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Greetings, Blessings and God save all here,

Last time we wrote, the frost was on the pumpkin; now, the ice is on the pond as winter begins to get a firm grip on our valley. We come back from our morning walks cherry-nosed like the postman in A Child's Christmas in Wales - the classic poem by Dylan Thomas. Last week, we saw a witty and whimsical musical adaptation put on by the Newgate Theatre here in town. It was a lot of fun and, as the PR says, "A charming prelude to the holiday season."

Well, the merry dance of madness has commenced. Here in the USA, this Thursday is Thanksgiving - the official beginning of the holidays. Our stores are jammed with shoppers all trying to find the best price on turkey and all the trimmings. Ours is ever so slowly thawing in the refrigerator and the time up until the feast (the "national day of gluttony, as Russ likes to call it) will be filled with cleaning. cooking and baking. Traditions must be adhered to, and not until Santa goes into Macy's after the parade will you hear a Christmas song in the haggerty Household. Bridget is in charge of what goes on the stereo first - and this year. she's leaning once again to Bing's Christmas in Killarney.
Enough about us.

We hope this edition find you and yours as fit as a fiddle and on the pig's back. We'd also like to welcome all of our new subscribers. If this is your first issue and you enjoy it, please feel free to forward to family and friends and encourage them to join us. Go raibh maith agat!
Please help keep our newsletter coming to your mailbox - visit our good friends at the Irish Lottery: Did you hear about the man who went out for a pint and came back with a winning lottery ticket?It's true! This past week, the wife sent himself out for a pint of milk, and on the spur of the moment he bought a ticket - and became a millionaire overnight. You could do the same - and you don't have to leave your chair! Just visit Irish Lotto on line. Plus, you don't have to live in Ireland to play, 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!
From the mailbag
Links of the week
Quips, quotes, proverbs & toasts
Joke of The Week
Did You Know
Writer's Quiz
The Week That Is & The Week that Will be, God Willing
Leave 'Em Laughing
No beer, no cheer: Bertie in November
It's November, the month every year that Taoiseach Bertie Ahern gives up his Bass for 30 days. But going on the tack also often means going on the attack. In the Dáil recently, he was in a mean mood, barely disguising his annoyance at the opposition who were clearly getting under his skin.

Clare: Music school planned for Doolin
John Flanagan and Richard Maher have lodged a planning application for the construction of a music school to give the village a focal point for its worldwide reputation as a centre of traditional music.

Dublin: Demolition of another old landmark
Work has begun on preparing the site of the Victorian Fish Market between Mary's Lane and Chancery Street for the demolition of the building. Judged as being "of no particular architectural merit," the building is to make way for "regeneration work."

Kildare: Scoile Bhríde 25 years on
A special flag raising ceremony, a Mass and a party were held recently to celebrate the twenty-fifth anniversary of Scoile Bhríde at Kilcullen. To the salute of an army drummer the flag was raised by Martin Allen, Annie O'Brien, Ronan Dempsey and Maxine Martin. The class of 1980 attended the special Mass as well as past teachers, past members of the Board of Management and present staff and pupils. The guest of honour was Paddy Power, who carried out the official opening of the school twenty-five years ago.

Kilkenny: Liam Clancy launches Slieverue festival
The world-famous singer launched the week-long Eigse Sliabh Rua in the Rhu Glen Country Club, while the opening lecture, "The Aylward Family of Faithlegg and Aylwardstown", was delivered by broadcaster and historian Julian Walton. The festival of music, poetry, local history and outings included a children's visit to the Brother Rice Museum and Mount Sion; a talk on historian Canon William Carrigan by Dr Fearghus O'Ferghail; and a lecture on Richard Lalor Shiel by Jim Walsh at the parish centre. The annual Eigse Mass took place in Slieverue.

Limerick: The Harris-ment of Limerick
After being inducted into the Hall of Fame and having a bronze statue erected, the late Richard Harris is to be further commemorated in his native city with a pub named after him. The newly completed Riverpoint building near the Shannon Bridge will have a premises on the ground and first floors named the Harris Bar and Brasserie. The new building is just a short distance away from where the old mill owned by the Harris family once stood.

Meath: Report published on Cruicetown cemetery
The publication of the report on Cruicetown cemetery last week, while rather overshadowed by the recent discovery of a number of crosses in Nobber, was nonetheless celebrated by archaeologist Niall Brady and his team of community employment scheme workers. Important headstones were found during the work on the cemetery. The three early Mediaeval High Crosses found in Nobber's old cemetery, meanwhile, have generated a good deal of attention to the importance of the settlement some one thousand years ago.

Monaghan: This one didn't wait for Hallowe'en
A lorry driver from Carrickmacross has recently revealed that some weeks ago he had a ghostly encounter while setting out for work early one morning. The man who lives in the Cloughvalley area of the town with his wife and two children but prefers not to be named, was making his way towards his parked lorry at Rockdaniel Road near the entrance to the Alderwood estate in the early hours of the morning. As he was passing through the Cloughvalley green area he saw a whitish-grey figure emerging from the former Monastery driveway; it eventually came to rest between two boulders on the edge of the Donaghmoyne Road. At this stage the lorry driver returned to his house and his wife has no doubt that he was telling the truth as he was white in the face and was unable to speak for a number of minutes.

Tyrone: Restoration project for Flight of Earls anniversary
Cookstown council is to purchase the land around Tullyhogue Fort, the site of the inauguration of Hugh O'Neill and his predecessors, in time for the four hundredth anniversary of the Flight of the Earls, which falls in 2007. As part of the restoration project a stone chair is to be recreated to symbolise that used by the O'Neill chiefs at the hill Fort. It is not known exactly what the original chair looked like but it is suggested that it might have been fashioned from stone brought from Grianán An Aileach on the Derry/Donegal border.

Tyrone: Landmark pub out of the family after 130 years
It's the end of an era for a family business in Omagh as a 131-year old pub has been sold into new ownership. The Campsie Bar has been in the McAleer family since it was founded in 1874 by Peter McAleer and later handed on to his son Charles Vincent (CV). The pub, which is also known as CV McAleer's, has been run by CV's nephew Eugene Boyle since 1969. New owners Scott and Ewing have assured Mr Boyle that the character of the pub would be retained after the handover, as would the name, the pub sign and the staff.

Waterford: Award for new restaurant
Although it has been open only three months a Waterford restaurant has been included in the Bridgestone Guide to the 100 Best Restaurants in Ireland, compiled by John and Sally McKenna. "33" is located in The Mall in Waterford city, in the building from which flew the first Irish tricolour in 1848, and it was opened by Turlough McNamara and Tom Drohan. Also included in the guide is Turlough McNamara's original restaurant, the Tramore-based Coast, as are the Bodega, Richmond House, The Tannery and Waterford Castle. The accompanying book, listing the best places to stay, features a number of Waterford venues including An Bohreen, Glasha Farmhouse, Gortnadiha, Hanora's Cottage and Powerfield House.

Wicklow: Greystones celebrates 150 years of the railway
Two events marked the celebration in Greystones of the one hundred and fiftieth anniversary of the arrival of the railway to the town. A special steam train trip was arranged which ran from Greystones to Wicklow . In addition, Ciaran Hayden and George Jones officially launched "Railway Encounters" by local author Peter McNiff, detailing the arrival of the railway and its effect on the town. This is Peter's second book; last year he published "Stories from a Small Town".

Colorado, USA: Irish-Style Beer Turned Into Cheap Fuel
The Coors brewing company is converting its waste products, including Killians Irish Red spilled during brewing, into ethanol to fuel cars, with the Irish-style beer turning out to be the most efficient fuel source. That's because it has a higher alcohol content than regular Coors beers, which converts to greater fuel content when converted to ethanol.

Chicago, USA: Pirate Queen's Story To Be A Musical
Grace O'Malley, the 16th century Irish pirate, is to be the subject of a big-budget Broadway musical from the producers of Riverdance and the creative team behind Les Misérables and Miss Saigon. The Pirate Queen, which will feature a cast of 40, will open in Chicago in October next year and then move on to Broadway a few months later.

South-Eastern USA: Tourism Ireland is to undertake a £2m marketing drive which will largely focus on the Scots-Irish connection in the south east. . Two exhibitions are to be held over the coming weeks, one in Tennessee and the other in Atlanta, to show those of a Scots-Irish background the attractions of the North in general and Downpatrick in particular.

Help us keep our newsletter coming to your mailbox. Please visit our good friends at the Celtic Attic:
The holidays are right around the corner! Decorate your life and home with a Celtic twist or please that special someone with a Celtic gift! We will also be giving away a FREE GIFT with each and every order in Nov & Dec.To see all of the lovely items on offer, please click on the following URLs or cut and paste either one into your browser:


For those of you who don't know, Hartson Dowd is a prolific contributor to this newsletter and to the Irish Kitchen on our web site. He has just had a major operation on his knee and his wife Helen has been keeping us updated on his progress. He has been moved from the big hospital in Vancouver to their community hospital in British Columbia. This means Helen can visit him every day - and their faithful canine companion, Rocky, can come, too. If you would like to send a card to Hart, here is the address :
Fraser Canyon Hospital
1275 7th Ave.
Hope, British Columbia, Canada
V0X 1L4
NOTE: no room number is necessary, as it is a very small hospital, and they all know who Hart Dowd is!

Mary Ellen from the Irish Echo Weekend Edition wrote to tell us that our Basic Irish section on the web site has been chosen as "one of the best sites on the internet to learn Irish." Naturally, we are thrilled - but it's all due to Aideen, our native Irish speaker who provides all of the translations and proninciations.

In our last newsletter, Judith wanted to know about leaving a cat behind when you moved. Renowned Irish story-teller Eddie Lenihan says it is an old tradition and that the reason why is to "leave the sickness/bad of the house behind".

A reader asks: Some years ago, I heard of an opera written by a Scot or an Irishman about the abduction and suicide of Helen Gunn. have been looking for this ever since and can't find it. Do you know anything about this and if there is a CD of it anywhere?

Darlene Levenson writes: I recently heard that Irish-wool making is becoming a dying art, because young people today in Ireland don't want to go into the trade. I can't remember if it was on a television show, such as 60 Minutes, or where I heard that. Do you know if it's true? I'd be so grateful for a response.

In answer to a question from Valeria about an Irish song called Angel, "Irish Royal" writes If it's the one I'm thinking of, it was originally written/performed by Sara MacLachlan. There's a gorgeous version of it on Tommy Fleming's Voice of Hope CD, recorded at Knock Cathedral.


Grace before Meals
In honour of Thanksgiving in the USA, Jack & Vivian of the Irish Page have created a special section on Grace before Meals in Irish - and even Latin! Please click

Out of Ireland - America's #1 Irish TV program
Presenting the best of modern Ireland in a magazine format, each week the program features highlights of the news from Ireland's national broadcasting service, RTÉ. The show also includes interviews with Irish and Irish-American celebrities and politicians and showcases Irish music and entertainment. Please click

An underwaterworld waiting to be discovered
Michael Viney looks at the science behind the exploration of Ireland's waters. Please click

In search of the perfect pint!
Pubfinder is the most comprehensive pub guide to the pubs and bars of Ireland and the United Kingdom. The listings are from their own research and submissions from pub owners and patrons. Please click

Free mammograms
Do you know of a woman who can't afford a mammogram? Here's how you can help. Go to the Breast Cancer site and click on their free mammogram link; if they get enough clicks , they'll be able to donate at least one free mammogram a day to underprivileged women. It takes just a minute and there's no cost involved:

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:

In memoriam clipping from a cork news paper:
Due to the sad death of Paddy,  the pub to all intents and purpose, will remain closed during our grief;  but so as not to inconvenience  our esteemed customers, the door will remain ajar.  'Tis what Paddy wanted.
1. The prehistoric tombs at Newgrange in County Meath are older than the Great Pyramids of Egypt?
2. New York's Central Park was modelled on St. Stephen's Green in Dublin?
3. Balbriggan, Co. Dublin, was once the hosiery capital of the world? Around the turn of the century stockings and tights were widely known as 'Balbriggans'.
We've published this one before but it's so good, it's worth reading again. At least, we think so! It's a true story and our good friend Eileen McTiernan reminded us of it. Thanks, Eileen!
The following is an exchange of correspondence between a customer and Irish Rail:

Gentlemen, I have been riding trains daily for the last two years, and the service on your line seems to be getting worse every day. I am tired of standing in the aisle all the time on a 14-mile trip. I think the transportation system is worse than that enjoyed by people 2,000 years ago.
Yours truly,
Patrick Finnegan
Dear Mr. Finnegan, We received your letter with reference to the short-comings of our service and believe you are somewhat confused in your history. The only mode of transportation 2,000 years ago was by foot.
Larnrod Eireann.
Gentlemen, I am in receipt of your letter, and I think you are the ones who are confused in your history. If you will refer to the Bible, Book of David, 9th Chapter, you will find that Balaam rode to town on his ass. That, gentlemen, is something I have not been able to do on your train in the last two years!
Patrick Finnegan
Help us keep your newsletter free. Please visit our good friends at Lollysmith:
Cap off your Christmas shopping gift list with authentic Irish caps from Hanna Hats of Donegal! Just in! See these and many more gifts imported directly from Ireland, including Jewelry and Shamrock Seeds, Connemara Marble, Tin Whistles, Bodhráns, and much more. So, stop by soon. Lollysmith is always open and they 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 genuine Irish Blackthorn and Hazel Walking Sticks! Please click:
To begin with, the answers to our last quiz:
1. Kevin Barry & His Time by Donal O'Donovan
2. A Martyr Bishop - The Story of St. Oliver Plunkett by John McKee
3. The Great Melody : A Thematic Biography of Edmund Burke by Conor Cruise O'Brien
Hats off to our brilliant Irish bibliophiles:

Patricia Edwards
I love visiting castles, so I enjoy looking at this site:

Helen Dowd
Check out the new entries in the children's section - by children.
ED. NOTE: And please continue to vote for Helen's site in the Top Christian sites list. She's just a few hundred votes short of moving up another notch!

Pauline Dewberry
'Dogs come when called. Cats take a message and get back to you!'

Déirdre McKiernan Hetzler
Tour Glorious Ireland -June 28 - July 12, 2006
To see the proposed itinerary, please visit:

Rita Roche
I must say that my husband and I went on a CIE tour of Ireland in April 2005 and loved it. guess my favorite website would be:
We are hoping to return next year!

Want to see your name in our next newsletter? Send us the names of the authors who wrote the following:
1. Winter Blessings: Thoughts and Poems to Warm Your Heart
2. Moments That Changed Us
3. Lark's Eggs

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 previous Noggin' Nagger:
A headless man had a letter to write;
It was read by a man who had lost his sight.
The dumb repeated it word for word;
And deaf was he who listened and heard.
Q. What is it?
A. Zero
Lots of brilliant solutions as always, but first in was Mrs. Marshall. Well done!
And now to our next cranium cruncher:
Three playing cards in a row. Can you name them with these clues?
There is a two to the right of a king.
A diamond will be found to the left of a spade.
An ace is to the left of a heart.
A heart is to the left of a spade.
Now, identify all three cards.

1. Article: Aran Isle Sweaters
2. Article: Many Years Ago
3. Article: The Rosary & All the Trimmings
4. Article: A Step Back in Time - A visit to the Great Blaskets
5. Article: Tribute to Turlough
6. The Irish Kitchen: Homeland Irish Christmas Cake
7. Basic Irish: Written Communication
8. Kids' Ireland: The Young King
9. Circle of Prayer: Our fifth Novena in this cycle began on November 11th and ends on November 19th. Our sixth Novena begins on November 20th. We have had prayer requests from several people: Susan Kelsey in Winchester, England, Nicole in Belfast, and Joe McTiernan in Florida. Also, please continue to pray for Hartson's speedy recovery, for Mally Keelan's family, for the victims of the recent tornadoes in the USA., and for our military personnel all over the world, especially those in Iraq and Afghanistan. Whatever your spiritual leanings, please visit our Novena page:
10. Sunday Blessing: A selection of Blessings & Graces in time for a holiday feast:
11. New in the Library - The Sea by JohnBanville
12. Trivia Contest. Have you entered yet? You can't win it if you're not in it. All entries must be in by midnight November 30, whichever time zone you're in:

With the holidays looming. we'll be looking for seasonal articles, republishing past stories, and doing whatever we can to keep you entertained and coming back. Please visit us daily if you can as we publish the headlines from Ireland every day and we also update the history, page.

To that's the long and the short of it until we write again . For all of our friends in the USA, we wish you a safe and happy Thanksgiving Holiday. And for each and every reader all over the world, may the Good Shepherd of us all watch over you and your family, keep you from harm, and cradle you in the mantle of His gentle love and care.
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
It is always such a joy to receive a contribution to help keep us going; this time around, we'd like to thank Mrs. Frances Dovel for her sweet gift. Go raibh maith agat!
If you like our newsletter and the website, please help 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 this one:
Many thanks in advance for your kindness

Dublin, Ireland Opera Ireland Winter Season
LA TRAVIATA (Verdi) - Co-production with Theater Aachen
With RTE Concert Orchestra and Opera Ireland Chorus
November 19, 21, 23, 25 and 27 at 7.30 pm
For complete details, please click:

Last weekend! Saturday & Sunday 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 new.gate@fuse.net.

Studio City, CA - December 2-December 23
Christmas O'Carol Adapted by Dan Conroy and Michael Sean McGuinness from Dickens' Christmas Carol.The Celtic Arts Center. For complete details, please click

Dania, Florida-December 3
Tropical Acres Steakhouse, 2500 Griffin Road.
Tickets [$25] in advance by calling 954-432-8292 / 954-522-4948
For more details, please click

Carnegie Hall, New York City - December 8
The Irish Sopranos in The Magic of Christmas. Featuring the beautiful voices of Wendy Dwyer, Kay Lynch and Deidre Masterson Also on the bill are Ciaran Sheehan, Gay Willis, Marble Community Gospel Choir, the Festival Youth Chorus, New York Festival Orchestra, the Garden State Children Dance Company and the Gaelic Harpists. For tickets contact the CarnegieCharge at 212 247 7800. For Group tickets contact 914- For details, contact Anita Daly, Daly Communications, 212-772-0852 . Tell her Bridget said hello!
Below are actual insurance claim form gaffes gathered by a Brit company for inclusion in their annual Christmas mag.azine:

"First car stopped suddenly, second car hit first car and a haggis ran into the rear of second car."

"Windscreen broken. Cause unknown. Probably Voodoo."

"Coming home, I drove into the wrong house and collided with a tree I don't have."

"I started to slow down but the traffic was more stationary than I thought."

Q: Could either driver have done anything to avoid the accident?
A: Travelled by bus?

The claimant had collided with a cow. The questions and answers on the claim form were:
Q - What warning was given by you? A - Horn
Q - What warning was given by the other party? A - Moo

"I started to turn and it was at this point I noticed a camel and an elephant tethered at the verge. This distraction caused me to lose concentration and hit a bollard."

"On approach to the traffic lights the car in front suddenly broke."

"I didn't think the speed limit applied after midnight"

"I knew the dog was possessive about the car but I would not have asked her to drive it if I had thought there was any risk."

"The other car collided with mine without giving warning of its intention."

"I thought my window was down, but I found out it wasn't when I put my head through it".

"I collided with a stationary truck coming the other way".

"In an attempt to kill a fly, I drove into a telephone pole."

"I had been shopping for plants all day and was on my way home. As I reached an intersection a hedge sprang up obscuring my vision and I did not see the other car."

"My car was legally parked as it backed into the other vehicle."

"The indirect cause of the accident was a little guy in a small car with a big mouth"

"I was thrown from the car as it left the road. I was later found in a ditch by some stray cows."

"An invisible car came out of nowhere, struck my car and vanished."

"I was on my way to the doctor with rear end trouble when my universal joint gave way causing me to have an accident."