Welcome to the Irish Culture & Customs newsletter which is published every weekend and sent out to more than 1500 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: http://www.yourmailinglistprovider.com/pubarchive.php?Herself
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Greetings and blessings to all,

This is one time when we can say not only is it great to be back - it's a relief to be back! What a week - and one that Himself is only too glad to put behind him. No, he wasn't the one that was ill. he was the nursemaid to probably the worst patient in the world - Bridget! There have been an awful lot of respiratory infections going around and she's particularly susceptible. The "illness" had actually been getting worse by degrees for the past several weeks, but ever the eternal optimist who often counts too much on her Irish peasant stock, she thought she could fight it off. Not this time. In any event, five days of powerful meds and plenty of forced bed-rest and we think, touch wood, we've turned the corner. Of course, now Russ is so exhausted, he's ready for a bit of nursing himself.

To look on the bright side, we're writing to you on a Saturday - first time we've managed that in months! What's more, it's the 17th - two months before St. Patrick's Day - that has to be auspicious! For us, it also means, a return to a more reliable "schedule" and a better handle on planning for the next issue. The events of the past few days may well work out to our advantage in the end.

Herself hasn't been the only one shivering - only this time, we're talking about all the folks enduring the brutal weather in the North East. We read somewhere that it's been the worst winter in more than 50 years and for all of our readers who live in this area, please know that we hope and pray you're safe and warm; we did hear from a friend in Massachusetts this morning who said that the worst is pretty much over and they're expecting balmy temperatures in the low 30's today.
Wherever you may be, we hope this issue finds you in good spirits, good company - and in good health!

In news from Ireland:
The Republic's government has predicted that, by the end of 2004, more than 10,000 people will use a new scheme enabling them to apply for Irish passports in UK post offices. The scheme is currently available at five selected post offices in Northern Ireland - Londonderry, Enniskillen, Newry and in both Castle Place and the Kennedy Centre, in Belfast.

Clew Bay: Clarification - In our last issue, we implied that this was the name of the island where owners of small holdings have been invited to produce rare flower seeds for sale on the internet and through mail order. As the old saying goes, in Clew Bay, there's an island for every day of the year - this is just one of them. We're still trying to find out which one it is.

Walking Tours: There's been a great deal of bad publicity about farmers at odds with walking tourists, to the point where many tour operators have pulled out of Ireland. Nevertheless, the organization "Keep Ireland Open", estimates that walking tours were still worth 144 million euros annually to the economy - more than golf, angling or cycling. Attempts are being made by tourism interests to develop the sector, which would bring much-needed revenue to areas where the land is poorest and off-farm income essential.

Co. Dublin: A Dinner To Bring 'The Dead' Back To Life
The house at 15 Usher's Island on the Dublin quays, where James Joyce set The Dead, has been officially re-opened with a re-creation of the dinner scene from the famous story. Over 80 guests celebrated both the 100th anniversary of the story and the opening of the Georgian house after three years of restoration work.

Co. Galway: Geesala in north Mayo, the three Aran islands and Dún Chaoin in the Kerry Gaeltacht are among the first locations identified by Galway's Druid Theatre Company for an "ambitious celebration" of the work of playwright John Millington Synge. Rehearsals have begun in Druid's Chapel Lane for Synge's classic The Playboy of the Western World, originally set in Geesala.

Co. Kerry: Project Aims To Bring Elderly Emigrants Home From Britain
One of the leaders of the project, Paul O'Donoghue, said that following the revelations on a recent RTÉ Prime Time programme of the dire situation of some elderly Irish people living in England, it was no longer possible to stand idly by.

Co. Mayo: No Cable-Car For Inishbiggle Island This Year
Residents of Inishbiggle Island have called on Minister Éamon Ó Cuív to honour his commitments and prioritise the development of a cable-car service to the isolated Mayo island this year. Mr Ó Cuív, Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs said he was "totally committed" to the project, but delays to a number of island projects had caused a log-jam. Residents have campaigned for the cable-car service for 20 years and it was thought that the final obstacle to the development was removed last October when a disputed compulsory purchase order of island land was resolved. Apparently not.

In news from all over:
Nashville: Sean Og (7) now rules the world of line dancing
Schoolboy Sean Og Irwin has returned from the US with a spring in his step. At the age of seven, he has been crowned world champion for Junior American Line Dancing. He is the son of John and Christine Irwin, from Castleblayney in Co. Monaghan, and has won several regional Line Dancing Championships in Ireland and the UK. His performance in Nashville led to the judges declaring him outright winner over entrants from more than 20 countries.

Philadelphia: Division 40 of Northeast Philadelphia's Ancient Order of Hibernians recently displayed a show of support for the US troops in Iraq by donating $2,500 to the 82nd Airborne Association.

Boston: To celebrate the revival of what has always been a hotbed for Celtic music, the first-ever Boston Celtic Music Festival has taken place, with more than 40 area artists appearing at six different venues over two nights. The organizers' goal is to show, with one event, how much Celtic music and dance the Boston area now offers.

From the mailbag. We received hundreds of get-well messages. Thank you! We'll try to answer each one as time and energy permits.

Bunratty Castle dimensions. A young student is doing a project which involves buiding a model to scale. All we could find out for sure is that each of the four towers is six-storeys tall. If you have more info', please get in touch with us. Thanks!

Tabernault Well, Co. Sligo. A reader had asked us about this well he and his wife visited last year. Apparently, her health problems disappeared following their visit and he wanted to thank the saint associated with the site - but couldn't remember who it is. When we didn't have any success finding the info' ourselves, we turned to our good friend Kem at All-Ireland Travel in Co. Cork. She was able to tell us that our spelling was incorrect - it should be Tobernalt and the saints memorialized there are St John the Evangelist, St Bernadette and St Anne. Hopefully, seeing the names will be a good memory-trigger.

Links of the week:
Aer Lingus has extended its $99 each-way deal to Ireland through the end of February and is offering almost as low rates for March. To learn more, please click

Fur2kids sents us something to do on a snowy day:

A beautiful link from Hartson - and we echo the sentiments: "You're a Keeper!"

Jack & Vivian of The Irish Page sent us the newest addition to their Irish songs- one of our favorites: Sí beag - Sí mor - Small & large faerie mound:

Inspirational messages for when you might need a lift. The music on Power of Love is particularly pretty

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 blatherin'...on with the update:
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:
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
Tell the cook of this restaurant with my compliments that these are the very worst sandwiches in the whole world, and that, when I ask for a watercress sandwich, I do not mean a loaf with a field in the middle of it.
Oscar Wilde
This one is adapted from one sent in by Barry at Kellys in the Bahamas - thank you!
Mike wakes up at home with a huge hangover. He forces himself to open his eyes, and the first thing he sees are a couple of aspirins and a glass of water on the bedside table. He sits up in bed and sees his clothing in front of him, all clean and ironed. He looks around the room and sees that it is in perfect order, spotless. He takes the aspirins and sees a note on the table which says "Breakfast is on the stove, dear. I left early to go shopping. Love you!" He goes to the kitchen and sure enough, there's a hot breakfast waiting for him, and also the morning newspaper. His son is sitting at the table, eating. Really curious by now, Mike asks, "Son, what happened last night?" His son says, "Well, Mam said you came home after 3 a.m, you stumbled in the door, threw up in the hallway, and passed out half-way up the stairs. Confused, Mike asks, "So, why is everything in order and so clean, and breakfast is on the table waiting for me?" His son replies, "Oh, that! Mam dragged you to the bedroom, and when she tried to take your trousers off, you yelled "Leave me alone woman, I'm a married man"
1. Before he became a rock singer-songwriter, Dylan liked nothing better than to hang out in Greenwich Village with the Clancy Bothers and Tommy Makem, learning Irish songs?
2. Johnny Cash wrote "40 Shades of Green"?
3. Eyna's real name is Eithne Ní Bhraonáin?
Our very low-key 2004 fund drive began nearly two weeks ago - and we're off to a very slow start - just one pledge and one contribution. We've decided that a great incentive might be to have a special recognition page on the website where donors can have their names published, or perhaps in memory of a loved one. This is similar to what Joseph Pulitzer did when there was great difficulty in raising the funds for the Statue of Liberty pedestal. The tycoons of the time refused to help, so the owner of the New York World newspaper appealed to the ordinary folk - the immigrants, children, and so on. He promised that for donating a penny, he'd put their names on the front page of his paper. The pennies poured in and the pedestal was quickly paid for. We hope this analogy will persuade you that, even today, every penny is important. Donations can be made through PayPal at http://www.paypal.com
Our email address there is bnhaggerty@cinci.rr.com.
Or, you can send your donation to us via snail mail: 5670 Meryton Place, Cincinnati, OH, 45224.
Many thanks in advance for your kindness.
A particular favorite for theft is the road sign to one Co. Kerry village that reads: "Inch, 1 mile."
First off, the answers to last week's quiz:

1. For the Cause of Liberty: A Thousand Years of Irish Heroes by Terry Gollway
2. Sinn Féin - A Hundred Turbulent Years by Brian Feeney
3. Historic Ireland - Five Thousand Years of Ireland's Heritage by Daithi OhOgain

Hartson Dowd
Visitors to the site can find information about heritage, music, language and a wide variety of links to other Irish inspired sites. You can take an online quiz to test your knowledge of Irish culture or even send an animated Saint Patrick's Day card to friends. The Heritage section is also full of information that will help you trace the roots of your Irish family tree.

Helen Dowd
For a variety of reading, check out
Or, if you'd like, you could visit my website at

Ellen Parodi
Namely Gifts at
Now featuring Personalized Name Keepsakes and Gifts for Valentine's Day -
Something for every name on your gift list!

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

Website and Newsletter for Writers. Paying markets, author interviews, book reviews, and more. Come, grow with us!

Pat Murphy
Biddy McGraw's the Pacific Northwest's only authentic Irish pub and the home 'O the "perfect" pint':

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. Space and the Irish Cultural Imagination
2. Dublin Tenement Life: An Oral History
3. In Search of Ireland - a Cultural Geography
Hint: All three titles can be found here, and note that this is Bridget's "bible" - well worth adding to your library: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/redirect?tag=irishcultucus-20&path=tg/detail/-/1856350932/qid%3D1073257674/sr%3D1-3

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 ==================================================================
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 has begun! Plant our shamrock seeds now and you'll have good-sized plants by March 17th. You will also find what you need to look the part - and party! Caps, shirts, walking sticks, Guinness gear and glasses, lapel pins and more! Stock up now before the rush begins and enjoy great prices, quick shipping, and friendly, personalized service
Last week's brain-twister had many of you stumped:
An angler met two shepherds, one of whom had three loaves and the other, five loaves. All the loaves were the same size. The three men agreed to share the eight loaves equally between them. After they had eaten, the angler gave the shepherds eight bronze coins as payment for his meal. How should the two shepherds fairly divide this money?
Answer: The shepherd with three loaves gets one coin and the shepherd with 5 loaves gets seven.
We give an honourable mention to Linda Yermolaev for her dogged persistence. And we give "Well Done" to Susan Misnick of Aireagal who was first with the correct answer.
Now for this week's mind-mangler:
I dig out tiny caves, and store gold and silver in them.
I also build bridges of silver and make crowns of gold.
They are the smallest you could imagine.
Sooner or later everybody needs my help,
yet many people are afraid to let me help them.
Who am I?
Under the circumstances, not a whole lot has changed, but we did manage to post soups from Hartson and an article about making St. Brigid's Crosses - her feast day is fast approaching, so we thought we should share the info' in plenty of time.
1. Home Page - See what's new at a glance:
2. New - The Irish Kitchen: Soup is the essence of Meat
3. Featured - Making St. Brigid's Crosses
4. On-going - Circle of Prayer: Our 3rd Novena in this cycle began on January 12 and ends on January 20. As always, we ask for your prayers and meditations on behalf of our military all over the world, especially Iraq. We also ask that you continue to pray for 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, and the Mulligans. Whatever your spiritual leanings, we hope you will join us each day:
5. On-Going - Trivia Quiz: We've already received quite a few entries. All entries must be received by midnight, January 31, no matter which time zone you live in.
6. On-going - Irish News: Headlines for the past week
7. On-going -This month in Irish History:

Obviously, we have a lot of catching up to do! We were hoping to bring you an article on St. Ita, second only to St. Brigid when it comes to Ireland's women saints. It's late, but we'll have it posted this coming week. Same with the children's story and the Culture Corners. Are you planning a St. Patrick's Day Party? Whether it's for St. Patrick or otherwise, Aideen is working on a lesson that includes words and phrases related to giving a shindig. The blessing will be posted on Sunday, a new quote on Wednesday, and we'll have another recipe up as soon as we can.

So, that's about it - except for the "essential" goings-on in our crazy calendar: today is National Hot Buttered Rum Day & San Antonio Abad (Mexico). The 18th is Winnie the Pooh Day, Four an' Twenty Day (Scotland) and the Carrot Festival (Holtville, CA). The 19th is Martin Luther King Jr's Birthday Observance in the U.S; it's also National Popcorn Day; the 20th is St. Sebastian's Day, patron of archers, soldiers, athletes, Rio De Janeiro; the 21st is Babin Den* in Bulgaria, National Hugging Day and the Feast of St. Agnes; the 22nd is National Blonde Brownie Day and the 23rd is National Rhubarb Pie Day.
If you or a loved one are celebrating a birthday, anniversary or other special event this week, we hope it's memorable!
*Babin Den is a fascinating "women-only" festival. Just do a google on it and check out the first entry that comes up.

Before we take our leave - The Preditors and Editors Poll is closed and we'd like to thank each and every one of you who voted for us. While we didn't win first place for the ezine this time, we're still very proud to have come in second. And, in the editor category, we're thrilled to have gone from #13 to #3. Since this is a poll strictly for readers, it means a great deal to us to have done so well. So, again, many thanks for taking the time to cast your ballot.

We'd also like to thank all of you who signed up since our last edition. The warmest of welcomes to our very special list. And, if you've enjoyed your first issue, please feel free to share our musings and meanderings with your family and friends.

Until next time, may God grant you and yours a week blessed with good health, happiness and contentment. And, as they say in Ireland, mind yourself!

Bridget & Russ
Get down on your knees and thank God you're still on your feet
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: http://www.thewildgeese.com/pages/events.html
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:

Cultural Holidays on Inis Mór
The new programme with the dates for 2004 is uploaded now on our homepage:
Book Now! You will get 5% off if you book before the end of January.

Texas Dulcimer Cruise - February 5-9
Galveston to Cozumel on the Carnival Celebration. There will be workshops, jam sessions, talent show and more. These spots will go fast, so book early! Inside cabins are $430.80 pp, double occupancy and oceanview cabins are $480.80 pp, double occupancy. Ask for Marcy: 281-535-5703 or e-mail marcy@delesandri.com

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.

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.

Calling all Gurteen past pupils for a reunion, May 2
Past pupils of Clonkeenkerrill, Shanballard, and Tample national schools are invited to recall their school days at a reunion taking place in Loughrea. Tickets for the event cost € 30, and can be purchased from Breda Noone at (090) 9675912; John Corbett at (090) 9677825; Oliver King at (087) 2975132; or any committee member. Tickets must be purchased before Sunday February 1.

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

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: