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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Greetings and blessings to all,
The warmest of welcomes to everyone and God willing this edition finds you and yours in good health, good spirits and good company.
A very belated Happy Thanksgiving to all of our neighbours in Canada and an even more belated pinch punch first day of the month, white rabbit! Did you tie the knot in October or perhaps you're planning a wedding for this month? We did on October 5th, 1963 and we can definitely attest to the old Irish verse:
"If in October you do marry, love will come but riches tarry!"
(Ah, but we're wealthy in so many more ways than merely by counting money).
The last time we wrote, we were complaining about seemingly endless days in the 90s and no sign of rain. This morning, while there wasn't any frost on the pumpkins, the rain was pouring down buckets - and has been for hours. It's certainly looking a lot more like Autumn in Ohio but because we've had such warm weather of late, the foliage is going to be a lot less brilliant than usual. Shame that. Oh well. It could be worse - as in cold, wet snow!
The big news from our valley isn't the rain. We're moving. We're still a bit stunned at how fast things have progressed, but in the last couple of weeks, we found a house we like, put in an offer and after a bit of countering back and forth, the sellers accepted. So, we're going to be even busier than usual packing all of the possessions we can shoe-horn into a home that's less than 25% the size of the one we're in. But it's what we want and it's time this big old mausoleum that we've called home for going on 35 years was put in the care of custodians much younger than we are. Or at least, folks with more stamina!
As you might imagine, we're preoccupied with all of the arrangements that go into changing a residence, so if we miss anything in this newsletter, we hope you'll understand. We promise that as soon as we're settled, we'll be a lot more focused on you, the web site and all things Irish. Enough of the blather - on with the update:
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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 duringthe 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 freeChristmas Ornament. Remember, the more you buy the more free goodies you get, so do all your holiday shopping now.
IN THIS ISSUE:
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:
Star In Your Own Thriller - And Raise Funds To Help Fight Blindness
A unique charity auction on eBay is offering members of the public the opportunity to see their name in a thriller and, in turn, help raise funds for Irish charity 'Fighting Blindness'. Best-selling author Anthony Galvin is offering people a once-in-a-lifetime chance to star in one of his books.
The Clare-native explained, "I have written a thriller called 'The Gilli Gilli Man', and I want people to volunteer their names as the hero, the villain, and other key characters. They will then see their own name on a book, immortalised forever. It is the perfect gift for someone you love - or maybe for someone you don't like at all, if you go for the villain!" "A group of us are trying to raise EUR200k for Fighting Blindness by walking to Mount Everest, and I thought this would be a different way of helping the cause", said Mr. Galvin, who leaves for the Himalayas on Sunday 21st October.
Galvin's first book, 'Family Feud', was top of the best-seller charts for nearly three months, and the most shoplifted book in Irish publishing history. His third book, 'Contract with Controversy', is due out early in 2008, and publishers expect to sell 500,000 copies in Ireland and the UK alone. The Gilli Gilli Man' is Galvin's first work of fiction. The opening chapter has been published on the Internet at
For further information on next week's Mount Everest charity walk see
FROM AROUND THE COUNTIES:
Cork: Fans secure return of favourite chocolate bar
Three Cork students took their first bite of a Cadbury's Wispa bar in four years at a ceremonial 'tasting' last week. Joy Allen, Louise Cremin and Emily Hughes had petitioned Cadbury's to bring back Wispas and had managed to gather some fourteen thousand signatures through an internet campaign. Although Cadbury's has said the bar will be on sale for a limited period, sales have been brisk and if they continue so, then Wispas, first produced in the eighties, may be back to stay.
Cork: Cascade Wood to be saved from destruction
The Friends of the Environment have welcomed the Government's decision to designate Cascade Wood in Ballyvourney as a special area of conservation, thereby saving it from destruction during the building of the bypass on the main Cork top Killarney road. The wood, which includes a gorge which is the course of the Bohill river, contains a number of Irish oak, which are now relatively rare, in addition to seven of the ten species of bats found in Ireland. It is also home to a large population of the Kerry slug which has to be preserved under an EU preservation order.
Down: Viking village proposed for Killyleagh
A re-enactment group known as the Magnus Vikings Association has applied for planning permission to build a Viking village at Delamont Country Park in Killyleagh. The proposal envisages one large longhouse with a banqueting hall, capable of accommodating large numbers of children should a school visit coincide with wet weather, and five smaller houses, each illustrating an aspect of Viking life in Ireland.
Dublin: Dublin parish celebrates three hundred years
The parish of St Ann's in Dawson Street last week celebrated its tercentenary with a special service conducted by the vicar, the Rev. Canon Tom Haskins. Attending the Church of Ireland ceremony as guest of honour was President Mary McAleese and also present was Dublin's Lord Mayor Paddy Burke. St Ann's, the site of which was donated by Sir Joshua Dawson after whom the street is named, was the church in which the first president, Douglas Hyde, was married. It also has associations with other famous Irish people including Wolfe Tone, Thomas Barnardo and Bram Stoker.
Fermanagh: Railway children reunion in Enniskillen
Children of men who worked on the old railway system, and some of the former workers took a nostalgic train trip recently to remember the glory days of the Great Northern Railway and the Sligo Leitrim and Northern Counties Railway, which closed down fifty years ago. Recently some fifty members of the Irish Railway Record Society made a journey from Sligo to Enniskillen, including Caroline Guy, daughter of former station master Harry Taylor, and William Gault. William worked at Florencecourt, Belcoo and Enniskillen stations, starting as a boy porter in the 1950s. He was a guard on the last passenger train to leave Ennikillen on September 30, 2007.
Fermanagh: Expansion plans approved for caves
The geopark which currently comprises the Marble Arch Caves and Cuilcagh Mountain Park is to be expanded to more than ten times its present size, following approval by UNESCO. In its new form it will cover some forty thousand acres in the west of the county and will take in a number of scenic areas including the Lough Navar viewpoint, Castle Caldwell, and large stretches of forestry. The launch of the expansion plan for the geopark, the only such designated area in Northern Ireland, took place in the Tir Navar Centre in Derrygonnelly last week.
Kerry: Flax to flourish again in Milltown
Thomas O'Sullivan is the man behind a project to regenerate interest in the linen industry that once flourished in Milltown, concentrated on the land bounding the local river, Abha Solais. The history of fine linen in the town dates from mediaeval times, when it was exported around the world through Valentia. The flax was bleached in the sun around Bleach Road; Bleachfield is now the site of a holiday village while another local place name also has resonances of the industry - Tuarin Lin translates as "bleaching place of the flax". Thomas hopes to plant flax seeds in the area next March.
Kildare: Athy celebrates Dominican presence
The Dominican Community in Athy is celebrating seven hundred and fifty years in the town and a number of events took place at the weekend which involved local residents. A civic reception was hosted by the town council at Rathstewart to honour six members of the community, and an outdoor concert took place at Emily Square, featuring young performers from the town. A special Mass in the Dominican Church was preceded by the unveiling of a plaque to mark the occasion, at Convent Lane.
Laois: Portlaoise loses hotel
After some forty years the Montague Hotel on the Dublin Road in Portlaoise is closing. The hotel, which stands on a site of five acres, was built in 1968 by Con Hynes and became part of the Murphy Hotel Group thirteen years later. The hotel, and the Killeshin, also a Murphy Group Hotel, were purchased by Jim White's company ten years after that.
Leitrim: New name and new territory for old favourite
The Leitrim mobile cinema has been given a new name and will have an extended territory. Formerly known as Aisling Gheal Liatroma, the mobile cinema has been completely refurbished and will now be known as Cinema North West. Under this guise it will be showing films outside the library in Tubbercurry every week, while the World Cinema Nights will continue to entertain audiences in Manorhamilton and Carrick-on-Shannon. Under the management of Tommy Ahearne, the mobile cinema will screen ten films each season and an added attraction will be its availability for private viewings.
Longford: Bishop launches book in Ballinalee
Bishop of Ardagh and Clonmacnois Dr Colm O'Reilly performed the official launch last week of a book about one of the lesser known local leaders of the Independence movement. "Rising Out: Sean Connolly of Longford (1890-1921)" was written by Ernie O'Malley and has been edited by his son Cormac.
Monaghan: Black Island improvements begin
Improvement works have begun at Black Island Forest Park in Castleblayney, an initiative of Hope Heritage Partnership which has been allocated a sum of 57,000, part-funded by the European Union. A major part of the scheme is the renewal of the walk over the top of Black Island giving views over Lake Muckno.
Monaghan: Monaghan pub closes its doors with generous gesture
When Owen and Anne Smyth felt that the time had come to close the Roundhouse Bar on Church Square in Monaghan Town, they decided to go out with a bang rather than a whimper. For the last two days all drinks cost just two euro and all the proceeds, more than 4,000, were donated to Drumlin House in Cootehill and the Monaghan Branch of the Parents and Friends of the Mentally Handicapped. The pub, originally built in the early years of the nineteenth century and trading as a licensed premises since 1829, has been in the Smyth family for more than sixty years.
Roscommon: Strokestown proposal to go ahead
A decision has finally been made to give permission to EDA Cox Construction for the development of the Percy French Hotel in Strokestown. The company is planning to spend between 1.25m and 1.5m on demolishing the Lisroyne Inn and extending the hotel to comprise thirty-eight bedrooms, a leisure centre and a new function room.
Sligo: Ties from the famous make up patchwork
A patchwork wall-hanging made up of ties donated by famous people is the innovative idea of a group of women in Banada to raise funds for local charities. The idea came from Mary Quinn and she set about organising the writing of letters to celebrities all over Ireland and from all walks of life. Perhaps the most valuable tie came from designer John Rocha, a hand-beaded tie from next year's collection, while one of the most cherished is that sent by the parents of the late Cormac McAnallen.
Wexford: The modernisation of the meitheal
The meitheal, with farmers coming together to complete major tasks each year, may have largely died out, but one group of people has revived it to make life easier in the garden. Around twenty people on the Hook peninsula gather together each Saturday morning at the house of one member where they take two hours to carry out work on that member's garden; the host then supplies lunch.
Wicklow: A family outing with a difference
Many families go on outings together but the Shortt family's outing to Tullamore has to be a bit different. For farmer Peader Shortt, his son and his daughter, from Killoughter, Ashford, were all competing in the National Ploughing Championships. This is a first for the county, to have three people from the one family taking part. A three-time All-Ireland champion, Peader entered the three furrow open championship, his son John was in the under-28 championship and his daughter Helen, aged just sixteen, was a contestant in the Queen of the Plough competition.
FROM THE MAILBAG
While it's troubling enough to be amid the chaos of relocating, it was very unsettling to discover that even our email messages had decided to move! We continue to have problems with our primary internet provider and it would appear that any messages sent to us between September 28 and October 7th have been lost. And in fixing the problem, we also lost many of the messages we received before those dates. Very frustrating. We try to answer all of our e-mails, so if you haven't heard from us, that's the reason why. Please write again and we'll resume this feature next time. __________________________________________________________________
Great wee band makes big impression at Galway oyster festival
Seafood lovers were treated to a spectacular performance by the Friendship Band who played the four-day event at Nimmo's Pier. Read the story and watch the video.
Is Gaeilge the Irish language?
Quite by accident, we came across a web blog entitled Ireland from a Polish Perspective. And with that discovery, we stumbled upon a touching short film about a Chinese lad who learns Irish because he thinks that's what people in Ireland speak. Imagine his confusion when he arrives in Dublin and just about everyone he runs into can't understand him! Well worth viewing and it has a wonderful ending.
The Irish Page : Príosún Chluain Meala - The Jail of Clonmel
This time around, Jack & Vivian present a song that teaches us about the history of Ireland in the 1800s - a time of strife across the island when farmers weren't allowed to graze their cattle as before and ditches were dug around the grazing lands to prevent their use. Please click
Sinead O'Connor in top ten music videos
In a recent poll, Sinead O'Connor's Nothing Compares 2 U made it into the top ten of the best all-time music videos. If you'd like to view all of them, please click
Ulster's boy wonder
Reporter Claire McNeilly interviews Ulster's teenage golf sensation Rory McIlroy. Filmed and edited by Gary Grattan. To watch, please click
Celtic Shamrock Quiz
One of our favorite affiliate partners is Celtic Shamrock and they have made some nice additions to their web site including a short quiz to test how Irish you are. Click on Irish Heritage in the left-hand margin:
It's October and that means Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Be sure to remind all the women in your life to get checked out regularly and 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:
QUIPS & QUOTES , CURSES & PROVERBS, TOASTS & SAYINGS
"Everywhere I go I'm asked if I think the university stifles writers. My opinion is that they don't stifle enough of them. There's many a best-seller that could have been prevented by a good teacher." Flannery O'Connor
A BIT OF THE WIT
In honour of Oscar Wilde's birthday on October 16:
I always like to know everything about my new friends, and nothing about my old ones. __________________________________________________________
FAVORITE JOKE OF THE WEEK
This is adapted from one sent in by our good friend Pauline Dewberry:
An old lady was standing at the railing of the cruise ship holding her hat tight so that it would not blow away in the wind. A gentleman approached her and said, "Pardon me, madam. I do not intend to be forward but did you know that your dress is blowing up in this high wind?" "Yes, I know," said the lady. "I need both my hands to hold onto this hat." "But madam, you must know that you are not wearing any underwear" said the gentleman in earnest. The woman looked down, then back up at the man and replied, "Sir, anything you see down there is 85 years old. I just bought this hat yesterday!"
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. 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.
3. Dracula, written by Dubliner Bram Stoker, has never been out of print and has been translated into over 50 different languages?
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.
KNOW YOUR IRISH WRITERS
First off, the answers to our last quiz:
A tip of the hat and a pat on the back for the following irish bibliophiles:
Have you visited Occupy Till I come? It's an inspiring site featuring an assortment of writings by my wife Helen and her friends.
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.
Here is another place I just love and used to visit annually when at school ; we also spent our Wedding Anniversary there this year. Set in the heart of Kent, England, The Friars - Aylesford Priory - is an ancient religious house of the Order of Carmelites dating back to the 13th Century.
Déirdre McKiernan Hetzler
"Glorious Ireland" - next year's itinerary (22 May - 3 June, 2008)
Want to see your name and favorite web site in our next newsletter?
1. Seamus Heaney and the Emblems of Hope
2. How the Irish Invented Slang: The Secret Language of the Crossroads
3. Anzacs and Ireland
SPONSOR: Please help us keep the newsletter coming - visit our good friends at the Irish Lotto.
Interesting fact: Did you know Number 14, is the most commonly drawn number? It has been drawn 223 times, and it is most commonly drawn with the number 13.
Latest results: There was one winner of last Saturday's 4,804,472 Euro jackpot 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:
First off, the answer to our last noggin nagger.
Q: What row of numbers comes next?
A: The next row is
Explanation: Starting with the second line, every line describes the line before it. In writing, it is:
One Two One One etc.
Well done to Jim Turley who was first in. And now for our next 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?
THAT WAS THE WEEK THAT WAS
1. Article: How the Irish Invented Hallowe'en
2. Article: Creepy Irish Castles & Houses
3. Article: Creepy irish Creatures
4. Article: Ghosts
5. Article: The Dullahan
6. Article; The Legend of the Churchyard Bride
7. Irish Kitchen: Barmbrack
8. Basic Irish: Hallowe'en and Samhain
9. Kids' Ireland: A Midnught Dance
10: October Music Review: Woman of The house/Cherish the ladies; reviewedby William Ramatour
11. Circle of prayer - The second Novena in this cycle began on October 15 and ends on October 23. Whatever your spiritual leanings, please remember the following in your prayers or meditations: 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: The contest for October has been posted. Have you entered yet? All entries must be in by midnight, October 31, whatever time zone you're in:
So that's the long and the short of it until we're back in touch. 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.
Meanwhile, we leave you with this lovely old Irish blessing:
May Christ and His saints stand between you and harm. Mary and her Son. St. Patrick with his staff. Martin with his mantle. Bridget with her veil.
Michael with his shield. And God over all with His strong right hand.
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!
ANNOUNCEMENTS & EVENTS
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 - October 20
Irish-American Ceili Club Halloween Costume Party - 7 to 11 pm. Catered Dinner & Dancing to Noel Kingston. American Legion Hall
211 North 21 Avenue. For more info' or to Receive our monthly newsletter, please send an email to:
info @ www.irishamericanceiliclub.com
or call 954-522-4948 / 954-432-8292
Hollywood, Florida - November 17
Next ceili at the Irish-American Ceili Club. For more details, please click
LEAVE 'EM LAUGHING
Only in America would you find the following bizarre rules of the road culled from some of the driving laws that dstill loiter on the pages of state statutes. Possibly a fun list to read out loud over a few pints down at the pub?
It is illegal for a driver to be blindfolded while operating a vehicle.
It is illegal to tie a dog to the roof of your car.
It is illegal for a person to blare the horn on a vehicle at any place where cold drinks or sandwiches are served after 9 p.m.
It is illegal in San Francisco to buff or dry your car with used underwear.
If an elephant is tied to a parking meter, the owner or attendant must deposit money in the meter.
In Marietta, Georgia, it is illegal to spit from a moving car or bus, but is okay from a moving truck.
In Evanston, Illinois, it is unlawful to change clothes
while inside a car with the curtains drawn, except during a fire.
In Derby, Kansas, it is considered a misdemeanor to screech your tires while driving.
If you stop for ice cream while driving, be aware that it is considered unlawful to transport an ice cream cone in your back pocket.
You will be ticketed if you drive with a gorilla in the backseat of your car.
If you car breaks down in Detroit and you are waiting for assistance, be aware that sitting in the middle of the street to read a newspaper is illegal.
It is illegal to cross state lines, regardless if you are walking or driving, with a duck on your head. And, if you're crossing into Wisconsin, the law also applies to chickens.
In Whitehall, Montana, vehicles are prohibited from driving with ice picks attached to the wheels.
It is illegal to drive a camel on the highway.
If convicted of driving while intoxicated, you permanently lose the option of registering for a vanity license plate.
In Dunn, North Carolina, it is illegal to drive on a sidewalk.
In Oxford, Ohio, authorities will ticket you if you consecutively drive around the town square more than 100 times.
It is considered illegal to read a comic book while driving.
You will be ticketed if you leave your car door open longer than is deemed necessary.
If you spy a team of approaching horses, you are required by law to pull to the side of the road and cover your car with a blanket or dust cover that has been painted or sewn to blend into the scenery. But, if the horses react skittish to your efforts, you are then required to disassemble your car and hide the parts in the nearby underbrush.
In Hilton Head, South Carolina, you cannot leave trash in your vehicle out of fear of attracting rats.
It is illegal to fire a gun at any wild game other than whales from a moving car.
It is perfectly legal, for road maintenance purposes, to scavenge road kill.
This isn't all of them. If you'd like to read the whole lot, please click