Welcome to the Irish Culture & Customs newsletter which is published every week or so and sent out to well over 3,700 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:
If, for any reason, you wish to unsubscribe, instructions are at the very end - but we do hope you'll stay with us. And  if you need to update your info' or change your email address, you can do that at the end too.
Greetings and Blessings to all,

The warmest of welcomes and a special hello to our new readers. If this is your first issue and you enjoy our musings and meanderings, please pass them along to family and friends. Meanwhile, we hope this edition finds you all in good health, good company and good spirits. 

As for ourselves, a friend pointed out that the new year is the James Bond  secret agent number. We hadn't made that connection, but if the events of the past two weeks are anything to go by, it's  shaken not stirred so far! 

There has been a great deal of sadness and concern on our end as Russ lost one of two remaining uncles. While Uncle Don, RIP, was 85 when he passed, his death was completely unexpected. The funeral was today and if any good is to come of it, it has put us back in touch with family in Rhode Island and made us realize that we need to a better job of staying connected with them. 

There was also a demise of a different  kind - but equally as devastating for all concerned as an Irish-run business in the USA announced that after forty years it was closing at the end of February. As soon as the owners say it's okay to go public with the news, we'll give you more details. For now, all we can tell you is that it will be a great loss for the Irish-American community and Irish-American enterprise.

There were other distractions that kept us from writing sooner - and bless the Good Lord, not all of them negative. We enjoyed a great time with our adult kids during our gift exchange the day after Epiphany.  It was also when we all opened gifts from Russ' sister Renee and her family in Washington DC. The big hit was a sweathirt for Russ which had the saying on the front: "Careful or you'll end up in my novel." Perfect.

Also perfect in our book (and especially kind to our heating bills) is the weather which continues to remain extraordinarily mild. We did see a light dusting of the white stuff the other morning but it was gone within an hour. When one considers today's hard frost in California, the recent huge snow storms in Colorado and  and the warm weather here and in the northeast, it's been a very weird winter so far.  Which brings us to that old Chinese blessing or curse: may you live in interesting times. According to the Church calendar, with Epiphany gone by we are now in "ordinary time."  To our way of thinking, there's nothing ordinary about now at all!  Enough of of he blatherin' -  on with the update....

Many of you send us wonderful messages telling us how much you look forward to receiving our newsletters. And we are truly appreciative of your kind comments. However,  we also need about a dollar from each subscriber to go with the compliments.  So far,  we've received several contributions and we thank you so very much for your generosity.   But if we're to cover all of our our out-of-pocket expenses for the year, more donations are needed.  We truly dislike asking, but we really don't have a choice if we're to keep the newsletter coming without charge and all of our web site content available to every visitor.   So, as usual, we will run this appeal for the month of January and we thank you in advance for any help you can give us. Donations can be made in any currency safely and securely via PayPal at:
and to this account:

or by snail mail to:
Bridget & Russ Haggerty
5670 Meryton Place
Cincinnati, OH 45224.

Go raibh maith agat in advance and, as always, Bridget imagines lines of postmen coming up the driveway with sacks of letters! It hasn't happened so far, but we'll take pictures if it does.
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
Happy New year! Up to 55 million text messages were reportedly sent from Irish mobile phones over the New Year. The figure is based on a prediction by a mobile messaging company and amounts to around 14 messages for each of Ireland's four million mobile users. It is also more than three times the number of text messages sent on Irish phones on New Year's Eve in 2003. 

Pilot Scheme For New Loos in Capital
Locals & Tourists alike will be relieved to hear  much-needed public toilets could soon be back on the streets of Dublin. A spokeswoman described the area for the initial lavatories as high demand, only yards from the night spots of Temple Bar and the Nite-link bus terminus.

From around the counties:
Belfast: 108th birthday for woman who saw the Titanic
Lilian Spence, who still lives next door to the famous Spence's chip shop that her late husband Eddie founded on the Beersbridge Road in 1921, was born on New Year's Eve 1898.   Her father worked on the ill- fated Titanic . "I do recall he took us down to see it," Lilian recalled. "It was huge." 

Cavan: McMahon Newsagents to close
Next Sunday will see the closure of John and Helen McMahon's newsagents in Town Hall Street, Cavan town. For the past thirty years the couple has opened every morning at 7.30am and half an hour earlier on Sundays to accommodate Mass-goers and early risers.  king service and newsagents in 1977.

Clare: Clare Museum is Ireland's second most visited
According to recent figures. 39,500 people visited the museum in 2006 placing it ahead of eleven other similar facilities throughout the country.

Cork: Red tape leads to tower's collapse
Although money had been allocated last year for preservation work to be carried out on a tower at Innishannon dating from the fifteenth century, the county council had not signed off the contract before the pre-Christmas storms hit the area. The result was that the eastern side of the tower was totally destroyed and damage was also caused to parts of two other walls. The tower is located in a Huguenot graveyard and the falling masonry also caused some damage in its immediate vicinity. According to Kevin Murphy, local councilor and member of the National Historical Advisory Committee, the tower will now have to be restored rather than repaired.

Donegal: Half a century of weaving in Ardara
Eddie Doherty from Ardara is the last commercial weaver in the county and he recently celebrated fifty years at the craft. He began his apprenticeship to the trade at Molloy's tweed factory and branched out on his own, with support from Magee's of Donegal town, when the factory closed eighteen months later. The tweed garments made by Eddie, in the shed at the back of the family's pub which is run by his son Eamon, are exported to Europe and the United States. He has two looms, one dating from 1923 and the one he uses at present, which was made in 1967.

Donegal: Flight of the Earls website launched
Set up by Donegal County Council, the site is part of year-long celebrations to mark the death of the ancient Gaelic aristocracy and beginning of the plantation of Ulster. The site will be built in three stages between January and March and will incorporate regular updates. To visit the site, please click

Galway: New hooker for city museum
The Galway City Museum has taken delivery of a specially built Galway Hooker which is to be suspended from the atrium on permanent display. Boat builders Pat Ó Cualáin and Mícheál MacDonncha sailed the boat into Galway Harbour from An Cheathrú in Connemara earlier this week. The building of the hooker has been captured on film and this will be part of the permanent exhibition at the museum. Now a name has to be found for the traditional vessel and the public has been invited to submit suggestions in either Irish or English. They can be sent to breandan@galwaycity.ie

Galway:  The Oslo Hotel in Salthill  to be demolished
 One of Galway's most popular dance spots in the 1960s, it is to be torn down to make way for a restaurant, retail unit, and apartment development.

Longford: More than seven decades in the order
A nun who has given some seventy-two years of service to the Order of Mercy celebrated her one hundredth birthday on the feast of the Epiphany. Sister Alacoque Natton was born in Ballymahon and was christened in St Matthew's Church, so it was fitting that it was in the same church that a special Mass was celebrated to mark the occasion of her centenary.   

Mayo: The people of Castlebar have spoken and the new road into Castle Street car park will be named after Ernie O'Malley. He was a key figure in the War of Independence and Civil War before turning to matters of Irish art and culture. His memoirs have become classics of revolutionary literature. 

Mayo: Red squirrels off to the castle
 A new  colony of red squirrels is to be set up in the grounds of   of Belleek Castle, by the River Moy. It  was chosen as "an excellent location" in which to relocate the under-threat species following a study conducted for the Parks and Wildlife Service. 

Monaghan: Restored church clock strikes for New Year
Raymond Farrelly, the man who has restored the clock from the Church of Ireland church in Ballinode, completed the work in time for the clock to strike the hour of midnight at the turn of the year. Made in the late nineteenth century in Dublin, the timepiece was given to the parish for placing in the church tower by the widow of the Reverend W.H. Wood-Wright and it bears an inscription to his memory. It has been out of action for the past twenty years and its restoration was made possible with a grant from the Heritage Council. 

Offaly: Convent site to be retained as a green area
The ten-acre site of the Convent of Mercy on the Kilbeggan Road in Clara is to be put up for sale and Clara GAA Club have plans to purchase it. The convent has stood on the site since the middle of the nineteenth century, just twenty-two years longer than the club has been in existence. Michael Sheridan, chairman of the club, has stated that the grounds will be retained as a green area as the club does not wish to see more development in the town centre. They might also purchase the old convent building as a club base.

Wexford: New Ross to erect statue of JFK
 The statue will be unveiled during celebrations to mark the 800th anniversary of the town receiving a "royal charter" in 1207.  On June 27th, 1963,the late president  visited the Kennedy ancestral home in the townland of Dunganstown and addressed the people of New Ross on the quayside.

Wicklow: Wicklow Mountains National Park expanded
 In a move to help protect some of Ireland's most important monuments the State has bought land at Glendalough.The 19 hectares include the area around the famous round tower monastic  

Wicklow: Campanologist rings bells for last time in Bray
After sixty-five years of serving the community, Tommy Mason from Windgates performed his final task as campanologist at Christ Church in Bray. Tommy rang the bells at Christ Church for the last time on New Year's Eve, just as he had done every Sunday since 1942. Tommy's retirement is mainly because of the difficult trek he has to take up the long stairs up to the belfry and Rev. Ian Cruickshank presented him with a beautiful carved granite staircase on Sunday. A plaque was also erected on the belfry door to show Tommy's long-term dedication to bell ringing. According to Tommy, campanology is a skill that is very different to ringing an ordinary bell. He is the last of the original team of bell-ringers from whom he learnt the skill.

From around the world
Canada:  Girls win equal right to century old college bequest
Eoin Connelly emigrated to Canada in the 1830's and made his fortune by setting up a grocery and liquor business in the Atlantic Province of Prince Edward Island. On his death in 1887, he decreed in his will that a fund be established "to educate and assist to educate poor children, who are the sons of Irish fathers". Given the attitudes of the time, his words were taken literally and the all-male trust set up to administer his fortune only offered grants to young males planning to attend third-level colleges.  But now, 120 years after it was set up, it is to be opened to applicants of both sexes. The move follows a decision by Canada's Prince Edward Island's Supreme Court that the fund should be equally available to the sons and daughters of Irish immigrants.

Maryland, USA: Saw Doctors top bill at US political ball
The Galway band are to headline the biggest New Year political ball in the US. The newly-elected governor of the state Martin O'Malley will be inaugurated at a glittering black tie event to be attended by several thousand people on January 17 and he  has insisted on flying in his favourite band for the  occasion. 

Yonkers NY: Culchies compete for coveted title
On January 13, six culchies from all over Ireland will battle it out to take home the coveted title "Culchie of the Year" in an effort to raise money for the Irish Lobby for Immigration Reform. 
ED/NOTE: We're assuming that the traditional contests will be included such as nail driving, tyre pulling. Potato picking, shoe the donkey and more? If you go, let us know and we'll report back in the next issue.  

Judi in Canada told us that Boxing Day is alive and well up north! She also made a very good point about our newsletter. We tell people how to unsubscribe, but nowhere do we mention how people can sign up. We have a subscribe area in the right hand margin of every page on the web site or people can send us an email and we'll do it for them.  

Regina Costello, Associates Curator of Irish American History for the Western Reserve Historucal Society, Cleveland is on the hunt for information concerning the Irish in Ohio. If you'd like more details or have information you'd like to contribute, please click

David Kay requested a translation in to the irish for the saying " God between us and all harm." As always, our resident native speaker Aideen didn't let us down: 
Irish: Dia sinn agus olc uilig
Pronunciation: Djee-ah shin ah-gus ulc ill-ig
Go raibh maith agat, Aideen!

Last time, Barbara Neville asked where she could purchase a doorbell that plays Irish tunes for a US residence. Hannah Beck came through with a link to a company that makes a doorbell you cam program to play any tune: 
Many thanks, Hannah!

Pat Murphy would really like to purchase a bottle of Murphy's irish Whiskey and can't find it in the USA. Does anyone know if it can be legally sent through the post by a subscriber in Ireland? Perhaps as a gift?
SPONSOR: Please help keep our newsletter coming and visit our good friends at the Celtic Attic:  
Free Shipping on most orders over $75.00 (some restrictions apply). Act now and take an additional 25%, YES 25% off any SALES PAGE item in our Sales Section (applies to sales items only).  You can buy anything else you want to get free shipping, but the 25% will only be applied to Sales items.  We will take the discount off after you have placed your order. We are also offering $5.00 off each order over $50.00. We will take the discount off after you have placed your order.  Didn't get something on your Christmas list?  Well now's your chance to get it at deeply discounted prices. 
And don't forget to enter our monthly drawing: You could win a beautiful Celtic Cross or gift basket brimming with Celtic goodies:

Galway among the world's seven sexiest cities for 2007
Move over Paris & Rome. The City of Tribes, Gateway to the West and one of the most vibrant centres for the arts and music in Ireland has yet another designation to add to the collection - one of sexiest cities in the world. That's according to Travel UK, and if you'd like to find out why, take a look at this link: 

Our own Jim Crotty makes the news again
he January 2007 Issue of Blast Magazine - an online publication featuring trends in technology, the arts and entertainment - includes an article about his photography. 

The Best of Irish websites  
While we're proud to be included in this list put together by the Kildare Community Network, there are many others well worth a visit.  

Ireland's Own Radio
Galway native Martin Costello hosts  this radio programme from New Jersey, USA . He has just been cleared by the PPS as a "Not-for-profit" station. If you are in a position to help with paying the bills, you can contact Martin at; martincostello@comcast.com. To tune in,  please click
ED. NOTE: If you like trad, you're in for a real treat!

Internet radio Stations that play irish music
Be patient - it takes a while to load. There's a lot here!

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:

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:
When the history of Irish windbags is written, such greats as Environment Minister Dick Roche and singer Bob Geldof will surely earn special mention for their verbal vanity. But the title of windbag extraordinaire is Michael O'Leary's, no contest.
"Like a bad cabaret act, his schtick at staged press conferences would bring a tear to a glass eye."
Quoted by the Irish Independent in a story about the president of Ryanair.
An oldie but goodie well worth repeating:
Have you heard about the Irish boomerang?
It doesn't come back, it just sings sad songs about how much it wants to.
A priest was walking down a country road and sees a young farmer struggling to load hay back onto a cart after it had fallen off. The priest says to the lad, "You look exhausted my son. Why don't you rest a moment and then I'll give you a hand." "No thanks," the lad replies. "My father wouldn't like it."  "Come now," says the priest, "everyone's entitled to take a break - here, stop for a moment and have a drink of water." Again the lad protests that his father would be very upset. Losing his patience the priest bellows. "Where is that slave driver of a father you have. I'll be giving him a piece of my mind." "Well father," the lad slowly responds..."he's under the hay."   ________________________________________________________________
1. This year marks the 400th anniversary of the Flight of the Earls?
2. Up until 1607 the O'Neill Dynasty of Tyrone was the longest surviving Monarchy in Europe?
3. The Flight of the Earls marked the end of an ancient Gaelic order that had lasted over a thousand years.?
Source: The new Flight of the Earls web site:
First off, the answers to our last quiz:

 1.  Irish Tales of Mystery & Magic by Eddie Lenihan 
2.  Christmas Tales of Galway by  Peadar O'Dowd
3.  Islandman by Tomás Ó Crohan
A round of pints and applause to the following Irish literary sleuths:

Helen Dowd
Thanks to everyone who have been voting for my site. I have been able to get a couple of new things posted. Hope soon to have more. Happy New Year!

Patricia Edwards
You know which site is THE BEST - "Irish Culture & Customs" of course.
ED. NOTE: Aw shucks, thanks Patricia - but we always feel a bit guilty when we get nominated.

Christi Broersma
My favorite site right now is Sligo heritage!  I love the interesting stories of real people that makes the history come alive.
ED. NOTE: We love this site as well; it's owned and operated by Joe McGowan. In the past, he has generously permitted us to reprint a couple of his articles on our web site. 

Mary Ruggiero
I'd like to nominate my own Mary's Irish Pride Site.  I hope people will visit and sign the guest book - I love "meeting" new friends.

Pam Murphy
I just discovered Find It Ireland - it has an amazing directory with a listing of more than 6.000 web sites. You can also get the latest irish weather forecast. 

Kathleen O'Connnor
Looking for O'Connor ancestors? You might find them here:

Want to see your name and favorite web site in our next newsletter?
Who wrote:
1. The Emigrant's Farewell
2. The Sailor in the Wardrobe
3. The Winner of Sorrow

Hint: All three titles are bestsellers in Ireland. Send in your answers and if you get two out of three correct, we'll list your name and web site (or your favorite Irish web site) in our next newsletter.
Help us keep this newsletter free by visiting our good friends at The Irish Lottery:
There was NO winner of Wednesday's draw. That means Saturday's jackpot will be about € 4 Million Euro. But you can't win it if you're not in it. 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! Please click here for full details including a compilation of stats based on previous draws which could improve your chances of winning!
 To begin with, the solution to our last mind-mangler:
Translate the following:
The answer is:
Wise you are wise you be
I see you are too wise for me. 

Judging by the number of correct solutions we received, our Riddle People  are far too wise to be confounded or confused by such an easy poser; but well done to Bill Wilson, Florida ( Via Chicago & Belfast) who was first in. 

Obviously what's needed is something more challenging and we we think we may have come up with a classic cranium cruncher:
Q: What is so special about the following sequence?
8 5 4 9 1 7 6 10 3 2 0
1.  Article: St. Ita, Mother to the Saints of Ireland
 2. Article: Who are the Irish?
3. Poetry Corner: Padraic Colum
4. Article: Counties of Ireland - Armagh
5. Kids' Ireland - Never Forget Ireland
6. The Irish Kitchen: Smoked Salmon with Brown Bread & Butter
7. Basic Irish:  A New Year, A New You
8. Culture Corner: St. Colman's Cathedral
9. Culture Corneer - Kids' Ireland: Annie Moore
10. Circle of prayer - Our 7th  Novena in this cycle began on January 7 and continues through January 15. Today, we heard that Eileen McTiernan's sister recently lost a friend in a car accident  and then two weeks later the friend's husband died of a heart attack. Family and friends are stunned by the losses and are in desperate need of your spiritual support as are so many others: Over New Years, Mickey, a very dear  friend of ours was in ICU with pneumonia; he has been ill for a very long time but miraculously recovered enough to be released from the hospital and is now in a convalescent home.  Please keep him in your prayers and meditations as well as Hartson Dowd, Helen Dowd's sister who just returned to her missionary work  in India, Emma Josephine, Fiona Mary's mother, Pauline Dewberry, Heather, baby Joseph, Jane Fitz., and Scott H. We also ask that you keep in mind our service men and women in the military serving their country all over the world, especially in Afghanistan where the weather has become particularly brutal. God willing, they will all be home safe and sound soon.
11.Trivia Contest.  The new contest for January has been posted. All entries must be in by midnight  on January 31st no matter which time zone you are in.
December's Winner: Congratulations to Sharron Elaine Newman, USA

12. New in the Library: Selected Poems of Padraic Colum 

So there you have it until we write again.  If you're celebrating a birthday, anniversary or other special event between now and then,  we hope it's an occasion filled with joy, laughter and love. 

In the meantime, we'll leave you with this lovely old irish saying:
May what you see in the mirror delight you,
and may what others see in you delight them.

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.
Monaghan  - January 14
Vol. Feargal O'Hanlon 50th Anniversary Commemoration.
Anyone wishing to attend are asked to assemble at St Macartan's Cathedral at 2pm for parade to the graveside in
Latlurcan cemetery.  All are Welcome. For more details, please visit: 

Cincinnati, OH - March 10
"Sacred Relics" - The History of the Irish in Cincinnati. Hibernian Hall, 3926 River Road from 12 noon to 6:00 pm. For more details please call (513) 245-9299 or email Patrick Mallory 

Sligo - March 18
A School Reunion will be held in St. Joseph's Seconday School, Gurteen, Co. Sligo, Ireland. Mass will be celebrated at 5pm in St. Patrick'sChurch, Gurteen, followed by a reunion dinner in "Teach Murray" at 8pm. Names and Addresses of past pupils from September 1954 to June 1968 and copies of photographs would be greatly appreciated by the committee. Please contact Nicholas Ryan at 071 9182289, Nuala O'Dowd at 071 9182114, Ita O'Rourke at 071 9182089 or alternatively email:
orourkeita@hotmail.com or cphannan@yahoo.co.uk 

Ennis, Co. Clare- March 2nd-4th  
This year's Ennis Book Club Festival features  number of internationally renowned authors including playwright and novelist Patrick McCabe, author of 'The Butcher Boy' and 'Breakfast on Pluto' and Edna O'Brien, a County Clare novelist, short story writer, playwright and screenwriter. For complete details, please visit:
The shipwrecked sailor had spent several years on a deserted island. Then one morning he was thrilled to see a ship offshore and a smaller vessel pulling out toward him.

When the boat grounded on the beach, the officer in charge handed the marooned sailor a bundle of newspapers and told him, "With the captain's compliments. He said to read through these and let us know if you still want to be rescued."