Welcome to the Irish Culture & Customs newsletter which is published every week and sent out to nearly 3,000 readers all over the world. You are receiving this newsletter because you signed up for it - God Bless you!
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Gleefully ghoulish and ghostly greetings to all, God help us!
We hope this edition finds on the pig's back and fit as a fiddle. Are you ready for Spirit Night? On our street, the homes are more decorated than they are during the holidays! It's especially festive now that the leaves have finally turned. The colours aren't as brilliant as in previous years, but it's wonderful to witness, all the same. There's also a serious chill in the air and the furnace clicked on for the first time. We're told that according to some so-called experts, where we live, it's going to be a mild winter. But we're not making any wagers. Snow in the northeast already? That's early even by New England standards! In part, we have Wilma to thank for that; we also have Wilma to thank for tearing off the door to the shed we just put on down at Mom's house in Florida - and Barefoot Bay is nowhere near where the hurricane's full force was felt. We watched CNN all the while Wilma was making her way inland and kept hearing many references to Hollywood. We have quite a few subscribers down there, many of them members if the Caeli Club. We hope and pray you and all of our readers in the storm-struck region are okay and you haven't suffered too much damage. Fingers crossed this is the last of it, although officially, the hurricane season doesn't end until November 30th!
On a lighter topic, we welcomed quite a few new subscribers during the past week and we're a hair's breadth from 3,000. A special hello to all of our new readers - if this is your first issue, we hope you enjoy it and please feel free to pass it along to your family and friends.
With that, on with the update.
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IN THIS ISSUE:
From the mailbag
Links of the week
Quips, quotes, proverbs & toasts
Joke of The Week
Did You Know
The Week That Is & The Week that Will be, God Willing
Leave 'Em Laughing
Every county in Ireland now has at least one Gaelscoil, a school where students are taught exclusively through the Irish language. There are 157 primary level Gaelscoileanna with more than 30,000 students altogether attending Gaelscoileanna (including secondary schools)
Guinness Light 2
Diageo says it is developing a low-alcohol version of Guinness with significantly less alcohol, under 3% alcohol by volume compared to the existing 4.2%. However, it will still have the distinctive taste, color and creamy head of the original. Guinness launched a previous Guinness Light in 1979, but drinkers didn't like it and it quickly went off the market.
For the first time ever, a GPS unit was used to monitor the referee during the recent All-Ireland Football Final between Tyrone and Kerry. His every movement during the 70 minute game was tracked by six satellites almost 400 miles above Dublin's Croke Park. The results show that he covered over five miles, made 38 sprints, and hit a high speed of 14.7 MPH. The 38 sprints (speeds over 11 MPH), averaged 18 yards each. The results will be used to produce more effective training methods for referees.
FROM AROUND THE COUNTIES
Antrim: First new houses in a century
Up to seventy new houses and apartments are to be built in the docklands area. Once home to carters, dock labourers and shipworkers, Sailortown lost out during the 1960s when the M2 motorway was built.
Antrim Old Bushmills Distillery sold
The oldest licensed whiskey distillery in the world (since 1608), has been purchased by Diageo, the drinks industry giant headquartered in London. Diageo was formed in 1997 following the merger of Guinness and GrandMet, and also owns Baileys Irish Cream, Johnnie Walker, J&B, Smirnoff, etc.
Armagh: Chieftains to headline piping festival
The Chieftains will be performing at the opening concert of the twelfth Annual William Kennedy Piping Festival which takes place at the Armagh City Hotel next month. Their appearance is part of a major tour in memory of harpist Derek Bell, who died three years ago.
Cavan: From Cavan to Carnegie Hall
As part of the tour of "Atlantic Rhythms" by the Cross Border Orchestra of Ireland, eleven young musicians from the county will be playing in New York's Carnegie Hall at the beginning of next month.
Cork: Barrel Top on permanent exhibition
An exhibition featuring the Barrel Top Wagon, a collaboration between Cork Traveller Women's Network, Cork Public Museum and Cork 2005, was launched last week and is now on permanent display at the Cork Public Museum in Fitzgerald Park.
Dublin: Past pupils say farewell to Miss Meredith's
One of Dublin' most famous educational institutions has closed its doors. The elegant Pembroke School, also known as Miss Meredith's, was toasted by generations of past pupils on Saturday as the Georgian building that once housed it was put up for sale. The Ballsbridge school was founded by Miss Kathleen Meredith, a Kerrywoman in 1929.
Fermanagh: Mumming centre for old national school
The former Aughakillymaude National School is to become a centre for mumming, at a cost of £250,000. Work on the new centre, near Derrylin, has already started and it is due to be finished by next spring. Already children are able to learn how to make mummers' straw hats in Aughakillymaude Community Centre and an exhibition is to be set up explaining the history of the mumming tradition.
Galway: New ferry service in store for Lough Corrib
Good news for commuters in Ireland's west: a new car ferry service will cut as much as an hour of driving time off the journey to Galway from Connemara. The ervice will run from Kilbeg, near Headford to Knockferry, on the Moycullen side of the Lough.
Kerry: Cottage to rise from the ashes
The thatched house in Finuge which was the headquarters for the Sean McCarthy Weekend Festival was destroyed in a fire late last year, but the restoration work is almost complete and soon the building will have its official opening. It remains only to thatch the house and it is to become a heritage centre and rambling house for the area, where storytelling and traditional music will feature prominently.
Kildare: Shackleton papers uncovered in Athy
Staff at the Athy Heritage Centre made an exciting discovery recently, when two letters from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle were discovered. The letters were found among a collection of Shackleton family photos, albums and other letters belonging to Lady Shackleton which were auctioned in 2002. They will be on display in Athy from October 28-31.
Laois: Temporary reprieve for the Nuns' Bridge
When word spread in Mountmellick that contractors had arrived at the Nuns' Bridge to carry out demolition work, local residents gathered in an effort to halt the work. The footbridge over the River Owenass was originally put in place to give the Presentation Sisters access to their school from their convent, but it is no longer needed and the nuns wish to remove it. Members of the Mountmellick Angling and Conservation Association want to retain the bridge to allow for fishing on both banks of the river and they are spearheading the campaign for its retention.
Leitrim: Do you have links to Leitrim?
Next April's "Leitrim Roots Festival 2006" will have photographic exhibitions on Co. Leitrim people living abroad, walking tours of Leitrim towns, Leitrim genealogy workshops, lectures on Leitrim in the 19th century and on the famine years in Leitrim. For program details, visit
Limerick: Shannon Airport celebrates Transatlantic 60th birthday
The flight landed in Shannon on the 24th of October 1945. The carrier at the time was American Export Airlines which was a predecessor company of American Airlines who have only returned operations to Shannon this year.
Monaghan: National exhibition for Monaghan
The winning entries from the Irish National Crafts Competition are to go on exhibition at just three venues this year and the Market House in Monaghan town has been selected as one of them. This week the exhibition of winners and judges' selections is open to the public on Market Square and it will also travel to the Aran Islands and Ennis, Co. Clare.
Offaly: Blessing of well for new water scheme
A new water scheme which will serve Mohia, Cloonagh, Cloncon and Garryhinch has been made possible by the generosity of the Casey family on whose land the Moat Well is situated. Last weekend, the parish priest of Killeigh, FrJohn Stapleton, performed the blessing. The well is pumping sixty thousand gallons of water a day to houses in the area.
Sligo: History preserved in miniature
A 5-ft foot square model of the Rathquarter area of Sligo in the 19th century has been constructed by members of the Forthill Men's Art and History Group. Included are the Lunatic Asylum, the Workhouse, the Infirmary and the Fever Hospital.
Tyrone: Strabane to remember fighting son
On Trafalgar Day, October 21, a ceremony was staged at the grave of Captain George Davis Porter at Patrick Street cemetery in Strabane. The captain fought under Lord Nelson at the famous battle two hundred years ago. Born in the town, he retired from the British Navy in 1830 and lived out his life in the riverside Trafalgar House at Camus.
NEWS FROM ALL OVER
US offering more third-level courses 'as Gaeilge'
Irish language courses are now being offered in more universities in the US than in Ireland. A total of 29 third-level institutions across the US are running programmes in Irish for students and scholars of the native tongue. Among them are some of the most prestigious universities in the US, including Harvard and Notre Dame, the University of California at Berkeley and New York University.
Help us keep your newsletter free. Please visit our good friends at Lollysmith:
It's not too early to start "bringing home the Christmas" especially when you want authentic gifts from Ireland. Browse their web site for a a wide range of Irish and Celtic gifts imported directly from Ireland, including Jewelry and Shamrock Seeds, Connemara Marble, Tin Whistles, Bodhráns, and much more. Please stop by - They're always open and also offer Celtic themed gifts from American companies such as Russ Berrie Angel Cheeks, Silver Moon Jewelry, and Dorfman Pacific Hats. And definitely take a look at their authentic Blackthorn and Hazel Walking Sticks from Ireland. Please click:
FROM THE MAILBAG
Siobhan is still looking for the origins of the dance, The Siege of Ennis. Was there ever a Siege? Angela writes:
While this article doesn't specify a Siege of Ennis this is probably the era when such a siege may have taken place
Kendra wants to know about the doors of Dublin. Aideen writes:
I think she is probably referring to the Georgian doors or the doors of the Georgian buildings in Dublin, especially in the south of the inner city, places like Merrion Square, Leeson St, St Stephen's Green etc. This is a very long shot but I know for certain that, maybe 25-30 years ago, Bord Failte produced a series of 'photographic' posters and tea-towels of 'significant', places, people, history etc. In searching the net, she might try putting in the words Georgian doors of Dublin, because that's what they're always called in Ireland. She could also try looking on the internet for the Dublin Georgian Society.
LINKS OF THE WEEK
Anything funny, interesting, or unusual overheard in the pubs, buses, courts, cinemas and streets of Dublin may be found on a website called Overheard In Dublin. A treasure trove of everyday humor, rough language, political incorrectness, cutting wit, random acts of stupidity and Dublin accents, the website was started by a brother and sister as something to amuse their friends, but now attracts over 50,000 hits a day. Check it out at:
Metamorphosis Ireland is now open for business
They invite you to stop by and see their unique and authentic Irish and British Art, Hand Made Cards & Gifts, Clothing, Natural Body Products, Music, Jewelry and Much More!
We locate and obtain birth, marriage or death certificates in England & Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. Please click
Or write to James Frank for more information:
October is Breast Cancer awareness month. 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:
Last but certainly not least - our on-going gift to AG in California and all friends to animals, please click this link today and everyday. It only takes a second to feed an animal. Thanks!
It only takes a second to feed hungry people, too:
QUIPS, QUOTES, ANECDOTES AND TOASTS
A fine example of an Irish bull:
If you want things to stay as they are, things will have to change.
DID YOU KNOW
1. The Devil's Bit mountain near Thurles, County Tipperary, is so called because Satan, furious at finding no wicked souls in Ireland as he flew over it, supposedly bit a chunk out of the rock in his rage?
2. According to legend, the hair of anyone who swims in the lake on Sheve Gullion in County Annagh will turn grey overnight?
3. For centuries, an unholy ringing sound coming from a gnarled old oak tree on windy nights terrified the people of the County Down village of Kilbroney? In 1885, the tree was blown down and the source of the ghostly noise was discovered - a golden bell hidden in the hollow of the trunk by a monk hundreds of years before.
JOKE OF THE WEEK
A real-estate agent was driving around with a new trainee when she spotted a charming little farmhouse with a hand-lettered for sale sign out front. After briskly introducing herself and her associate to the startled farmer, the agent cruised from room to room, opening cupboards, testing taps , and pointing out where a "new light fixture here and a little paint there" would help. Pleased with her assertiveness, the woman was hopeful that the owner would offer her the listing. "Ma'am," the farmer said, "I appreciate the home-improvement tips and all, but I think you read my sign wrong. It says, 'HORSE for sale.'"
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IRISH WRITERS AND BOOKS QUIZ
To begin with, the answers to our last quiz:
1. From Dun Sion to Croke Park by Micheal O Muircheartaigh
2. Croke Park - The Cathedral of Sport by Tim Carey
3. The Road to Croker:by Eamonn Sweeney.
Please clap your feet for this week's Irish bibliophiles:
"Glorious Ireland" - June 28-July 12 2006
To see the proposed itinerary, please click
I nominate Ask about Ireland. There is a quiz which is addictive because you are determined to get around Ireland and another about literary novels. You have to get the books onto the bookshelf. You can find out about your favorite county and there is a student zone as well.
This is quite a 'fun' site to explore, well I think so anyway - lol!
Rita Roche (just a reader of your wonderful newsletter)
Thank you kindly, Rita!
Award-winning sites on the Family of Nature website.Sadly, the URL for the Small Irish Garden tis no longer valid, but there are many other butterfly sites worth visiting:
I invite you to visit my site and leave your comments in my "guestbook," or read something of interest by clicking on the "Literary" tab. Thanks to all who may have voted for my site.
ED. NOTE: As of this edition, Helen is at number eight in the rankings and still rising. Let's all join together and vote for her site each and every day. She and Hartson are such good people, they're number one whether or not her site is first. But wouldn't it be sweet? By the way, please keep Hartson in your prayers. We just received word that he's in the hospital, but we don't have details yet. Go raibh maith agat!
Want to see your name in our next newsletter? Send us the names of the authors who wrote the following:
The Haunting of Kildoran Abbey
Famous Irish Ghost Stories
Between Two Worlds - True Irish Ghost Stories
ED. NOTE: Many books have the same title; please keep in mind that we are looking for Irish authors or Irish-related books.
Send us the correct answers to two out of three and the rewards are:
1. If you have a web site, send us your URL plus a short description and we'll publish it in the next newsletter. If you don't have a web site, please nominate a favorite - preferably Irish. Also, please remember that we list our sleuths in the order of entries received.
2. Receive a correct entry into the current "So You Think You're Irish" trivia contest. (In fairness to those of you who go to the trouble of actually finding the answers to the trivia contest, you'll get a bonus entry!)
NOTE: It would be very helpful if you would send your entries to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Help us keep our newsletter coming to your mailbox. Please visit our good friends at the Celtic Attic:
The holidays are looming. Decorate your life and home with a Celtic twist or please that special someone with a Celtic gift! Click on the following URLs or cut and paste it into your browser:
OUR NEXT RIDDLE:
But first, the answer to our last hair puller: As always our Riddle People were in top form. We had many correct answers and more than a few brilliant but wrong solutions. e.g.:a)He had the umbrella (Jim Turley)
b)The fifth man was riding in his car. So, technically, he was still, but the car was moving.(Ashleigh)
c) 1) they were in a car; 2) the fifth had the umbrella, 3) the fifth decided not to leave the pub.(James Kelley)
d)The fifth never left the pub (Colleen) Our favorite!)
For all you dying of curiosity, here's the answer:
Five men are on their way to church when it starts to rain. Four men run but get wet The fifth stays still and remains dry.
Q. How can that be?
A. The four men are pall bearers. The fifth man is the occupant of the coffin they are carrying.
Congratulations to Steve Hultgren of Middletown CT who was first in with the answer. Well done Steve:
Ready for another brain bruiser?
If this musical intrument was a person, you might say he or she had character and integrity.
Q. What is it?
WHAT IS AND WHAT WILL BE, GOD WILLING
We updated the home page and we are now featuring the following until we change it tomorrow:
1. Article: An Irish hallowe'en Part 2
2. Article: The Legend of the Churchyard Bride
3. Article: Samhain - The Irish New Year
4. Poetry Corner: The Fairies by William Allungham
5. Book Review: The Twilight Hour
6. Article: Protect your property and yourself - Make a Parshell
7. Basic irish. Lesson 66: Creepy Words
8. Irish Kitchen: Barmbrack
9. Kids' Ireland: A Midnight Dance
10. Letter of the Month -September. With many thanks to larry Purcell
To read previous letters, please click
11. Circle of Prayer: Our sthird Novena in this cycle began on October 24 and ends on November 1st. Since last we wrote we have had several requests from our readers: Please pray for Hartson who is in the hospital for several days, also Eileen and Joe McTiernan - Joe has just been diagnosed with bladder cancer. The family of larry Purcell who recently lost Regina, a very young wife and mother who fought her cancer so bravely. Such a sad story - and it's just one of so many. Whatever your spiritual leanings, please join us each day in prayer or meditation for all of these fine people as well as the victims and survivors of the earthquake in Pakistan and all the hurricanes in the USA Last, but certainly not least, we ask that you think of our military personnel all over the world, especially those in Iraq and Afghanistan. Please visit our Novena page:
12. Trivia Contest. Just a few days left - All entries must be received by midnight, October 31st , whatever time zone you live in
THIS WEEK, GOD HELP US
On the agenda are the last of our Hallowe'en related offerings as well as the usual Sunday blessing, Wednesday quote and suggestions for a "Help the Hallowe'en Party" menu. Help us keep our visitor stats rising with a daily visit to our news and history pages which are updated daily. Thank you!
So there you have it until we write again. Until then, we'll leave you with this Hallowe'en blessing which is posted on our homepage but not everyone has access to the internet:
At all Hallow's Tide, may God keep you safe
From goblin and pooka and black-hearted stranger,
From harm of the water and hurt of the fire,
From thorns of the bramble, from all other danger,
From Will O' The Wisp haunting the mire;
From stumbles and tumbles
and tricksters to vex you,
May God in His mercy, this week protect you.
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
WHEN A LOT OF PEOPLE GIVE A LITTLE, A LITTLE BECOMES A LOT
If you enjoy our newsletter and the website, please give us a hand and help keep them coming. Imagine if 3000 people each sent dollar? Please send what you can to Bridget or Russ Haggerty, 5670 Meryton Place, Cincinnati OH 45224. Or you can send a donation via PayPal. The URL is:
and our email address is this one:
Many thanks in advance for your kindness
Derry - October 27-October 31
Annual Hallowe'en Festival - Derry plays host to a five-day celebration of Halloween, culminating in a mammoth parade of spooky ghosts, ghouls, warlocks and witches and an impressive fireworks display.For more details, email the Northern Ireland Tourist Board:
Fund-raisers for O'Flahertys of New Orleans
Many have stepped up to the plate to help Danny, his family and their employees get back on their feet following the disaster wrought by Katrina. Click on the following URls for just a sampling of benefit concerts:
Ireland's Four Provinces Oct 30th 2005.
Nanny O'Brien's Nov 7th 2005
Midlothian, Texas - October 29 and 30
The O'Flaherty Irish Music Retreat will be held October 29-30 in Midlothian, just 30 minutes south of Dallas, at a wonderful camp and conference center there. There will be classes in fiddle, flute, harp, uilleann pipes, tinwhistle, bodhran, guitar, piano accordion, button accordion, piano, hammered dulcimer, Anglo and English concertinas, harp, mandolin, tenor banjo and bouzouki, and their staff includes some of the best players in the Irish tradition, including Liz Carroll, John Doyle, Jerry O'Sullivan, Roger Landes and others. Online registration is now underway. For more info, please visit their website at http://www.irishtradmusic.org/oflaherty.htm or contact the retreat director, Ken Fleming, at email@example.com or call him at (972) 238-8724.
Brandon, Vermont - November 10
You are cordially invited to a reading from "Daughter Dedannan & the Cauldron of Undry", a novel of Irish myth, legend and history recently published by Braiswick, to be followed by a discussion and book signing with author Eben Reilly. 7 PM. Briggs Carriage Bookstore 16 Park For information visit:
Cincinnati, Ohio November 11. 12, 13
New Gate Celtic Theatre Company Presents - A Child's Christmas in Wales at the Columbia Performance Center, 3900 Eastern Avenue in historic Columbia-Tusculum. Based on the story by Dylan Thomas and adapted to the stage by Jeremy Books and Adrian Mitchell, this holiday musical is back for its second year to delight the young and young at heart. For tickets or additional information, call 513-305-7958 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. _________________________________________________________________________
LEAVE 'EM LAUGHING
Surgeons invited to dinner parties are often asked to carve the meat -- or worse yet, to watch the host carve while commenting on the surgeon's occupation. At one party, a surgeon friend was watching the carving while Harry, his host, kept up a running commentary: "How am I doing, doc? How do you like that technique? I'd make a pretty good surgeon, don't you think?" When the host finished and the slices of meat lay neatly on the serving platter, the surgeon spoke up: "Anybody can take them apart, Harry. Now let's see you put them back together again."