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Greetings and blessings to all...

The warmest of welcomes to everyone - and a special hello to our newest subscribers. Many thanks for joining us and please feel free to forward our meanderings and musings on to your family and friends.

We hope this edition finds you in good health, good spirits and good company. As for ourselves, if you're a pet lover you will understand our sense of total frustration and misery as we spent most of the week looking for one of our two feline companions who went missing last Sunday night.

We've scoured the neighborhood, distributed flyers, visited the local shelter, reported a missing pet and said constant prayers to both St. Francis and St. Anthony. It will be a week tomorrow and while we haven't given up hope, it doesn't look promising. Roxie is pretty much an in-door pet; we let her out on occasion when the weather is good and she always stayed close to home. Her playmate Pepper went out with her - but this time, Pepper came in without her when we called them in. We took turns staying up all night Sunday, hoping she'd come home. But she didn't. Our dear friend Pauline in England wrote to us about a cat who showed up after being gone for ten years! What we're worried about now is that what with selling the house, what if she comes home after we move? If she hasn't shown up by then, we've decided to leave a flyer with the new owners. We don't know what else to do.

Ironically, in looking for Roxie in the back yard, Russ observed a huge carpet of snow drops now covering the hillside; it's breath-takingly beautiful, and when he's not quite so low, he's promised to take a photo so you can see them; the daffs and crocuses are also up and Herself saw bunches of daffodils on sale at the store today. Did you know that many of the daffodils you see in American stores come from Ireland? They're hand-picked on a Friday and shipped out immediately so they'll be in the US by the weekend! Anyway, the spring flowers are always a reminder that no matter what happens, life does go on, season after season - and in a sweet, gentle way, it's a comfort.

Seeing the daffodils also reminds us to wish all of our Celtic brethren from Wales a Happy St. David's Day on March 1st. We also hope everyone enjoyed their last fling before Lent on Shrove Tuesday.

Tomorrow is Leap Year Day - did you know that according to legend, St. Brigid told St. Patrick that she thought it was unfair only men could propose and that women should be given the opportunity. St. Patrick agreed and decreed that every Leap Year, women could do the asking.

Enough about us...

In news from Ireland:
Co. Dublin: Miss World Rosanna Davison has been named as Grand Marshal of the St Patrick's Festival Parade in Dublin. The theme of this year's parade is 'Glorious' and a cast of 3,500 people is set to take part.

Co. Dublin: According to a new plan, Dublin's south quays could become a tree-lined promenade after the port tunnel opens next year, with traffic reduced to one lane for buses, taxis and cyclists.

Co. Cork: It's a night of history at Páirc Uí Rinn, where hurling's first ever floodlit competitive match sees Cork entertaining Wexford in the Allianz Hurling League this evening. Throw-in is at 7:30pm Irish time.

Co. Sligo: Sligo International Choral Festival, now the second largest festival of its kind in Ireland and probably the largest singular artistic and cultural event in the North West, has established links with the International Eistefodd in Llangollen, Wales, which is the biggest choral festival in Europe, if not the world.

Co. Galway: John Anderson from Moycullen, caught the first salmon of the season at the Galway Weir Salmon Fisher on February 18. The 9.5 lb fish was taken on a Gold-bodied Garydog tube fly. Mr. Anderson very kindly donated the salmon to Galway's Meals on Wheels Association.

Co. Mayo: The Minister for Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs Eamon O'Cuív has given the go ahead for a cable car to be constructed between Inis Bigil and the mainland.

In news from all over:
Seattle, Washington: Paul Brady from Mullahoran, Co. Cavan, won $50,000 - the largest prize-money event in handball history - beating David Chapman in the Ultimate Handball Showdown as it came to be called which took place in Seattle Washington, last weekend.

From the mailbag:
Amy writes: Appallingly, there are potential plans to build a motorway through the Boyne Valley. Motorways in general are not always a bad thing, but I am shocked that, despite the horrible traffic around Dublin, such a rich site of archeological and historical treasures would be so threatened. If you are as opposed to this as I am, you can sign an online petition here: http://www.petitiononline.com/hilltara/petition.html
For full details, you can also visit the website:

Pookie writes: I'm looking for the Pan Pipes CD called Irish Classics that I believe came out last year. I already own Irish Dreams. Is it still available?
Note: We checked our usual sources and came up short.

Mary would like ideas for children's Irish games and/or activities for her daughter's multi-cultural day

Links of the week:
Our very generous sponsor for our Trivia page, Dublin artist, Roger Cummiskey, has an exhibit coming up at the Old Courthouse in Howth - but you can see a sneak preview here:

St. Patrick's Day greeting cards

Relaxation time

St. Francis link
Call it serendipity, but Jack let us know about his new page just when we were in the midst of saying fervent prayers for Roxie

Pot O'Gold Counting Game for the kids

Packing tips for modern travelers
With the new checked baggage screening procedures in place, the Transportation Security Administration has offered a few packing strategies to make your next trip go as smoothly as possible:

Vets of D-Day Get Free Days
To honor a war in which we fought shoulder-to-shoulder with the French, Rail Europe is offering free France Railpasses to any veteran of the Battle of Normandy in 1944. The free pass allows four days of first-class rail travel in a two-month period, and it's available April 15 for travel this spring, summer or fall. Veterans who want the pass should go to www.normandiememoire.com and sign up for a 60th anniversary commemorative badge; they'll then get an e-mail about how to get the free pass.

And last, but definitely 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!

Enough of the blitherin' - on with the update:
Help keep our newsletter free - visit our newest sponsor: Go Ireland
Go Ireland are delighted to offer a very wide range of Walking and Hiking Tours in Ireland, in some of the most scenic, historical and culturally rich regions on this beautiful island of ours. Enjoy the natural beauty, the cultural diversity and the Heritage of Ireland and everything else which makes Ireland so special - the people, the humour, the hospitality, the unforgettable scenery, the history and yes - the passion, the poetry, the creativity. Check out:
A Bit of The Wit
Joke of The Week
Did You Know?
Quotes & Quips
Know Your Irish Writers & Books?
New This Week
The Week Ahead
Adapted from one sent in by Patricia Edwards - thank you!
Long ago, when men cursed and beat the ground with sticks, it was called witchcraft. Today, it's called golf.
This one came in from Anna, Gulfport, Mississippi - Thank you!
John Smith was the only Protestant to move into a large Catholic neighborhood. On the first Friday of Lent, John was outside grilling a big juicy steak on his grill. Meanwhile, all of his neighbors were fixing fish. This went on each Friday of Lent. On the last Friday of Lent, the neighborhood men got together and decided that something had to be done about John - he was tempting them to eat meat each Friday of Lent, and they couldn't take it anymore. They decided to try and convert John to be a Catholic. They went over and talked to him and were so happy that he decided to join all of his neighbors and become a Catholic. They took him to Church, and the Priest sprinkled some water over him, and said, "You were born a Baptist, you were raised a Baptist, and now you are a Catholic." The men were so relieved, now their biggest Lenten temptation was resolved. The next year's Lenten season rolled around. The first Friday of Lent came, and just at supper time, when the neighborhood was sitting down to their fish dinner, came the wafting smell of steak cooking on a grill. The neighborhood men could not believe their noses! WHAT WAS GOING ON? They called each other up and decided to meet over at John's place to see if he had forgotten it was the first Friday of Lent. The group arrived just in time to see John standing over his grill with a small pitcher of water. He was sprinkling some water over his steak on the grill, saying, "You were born a cow, you were raised a cow, and now you are a fish."
1. St Patrick, Missouri is the only town in the world with a post office named for the patron saint of Ireland?
2. Despite it's association with our patron saint, Croagh Patrick in Co. Mayo has been a holy mountain since pagan times?
3. St. Patrick is also the patron saint of engineers?
Help us keep this newsletter free by visiting the The Irish Lottery:
Remember the Irish Hospital Sweepstakes? It was replaced by the Irish Lotto in 1988. Since then it has become one of the most trusted lotteries in the world. Drawings are held every Wednesday and Saturday. Best of all, you don't have to live in Ireland to play and all winnings are tax-free. Do you have the luck of the Irish? Play the Irish lottery and find out! Please click here for full details:
"I'm having difficulty getting the doctors around here to sign the appropriate form."
Spike Milligan on seeking permission to celebrate his 80th birthday with a 12,000 foot skydive.
First off - the answers to last week's quiz:

1. The Wisdom of St. Patrick: Greg Tobin
2. The Wearing of the Green: A History of St. Patrick's Day: Mike Cronin,
Daryl Adair
3. St. Patrick's Secrets: 1001 Little Known Truths & Tales of Ireland: Helen Walsh Folsom

Clap your feet for this week's literary sleuths:

Ellen Parodi
Namely Gifts at http://namelygifts.com
Personalized Name Keepsakes and Gifts
Something for every name on your gift list!

Pat Battles

Déirdre McKiernan Hetzler
"Glorious Ireland in May" May 25 - June 8, 2004
To request a brochure or see the itinerary, please visit us at: http://www.irishbook.com/tours.htm
NOTE: Déidre is in Ireland even as we write this - we hope she's having a great time and wish her a safe journey home.

Helen Dowd
Please visit my website and check out the newest Bible study series: Christ's Ministry Series

Hartson Dowd
The Embassy of Ireland ˆ Washington, D.C. Includes sites with information on Ireland and links to Irish web pages, state sponsored agencies/resources. universities and colleges in Ireland; Travel and Tourism;

Kathryn Wager

Judy Ritter
A free knitting pattern for an aran afghan! The pattern is color-coded for easy reference.

Cliff Maloney

Want to see your name and favorite site on our list? Try to find the following authors - we assure you, it's really easy! Who wrote:
1, The Writings of St. Patrick: The Apostle of Ireland
2, St. Patrick's Purgatory: Lough Derg
3. The Spirituality of St. Patrick
Hint: You'll find all the titles here:

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. 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!)
3. Click through on the Hint URL above, tell us the title and earn another entry into the Trivia drawing. NOTE: It would be very helpful if you would send your entries to: bhaggerty@irishcultureandcustoms.com
Help keep our newsletter coming - visit our friends at the Celtic Attic
Buy now for St. Patrick's Day! We have just added about 80 new products ranging from Shamrock Lights, to Kids and Baby clothing to Irish Lucky Pennies and much more. Order over $100 and receive a $5.00 gift certificate good off any future purchase:
And don't forget to to enter the Free Giveaway for February. Our lucky winner will receive a Hearts and Flowers Gift Basket which includes Tea, Candy, Flowers and a Heart Pendant:
To start with, the answer to last week's:
A young peasant wanted to marry the king's daughter. The king didn't like the idea of his daughter marrying a peasant, but he wanted to appear fair in front of his subjects. The king said that he would put two pieces of paper into a hat, one reading EXILE and the other reading MARRIAGE. Later that day, the peasant overheard the king saying that both pieces of paper would read EXILE, thus ensuring that the peasant would be out of his way for good. The peasant remained undaunted and, as arranged, arrived at the king's court where a large crowd gathered for the big event. The peasant then did something that assured him the hand of the king's daughter.
Q. What did he do?
A. The peasant picked one of the pieces of paper and tore it up. He then asked the king to show him the other piece of paper which, of course, said EXILE. The king, not wishing to appear fraudulent in front of his subjects, granted that the piece of paper the peasant had picked must have said MARRIAGE.
We had many "correct" answers - i.e. somehow, the peasant had to destroy one of the pieces of paper. First in was Jim Turley - well done! Honorable mention goes to Hartson who had the answer exactly.
And now for this week's head-banger (actually, it's a pretty easy one)
Mr. and Mrs. Murphy have six daughters and each daughter has one brother. How many people are in the Murphy family?

==================================================================Please help us to keep this newsletter free - visit our good friends, LollySmith:
Welcome to our Irish Gift Shop where the countdown to St. Patrick's Day is well underway. We have what you need to look the part - and party! Caps, shirts, walking sticks, Guinness gear and glasses, lapel pins and more! Stock up now and enjoy great prices, quick shipping, and friendly, personalized service
1. Home Page - See what's new or recycled at a glance:
2. New - Article (sort of!): Your St. Patrick's Day Party - Irish or Oirish? http://www.irishcultureandcustoms.com/StPat_Party.html
3. Republished - Article: Celebrating St. Patrick's Day in Old Ireland
4. Republished - Article: St. Patrick's Day Around the World, 2003
5. Republished - Article: Party Down in Dublin Town, 2003
6. Republished - Article: Corned Beef & Cabbage - the Feeding of a Myth
7. On-going - Trivia quiz for February
Time's running out!. All entries must be received by midnight, February 29, whatever time zone you're in.
8. On-going - Circle of Prayer: Our 8th Novena in this cycle began on February 26 and ends on March 5. Our 9th Novena begins next Saturday. Our only prayer request this week is from ourselves - please pray that our missing pet will be found safe and well - thank you. Please also remember Doug , Ryan Declan, Eileen's brother Bob, her son Christopher, Maggie's family and friends, Bob and Kathy in Utah, Debbie's friend Bertha, Rita, Lindsea, Dianne, Claire, C.J., baby Christopher, Sam, Steven & Margaret, the Mulligans and our men and women in the military , especially Paul and Ashley serving in Iraq. Whatever your spiritual leanings, we hope you will join us each day:
9. On-going - Irish News: Headlines for the past week
10. On-going -This month in Irish History:

We didn't get much accomplished this past week - we'll try to make amends. Coming up - the first of the month, so we'll have a new quiz. And we do need to update the Culture Corners. We'll also have a new lesson, and, as always, a blessing on Sunday, a new quote on Wednesday, and a recipe from Hartson's extensive collection of seafood recipes - 'tis Lent, after all.

So there you have it for another week except for the always critically important dates from our wild and wacky calendar - some important, others just plain old fun and frivolous: Today is Floral Design Day, National Chocolate Soufflé Day and Kalevala Day in Finland. Tomorrow, the 29th is Leap Year Day. March 1 is National Pig Day, Peanut Butter Lover's Day, Mechanic's Day, and St. David's Day, a national holiday in Wales. March 2 is Read Across America Day, observed the week of Dr. Seuss's birthday. (2004 would have been Dr. Seuss's 100th!) It's also Texas Independence Day. March 3 is American National Anthem Day, March 4 is hug a soldier day, March 5 is World Day of Prayer, and March 6 is Dentist's Day and National Frozen Food Day! Celebrating a birthday, anniversary or other special event this week? We hope it's a joyous occasion for you and yours! Can't wait to find out what's coming up for the rest of the month? Check out: http://www.butlerwebs.com/holidays/february.htm or

Until next time, pinch, punch first day of the month, white rabbit on Monday - and if you are getting married or tied the knot in March, here's the verse: "If you wed when March winds blow, joy and sorrow both you'll know."

May God and His angels wrap you and yours in a mantle of love and protection, 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
Are you a loyal reader of our newsletter? Your voluntary donation will help us keep sending it around the world each week. Please give whatever you can to Russ and Bridget, 5670 Meryton Place, Cincinnati, OH, 45224. Donations can also be made via PayPal at
Our email address there is haggertyr@primax.net
FREE shamrock seeds for any donation over $25! Many thanks in advance for your kindness.
Events & Classifieds
Note: To avoid duplication, we list only those events not mentioned in the comprehensive listing put together by The Wild Geese. To check their Events Page, please click:
The Irish Heritage Newsletter also lists events - if you'd like to subscribe, just send a note to George at Steeler059@aol.com
And, if you're in Ireland, or lucky enough to be visiting, you can see what's on offer here:

Austin, Texas - March 2
Eire Japan: Bothy Band charter member Paddy Keenan (uilleann pipes), De
Dannan founder Frankie Gavin (fiddle, flute), and Junji Shirota (guitar)
will be at the Cactus Cafe, Texas Union University of Texas campus
2247 Guadalupe, Tuesday, March 2. This will be their ONLY appearance in Texas. Don't miss them! For more details:

Dublin - The Point - March 5
Nokia UCD Arts Fashion show
The charity group Aware will be the beneficiary of this year's Nokia UCD Arts Fashion Show which is expected to be the biggest event in the show's 18-year history. Tickets for the show are available at all Ticketmaster outlets or http://www.ticketmaster.ie
Dallas, Texas - Saturday March 6 & Sunday, March 7
North Texas Irish Festival, Fair Park, Dallas.
This is the largest Celtic Festival in the Southwest, at which the
finest of World and Regional Celtic Bands will be featured on 4 stages. There will be vendors galore, Celtic Assoc. and Clan booths and the best Irish food around. For more details, visit the website at www.ntif.org.

New York City - March 9 through March 21
The Irish Arts Center will be presenting the show "An Evening with Ronnie Drew (formerly of the Dubliners) and special guest Mike Hanrahan." The Irish Arts Center is located at 553 West 51st, New York, NY 10019. Tickets are $35/$40 and may be purchased from Smarttix at 212- 868-4444 or online at www.smarttix.com.

March 13-14
Sean-nós work-shop with Treasa Ní Mhiolláin from Inis Mór, Aran Islands. For more details, please contact Elizabeth: info@irish-culture.ch

Galveston, Texas - March 28
Galveston 1894 Grand Opera House - James Galway, flautist. More details coming.

Melbourne-based graduates' dinner
The 5th Annual Irish University Link Dinner, for graduates of Irish universities living in Melbourne, is taking place at The Celtic Club, 316-320 Queen Street, Melbourne at 7:00pm on Friday, March 19 For more information or to book tickets please contact the Queen's University Belfast Alumni Association secretary, Danny Rooney, at mailto:rooneydanny@hotmail.com, or the UCD Melbourne Chapter President, Gerry O'Reilly, at mailto:goreilly@iinet.net.

Zurich - Irish Set Dancing Workshop
April 3 & 4 with Pat Murphy (Westport) and Tony Ryan (Galway)
For more information, please click

Day of Welcomes from April 19 to May 1
The 'Day of Welcomes' on Saturday 1st May marks the historic day when 10 new countries join the 15 current member states of the E.U. For more details, click

ReJoyce Dublin 2004
Celebrating the centenary of Bloomsday, the day on which James Joyce's masterpiece "Ulysses" is set. Ireland is planning a world-class, five-month festival lasting from 1 April 2004 to 31 August 2004. For more details, click

Nova Scotia, Canada - May 26-29
Cais Conference/Reunion, Saint Mary's University, Halifax. The theme is "Mother Tongues: The Languages of Ireland." For details, please click

6th Int'l McManus Clan Association Gathering May 25th through May 31st
For full details please visit our website at:
or contact Phil McManus at Manus@aol.com

June 7th through 14th - 100 Years of the Abbey Theatre in Galway and Dublin. Trip includes 3 nights in Galway and 3 nights in Dublin. For more information, contact Kathleen Dixon Donnelly, Ph.D., at kdonnellycom@aol.com

7th Clann McKenna Rally - June 25th through Sunday June 27th
For details, please write plunkettmckenna@eircom.net
or click on the following link:
Send an email to: bhaggerty@irishcultureandcustoms.com
OR click on this link: