bananas left over. 
Q. How many bananas were in the box originally?
A. 27
As always, our Riddle People didn’t let us down and we were swamped with correct solutions, but first in was Hannah from Connecticut - well done Hannah!
Honorable mention goes to Bill Smith who had the correct answer and also caught our attention with the following comment:
"All I have to say is that they were gluttons. One banana would have set me right."
Now on to our next cranium cruncher:
You're in a mansion and the power's out. You see a green door and a red door. Pick one (it doesn't matter which.) Now you see a purple door and a orange door. Pick one (again, it doesn't matter which you pick). Now you see a door with a golden handle and a door with a silver handle. Pick one. You finally come to some signs on three doors. One says "Death from drowning," another says "Death from machine guns," and the last one says "Death from electric chair." Then you see a big sign off to the side that says "Or stay in the mansion and starve to death." What do you choose and still live?
Please send your answers to Bridget and put Riddle in the subject line. Thanks!
SPONSOR: Please help us keep your newsletter coming - visit our good friends at Lollysmith Whatever the occasion,  St. Patrick’s Day. Mother’s Day, birthdays, graduations, weddings or anniversaries, you’re sure to find what you are looking for at  Lollysmith!  Stop by soon and tell them Bridget & Russ said hello.
1. Headlines
We comb the Irish newspapers and web sites to find news to start your day with a positive spin. In this section you will also find links to stories from the past two weeks as well as links to the major Irish newspapers, the current time in Ireland and a link to the weather forecast.
2. Weekly County  News
All the news that probably won't make the national headlines. This is a weekly feature we make an effort to publish on Friday. To bring you this feature, we have been attempting to follow in the footsteps of Pauline Ferrie who recently retired from her position at the Irish Emigrant and was the source we relied on for local county news. It is extremely time-consuming and what we need is your feedback. Please send your opinions to Bridget and put Regional Round-Up in the subject line.
3. Shops
St. Patrick’s Day, Mother’s Day (in Ireland) Easter and other festive occasions are right around the corner. You can find the perfect gift at one or more of the Irish shops we feature on our shops page(s). We especially hope you will browse and buy from Blarney Woolen Mills as they aren’t happy with the sales from our site. We really hate to lose this iconic advertiser, so please, if you can, make a purchase from then soon. Go raibh maith agat!
4. Article: Corned Beef & Cabbage - The Feeding of a Myth
5. Article: A Visit to St. Patrick’s Well
6. Article: What if you were still single by Ash Wednesday
7. Constance Georgina Markievicz - Suffragette, Socialist, Soldier
8. Article: Emblems of Ireland - The Shamrock
9. The Lenten Season in Old Ireland
10. The Irish Kitchen - Recipes for the Lenten Season
11. Basic Irish: Lent & Easter
12. Kids’ Ireland: Fooling St. Patrick
13. Music Review: Maire Brennan by William Ramoutar

 14. March Trivia Contest
The new contest has been posted. All entries must be in by midnight on March 31st whatever time zone you’re in.
FEBRUARY WINNER: Congratulations to our winner was Ruth in Nova Scotia who would like the Celtic Warrior pendant generously provided by our friends at the Celtic Attic.
 15: Circle of Prayer
This cycle began on February 20 and continues through March 8.  Since last we wrote, we received devastating news about one of our most loyal and valued subscribers. Char Marshall has been diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumour and given just two months to live. We have talked to her by phone and while she is in good spirits, a miracle is desperately needed. Whatever your spiritual leanings, please keep Char and her family in your prayers or meditations. Please also remember Joe MckTiernan-Hetzler  who has been in hospital and is in poor health, the Dowds, the family and friends of the McTiernans and numerous others - especially the men and women serving in the armed forces all over the world. Please God, keep them safe and bring them back to their families soon.
So that’s the long and the short of it...
...until we write again - God willing on St. Patrick’s Day. If you’re celebrating a birthday, anniversary or other special event between now and then, we hope it’s an occasion filled with love, joy and laughter. And if you were married in March or plan on tying the knot this month, here is your special verse:
If you wed when March winds blow
Joy & Sorrow both you’ll know 
We’ll take our leave with this lovely blessing we found on a St. Patrick’s day greeting card sent to us by RC up north - thank you!
May these rich blessings be your due - 
A Wealth of friendships, old and new,
Some service rendered, some solace given,
And gentle peace with God  and Heaven.
And, as they say in Ireland, mind yourself. 
Slan agus beannachtái,
Bridget & Russ
Get down on your knees and thank God you’re still on your feet. 
Téigh ar do ghlúine is bí buíoch le Dia go bhfuil tú fós ar do chosa.
ED. NOTE: We put the Irish back in per a request by Mary in New York - but we’re not sure it’s grammatically correct. We know we have several Irish speakers out there,  so please check it and let us know if we need to make any changes. Go raibh maith agat!
Irish Abroad publishes a list of events  here: 
The Wild Geese also publishes events on its Facebook page:
If you would like us to promote an event, please send details to Bridget and include the word event in the subject line:
Los Angeles -  March 10 & 11
Celebrating the 10th anniversary of Irish Fair & Music Festival on two acres devoted to pure Irish fun! Rain or shine, the fair goes on! For more details, please click:
Cincinnati, OH - March 17th
Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day on Fountain Square, downtown! The celebration kicks-off at 10:00 a.m., and at noon the square becomes the prime viewing location for Cincinnati’s 46th Annual St. Patrick’s Day parade. Event is FREE and open to the public. For more details, please click:
New Haven, Kentucky - March 18
Kentucky Railroad Museum presents Shamrock Express. Music by Guilderoy Byrne and the Derby Boys; Irish dancing, hot hors d'oeuvres, cash bar and dessert train. For more information or to make a reservation, please call 1-800-272-0152 or visit the web site:
Glendale, California - March 17th
That’s when the Irish Center of Southern California will be holding their annual St Patrick’s Celebration at the Hilton Hotel, Glendale.  Music by “The Mulligans.” The floor show by the Cleary School of Irish Dance is always outstanding.  A Silent Auction takes place during the evening. Special Opportunity Drawing for trip for two to Ireland will take place at 10.45 pm. Donation $65.00 includes dinner, dance, tax and gratuity. Reservations: Mary Dempsey at 626 337 0075. Irish Center 818 238 0445 or visit their web site:
Hollywood, Florida - March 24
That’s when the Irish American Ceili Club will be holding their next ceili which will feature Tommy & Sharon and for another fabulous night of Irish music, singing and dancing. For more details, contact Patrick at
Or visit he IACC  web site:
Harriet Island, St. Paul, Minnesota - August 10-12
Join us on the banks of the Mississippi River for a three-day celebration of Irish heritage with music, dance, family activities and good craic. Since 2001, beautiful Harriet Island Regional Park in downtown St. Paul has hosted the Irish Fair. The festival is recognized as one of the most family-friendly events in the Twin Cities, one of the most authentic Irish festivals nationwide and an amazingly great time by the nearly 100,000 people who attended last year’s festival. For complete details, please click
Friends of Ireland of Southern California Monthly Breakfast. Events are held on the 1st Tuesday of the month. Please call in RSVP to one of the contacts below one day in advance so we can accommodate you.
Barbara Walsh (714) 739-4195 Kathy Wisdom (714) 572-8277
Tom Kennedy (562) 425-2636 Jim O'Dea (626) 965-0307
First Friday of the month Céilís and ongoing Tuesday night Céilí and Sean Nós dance classes. Our season runs from October through June and next season we may be moving the dances to Saturday rather than Friday nights. For more details, please click
A selection of jokes from a collection put together by the Belfast telegraph in memory of Frank Carson who along with Hal Roach also passed away this week, RIP. The collection features 85 jokes - one for every year of his life.
There were two Irishmen eating sandwiches in a pub and the landlord said: "You can't eat your own food in here." So they swapped sandwiches.
A man walks into Glasgow baker and asks: "Is that a doughnut or a meringue?" 
"No, you're right, it's a doughnut."
The council in Blackpool have given the homeless bus passes, but how would they know where to get off?
And finally, he wanted written on his tombstone: "It's quiet in here."
 If you would like to read them all,  please click