Welcome to the Irish Culture & Customs newsletter which is published every fortnight or so and sent out to going on 5000 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:
If, for any reason, you wish to unsubscribe, instructions are at the very end - but we do hope you'll stay with us. And if you need to update your info' or change your email address, you can do that at the end, too.
ED. NOTE: To ensure that future mailings you receive from us aren't mistakenly blocked by antispam software, please add us to your list of allowed senders and contacts.

Greetings & Blessings to all,

We hope this edition finds you in fine fettle and fit as a fiddle. If this is your first issue,many thanks for joining us and please feel free to share our musings and meanderings with your family and friends.

Last time we wrote, we were getting ready to leave for a long-delayed visit to family in Washington DC. We were supposed to go in May for our nephew Ian’s graduation from college; we hated to miss it but health issues forced us to cancel. Waiting a few weeks was what was needed plus the delay enabled us to enjoy a great time visiting with family & friends, as well as seeing some new places we hadn’t gone before. One of them is the aquarium in Baltimore. Thanks to Russ’ sister who has connections, we were able to take advantage of free passes. It was such a great experience, we’d willingly pay the entrance fee next time!

If you’ve never seen the inner harbour area of Baltimore, it’s well worth the visit, but we discovered parking is expensive as is the price of a decent lunch. That said, we found a great Irish pub called Tir Na ‘Nog which served the usual Irish pub fare as well as an intriguing dish called a Wicklow Toastie. While it’s on the appetizer side of the menu, it sounded filling enough for a light lunch -- and nothing like a toastie you’d get in Ireland! That was enough to pique Bridget’s curiosity. She was delighted to indulge in a very tasty dish which featured toasted black olive-flavoured bread piled high with wild mushrooms topped with creamy goat cheese and all swimming in a dark rich mushroom sauce. Bridget is bound and determined to duplicate it at home. If she succeeds, she would be more than happy to share the recipe.

Onwards. Everything went well with our journey to DC as as did our time there. What didn’t go according to plan was the trip home. About an hour into our return drive, the car died. Russ managed to coast off the highway onto an exit which miraculously was right there when he lost power. We found ourselves on an unfamiliar country road about 77 miles from Washington in the Hagerstown area. Russ crossed the street to a business establishment which turned out to be a Mennonite company that sold equipment to dairy farmers. James, and the local outfit sounded very dubious in terms of knowing what to do. James then suggested a place he knew; he made the call and within minutes two guys from Emergency Vehicle Specialists had come to our aid. They couldn’t get the car started and suspected it was the fuel pump. You’d have to have been with us to appreciate just how impressive these mechanics were! They towed the car back to their multi -acre international repair plant - yes - multi-acre! - and drove us to the local subway for lunch. All this time, we’re worried sick about the cost, but we also felt that divine providence had put us in the right place if something mechanical were to go wrong with a car! It gets better. While we were at lunch, James, the man from the Mennonite company, stopped by and drove us back to the repair complex and an hour or so later, the car had a brand new fuel pump. It was time to pay the tab - the moment we had been dreading; we felt sure it would be four figures. But God was once again on our side and the bill was much less than we anticipated - about the price of two windows we’d like to replace, but they will have to wait until we refill the sugar bowl. The bottom line is that we were back on the road with a delay of just a few hours and we had been granted the privilege of meeting what can only be described as a host of angels! Our mechanics don’t usually work on cars, but if you’re in the market for getting repairs done to any kind of vehicle, especially fire trucks, ambulances or even big rigs, check out these good people here:

We arrived home safely and while we hesitate to mention it as it would seem like we live under a perpetual unlucky black cloud, Bridget’s computer died when she was checking emails. Fearing the worst, we took it to our Apple repair people, and hallelujah, the diagnosis was a power supply problem. So, instead of another four-figure bite out of an already close to empty wallet, we were able to take care of that expense as well. Not that we’re happy about it mind you, but things could have been so much worse all round that we thank God for our blessings and not our crosses. Ensuring that we continue to keep that attitude of gratitude, when we opened our mail, we were delighted to discover a generous donation from the McPartlands, as well as Peggy’s new CD - go raibh maith agat! We’ll be doing an article about this incredibly talented couple in the near future, but in the meantime, if you’d like to learn more about their music, you can visit Joe McPartland’s site here:
As a very small token of appreciation, we sent them each an Irish blessing coin which we hope and pray will bring them the luck of the Irish!
Enough of the blitherin’ - on with the update ...
SPONSOR: Please help us keep your newsletter coming - visit our good friends at the Irish Lottery:

We are pleased to announce that the Irish Lottery has just signed up for another series of ads and we do hope you will consider trying your luck with one of the most reliable and safest lottery sites on the net.

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: - and the best of Irish luck to you!

From the mailbag
Quips, Quotes, Proverbs & Toasts
A Bit of the Wit
Joke of The Week
Did You Know
Know Your Writers
The week That Is
Leave 'em Laughing
What follows are news clips from around the counties and elsewhere. Links for more news stories can be found on our web site where we post the latest headlines from Ireland every morning and we keep two week's of previous news: http://www.irishcultureandcustoms.com/01News/Home.html
And more county news can be found here

Antrim: Descendants visit site of airman's death
The great-niece and great-great-nephew of Lawrence Dundon were in Belfast recently to visit the spot where his B17 plane crashed onto Cave Hill in 1944. Lawrence was one of ten US Air Force members who were killed in the crash and a wedding ring he was carrying inspired the recent film "Closing the Ring". Hollie Cummings and her son Charlie, aged eight, were taken to the scene of the crash by Carnmoney historian Alfie Montgomery, who found the ring sixteen years ago. They visited the memorial stone erected in their relative's honour and were also given some part of the aircraft as mementos.

Antrim: RSPB buys island site as bird habitat
The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds has bought a fifty-two hectare site on Rathlin Island to encourage birds such as lapwing, choughs and corncrakes, all threatened species. The site is part of a larger one hundred and twenty hectare site which includes a walking trail which was opened last week. This is on the southeast of the island and there is also an area on the west which is home to seabirds such as razorbills, puffins and guillemots. Choughs began breeding on the island last year after an absence of nineteen years and it is hoped the new habitat will encourage the return of the corncrake.

Clare: Author objects to item in Bunratty shop
Author Eddie Stack, based in Ennystymon, recently visited the Bunratty Folk Park in the company of a professor from Stanford University in the US, and was horrified at one of the items on sale at the park. The offending item is labelled "Leprechaun poo", sells at €2.95 and is "guaranteed 100% organic". Mr Stack objected to the item itself, saying it damages the park's image, and further objected to its juxtaposition to the works of W.B. Yeats. He takes all his American visitors to the folk park as he believes it to be "the jewel in the crown" of Clare heritage.

Clare: Slieve Callan to run once again
After more than ten years of restoration work, the Slieve Callan engine which formerly ran on the west Clare railway will once again be pulling passengers. The train, which has been out of service since 1952, stood on a plinth at Ennis railway station until thirteen years ago when it was rescued by west Clare businessman Jackie Whelan, who brought it to Moyasta station. Jackie has spent up to €1m on restoring the one hundred and seventeen year old engine, and from August it will once again be a presence on the railway line made famous by Percy French.

Cork: Cork couple take wife-carrying title
A couple from Cork city took the title at the World Wife-Carrying Championships in Finland as well as winning the title of Most Entertaining Couple. However James Fitzpatrick from Blackrock and Ciara Crossan from Kerry Pike are merely friends, and only started practising the day before the competition, which involved an obstacle course including water. Ciara also took part as the 'baton' in the relay race, with Kerrymen James Vincent O'Sullivan and Gerard O'Shea, and took the bronze medal. The couple intend to return to Finland next year to defend their title.

Cork: Ford plant to become protected structure
The Fordson Factory in the Marina area of Cork city, the first Ford plant to be built outside America, is to be added to the list of protected structures. The factory was designed and built by Henry Ford and opened for the manufacture of tractors in 1921.

Dublin: Spice burger's demise greatly exaggerated
Just two weeks after Walsh Family Foods closed with the loss of fifty jobs, the company has begun making spice burgers again, with just twenty staff to begin with working two days a week. The spice burger was invented in the 1950s by Maurice Walsh in Glasnevin and became an integral part of the Dublin takeaway scene. The announcement of its demise caused campaigns to be launched in newspapers and on the internet for the retention of the patented burger. It also led to orders being received from catering distributors and retailers.

Fermanagh: New band uniforms after fifty years
Ardess Accordion Band was formed fifty years ago and when they started out band members wore black trousers, white shirts and red ties. Over the years a red jumper was added to the ensemble but the band members had to supply their own outfits. Fifteen years ago, according to Band Mistress Viola Loane, they inherited uniforms from a band in Larne and it is only now that the band members have their very own, new, uniforms. This has been achieved through fundraising and through the generosity of the Lack Wind Farm, and they wore their uniforms for the first time last week.

Galway: Day in the Bog
On a recent Sunday young and old in Glinsk tried their hand at working with turf in The Day in the Bog. Both men and women tried their hand at the slane and by the end of the day a full bank of turf had been cut. The traditions of the day were completed by the boiling of a kettle on a turf fire and the consumption of tea, hard-boiled eggs and homemade bread.

Kildare: Reunion for turfcutters
Brendan Cummins from Carbury is this weekend organising a reunion for some of the men who were drafted into the county in the 1940s and 1050s to help harvest the bogs. Men were housed in a total of fourteen camps in the county, including Timahoe, Mucklon and Carbury and Brendan has managed to find ten of the men, most now in their eighties though one is in his seventies. The reunion is to be held in the local GAA centre and speakers will include Valentine Trott, who used to edit the Scéal na Mona newsletter, and Paddy Sheridan who was one of the original workers.

Laois: Stradbally to be steaming next weekend
The forty-fifth National Steam Rally will be taking place in Stradbally over the Bank Holiday weekend. The rally originated when five steam enthusiasts returning from a rally in England decided to stage a similar event in Ireland. Ben Farrelly, Harold Condell, Stan Mason, Ron Bramley and Colonel Kidd assembled five engines and a Fordson tractor and attracted some three thousand spectators. In addition to some unusual machines, the Rally will also offer sheep dog demonstrations, a train ride through the woodlands of the Cosby estate, and demonstrations of steam threshing, stone cutting and sawing timber.

Laois: Crettyard sees first ordination in 31 years
Father Eamon Purcell's recent ordination by Bishop of Limerick Donal Murray was the first in the diocese for four years and the first ordination of someone from Crettyard for thirty-one years; the last was the ordination of Father Jim O'Reilly. Father Eamon, the son of the late Tom and Elizabeth Purcell, had spent thirty-five years in the hospitality industry before deciding to become a priest. His ordination was attended by his brothers Gerard and Seamus, who were also among the congregation when he said Mass at St Abban's in Doonane earlier this month.

Leitrim: Memorial to John McGahern unveiled in Carrick-on-Shannon
Members of John McGahern's family attended a ceremony in Carrick-on-Shannon last week to witness the unveiling of a memorial to the author at Presentation Brothers College. The author spent five years, from 1938 to 1953, at the college and he always acknowledged the influence it had on his future life. The stone memorial, the erection of which was initiated by the local Historical Society, is located in the front garden of the former college site. It was unveiled by Father Liam Kelly, who paid tribute to McGahern's teachers including Brothers Placid and Damian, Frank Mannion and Brother Francis.

Limerick: Una is searching for her McCourt painting
Following the recent death of Frank McCourt artist Una Heaton has appealed for information about a painting commissioned by the author's local bar, South's. It is a ceramic work on canvas and depicts various aspects of Frank McCourt's life; it hung over the bar for a number of years. Now Una would like to include it in the Angela's Ashes Museum in her gallery in Frank's old school, Leamy's, but South's bar can find no trace of it. It hasn't been seen for some seven years since extensive renovation work was carried out on the bar.

Limerick: Foynes celebrates flying boat rescue
As part of the celebrations for the twentieth anniversary of the opening of the flying boat museum in Foynes, visitors also remembered the rescue of a flying boat that ditched into the Atlantic in 1947. Among those who attended the event was Richard Dolman, whose father was one of the sixty-three passengers and crew on the Bermuda Sky Queen. The aircraft ran out of fuel due to a leaking tank and had to ditch into the ocean, but all on board were picked up by a US coastguard ship. Although she could not attend due to health reasons, Charles Lindbergh's daughter Reeve sent a letter to museum curator Margaret O'Shaughnessy to mark the event.

Limerick: Mixed reception for 'miracle' tree stump
News that a tree stump in the grounds of a church in Rathkeale bears a likeness of the Virgin Mary has received a mixed reception. The stump in the grounds of St Mary's Church has been inundated with visitors who have left rosaries and other votive objects at the site. Local people have maintained a twenty-four-hour vigil and midnight recitals of the Rosary have been taking place. More than two thousand people have already signed a petition to prevent the removal of the stump, though parish priest Father Willie Russell has spoken on local radio, emphasising that it's just a tree and people should not be worshipping a tree.

Longford: Rainsford family papers donated to library
Josephine Rainsford Felton was in Longford last week to present to Longford County Library The Rainsford Collection, papers belonging to her late father Frederick Rainsford. The Rainsford family were the founders of the Guinness Brewery and leased the premises to Arthur Guinness. The collection includes a letter to an ancestor, Henry Brooke, from Methodism founder John Wesley, dating from the 1770s. It is to become part of an exhibition on the Brooke family in the library in October. At the presentation Ms Felton was presented with a bog oak sculpture entitled "Salmon of Knowledge" by Mayor of County Longford Peggy Nolan.

Louth: Drogheda man buys film mementos
Joe Lynch likes to collect military items and one that came up for auction recently proved irresistible. One of the lots in the London auction was the uniform worn by actor Aiden Quinn when he played the role of Harry Boland in the 1996 film "Michael Collins". The uniform had a special meaning for Joe since he also appeared in the film. Having signed on as an extra he was plucked from the crowd and appeared in a number of scenes standing next to Aiden Quinn and Liam Neeson. In addition to the uniform, Joe also purchased the boots worn by the actor in the film.

Mayo: Ballina bridge opens
To coincide with the opening of the Ballina Salmon Festival , a new pedestrian footbridge over the River Moy is now open. Designed to symbolise a fishing rod, the seventy-metre span bridge, which was built at a cost of €1.7m, links Barrett Street with the Ridgepool Road.

Meath: Senior citizens bring living history to schools
Members of the Third Age Foundation in Summerhill have been bringing living history to the schools in the area with a collection of artefacts once familiar but no longer in use. Chairwoman Mary Nally asked members to gather out of use items such as chamber pots, carbide cycle lamps, flat irons and phonographs, and a total of more than one hundred pieces was amassed. The collection, which included handmade tin cups and plates from the Travelling community, was put on display in classrooms and the pupils were encouraged to guess what each one was.

Meath: Priests are celebrating in Meath
In Yellow Furze parish Father Peter Farrelly recently celebrated the fiftieth anniversary of his ordination. Father Farrelly was ordained by Archbishop John Charles McQuaid in Maynooth and all six of the Meath priests ordained with him are celebrating their jubilees this year. He was born in Carnaross where he went to school before moving on to St Finian's in Mullingar. For the last twenty-two years he has ministered in Beauparc. Meanwhile the parishioners of Athboy, Rathmore and Rathcairn joined in the celebrations of the silver jubilee of Father Patrick O'Connor. He was presented with a Genesis clock on behalf of the parish by the director of music at St James Church, Olive Rice-Cole.

Monaghan: A double golfing feat for Thomas
Thomas Doherty, playing a practice round of golf at Nuremore Golf Club last week, achieved the unbelievable by scoring two holes in one within three holes. Thomas was playing with Dubliner Mal McLeod and scored his first perfect shot from the Par 3 fourth tee, the ball dropping into the hole after bouncing three times. There were no surprises on the fifth, but when Thomas followed Mal onto the sixth once again his shot was perfect and the ball rolled backwards into the hole. Thomas' reaction was that he was very glad Mal was with him or people would think he had made the story up.

Roscommon: Percy French honoured in Roscommon town
Recently, songwriter and artist Percy French was honoured in his home county with the inaugural Percy French Summer School taking place in Castlecoote House. Performances of the Elphin native's best-known songs were given at the library in the town, among the performers being French's grandnephew Courtney Kenny.

Sligo: Owners to open Lissadell for a limited period
The owners of Lissadell House have agreed to open the house to the public for a limited period,. Constance Cassidy and Edward Walsh caused the house to be closed for the past six months over a dispute with the local council with regard to an alleged right of way through the estate. The house, which opened in time for the 50th Yeats International Summer School, a will remain open until September 20.

Tipperary: Tribute to Paddy O'Brien
Recently, RTÉ paid tribute to accordion player Paddy O'Brien by playing rare recordings on the programme Céilí House. Included were the auditions Paddy did for Radió Éireann almost sixty years ago, and a recording made by Ciarán MacMathúna in Newtown some years later. The programme also featured Paddy's daughter Eileen who is about to launch a book about her father, "The Definitive Collection of the Music of Paddy O'Brien 1922-1991". Paddy played with a number of famous bands in his time, among them the Tulla Céilí Band and the Inis Cealtra. His music is remembered each year at the Aonach Paddy O'Brien Festival in Nenagh.

Waterford: Public sculpture causing dissension
The design for a piece of public sculpture at Grattan Quay in Waterford city, which was unveiled at a meeting of the City Council last week, did not meet with the universal approval of the councillors. The six-metre high stainless steel sculpture depicts a high stool at a bar with a shelf containing bottles of alcohol. It is claimed that the stool and bottles represent industries that were located in the Grattan Quay area in the past, but councillors felt the art work would give a wrong image of the city, promoting a culture of drinking.

Waterford: Young musicians release CD
Members of the traditional group Cuil Cheoil, from the Cul na Smear area of Dungarvan, have released a CD of their work. The eighteen-track CD was recorded live in The Town Hall Theatre and was officially launched by local man Benny McCarthy who is manager and box player with traditional group Danú. Speaking at the launch, chairman of the group Micheál Marrinan said that they had at present up to two hundred young people learning a variety of instruments and training to be singers and dancers. The group who made the CD, who are all members of Craobh na gCumarach CCE, appear each week of July and August at the Park Hotel.

Waterford: Surfers' Hall of Fame for great-grandfather
Last weekend Joe Roddy was inducted into the Surfers' Hall of Fame at the T-Bay Surf and Eco Centre in Tramore. The great-grandfather is credited with starting the sport of surfing in Ireland, having ventured a mile out from the Dundalk coastline sixty years ago using a board he had made himself. Now in his late seventies, Joe had not been on a board since he was young, but the one he used at Tramore was a replica of the tea chest and wood board on which he started exactly sixty years ago.

Westmeath: Restorer wants keys of railway sheds
The man who led the restoration of Kilmainham Museum in Dublin has asked that Iarnród Éireann hand over the keys to the disused railway sheds at Mullingar and Athlone. Damien Cassidy wants to gather together a group of volunteers to reopen the railway service between the two towns and is hoping to gain the support of Westmeath politicians. He has held a number of meetings in Mullingar which were very well attended. He proposes to restore the thirty miles of track and to install up to date signals which, he claims, makes both environmental and financial sense.

Westmeath: Two traditional musicians to be honoured
The county has honoured two of its best-known traditional musicians over the past week. On Sunday Labhras Ó Murchú, head of Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann, unveiled a memorial to accordion player Frank Gavigan at Rathconrath. The memorial was organised by the branch of Comhaltas which bears the musician's name. Later in the week a stone plaque commissioned by the Ballymore branch of Comhaltas was unveiled on the grave of fiddler Tommy Kearney, who died two years ago. The ceremony was followed by refreshments in Glynn's and a night of traditional music.

Wexford: Pipe band celebrates sixty years
St Colman's Pipe Band from Ballindaggin is celebrating its sixtieth birthday this weekend, beginning with an anniversary Mass of Thanksgiving in St Colman's Church; the band first appeared at the Seamus Rafter Commemoration in 1949. Among the thirty-strong members are five members of the Brookes family from Wheelagower and in recent years the band has taken part in the St Patrick's Day Parades in New York, Chicago, London and Birmingham. They are expecting to feature in the parade in Birmingham again next year. After Mass there will be a reception in The Holy Grail.

Wexford: First Irishman graduates from US Naval Academy
Andrew Cody from Kilmurry graduated from the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis. During the ceremony, President Barack Obama shook the hand of each of the graduates. In the audience to witness the historic moment were Andrew's parents, Heather and Peter Cody, and one of his five siblings, Jade. He has now been commissioned as an officer of the Marine Corps. However his long-term ambition is to become a marine pilot.

Wexford: Bannow/Rathangan Show is back
Last year the Bannow/Rathangan show had to be cancelled at the last minute due to the land being waterlogged, but this year it was back with a bang. Held as usual on the one hundred acre site owned by Francis White, the show featured top showjumpers Frances Connors and Cian O'Connor as well as numerous trade stands and home industry displays. The show has been running for the past sixty years.

Wicklow: Jail appears on Sci-Fi channel
Wicklow Jail has appeared on the US Sci-Fi channel after ghostbusters visited the building to record paranormal activity using infra-red cameras. A number of incidents have been reported at the jail, which functioned from the eighteenth century until 1924. According to senior guide Marie Comerford, several visitors have reported seeing a small boy standing in the classroom, and she herself is constantly aware of his presence. And four years ago a cell had to be closed completely due to the stench of rotting flesh emanating from it.
SPONSOR: Please help us keep your newsletter coming - visit our good friends at The Ireland Whiskey Trail
What do world class hotels, amazing golf courses, famous distilleries & museums, as well as the finest pubs, bars and shops all have in common? Ireland's only Whiskey Trail - your on-line guide to everything that is best about whiskey in Ireland: the history, the heritage, the brands, and where to enjoy the ultimate in Irish whiskey and Irish hospitality.
If you are planning a trip to Ireland, we invite you to begin your voyage of discovery with a visit to The Ireland Whiskey Trail web site which offers a memorable Whiskey Journey through Ireland even before you leave home. Sláinte is táinte!
J. Bilger writes:
We live in a small house on the eastern shore of VA. we have visited Ireland a couple of times , my grandparents both being from there and I would like to have a sign made with the words “Our Wee Cottage” written in Irish on it Can you provide the translation for us?

Another reader, John B,would like “Fallen Friend” translated into Irish. If any one out there can help with either of these requests, please write to us. Go raibh maith agat in advance!
We will also write to our Irish language contacts in Dublin.

Jayne writes:
I am writing a novel set in Ireland, and have a question about Irish culture that is pivotal to my book. Unfortunately, I cannot travel to Ireland at this time to research the answer, and I hope you will be able to help.

I need to know the process for a wake and a funeral in Northern Ireland. The main character in my book loses his father, grandmother and sister in an accident, he is the sole surviving member of the family (I know - sounds cruel to put my poor character through this, doesn't it?). Would he have to suffer through three separate funerals, or could they be combined? Would a funeral home be appropriate, or would the wake still be held at the home? (He lives in a small home, it would be kind of crowded.) If you can provide any information at all, or links through which I can continue to research, I would very much appreciate it.

Claire McNeilly brings to our attention a once in a lifetime moment which has already happened in the USA - but is yet to come for Ireland and many other places: Claire writes:
Next month there's a date that could be rather interesting for clock watchers or students of sequential history. For at 12.34 and 56 seconds on August 7, the time and date will be 12:34:56 7/08/09. Don't blink and miss it, because this ‘1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9' phenomenon happens only once a century. In the US, this special moment took place on Wednesday, July 8 because Americans put the month ahead of the day - thus, ‘1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9’ time has come and gone.

Watch the full 2009 Reek Sunday Mass on Croagh Patrick

Link to Irish Links
Just this one URL will put you in touch with literally hundreds of Irish-related sites, from the latest news to entertainment, movies and moreTake a look:

The Irish Page
This time around, Jack & Vivian offer us a traditional Irish song with lyrics that are actually unusual in their “I don’t care attitude.” Not being able to find a midi for the song, we get to listen to a tune we think is the one often used for the song Father Murphy.

Love the Irish language? Support the efforts of the Philo-Celtic Society
Thanks to another loyal subscriber, Michael, we learned about this old Irish language group begun in Brooklyn in 1872. The organization declined through the 20th century. But now they’re back, working for the renaissance of the Irish language throughout the world and its re-establishment as the living spoken language of Ireland with English as an accompaniment. If you would like to work with them, they invite you to contact them. Learn more here:

Link Correction
One of our most loyal readers, Bill Smith, brought to our attention that our link to St. Kevin in the last newsletter wasn’t correct. Here is the URL for the main page of this wonderful Irish Saint’s site which also offers lovely music to listen to while you explore:

Watch Rebel Heart
A short film on Irish rebel Sean Mc Diarmada who was one of the leaders of the Easter Rising in Ireland in 1916 and also one of the signatories to the Irish Proclamation for which he was subsequently executed along with the other main leaders of the rebellion The film was shot during the first Sean Mc Diarmada Summer School held in McDiarmada's native Kiltyclougher in Co Leitrim, Ireland in June 2009.

Hear Clips from Brendan O'Loughlin's Latest CD
Born in Limerick City, Brendan joined the Irish Showband circuit as a teenager and opened for such acts as Johnny Cash, Roy Orbison and Chubby Checker. Moved to the USA in 1986 to develop his career as an Irish entertainer covering Irish, Pop, Country and Folk music. His first album of original songs, Cry for Unity, was released in 1993. A second album, Resident Alien, soon followed. And after that, a third. His new CD “Between Two Shores is now available.

The Volvo Ocean Race Stopover in Galway is over...
but the memories linger on in the form of photos - thousands of them, taken during the event. Take a look:

ONWARDS is a blog about whatever comes into Eddie Stack’s head
It may be fiction in one posting, a book or gig review in the next…maybe social commentary, bits and pieces picked up on the ether net… stories from music sessions, tales from cattle marts or the back of airplanes. Eddie is an Irish writer and an American Small Press of the Year Award recipient. He received a Top 100 Irish American Award in response to his book of short fiction, The West: Stories from Ireland, which was published by Island House (US) and Bloomsbury (UK). The West received excellent reviews on both sides of the Atlantic.

Free Mammograms
Do you know of a woman who can't afford a mammogram? Here's how you can help. Go to the Breast Cancer site and click on their free mammogram link; if they get enough clicks , they'll be able to donate at least one free mammogram a day to underprivileged women. It takes just a minute and there's no cost involved:
ED. NOTE: Maria Eryaatz advises that free mammograms are also available in all states via the VNA (visiting nurses association).
Click on 'Find A VNA' for the your nearest location.

Free Pet Food!
Last but certainly not least - our ongoing gift to AG in California and all friends to animals, please click this link today and everyday. It only takes a second to feed an animal. Thanks!

Free People Food!
It only takes a second to feed hungry people, too:
"Give an Irishman lager for a month, and he's a dead man. An Irishman is lined with copper, and the beer corrodes it. But whiskey polishes the copper and is the saving of him."
(Mark Twain, Life on the Mississippi)
"What butter and whiskey won't cure, there is no cure for."
At the end of an exam paper , the professor wanted the students to sign a form stating that they had not received any outside assistance. Unsure of whether he should sign the form, one student stated that he had prayed for the assistance of God. The professor carefully studied the student’s answers and then said, "You can sign it with a clear conscience. God did not assist you."

ED. NOTE: This one is in honour of all those returning to their studies in the next few weeks. God willing, may you be blessed with an excellent school year.
1. In the late 19th century over 400 brands of Irish whiskey were being exported and sold in the United States?
2. Queen Elizabeth I was said to be fond of Irish whiskey and had casks shipped to London on a regular basis?
3. By the end of the 18th century there were over 2,000 whiskey stills in operation around the Emerald Isle?
Source: Tastings
SPONSOR: Please help us keep your newsletter coming - visit our good friends at Lollysmith:
As always, they’re constantly looking for, finding, and adding new gifts to their pages including the Feadog Irish Pro 'D' Tinwhistle, and a new range of food, including Flahavan's Irish Porridge as well as Gluten and Trans Fat Free Raspberry Golden Crunch Irish Cookies! And for those who haven't been or would just like to reminisce, the Over Ireland DVD takes you on a tour of the Emerald Island in a whole new way --from above! Get a unique look at The lush green landscapes, from rugged seaside cliffs to smooth pastureland across endless rolling hills, over medieval castles, ancient churches, sprawling countryside and bustling ports. A breathtaking experience without leaving your home!
Please visit the shop and have a look around at our other latest items. Enjoy the rest of the summer and until next time, thanks for stopping by and kindest regards.
It was with great sadness we learned of Frank McCourt’s passing. RIP. It wasn’t unexpected as he had been ill for quite some time, but still and all, he had a huge impact on many of our lives - even to the extent of being the first Irish author many people had read - including our youngest son, Benjamin. Bridget heard him laughing uncontrollably and couldn’t figure out where it was coming from. Finally, she found him sitting in his car reading Angela’s Ashes (He was in the driveway, supposedly on his way to work!). “I can’t help it, Mom, he said, “I can’t put it down.” There’s many a one who had the same reaction to that first Pulitzer prize winning memoir and if you haven’t read it, how we envy you the pleasure!
Rest in peace,Mr. McCourt - regale them in heaven with your stories and thank you for leaving us such a rich legacy by which to remember you.
Onwards. The answers to our previous quiz:

1. Sanctuary - by Bryan Merryman & translated by Frank O'Connor.
2. All Names Have Been Changed by Claire Kilroy
3. No Time For Work by George Ryan.

A round of pints and applause to the following Irish bibliophiles:
Helen Dowd
A favorite Irish site -The ONE, the ONLY - Irish site is:
ED. NOTE: Congratulations are in order as Helen made it to number one this past week! Helen is very humbled by the recognition and thanks all of you who voted for her. To keep her in the top spot, please visit her site and vote every day:

Hartson Dowd
Here is an excellent website for Irish Research

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

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

1. The Book of Evidence
2. Paddy Clarke, Ha Ha Ha
3. Tarry Flynn

Please send your answers to Bridget:
Don't forget to nominate a favorite Irish site and it would be helpful if you put "Know Your Writers" in the subject line of your email. Thanks!
SPONSOR: Please help us keep your newsletter coming - visit our good friends at the Celtic Attic
How to give your life and your home a unique Celtic twist? Take a look at more than 2500 items gathered from all corners of the Celtic Realm! And don't forget to enter their monthly give-away - they always have wonderful prizes! Enter here:
Order on line or by phone - and tell them Bridget & Russ said hello!
Order by phone: Tel: 360-765-0186
Order on line:

Last - but certainly not least: Celtic Attic is pleased to announce its New Tours to Ireland program. To have details forwarded to you, please click
First off, the answer to our last skull scrambler:
Q. How many of each type of animal did Moses take on the Ark?
A. None. It was Noah who built the ark!
This one certainly didn’t fool our Riddle People! We had a biblical deluge of correct solutions, but first in was Mary Ruggiero - aka Irish Royal - well done, Mary!
ED. NOTE: Honourable mention goes to Donna F who said that while Noah built the Ark, Moses was the backup navigator!

And now for our next hair-puller:
A word I know, six letters it contains. Subtract just one, and twelve is what remains. What is the word?

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

1. NEW! SEARCH FUNCTION: Russ has been working his tail off and with the assistance of Google, we can now offer you a search function on most pages. You can find the search box in the banner on the left-hand side. Simply key in whatever word or words you wish and if they’re on the site, Google will find them!

2. SHOPPING SECTION: Birthdays, weddings, anniversaries...whatever the occasion, find the perfect gift in our shopping section where you'll discover a selection of the best Irish and Celtic shops on the internet - or anywhere else::
ED. NOTE: Every purchase through our shop links, helps support our efforts. Many thanks in advance.

3. Article: Lughnasa - Celebrating the Harvest

4. Article: Uisce Beatha - The Water of Life!

5. Article: In tribute to George Bernard Shaw

6. Article: He Came To Mock - But Stayed to Pray

5. Article: Galway Races - Where the Pint is the Unit of Currency!

6. Article: The wild mushrooms of Ireland

7. Irish Kitchen: Beef & Mushroom Pie

8. Basic Irish : Travel

9. Kids’ Ireland - The Young King

10. Music Review: This time aound, our resident reviewer William Ramoutar recommends The Hammers from Canada!

11. June/July Trivia Contest. Time is running out! All entries must be in by July 31st whatever time zone you live in. http://www.irishcultureandcustoms.com/TriviaContest.html

12. Circle of Prayer: A new cycle of Novenas began on July 15th. The second Novena began on July 24 and continues through August 2. Since last we wrote, we heard that prayers had been answered for Joe McTiernan recovering from a successful heart procedure, Kathleen Bowen also recovering from successful surgery for the removal of a brain tumour, and little 7-year old James Leahy who is now responding to treatment in Ireland which means he may not have to go to the US (and his parents won’t have to sell Irish Shop in order to pay for it!) Whatever your spiritual leanings, we ask that you remember all of these dear people as well as so many others, including Jeff Minnick’s 3-month old son in the hospital with meningitis, Ronnie Kennedy and Joe Colum, Hartson Dowd, Burnett McManus’ friend who recently underwent surgery for lung cancer, Christy Banik, Joe Colum, Patricia's daughter Heather, the family and friends of the McTiernans, Pauline Dewberry, Laureena Blankenship, Sierra Mitchell, Katie Lacinak and so many others as well as all those who are suffering from the financial hardships of the economic downturn. And please don't overlook our military personnel serving their countries at home and abroad. Dear Heavenly Father, please keep them safe from all harm and bring those away from home back to their loved ones soon.

So that’s the very long of it until we write again. If you are celebrating a birthday, anniversary or other special occasion between now and then we hope it's an occasion filled with joy and happiness, and if you intend to tie the knot, here’s your special Irish verse:
Whoever wed in August be
Many a change is sure to see.

We also wish everyone celebrating the bank holiday this coming weekend a safe and happy time of it. And last, but certainly not least, Pinch Punch First Day of the Month, White Rabbit - and Happy Lughnasa!

We'll take our leave with this lovely blessing which seems appropriate in light of the tough economic times:
May the pitcher be filled with whiskey instead of water the next time you call to the house.

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!
Celtic Blessing - sung by the St. Coca's Choir, from Kilcock, Co. Kildare

Send an email to: bhaggerty@irishcultureandcustoms.com
OR click on this link:
Please check with the Wild Geese - they have a huge listing of events and we don't want to duplicate their efforts:
If we receive a unique event not mentioned there, we will be happy to list it here.

Dublin Ireland - Fringefest 2009
The 15th Dublin Fringe Festival invites submissions for its annually anticipated, culture jamming line-up of contemporary arts this September. As in previous years, the call for applications has been heard around the world, as the Fringe continues its search for new, exciting and challenging work through all arts communities. Closing Deadline for applications is: Friday 3 April. For more details, please click

Inishmore, Aran Isles - August
House to rent. Because of my “time out” I won’t spend so much time in my house this year. So there are more dates available for rentingfrom end of July 09 on. Rent: 280-430 Euro/week. More Information on my web site:
Or ph.: 0041 (0)44 2520918
Or email:

Los Alamitos, California -1st Tuesday of every month
Friends of Ireland of Southern California Monthly Breakfast. Events are held on the 1st Tuesday of the month. Please call in RSVP to one of the contacts below one day in advance so we can accommodate you.
Barbara Walsh (714) 739-4195 Kathy Wisdom (714) 572-8277
Tom Kennedy (562) 425-2636 Jim O'Dea (626) 965-0307

Portland, oregon - 1st Friday of the month
Ceili of the Valley Society - First Friday of the month Céilís and ongoing Tuesday night Céilí and Sean Nós dance classes. Our season runs from October through June and next season we may be moving the dances to Saturday rather than Friday nights. For more details, please click

This one came in from our good friend William Ramoutar who also happens to be our resident music reviewer. Be sure to read his new review - The Hammers from Canada.

GOD ENJOYS A GOOD LAUGH! Be sure to read it to the end!
There were 3 good arguments that Jesus was Black:
1. He called everyone brother.
2. He liked Gospel.
3. He didn't get a fair trial.

But then there were 3 equally good arguments that Jesus was Jewish:
1. He went into His Father's business.
2. He lived at home until he was 33.
3. He was sure his Mother was a virgin and his Mother was sure He was God.

But then there were 3 equally good arguments that Jesus was Italian:
1. He talked with His hands.
2. He had wine with His meals.
3. He used olive oil.

But then there were 3 equally good arguments that Jesus was a Californian:
1. He never cut His hair.
2. He walked around barefoot all the time.
3. He started a new religion.

But then there were 3 equally good arguments that Jesus was an American Indian:
1. He was at peace with nature.
2. He ate a lot of fish.
3. He talked about the Great Spirit.

But then there were 3 equally good arguments that Jesus was Irish:
1. He never got married.
2. He was always telling stories.
3. He loved green pastures.

But the most compelling evidence of all - 3 proofs that Jesus was a WOMAN:
1. He fed a crowd at a moment's notice when there was virtually no food.
2. He kept trying to get a message across to a bunch of men who just didn't get it.
3. And even when He was dead, He had to get up because there was still work to do.

Can I get an AMEN?!!!

You sure can, William!