Welcome to the Irish Culture & Customs newsletter which is published every fortnight or so and sent out to more than 4700 readers all over the world. You are receiving this newsletter because you signed up for it - God Bless you! If you'd like to read past issues, they are archived at:
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Greetings & Blessings to all,

Well here it is, just hours before the biggest day in the Irish calendar. Are you ready? Just in case you haven't memorized the Irish for Happy St. Patrick's Day, here it is:
Lá Fhéile Pádraig Shona dhuit/dhaoibh (singula/plural)
Pronunciation: law ay-leh paw-drig hun-ah gwitch/yeeve

And let's not forget Mothering Sunday in Ireland and the UK - it's next Sunday, March 22. In the run-up to St. Pat's, it always seems to be get overlooked. So, if you'd like to say Happy Mother's Day in Irish to your dear oul Irish mam or mum, here you go:

Lá an Mháthair faoi shona dhuit
Pronunciation: law ay-leh on waw-hirr fwee hun-ah gwitch

Meanwhile, we hope this edition finds you and yours in fine fettle and fit as a fiddle. We'd also like to extend a special hello to our new readers; we hope you enjoy our musings and meanderings and please feel free to share them with your family and friends.

As for ourselves, the big news in this end was the demise of Bridget's hard drive last Tuesday. All the files are lost because they weren't backed up - so take heed all of you who think as Bridget does that "only Jesus saves!" The good news is that the newsletters for the past couple of years are archived by our newsletter host, so we'll be drawing upon past issues for material until we rebuild our files. In addition to editorial files, we lost emails and email addresses, so if we haven't replied to a message, that's the reason why. Please write again - especially those of you who sent in answers to our last riddle, the writer's quiz and the trivia contest. We're sorry we have to ask you to contact us again, but there's really no alternative.

"Come, fill the Cup, and in the Fire of Spring
The Winter Garment of Repentance fling:
The Bird of Time has but a little way
To fly---and Lo! the Bird is on the Wing."

That stanza from The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam translated by Edward FitzGerald always appeared somewhere on our Blarney Bash invitations. We used to throw huge parties when we lived in Toad Hall and the nearest Saturday to March 17th was the first of the year. Now that we're a bit long in the tooth to host a big gathering, (but not so decrepit we can't enjoy attending one), we gave away all of our annual shindigs and appropriately, Bridget's brother, Chris O'Flaherty now puts on the annual hooley in honour of our patron saint. And while most people are heading out this weekend for the celebrations, we have ours to look forward to next Saturday - the first day of spring. Perfect timing. In any event, if you're going to be out and about enjoying the parties and parades, we hope you have a grand - and safe - time of it.

The fund-raiser might be over - but not the fun of selecting fourteen lucky winners of books and CDs from all the kind people who sent us donations. We'll be pulling your names out of the hat on Monday evening and notifying you on St. Patrick's Day. You can still get in on the drawing by purchasing a lucky Irish blessing for just $5.00 between now and Monday noon via PayPal at:

We'd like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who made a contribution. As might be expected, given the current economy, we didn't do as well as in previous years. But, God willing, we'll manage.

Enough of the blitherin'...on with the update:
SPONSOR: Please help us keep our newsletter coming - visit our friends at the Celtic Attic:
Decorate your life with a Celtic twist! Show off your proud Irish heritage with a Claddagh Pendant or Shamrock Wall Hanging. Honor your Scots ancestors with a hand-crafted leather Sporran; Delve into the land of antiquity and fly the Welsh Dragon Windsock or Flag. Find these specific items and many, many more sought and bought throughout the Celtic lands as well as great gifts for all occasions (don't forget Mothering Sunday in the UK and Ireland. March 22). Order on line or by phone - and tell them Bridget & Russ said hello!
Order by phone: Tel: 360-765-0186
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From the mailbag
Quips, Quotes, Proverbs & Toasts
A Bit of the Wit
Joke of The Week
Did You Know
Know Your Writers
The week That 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:
Six Nations: Ireland wins again
Ireland will march on Cardiff with the Grand Slam in their sights after pounding Scotland into submission at Murrayfield. Ireland's supremacy no doubt sent a shudder through Wales as the rivals prepare to meet next Saturday. Go Ireland!

Buy Irish This St Patrick’s Day
The Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries & Food, Tony Killeen T.D. has urged Irish consumers to show their support for domestic food producers by buying their food locally this St Patrick’s Day. Quote: “Shoppers can avail of a wide range of quality Irish produce including the best of Irish vegetables and Irish meats, which are fully traceable from farm to fork. This is as it should be for a nation that prides itself on being the Food Island.”

Armagh: Parents and teachers combine to fight school closures
In light of the current review of Catholic schools in Crossmaglen, both parents and teachers have come together to organise a campaign to save Anamar Primary School from closure. The Schools for the Future document has set a minimum enrolment for primary schools in rural areas at one hundred and five, and Anamar, which takes its pupils from both lower and upper Creggan parishes, has just forty-one pupils. However school principal Anna Shields has said that the review has not taken into account new housing projects proposed for Crossmaglen.

Carlow: Councillor's move prompts council's action
Having brought up the subject of road signs at a dangerous crossing in the Knockroe/Rathanna area for the past eighteen months without success, Green Party Councillor Alan Price decided to take matters into his own hands. Using old posters he drew his own 'Yield' signs and placed them at the junction, and the move worked as the Council has now replaced his makeshift warning signs with an official 'Stop' sign. The Council is now gradually installing new signage at a number of junctions in rural parts of the county but Councillor Price felt they were not moving fast enough.

Clare: Trial re-enactment at Ennis Festival
The third annual Ennis Book Club Festival took place recentl y and one of the more unusual events on offer was a re-enactment of the trial of Oscar Wilde, staged by students from Trinity College Dublin at the Courthouse in Ennis. Members of the audience were drawn into the performance by being asked to act as jury, with each being provided with an evidence file of letters and articles which they were able to consult during the performance.

Cork: Sherkin sees first island conferring ceremony
Sherkin Island last week became the first offshore island of Ireland to host a conferring ceremony, when seven students of the BA in visual art received their parchments. The course was run in conjunction with Dublin Institute of Technology and the participants ranged in age from twenty to nearly eighty. They included Geoff Stephens from Sherkin, Sheelagh Broderick and Tess Leak from Baltimore, Dubliner Jill Hegarty, Ciarnad Ryan from Tipperary, John Desmond from Heir Island and Gill Good from Ballinadee. Their work will be exhibited in the West Cork Arts Centre in Skibbereen later this month.

Derry: New Irish map produced
The first modern map of Ireland to feature the Irish language placenames has been produced by a Derryman now living in Donegal. The "Léarsáil Bheag Mhór na hÉireann" was designed by Proinsias MacBhloscaidh in response to complaints from Irish speakers that no new maps in Irish were at present available. He felt that existing maps featured badly translated place names instead of the original Irish names and his design has generated great interest among Irish speakers. The maps are of a size to fit easily into a map pocket or a glove compartment in a car, and they are also laminated so spills will not spoil them.

Derry: Plaque honours a Rangers footballer
A plaque was unveiled in the village of Aghadowey last week by the Mayor of Coleraine, David Barbour, and Dawn Durning. Dawn is the granddaughter of Sam English who came from a small cottage in the village and went on to become one of the North's most famous footballers. The unveiling at the cottage, now owned by the Monahan family from Aghadowey, marked the centenary of English's birth. His family moved to Scotland in 1924 and although he set a goal-scoring record in his time with Rangers, his footballing career finished early after he was innocently involved in a clash with a Celtic goalkeeper, following which the goalkeeper died.

Donegal: Book to be launched on wartime rescue
Elizabeth Benson, who now lives in Co. Down, paid a return visit to Greencastle last weekend, where she grew up, for the publication of a book which tells of her exploits during the war. Jack Scoltock has written an account of the ditching of a B-17 bomber in the Foyle in September 1942. The US plane's plight was witnessed from Greencastle by the teenaged Elizabeth, who immediately rowed out to the wreckage and brought ashore the captain and four of the crew; the other four people on board made their own way to shore. Some years ago she met the captain, Curtis Melton, when he and his wife paid a visit to Inishowen.

Fermanagh: The Graan celebrates 100 years
The Passionist community at The Graan on the Derrygonnelly road near Enniskillen are celebrating the centenary of the church's foundation this year, with the main event a Novena of Hope which begins next Saturday. In addition to rector Father Brian D'Arcy and the order's provincial, Father Pat Duffy, speaking during the Novena, St Gabriel's Retreat will also welcome guest speakers. Kilkenny hurling manager Brian Cody, former Ombudsman Dame Nuala O'Loan, and Rev. Arthur Barrett, the new Rector of Rossorry Church of Ireland will all be speaking during the course of the Novena.

Galway: City's 'Magdalen women' commemorated
The unveiling in Galway of a limestone figure of a woman lifting a veil from her head, entitled "Final Journey" is commemorating all the women who worked in the laundries of the Convent of Mercy. The statue, by stonemason Mick Wilkins, stands outside the Anglo Irish Bank which was built on the site of the old laundry; the bank also supported the project. Mick Wilkins worked in conjunction with writer Patricia Burke Brogan, who spent a short time as a novice in the Galway laundry. Her award-winning play, "Eclipsed", tells the story of the Magdalen women.

Kerry: Road-cleaning issue comes up again in Killarney
It has been a recurring theme over the years, a dispute between the jarveys and Killarney Town Council over the 'deposits' left on the town's roads by the horses. From June of this year a new regulation from the National Parks and Wildlife Service means that horse-drawn carriages will be banned from Killarney National Park unless the animals are fitted with an appropriate 'dung-catcher'. While these have been approved by both an equine expert and a veterinary consultant, jarveys insist they are dangerous because of the undulating nature of the park.

Kildare: Jackson fans drawn to Newbridge
Fans of Michael Jackson thronged to the Style Icons museum at Newbridge Silverware last weekend for a glimpse of some of the singer's iconic memorabilia. Including in the display are the famous white glove encrusted with crystals, the fedoras, and a full-length ermine-trimmed red velvet cape. Jackson himself has been invited to Newbridge to view the collection by Martin Nolan, whose company is due to auction the contents of Jackson's ranch, Neverland at the end of next month.

Kildare: Kathleen credits St Anthony with driving test success
Kathleen Lynam, a great-grandmother from Abbeylands, Castledermot, is convinced that it was St Anthony who helped her pass her driving test on her third attempt. The seventy-nine-year-old was determined to keep trying, even if it took her till she was ninety. She was so shocked at having actually passed the test that she insisted on giving her tester a hug. Kathleen's first foray into driving, after her husband Lar died in 1986, took her down one of their fields in Bloomfield, Athy, where she crashed into a tree because she didn't know how to stop the car.

Kilkenny: Kilkenny singers to lead New York parade
The Unity Singers from Kilkenny will be in the first Irish marching group in this year's St Patrick's Day Parade in New York. They have been invited to the city to sing in Carnegie Hall in a concert entitled "A Great Night for the Irish". They will also perform at the Kilkenny Men's Association, chaired by Dick Dunne from Kells, and the Kilkenny Hurling Club in Yonkers, led by Joe O'Shea from Castlecomer. At the latter event the guest of honour will be Yonkers' police commissioner, Edmund Hartnett, whose mother came from Graiguenamanagh.

Kilkenny: Enthusiasts take on clean-up of greyhound track
St James' Park on the Freshford Road in Kilkenny has been a hive of industry recently with greyhound racing enthusiasts turning up to carry out much-needed work. The track closed in January when it experienced financial difficulties and there were fears it would not reopen. However greyhound trainer Paul Hennessy decided otherwise and gathered a group together who encouraged volunteers to lend their expertise. Bookies, owners, trainers and patrons all gave a hand in widening the existing track, installing a second finish line and giving everywhere a fresh coat of paint. Now it is hoped the first meeting will take place on the first Sunday in April.

Laois: Each Rose will have a Rosebud
Small girls in the county who have ambitions one day to enter the Rose of Tralee contest will be able to experience some of the excitement this year, thanks to an initiative of the Tourism Section of the county council. The regional finals of the competition will be taking place in Portlaoise at the end of May and the council is organising an art competition for first class pupils in the county's schools. Each winner will be designated a "Rosebud" during the Bank Holiday festival, to be twinned with a County Rose and to accompany her during the Grand Parade. They will also attend the Civic Reception in County Hall.

Leitrim: Players celebrate 20 years
The Lough Gill Players are celebrating twenty years of staging shows and are in rehearsal for a series to mark the occasion. The first will play in the Newtownmanor Hall at the end of April, a fitting venue since it was there that they held many of their rehearsals over the years. A second performance will take place in the Abbey Manor Hotel in Dromohair with a final showing in Killargue Community Centre. Established by the then parish priest of Dromohair Father Patsy Young, the Players are also producing a history of the group as a souvenir of the anniversary.

Limerick: Limerick site submitted for UNESCO listing
The County Council has applied to the Department of the Environment to have one of the county's most famous sites included in a list of potential world heritage sites. Lough Gur, twenty kilometres south of the city in Ballyhoura, features standing stones, burial chambers and Neolithic house sites and dates back more than four and a half thousand years. It now has a public recreation and parking area in addition to the visitor centre opened almost twenty years ago. A public information evening took place during the week at the Honey Fitz Theatre in Lough Gur.

Longford: Mercy Order hands over Our Lady's Manor
The keys of Our Lady's Manor in Edgeworthstown, which the Sisters of Mercy have run as a nursing home for more than fifty years, have been handed over to the new owners, John Noel and Sarah Ann McGivney; the McGivneys will continue to run the Manor as a nursing home. The Order took over the house seventy years ago when it was granted to them by Bishop McNamee following its donation to the bishop by Bernard Noonan. In the intervening years it functioned both as a school and as a military training facility. Bishop of Ardagh and Clonmacnois Colm O'Reilly celebrated Mass to mark the ending of the Sisters of Mercy's association with the house.

Louth: A last note played for Dundalk
Another integral part of Dundalk has disappeared with the closure after fifty-one years of John Cumiskey and Sons, the music shop on Clanbrassil Street. Michael Cumiskey, the son of one of the original owners, has blamed car park charges, increased competition and the recession for his decision, although he says it has been a possibility for the past three years. The business, which originally sold groceries, was started by Bernard, Eamonn and Frank Cumiskey and gradually branched out into motorcycles, floor coverings and bicycles. Latterly it has specialised in musical instruments and nursery products.

Mayo: Plea to save or replace Ballinrobe footbridge
The footbridge along the Bowers Walk in Ballinrobe, which is the only link between Main Street and the river, was deemed structurally unsafe six months ago and was closed by the council. Unfortunately the same council says it is unable to provide the €400,000 necessary for a replacement bridge. Councillor Patsy O'Brien has spoken to local people who feel that the bridge should be reinstated before the influx of visitors during the summer season. He would like to see a review of the decision to close it but Director of Services Patsy Bourke said it was so unsafe that access had to be removed.

Meath: George is hoping for job of a lifetime
George Karellis from Bettystown was one of thirty-four thousand who applied for what has been described as "the best job in the world", that of caretaker to the islands of the Great Barrier Reef. And the thirty-one-year-old is now ranked in the top five of the shortlist for the job. From the initial applications fifty were selected and this number will be reduced to ten, with one wildcard, by Tourism Queensland. The wildcard will be chosen by votes to the website islandreefjob.com and the winner will be announced on May 6. If successful George will work for six months, beginning in July.

Wicklow: Not flying, but racing
The Race Night being held at the end of the month in aid of the Shillelagh Pony Club will feature more than the usual equine contestants. While there will indeed be traditional horse races shown on screen at Murphy's in Tinahely, there will also be two races featuring pigs. The Pony club, now in its forty-fourth year, has a total of one hundred and twenty-one members who have been very successful in a range of events over the past year. Their fundraising evening will also include a disco and karaoke session.

USA: Flights Between Shannon And Chicago to be Reinstated
he Mayor of Clare is in the U.S. to consolidate a major online promotion of Co. Clare as well as capitalise on Aer Lingus’ scheduled reinstatement of direct flights between Chicago O’Hare and Shannon International Airport.
SPONSOR: Please help us keep your newsletter coming - visit our good friends at Lollysmith:
Genuine irish Dirt for sale! Yes - it's true! They are now stocking packets of the 0uld sod which you can buy separately or as a gorgeous gift package which includes a Belleek porcelain bowl, shamrock seeds and the Irish dirt to grow it in. And, just arrived - a brand new batch of authentic blackthorn walking sticks! They're all different and what makes the Lollysmith site even more enjoyable is the name and description they give each stick!

Please send us your queries and comments - we love reading them! And, if you have a question we can't answer, we'll publish it here.

Meanwhile, Bridget received a phone call from a reporter at the the Toledo Blade who wanted to verify when the first Patrick's Day parade took place. This has always been a bit confusing since both Boston and NYC claim the distinction. However, in our humble opinion, its all a question of semantics. Boston is said to have held the first PUBLIC celebration of St. Patrick's Day, organized by the Charitable Irish Society in 1737. The first official record of a parade took place in 1762 when Irish soldiers serving in the British Military marched through NYC.

We also heard from Irish American Theatre Company:
Located in Cincinnati, OH, they are currently casting for on stage roles and behind the scenes assistance. If you would like to volunteer or get on the mailing list for up and coming programs, please call Artistic Director Maureen Kennedy at 513-225-6915 or write IrishAmericanTheaterCo@Fuse.net


St. Patrick's Festival, Dublin, Ireland
Although times and purse strings are getting tighter no one knows how to have a great time for free better than the Irish and this year’s Festival programme promises to make FREE FUN the order of the day:

St. Patrick's Day on RTÉ
Watch the parade live from Dublin, view highlights of prarades from all over the world, more!

St. Patrick's Day on the History Channel's web site
You could spend hours exploring what's on offer! Featured are videos, history, a quiz, destinations and much more. http://www.history.com/minisite.do?content_type=mini_home&mini_id=1082

St. Patrick's Day Festival of Irish Recipes
We found this link last year and were delighted to find it's still there! The link takes you to the landing page for European Cuisine's second annual Saint Patrick's Day Festival of Recipes. Each day, from March 1st until March 17th, they feature a new traditional Irish recipe:

Dyeing the river green in Chicago
What began as an environmental test has become an annual tradition. This video shows how it's done:

If only every day could be St. Patrick's Day!
We don't know when Guinness produced this very funny ad, No matter, it's timeless.

St. Patrick's Day Crafts, Activities & Recipes
Leprechauns, legends, and green galore -- get your little lads and lasses into the Celtic spirit with the following Irish-inspired activities and recipes for the perfect St. Patrick's party!

From Vivian & Jack of the irish Page
Mora na maidine dhaoibh agus chuid eile an lae dhaoibh féin - top of the morning to you all and the rest of the day to yourselves. This is an encore article of a joke which has been completely reworked and redone. Enjoy the day, the parade, and the joke.

Taree to Shamrock
Lee & Jack Patterson from New South Wales present 30 minutes of the best of music produced and recorded in Taree. Their next show is March 20th. To tune in, (and see a great picture of your hosts!) please click

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:
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 our fantasy that one of our readers will scoop the jackpot; but, as they say in Ireland, you can't win it if you're not in it. To play on line, please click

In honour of Mothering Sunday on March 22:

God made a wonderful mother,
A mother who never grows old;
He made her smile of the sunshine,
And He moulded her heart of pure gold;
In her eyes He placed bright shining stars,
In her cheeks the fair roses you see;
God made a wonderful mother,
And He gave that dear mother to me.

Pat O'Reilly

St. Patrick's Birthday
On the eighth day of March it was, some people say,
That Saint Patrick at midnight first saw the day.
While others declare 'twas the ninth he was born,
And 'twas all a mistake between midnight and morn;
For mistakes will occur in a hurry and shock,
and some blam'd the babby-and some blam'd the clock-
Till with all their cross questions sure no one could know
If the child was too fast-or the clock was too slow.
Now the first faction fight in old Ireland, they say,
Was all on account of Saint Patrick's birthday.
Some fought for the eighth-for the ninth more would die,
And who wouldn't see right, sure they blacken'd his eye!
At last both the factions so positive grew,
That each kept a birthday, so Pat then had two.
Till Father Mulcahy, who confessed them their sins,
Said, "Ye can't have two birthdays, unless ye be twins."
Says he, "Don't be fightin' for eight or for nine,
Don't be always dividin'-but sometimes combine;
Combine eight with nine, and seventeen is the mark,
So let that be his birthday." "Amen," says the clerk.
"If he wasn't a twins, sure our hist'ry will show
That, at least, he is worth any two saints that we know!"
Then they all drowned the shamrock-which completed their bliss,
And we keep up the practice from that day to this.
(Edited and adapted from Dick's Irish Dialect Recitations, Wm. B. Dick, Editor, New York, Dick & Fitzgerald, Publisher, 1879)

This one is making the rounds again - and it's well worth repeating:
Father O'Malley arose one fine spring morning, walked to the window of his bedroom to take in the beauty of the day and noticed there was a jackass lying dead in the middle of his front lawn. He promptly called the gardai. The conversation went like this: Dia Dhuit, this is Sgt. O' Flaherty and how might we be of help to you?" Good day to yourself, Sergeant. This is Father O'Malley at St. Brigid's. There's a jackass lying dead on our front lawn. Would you be a good man now and send a couple of the lads to to take care of the matter?" Sgt. Flaherty considered himself to be quite a wit and the rest of the conversation proceeded: "Well now, Father, it was always my impression that you took care of the last rites!" There was dead silence on the line for a moment and then Father O'Malley replied: "Indeed, indeed, Sergeant O'Flaherty, but we're also obliged to notify the next of kin!"

1. Monserrat is the only place outside of Ireland where St. Patrick's Day is a national holiday?
2. St. Patrick is the patron saint of Nigeria?
3. Montreal has the longest running parade in Canada? It has been held continually since 1824?


As mentioned in our introduction, we are repeating the last quiz since we have lost all the entries that came in. If you would like to see your name and favorite web site in our next newsletter, tell us who wrote:

1. Wild Plants of the Burren & Aran Islands
2. Ireland's High Places
3. Ireland's Ocean a Natural History

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!

We're in the same boat with the riddle as we are with Know Your Writers. here's your chance to be first in with the answer to our last cranium cruncher:

As a whole, I am both safe and secure.
Behead me, and I become a place of eating.
Behead me again, and I am the partner of ready.
Restore me, and I become the domain of beasts.
What am I?

Please send your answers to:
It would be helpful if you put riddle answer in the subject line.
SHOPPING SECTION: Mothering Sunday is March 22. Find an appropriately unique gift from some 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

1. President's St. Patrick's Day Greetings, 2009
2. Article - Celebrating St. Patrick's Day in Old Ireland
3. Article - A Visit to St. patrick's Well
4. Article: Corned Beef & Cabbage - The Feeding of a Myth
5. Article - Celebrating St. Patrick's Day with a Real Irish Feast
6. Article - Emblems of Ireland: The Shamrock
7. Article - Aemagh: The Garden of Ireland
8. Basic Irish - St. Patrick's Day
9. Kids' Ireland - St. Patrick: From Slave to Saint
10. Music Review - The Best of The Chieftains
11. March Trivia Contest. The new contest is posted. All entries must be in by midnight, March 31, whichever time zone you're in.
February's Winner: Please contact us again.
12. Circle of Prayer: The fifth Novena in this cycle began on March 11. All over the globe, people are feeling the effects of the economic downturn. Thus, our specific request this time around is that we keep in our prayers and meditations all those who are suffering as a direct result. We also ask that guidance be given to our world leaders in their efforts to bring about a speedy end to the crisis. In addition, please keep the following in your prayers and meditations: Bill Smith's friend Karl; Irish Mary; Hartson; Mickey; the Mulvihills; the Dowd's missionary friends in India; Christy Banik, Joe Colum, Patricia's daughter Heather, the family and friends of the McTiernans, the prayer circle of Sassycat, Pauline Dewberry, our daughter Catherine, Cyndi, Laureena Blankenship, Sierra Mitchell, Michelle Lester, Katie Lacinak and so many others including all military personnel serving their countries all over the world. Dear Heavenly Father, please keep them safe and bring them home soon.

So there you have it until we write again at the end of the month. 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.

Meanwhile, we'll take our leave with this lovely old Irish blessing:

Good St. Patrick traveled far to teach God's Holy Word.
And when he came to Erin's sod, a wondrous thing occurred.
He plucked a shamrock from the earth and held it in his
hand to symbolize the Trinity that all might understand.
The first leaf for the Father, the second for the Son,
the third for the Spirit, three of them in one.
May the Good Lord always hold you in the palm of His
hand, and may the blessings He sends you be more
plentiful than all the shamrocks in Ireland.

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

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

Zürich, Switzerland - March 20 - 22
15 Years Setdancing in Zürich with Séamus O Méaloid (advanced) and
Tony Ryan (beginners) and the Fodhla Céiliband from Dublin. On Friday night we will celebrate with music, dance, food, drink and fun. It is worth coming to Zürich for this big Event. The flights are cheap if you book early and I will help with accommodation. Our dancers from Zürich
or around Zürich will offer free beds but I can also offer advice on Hotels. Interested? I can send you more information. Elizabeth Zollinger:

Dublin Ireland - March 29 & April 5
DANCE THEATRE OF IRELAND present High School Musical Workshops with the cast of
Disney’s High School Musical 6-7 pm. at Dance Theatre of Ireland Centre for Dance, Bloomfields, Lower Georges St.
Dun Laoghaire
Experience all the moves from High School Musical with one of the cast!
For more details, please visit:

Zürich, Switzerland - April 4-5
Sean nós Workshop with Treasa Ní Mhiolláin of Inishmore, Aran Isl. In this workshop you can learn some of the old gaelic and some songs In English in the traditional way from the very fine sean-nós singer Treasa who is specially coming to Zürich for this workshop. For more details, please contact Elizabeth Zollinger:

Hollywood, Florida - March 29th
The Irish-America CeiliClub will be holding its next Ceili on March 29th. For details and directions, please click

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 on-going 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

Inishmore, Aran Isles - 2009
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 renting, also in the summer. Available weeks in March, May and from end of July 09 on. Rent: 280-430 Euro/week. More Information on my website: www.irish-culture.ch/
Or ph.: 0041 (0)44 2520918
Or email:

This witty ditty is at the end of our article on the website - Corned beef & Cabbage, the Feeding of a Myth. Here it is for those of you who don't have access to the internet or might like to forward it on to friends & family.

I just want to put something straight
About what should be on your plate,
If it's corned beef you're makin'
You're sadly mistaken,
That isn't what Irishmen ate.

If you ever go over the pond
You'll find it's of bacon they're fond,
All crispy and fried,
With some cabbage beside,
And a big scoop of praties beyond.

Your average Pat was a peasant
Who could not afford beef or pheasant.
On the end of his fork
Was a bit of salt pork,
As a change from potatoes 'twas pleasant.

This custom the Yanks have invented,
Is an error they've never repented,
But bacon's the stuff
That all Irishmen scoff,
With fried cabbage it is supplemented.

So please get it right this St. Paddy's.
Don't feed this old beef to your daddies.
It may be much flasher,
But a simple old rasher,
Is what you should eat with your tatties.

©Frances Shilliday 2004
With many thanks to Frances whose internet page can be found here: http://notcornedbeef.tripod.com/