Welcome to the Irish Culture & Customs newsletter which is published every fortnight or so and sent out to nearly 4200 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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Gleefully ghoulish and ghostly greetings to all, God help us!

We hope this edition finds you on the pig's back and fit as a fiddle. Are you ready for Spirit Night? On our street, some 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 finally, the frost is on the pumpkin. Hard to believe that the last time we wrote - a little over two weeks ago -the temperature was in the 90s!

Meanwhile, we hope all of our readers in Ireland and the UK enjoyed a safe and happy Bank Holiday weekend. As for ourselves, we did the official closing on "Tadpole Cottage" and now that we have the keys, we've been moving boxes and small items over almost on a daily basis. The big move starts tomorrow with the professionals showing up at 8:00 am - so....please forgive us for a bit of an abrupt beginning to our blitherin' and
on with the update:
SPONSOR: Please help us keep the newsletter coming - visit our good friends at the Irish Lotto.

Latest results: There was NO winner in last Saturday's drawing That means the jackpot on Wednesday could be in excess of 4 million Euro! It's' always been our fantasy that one of our readers will win; but, as they say in Ireland, you can't win it if you're not in it. And here's the best part - you don't have to live in Ireland to play and your winnings are not subject to Irish taxes! Click here for more details or to buy a ticket:
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 the world. Links for more news stories can be found on our web site here
And more county news can be found here:

Antrim: Ancient fossil found in Colin Glen
While checking the Colin River in preparation for a schools visit, education ranger Paul Bennett came across an unusual find, the vertebrae of a prehistoric sea creature. The plesiosaur, known as the sea dragon, dates from some one hundred and ninety million years ago.

Clare: Water divination with a coat hanger
A simple coat hanger wielded by Lissycasey county councillor PJ Kelly has been instrumental in bringing a €4m water bottling plant to the area. Using the coat hanger PJ divined three major springs of top quality water, encouraging Clare Spring Water Ltd to apply for planning permission for the bottling plant. The company says that the plant will employ a total of ten people locally, in addition to giving work to twelve people during construction. PJ discovered his divining talents by accident some forty years ago when he picked up a pair of tongs and experienced a shock through them.

Galway: Bullaun residents resist government plans
Plans by the Department of the Environment to move the two thousand year old Turoe Stone to the Galway Civic Museum, and replace it with a replica, are being resisted by local residents. The stone, three feet in height, is an example of the Celtic La Tene art style and for the past two years it has been protected from further weathering and damage by a structure which allows it still to be viewed. The government wants to replace the original with a replica, but among those protesting is Mary Corcoran, who runs the Turoe Pet Farm and Leisure Park. She has offered to donate land for the purpose of providing further protection to the original.

Galway: Centenary of radio celebrated in Clifden
The transmission of a commercial radio message from Europe to Canada was celebrated recently in Clifden. Guglielmo Marconi transmitted a message on October 17, 1907 from Derrygimla bog just outside the town, which was picked up in Newfoundland. Attending the centenary celebrations were his daughter Princess Elettra Marconi and his grandson Prince Guglielmo; a book by Princess Elettra about her father was launched during the weekend. Other events to feature over the weekend included a guided walk of the Marconi station, an operatic concert and a royal gala ball.

Kilkenny: Twenty years a-growing for Kilkenny pipe band
During November the Kilkenny City and District Pipe Band will celebrate the twentieth anniversary of its first performance and a celebration is taking place this weekend, beginning with a parade down John Street. The band members, dressed variously in modern civilian dress and Highland dress uniform, will perform at The Parade and City Hall before finishing the night at the Springhill Court Hotel. The band, which now comprises thirty-one playing members, was actually founded in 1985 but it was two years before it first went on parade in Kilkenny city.

Laois: One poet to honour another in Vicarstown
Local poet Pat Boran, who is a previous winner of the Patrick Kavanagh Poetry Award, will this weekend unveil a seat beside the canal bank in Vicarstown to mark the one hundred and third birthday of the Monaghan poet. A unique monument has been created to the poet's memory by McKeon Stone from Stradbally and its placement on the canal bank is a joint initiative between the Patrick Kavanagh Appreciation Society and the Vicarstown Youth Club. The seat will be complemented by three sister stones and the unveiling ceremony will include readings of their own work by children from local national schools.

Leitrim: Veteran footballer announces retirement
After twenty-five years playing football, and following Aughawillan's defeat in the Connacht club senior championship, Maeve Quinn has decided to retire. A member of the victorious All-Ireland Junior Championship team in 1988, Maeve has in her career received three All-Star awards and six replacement All-Star awards. She was also named Sports Star of the Week by the Irish Independent following the team's winning of the Mary Quinn Cup, named after her own mother. In her final outing this weekend she will be part of the 1988 team playing the current team in Cloone as a Telethon fundraiser.

Louth: Dromiskin says goodbye to landmark pub
A huge fire has totally destroyed a landmark building in Dromiskin, and one of the county's oldest public houses. Five units of the fire brigade tackled Ginnety's pub in the village for some six hours, managing to contain it and averting the danger of the adjacent petrol forecourt catching fire also. For more than a hundred years the building had stood in the village, the business having been started by Catherine Ginnety and taken over by her son Matt in 1955. His son Matt, in turn, took over in the 1960s and the Ginnety family continued to run the business until some ten years ago, when they sold it to Eamon Byrne from Haggardstown.

Mayo: Red squirrels return to Belleek
For the first time since 1940 there are red squirrels in Belleek Wood in Ballina, after five of the animals were released into the wood in a collaboration between the National Parks and Wildlife Service and Belleek Enhancement Committee. It is hoped that they will make their home in the wood on the River Moy, and next year it is planned to introduce a further seven.

Monaghan: Darts championship for Castleblayney
Last week saw the launch of the first Glencarn International Darts Classic, the first such event to be held in Ireland and carrying a prize fund of more than €40,000. It was Castleblayney man Barney Cumiskey who came up with the idea for the Classic. He has had a long involvement with the darts world in Britain and wanted to introduce the sport to his home town while at the same time making Castleblayney better known. More than five hundred players are expected to compete and these will include world champions from both Britain and Ireland.

Tyrone: Television team on dig on Castle Hill
Dungannon's Castle Hill is the site of an archaeological dig this week by the television crew from Time Team. The crew will be investigating the remains of the castle as well as an adjacent cottage that has been unused since the mid-nineteenth century. The castle, the main residence of the O'Neills, was burnt at the beginning of the seventeenth century as the English army advanced into Ulster. While in Dungannon the television crew also launched the Northern Ireland Archaeology Forum, a body formed to raise awareness of the archaeological heritage of the North

ED. NOTE: Some readers who know both of our email addresses have written to tell us that their messages to the Irish Culture & Customs address bounce back as undeliverable. We have no idea why this is happening - spam filters perhaps?. In any event, if you have experienced bounce-backs to the Irish address, please try

Paddy Donaher writes:
I read many years ago that the famous Irish Songwriter Jimmy Kennedy was the paternal grandson of Ballyshannon Co Donegal born Poet William Allingham. Would you have any information that would substantiate this claim? any help on the subject would be very much appreciated.

A request from Jeanmarie
How do you put an Irish curse on someone? My Grandmother from Mayo was excellent at it, but she died before she taught me how to do it!

Tom McGrath of Rego Records asks:
Friends and Associates, our friend and colleague; entertainer, Kells Music recording artist and historian, the legendary Derek Warfield has been nominated for a Southern Music Award. His CD Bonnie Blue Flag has been nominated for Album of the Year. Once nominated the winner is determined by online voting.  The staff of Irish Music Corporation would be very appreciative if you would take just a few seconds to click the link below and participate in helping Derek receive the recognition he so deserves. Thank you and all the best

John Seymour lansley asks:
Please, can you tell me about the old Irish custom of writing someone's name in a book and then striking it through? In my all time favourite film, "The Quiet Man" - Squire Danahar has this done to Sean Thornton  (John Wayne)
A Hallowe'en Greeting Card from us to you!
Just click on the link and have fun solving the mystery.

Hallowe'en picture for kids to colour

Hallowe'en Hangman
The old classic with a wicked twist. It's worth getting the letters wrong and losing just to hear the comments and see the end result! This one came to us by way of our good friend hartson Dowd. Go raibh maith agat!

Irish Ghosts & Tales from Ireland

Paranormal ireland
Describing ireland as "an emerald jewel in the paranormal crown", this site offers a comprehensive database featuring haunted locations all over the country.

Haunted Britain & Ireland
Intended to be the most comprehensive listing of British and Irish ghosts on the internet, the content on this site has been exhaustively researched and provides those who seek the mysterious with an unrivalled resource of true ghost stories.

Garfield Scavenger Hunt
Non-stop hungry Garfield searches for chocolate chip muffins and other sweet treats inside a haunted mansion. Are fearsome face-to-face encounters with goblins and ghoulies worth the promise of mini powdered sugar donuts? You betcha!

Hungry for more? Here's the sequel:

From The Irish Page by Jack & Vivian Hennessey
Appropriately, their offering this time around celebrates Hallowe'en. and the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain pronounced sow-en

And blessed relief - a non-hallowe'en link:
Westlife's new single is a sweet ballad that we predict will be a big hit. Turn up your speakers, take a listen and see if you don't agree:

Free Mammograms
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Be sure to remind all the women in your life to get checked out regularly and if you know someone who can't afford the test, here's how you can help: Go to the Breast Cancer site and click on their free mammogram link; if the site gets 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:

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:
"Midnight has come and the great Christ Church bell
And many a lesser bell sound through the room;
And it is All Souls' Night.
And two long glasses brimmed with muscatel
Bubble upon the table. A ghost may come;
For it is a ghost's right..."
William Butler Yeats, in All Souls' Night
Dúirt mé leat go raibh mé breoite.
Supposedly Spike Milligan's epitaph which translates "I told them I was ill."
This is a repeat of a good one sent in by our dear friend Hartson which we think you'll find appropriate to All Hallow's Eve:

One dark night two men were walking home after a party and decided to take a shortcut through the cemetery just for laughs. Right in the middle of the cemetery they were startled by a tap-tap-tapping noise coming from the misty shadows. Trembling with fear, they found an old man with a hammer and chisel, chipping away at one of the headstones. "Jesus, Mary and Joseph," one of them exclaimed after catching his breath, "You scared us half to death, we thought you were a ghost! What are you doing working here so late at night?"
"Those ejits!" the old man grumbled. "They misspelled my name!"

1. On Halloween Eve, costumed adults on Inis Mór, the largest of the Aran Islands go to the pubs around 9 p.m. What's different from other nights is the absolute silence except for the ticking of the clock. To preserve their disguises, no one speaks a word. Drink orders are given to the barman on hand-written scraps of paper, and regular Guinness drinkers order gin and tonics to create confusion about their identities! To read an account by a visitor, please click

2.Ireland had its own werewolf legend? These creatures were believed to be the souls of the damned who had rejected the teachings of St. Patrick.

3. According to old Co. Clare folklore, if a woman drinks the water at St. brendan's Well on Inish Glora, it will turn to blood and be full of worms!
SPONSOR: Please help us keep your newsletter coming - visit our good friends at Lollysmith:
Not content with offering their wide assortment of genuine Irish shillelaghs, they now stock  the all-important accessories including ferrules, spikes and badges! if you have an important occasion coming up for an important person in your life, a stick accompanied by accessories would make a gift they will remember whenever they go out for a stretch of the legs. So take a look and also browse a diverse range of other gifts from inspirational Rosary beads of genuine Connemara marble to Whiskey Fudge made by Connemara Kitchens.
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First off, the answers to our last quiz:

1. Seamus Heaney and the Emblems of Hope - Karen Marguerite Moloney
2. How the Irish Invented Slang: The Secret Language of the Crossroads - Daniel Cassidy
3. Anzacs and Ireland - Jeff Kildea

A tip of the hat and a pat on the back for the following Irish bibliophiles:

Christine Seaholtz

Pauline Dewberry
Come and paws awhile at the Daily Mews.Com website - you'll be purring in no time!

Déirdre McKiernan Hetzler
Glorious Ireland" - 22 May - 3 June, 2008: view itinerary at

Hartson Dowd
Have you visited Occupy Till I come? It's an inspiring site featuring an assortment of writings by my wife Helen and her friends.

Helen Dowd
Many thanks for voting for my site. It is greatly appreciated. And please consider voting every day.
ED. NOTE: We are very pleased to report that Helen is closing in on 2nd place in the rankings of the top Christian sites.

Want to see your name and favorite web site in our next newsletter?
Who wrote:
1. A Haunted Land: Ireland's Ghosts
2. Mysterious World: Ireland:
3. Famous Irish Ghost Stories
SPONSOR: Please help us keep our newsletter coming - visit our friends at the Celtic Attic:
The Christmas Season is upon us. Shop now and avoid the holiday rush, plus keep in mind that orders can be delayed as we get closer to the big day.  So avoid disappointment - shop now and save! Plus, we have free shipping on orders over $125.00 and every order will get a free gift during the month of  October & November.  And just when you think we were totally crazy for all the goodies we are offering, you can get a FREE PDF copy of the Celtic Attic Cookbook with each $50.00 order placed.  Finally, if you order something from our new Going Green pages, you will get a free Christmas Ornament.  Remember, the more you buy the more free goodies you get, so do all your holiday shopping now. 
First off, the answer to our previous skull scrambler:
A rich man's son was kidnapped. The ransom note told him to bring a valuable diamond to a phone booth in the middle of a public park. Plainclothes police officers surrounded the park, intending to follow the criminal or his messenger. The rich man arrived at the phone booth and followed instructions but the police were powerless to prevent the diamond from leaving the park and reaching the crafty villain.
Q. What did he do?
A. The man was instructed to place the diamond in a pouch tied to the leg of a carrier pigeon, which then flew out of the park and back to its owner.

As always we had an avalanche of correct entries, but first in was Shaun G. Lynch, of St. Lazare, Québec. Well done!

And now for our next Brain Bewilderer:
In celebration of the season, here are a series of groaners:
What do sea monsters eat for lunch?
What do you get when you divide the circumference of a pumpkin by its radius?
What is the tallest building in Transylvania
1. Article: How the Irish Invented Hallowe'en
2. Article: Creepy irish Castles
3. Article: Creepy Irish Creatures
4. Article: Ghosts
5. Article: The Dullahan
6. Article: The Legend of The Churchyard Bride
7. Irish Kitchen: Barmbrack
ED/ NOTE: See also our recipe for Colcannon which is another traditional dish eaten on Hallowe'en:
8. Basic Irish: Hallowe'en and Samhain
9. Kids' Ireland: A Midnight Dance
10: October Music Review: Woman of The house/Cherish the ladies; reviewedby William Ramoutar
11. Circle of prayer - The fourth Novena in this cycle began on October 24 and ends on November 1st. Whatever your spiritual leanings, please remember the following in your prayers or meditations: Kristin's new friend Dave, a terminally ill high school German teacher, Benjamin H, C.J, George, Jim Magee, Simon Shepherd, Bette & Bill, Thelma & Leo, little Bradley., Aunt Maisie, Aunt Anne, Celeste. Bobby's wife Pat, 4-year old CJ, little Dominic & Siobhan, Aunt Anne, cousin Michael, Miriam's friend, Aunt Sally, baby Joseph, RoseAnn, baby Maggie, Michael Shea and his family, Liadan, Penny, Hartson, Pauline, Heather and so many others who need our prayers or meditations, especially our men and women in the military serving their country all over the world. Please God, they will all be home safe and sound soon.
12. Trivia Contest: Time's running out! Have you entered yet? All entries must be in by midnight, October 31, whatever time zone you're in:

So there you have it until we write again. If you're celebrating a birthday, anniversary or other important event between now and then, we hope it's an occasion filled with joy and happiness. And if this is your first edition, many thanks for joining us; we hope you enjoyed our musings and meanderings and if so, please feel free to pass them along to family and friends.

In anticipation of the coming week - Pinch punch, first day of the month, White Rabbit! Tied the knot in November or planning a wedding? Here's your special Irish verse:
If you wed in bleak November, only joy will come, remember.

Meanwhile, we leave you with another timely old Irish verse:
Until cold November is upon us,
and the nights are showing black,
'till hot whiskey needs be taken,
and pints too, mostly black,

'till All Hallow tide has passed us
and Colcannon served no more,
We'll await our next encounter,
with our good tidings to the fore.

Beannacthaí na Samhain do chach neach
The Blessings of Samhain to Everyone!
Happy Irish New Year
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!
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.

Hollywood, Florida - November 17
Next ceili at the Irish-American Ceili Club. For more details, please click
In the spirit of the day that's in it (pun intended), here are some amusing epitaphs from all over: 

On the grave of Ezekiel Aikle in East Dalhousie Cemetery, Nova Scotia:
Here lies Ezekiel Aikle, Age 102.
The Good Die Young.
In a London, England cemetery:
Here lies Ann Mann, Who lived an old maid
But died an old Mann. Dec. 8, 1767
In a Ribbesford, England, cemetery:
Anna Wallace:
The children of Israel wanted bread,
And the Lord sent them manna.
Old clerk Wallace wanted a wife,
And the Devil sent him Anna.
In a Ruidoso, New Mexico, cemetery:
Here lies Johnny Yeast.
Pardon me For not rising.
In a Uniontown, Pennsylvania, cemetery:
Here lies the body of Jonathan Blake.
Stepped on the gas Instead of the brake.
A lawyer's epitaph in England:
Sir John Strange. Here lies an honest lawyer,
And that is Strange.
John Penny's epitaph in the Wimborne Cemetery, England:
Reader, if cash thou art In want of any,
Dig 6 feet deep; And thou wilt find a Penny.
In a cemetery in Hartscombe, England:
On the 22nd of June, Jonathan Fiddle
Went out of tune.
Anna Hopewell's grave in nosburg Falls, Vermont :
Here lies the body of our Anna -
Done to death by a banana.
It wasn't the fruit that laid her low,
But the skin of the thing that made her go.
On a grave from the 1880s in Nantucket, Massachusetts:
Under the sod and under the trees,
Lies the body of Jonathan Pease.
He is not here, there's only the pod.
Pease shelled out and went to God.
In a cemetery in England:
Remember man, as you walk by,
As you are now, so once was I.
As I am now, so shall you be.
Remember this and follow me.

To which someone replied by writing on the tombstone:

To follow you I'll not consent
Until I know which way you went