Welcome to the Irish Culture & Customs newsletter which is published every week and sent out to just about 3,000 readers all over the world. You are receiving this newsletter because you signed up for it - God Bless you! If you'd like to read past issues, they are archived at: http://www.ymlp.com/pubarchive.php?Herself
If, for any reason, you wish to unsubscribe, instructions are at the end - but we do hope you'll stay with us.

Greetings and Blessings to all,

Happy New Year!
Irish: Athbhlian faoi mhaise
Pronunciation: Ah-vleen fwee wash-eh.

One of our resolutions was to get the newsletter out over the weekend. Well, that one's bitten the dust already. Funnily enough, we just read somewhere that the irish are notorious for making and breaking their new year promises. Ah well - so there you are then.

Here it is, more than half way through the 12 Days of Christmas. Are you enjoying yourselves? And while we're at it, how's your weather? Have you ever noticed how many weather words begin with W - wet, windy, warm, wintry, withering,wretched? On Christmas Day we started off wet and ended a wee bit white. Not enough snow to make travel hazardous - just a dusting. Since then it has warmed up considerably; today, for example when we took our walk, it was in the fifties and is expected to reach 62F. So our weather in the Ohio Valley is wonderful, which is a lot more than we can say of Texas, Oklahoma and the West Coast. For all of our readers in those locations, you are in our prayers. And, all of you in Europe who are also enduring extreme conitions.

On to more pleasant topics. We have been inundated with season's greetings, via snail mail and ecards. Go raigbh maith agat to all who thought of us. We haven't yet caught up with a reply to everyone, but we're getting there. We were especially happy to receive donations tucked into a couple of the cards; - makes all the hard work worthwhile. We're also now getting final 4th quarter numbers from affiliate programs and we'd like to thank everyone who went shopping through us not just for Christmas but throughout the entire year. We earn a small commission on every purchase and it quickly adds up. Even with that though, we're at our usual shortfall and it's time for our once a year donation drive. Whatever you can spare is welcome so that we can pay our newsletter host and also the cost of keeping up with the site. There's just the two of us even thought we do get emails from people who seem to think we're some huge organization like Aer Lingus, e.g. could you have someone in your research department tell me where I can buy Taytos in Tazmania? Anyway, details about making a donation are at the end of this newsletter and we do hope you can lend a hand. Enough of the begging - on with the blithering...er - we mean update!

Please help keep our web site free and visit our good friends at Lollysmith!
They would like to take this opportunity to wish you all a very happy, healthy and prosperous new year and look forward to serving you in 2006. You can be sure they will be doing whatever they can to bring you only the very best in Irish gifts. Browse their web site often and see what's new. Please click here:

From the Mailbag
Links of the Week
Quips, quotes, proverbs & toasts
Joke of The Week
Did You Know
Irish Author/Book Quiz
The Week That Was
The Week that Will be, God Willing
Leave 'Em Laughing

It's official: Ireland is getting warmer.
The annual report from Met Eireann showed that 2005 was one of the warmest years on record.

The Irish are the television junkies of Europe.
A new poll shows 53pc of Irish households have three tellies or more - ahead of any of our European counterparts. We also enjoy staring at the small screen for longer.

Armagh: Farmers branch out into cider making
After considering ways to generate more income, the Armagh Cider Makers Association was established. Secretary Sean MacAntsaoir reported a good response after their second appearance at the Strabane market which, he said was a very good testing ground for the product.

Carlow: Squeaky clean Carlow
Irish Business Against Litter has selected Carlow town as the cleanest town in Ireland, from a total entry of fifty-six towns.

Clare: Clare house for EuroMillions winner
Dolores McNamara from Limerick who recently won 115m euro on the EuroMillions draw has bought a house and thirty-eight acres of land at Ogonnelloe, on the shores of Lough Derg. She paid 1.7m euro for the six-bedroomed house, with each bedroom being equipped with a four-poster bed; the house also boasts seven bathrooms. The McNamara family will be afforded some privacy as the house is reached by an entrance drive stretching for half a mile from a gate lodge.

Cork: Book launch marks library's anniversary
Professor John Murphy performed the official launch of a book which has marked the one hundred and fiftieth anniversary of Cork City Library. "A Grand Parade - Memories of Cork City Libraries" has been written by librarian Liam Ronayne and John Mullins.

Derry: Galway hooker for permanent berth in Derry
An Lady Mor, a traditional Galway hooker which was built in 1872, has arrived in Derry to serve the dual purpose of providing sail training for young people from the north west and as a tourist attraction.

Donegal: Derrybeg hotel closes its doors
It appears that Donegal businessman Pat Gallagher, who recently purchased Ostan Radharc an Earagail in Derrybeg from the Ferry family, has no plans to continue running it as a hotel. From small beginnings as a shop opened by the late Joe and Kate Friel, the premises evolved into a bed and breakfast establishment and ultimately into a hotel in 1939. Among notable people to have stayed there were three presidents, Eamonn De Valera, Cearbhuil O Dalaigh and Patrick Hillery, and the hotel was also the venue for the establishment of the SDLP in 1970.

Galway: Funding announced for Aran tennis court
More than €15,000 in additional funding has been sanctioned for the development of a tennis court on Inis Mór. The funding, totalling € 15,144, was recently announced by Minister for Community, Rural, and Gaeltacht Affairs Éamon Ó Cuív.
ED NOTE: Will it be champagne and strawberries next?

Kerry: Contract signed for Ballybunion health & leisure centre
It's been a fifteen-year saga but at last the contract has been signed for a health and leisure centre in Ballybunion which will include a twenty-metre pool. The county council has provided a site in the town centre for the complex, which will also include a gymnasium, a children's play area and a sauna, steam room and Jacuzzi.

Laois: Donegan house the winner once again
The house of John and Breda Donegan in Abbeyleix has once again been voted Ireland's best-lit house and they have certainly earned the accolade, having spent more than €25,000 on the decorations. Half of them were bought in Ireland and the others were sourced abroad, with the centrepiece being a life-size Nativity scene.

Leitrim: All on track for hotel opening
The finishing touches are being put to the new Lough Rynn Hotel in Mohill which expects to open its doors in the spring of 2006. The five-star hotel and golf development will accept its first guests then, though the spa and leisure complex will not be open until July and the golf course is scheduled for late the following year.

Mayo: Mystery man buys part of former Poteen island in Lough Conn
So established was the manufacture of poteen on Glass Island or"Illaunaglashy" as it was known in ancient times, crocks or bottles of the illicit spirit can, it is said, sometimes still be unearthed there. The outpost, which was abandoned by its last residents in the 1950s, attracted significant national and international interest when it was put on the market . Apart from a number of decaying houses, there are still the remains of a church on the island and the burial place of Bishop Balefadda, who took refuge there during a period of religious persecution.

Meath: Gambling on sunshine
Visitors from Los Angeles and Australia, Canada and Germany were among those who travelled to Newgrange in the hope of seeing the winter solstice phenomenon when the sun's rays shine along the passage of the tomb. There were mixed results this year with the actual day, December 21, proving a disappointment due to overcast conditions, though Tuesday's visitors had better luck. Fifty people are chosen from the 27,000 applicants, with a further fifty kept in reserve in case of cancellations. Between December 18 and 23 twenty members of the public are allowed into the tomb each day; the first fifty chosen, by children from three local schools, are also allowed to bring a friend to enjoy the experience.

Offaly: Final signal for Tullamore man
After thirty years at Tullamore Station Charlie Finlay, from Clonmore, Cappincur, has recently retired as a signal man. Beginning his career in the Tullamore goods yard, Charlie moved next to Geashill where he remained until 1975 when Geashill was a crossing point for goods trains. Returning to Tullamore, he remained as a signal man until they were phased out in 1984, but he stayed on at the station, working under former station master Joe Craig and the present holder of the office, Ann Breslin. Charlie particularly remembers the arrival of the Sam Maguire cup at the station on three different occasions, and the four times that the Liam McCarthy Cup came to Tullamore station while he worked there.

Tyrone: Weekly market for the county is the aspiration
With Strabane country market being held on a monthly basis at the moment, the Farmers' Forum is considering holding it on a two-week basis. Omagh is to have its own regular market from next April, having held a successful Christmas market, and they will be setting up their stalls on the first and third Saturday of each month. Chairman of the West Tyrone Rural Association Ken Russell has expressed the hope that Strabane could open on the second and fourth Saturdays, giving the county a weekly market.

Waterford: New look for old hall
The Fishermen's Hall in Dunmore East is to be transformed into a branch library, community hall and Credit Union, having been given the green light by the county council planning department despite a number of objections from local people. One of the objections raised was that the refurbished building would be out of character with the nearby Malcolmson Hall, but the council countered this by saying that the two buildings would complement each other. Others objected to the proposed copper roof to the Fishermen's Hall and to possible damage to the stability of the cliff face. Hmmmm....

Wicklow: Ceremony at Derralossary to honour Childers
The former President of Ireland, Erskine Childers, was honoured on the centenary of his birth by a ceremony held at Derralossary by the Cambridge Graduate Society of Ireland. At the former president's graveside in Derralossary the group gathered to reflect on his life, and they then adjourned to his former home, Glendalough House.

Hollywood,California: Belfast Girl Is Rocky's Latest Moll
Geraldine Hughes, who has been receiving rave reviews in the US for her one-woman show about life in Belfast, will play Stallone's love interest in Rocky Balboa, the sixth and final film in his boxing series.

Please help keep our newsletter coming to your mailbox - visit our good friends at the Irish Lottery!
Wouldn't a few million Euros be a nice way to start the New Year? So play now. You don't have to live in Ireland to enter, winnings are tax-free and checks are mailed within 48 hours. Do you have the luck of the Irish? Play the Irish lottery and find out! I Please click here for full details - and best of Irish luck to you!

Peggy from New York writes that her mother from Dublin always visited the cemetery on St. Stephen's Day. It was the custom. Peggy wants to know if they still do that in modern Ireland. Anyone know?

Amanda writes: I recently read your article asking about the magi card on Christmas and decided to tell you what I had been taught from my family. I hope some of this can help your search. My mom had started me on this tradition. she said it would bring good luck and fortune throughout the new year. I was told that if you receive a Christmas card with a picture of the Three Kings on it you were supposed to put it in between your door and its frame on new years eve with a little bit sticking out. then at the stroke of midnight pull into your house(which means you have to be home to do this...lol) and hang it above the door for the year.
ED NOTE: Sorry that we didn't get this info' to you in time - but may be you would like to file it away for next New Year's Eve?

Adele is still looking for a Killarney hat pattern. We haven't been able to find one.

Public Services in Ireland
Oasis (Online Access to Services, Information and Support) is an Irish Government website developed by Comhairle. The site provides information on the social and civil rights of everyone in Ireland. Oasis provides you with information you may need at various stages in your life. The Service Finder allows you to find public services in your locality and our Frequently Asked Questions section answers questions you may have about public services in Ireland.

Time after Time
How often have you wondered what time it is in some part of the world? "Big Mama" sends us a link that will provide an instant answer:

The eyes, ears and mouthpiece of Dublin
Find out what's happening in Ireland's fair city:

New Year's games and activities for the children

Catholic church sets up wedding website
With the "wedding season" about take off, engaged couples of the Catholic faith might find this link useful:
http:// www.gettingmarried.ie

Feeling just a bit wound up? See just how stressed out you really are (check out the other stress relievers as well!):

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:

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:


"There's nothing as heartening as the sight of an empty pub in the morning, the shelves full and everything spick and span before the barbarian hordes come in. Them that drinks bottles spoil the look of the shelves but draught is a different story - you never see the barrel going down." Patrick McGinley


Father O'Malley was going through the post one day. Drawing a single sheet of paper from an envelope, he found written on it just one word: "FOOL." The next Sunday at Mass, he announced, "I have known many people who have written letters and forgot to sign their names. But this week I received a letter from someone who signed their name and forgot to write a letter."


1. Julius Caesar gave Ireland the Latin name Hibernia which means 'winter-land'?
2. It was once considered unlucky to take the Christmas decorations down before Epiphany?
3. According to old Irish folk-lore, chewing a clove of garlic will cure a sore throat?

To begin with, the answers to our last quiz:
1. Gift of The Gag - Dylan Moran
2. Islands of Connaught - Text by Wallace Clark, Paintings by Ros Harvey
3. The Irish Highwaymen - Stephen Dunford

A round of pints and applause to:

Roger S. Weist
Roger didn't nominate an Irish site, so since he's from Cleveland, we found:

Helen Dowd
Want to read a new book for the New Year? Please visit Heavenly Sunshine Books: http://mysite.verizon.net/res8ren5
or click on:
ED. NOTE: Please don't forget to continue voting for Helen's site; she is just 3,00 votes from moving up another notch. Thank you!

Hartson Dowd
Hartson also didn't nominate a site - so went looking for him, as well:

Rita Roche
It would seem that everyone forgot to nominate a site this time! Here's what we found for Rita (have your speakers turned on)

Thomas Egan
Thank you for the lovely comments about the web site and newsletter Thomas! Here's a link you might like:

Déirdre McKiernan Hetzler
"Glorious Ireland " - from June 28-July 12, 2006. To view the proposed itinerary, please click:
http:// www.tours2ireland.com

ED NOTE: If you enter the author's quiz, please do try and remember to nominate a favorite web site - preferably one of Irish interest. Thank you!

Want to see your name in our next newsletter? Send us the names of the authors who wrote the following:
1. House of Memories
2 Priest and Patriot: A Short Sketch of the Life of Michael Tormey, C.C.
3. Arklow - The Story of a Town - Jim Rees
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: bhaggerty@irishcultureandcustoms.com
Love the aroma of a turf fire? Experience the next best thing with Irish Incense, the peaceful, nostalgic scent that will transport you back in time and place. The perfect gift for Christmas or any other occasion, order now. And when you mention that you heard about Irish incense in the Irish Culture and Customs newsletter, you'll receive an extra pack of incense for FREE (plus your newsletter writers will receive a nice commission which will help keep us going). Please click

But first, the answer to our most recent seasonal offering:
Q: What do you call a cat at the beach at Christmas time?
A. Sandy Claus!
As always, our "Riddle People" didn't let us down. We had hundreds of entries - all correct, of course, but first in was Maureen McManus - good job! Honourable mention also goes out to the reader who wrote: durned LUCKY !!!!!!! and signed off with:
Jackie in freezing missouri.

And now for our new year head-banger which we hope will prove to be a bit more of a challenge:

Old Mother Suzie had but one eye,
And a long tail that she would let fly.
Every time she went over a gap,
Part of her tail would get caught in a trap.
Who is Mother Suzie?

1. Article: An Irish Christmas - St. Stephen's Day to New Years
2 . Article: New Year's Day to Epiphany
3. Article: A Cold Day in Hell
4. The Irish Kitchen: Good Libations for your Celebrations!
5. Kids' Ireland: Story - The Day After
6. Basic Irish - A New Year and a New You
7. Circle of Prayer: Our first Novena in this series began on December 26th and ends on January 3rd. Whatever your spiritual leanings, we ask that you please remember Jane, Samantha, Candy; Joe McTiernan whose surgery results were not what we hoped for; Hartson, Mally Keelan's family; and the victims of Mother Nature's wrath all over the world - especially the Gulf Coast, Pakistan and the massive area affected by last year's tsunami. We also ask that you remember the men and women in the armed forces who are so far away from their families and friends At this time of the year, it is especially hard for them,
To join us, please visit our Novena page:
8. Trivia Contest. The new quiz for January has been posted. We are pleased to welcome the return Dublin artist, Roger Cummiskey, as a sponsor. All entries must be in by midnight on January 31st, whichever time zone you're in:
ED. NOTE: The winner of the December contest has been notified.

As always, the new year brings a great resolve to catch up on all the articles waiting in the wings. We'll do our best to trot them out, dust them off and publish what we can. Meanwhile, each day, we update the news - and try to find just those stories that are positive. We also update the history. Thus far, January's record has been relatively sparse; even way back when, it would appear that most Irish historians were still making merry! As it should be. We have already published the blessing for Sunday, a quote is due, and we've already published a great bread recipe from Hartson.

So there you have it for now. A very belated elated pinch punch first day of the month, white rabbit! If you are having a birthday, anniversary or special event this coming week, we hope it is filled with joy. And if you're planning on getting married this coming month, or tied the knot in January, here's the old Irish verse:
"Marry when the year is new,
always loving, kind and true."

In the meantime, we leave you with this special toast for 2006:
Here's to the land of the shamrock so green,
Here's to each lad and his lovely colleen,
Here's to the ones we love dearest and most.
May God bless old Ireland, that's our new year's toast!

Until we write again, may the Good Shepherd of us all bless you keep you and yours from all harm. 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
This past week we received gifts from Marsha Hosfeld and Regina Dolan. Go raibh maith agat! (And your irish wildflower seeds are on their way)
If you enjoy reading our newsletter or visiting the website, please support our efforts and send whatever 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:
All donations over $20.00 will receive a package of Irish flower seeds from Dingle, Co. Kerry. Many thanks in advance for your kindness
To avoid duplication, we list only those events not already mentioned in the Irish Heritage Newsletter or on the Wild Geese website. In fact, the Irish Heritage email group and the Wild Geese have joined forces to bring you a massive listing of Irish events all over the world! To subscribe to the list, send your e-mail address to group moderator George Trainor, at george@thewildgeese.com. The group's postings go out every other Friday and Saturday, in five separate e-mails, covering Irish history, myths and legends, news, jokes, Irish (Gaeilge) lessons, recipes, and more. Organizations, please alert them about your upcoming events, e-mail events@thewildgeese.com, fax: 208-978-9998. Deadline: The third Wednesday of the month for the following month's edition. Also visit The Wild Geese at:

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

Covington Kentucky - January 4
Fenians of Northern KY Meeting at Jack Quinn's Irish Pub ( Second Floor); time: 7:30 P.M.

Bellevue Kentucky - every Sunday at 10 pm
The B List pub owned by our son Ben haggerty is hosting Impromptu Irish music sessions. All are welcome. For more details, contact Ben at:

Jan 17-24
Chieftains Waltz Across Louisiana & Texas Tour
For more cdetails, please click:
ED. NOTE They're coming to Cincinnati in March - yeah!


Actual complaints sent in to the Local Housing Authorities i.e. public housing:

1. "The toilet is blocked and we cannot bathe the children until it is cleared."
2. "I want some repairs done to my stove as it has backfired and burnt my knob off."
3. "This is to let you know that there is a smell coming from the man next door."
4. "I am writing on behalf of my sink, which is running away from the wall."
5. "I request your permission to remove my drawers in the kitchen."
6. "Our lavatory seat is broken in half and is now in three pieces."
7. "Will you please send someone to mend our cracked sidewalk. Yesterday my wife tripped on it and is now pregnant."
8. "Will you please send a man to look at my water, it is a funny colour and not fit to drink."
9. "Would you please send a man to repair my downspout. I am an old age pensioner and need it straight away."