Greetings & Blessings to all,
“Come, fill the Cup, and in the Fire of Spring
Your Winter Garment of Repentance fling:
The Bird of Time has but a little way
To fly - and Lo! the Bird is on the Wing.”
Those lovely words  from the Rubiyat of Omar Khayam were translated by Irish poet Edward FitzGerald. With temperatures in our Ohio valley hovering in the high fifties and the month of romance right upon us - it seemed like an appropriate way to begin this very late January newsletter. So late in fact, this is going to be part one as there is no way we will be able to finish it before midnight tonight. That’s when our dues for our newsletter host roll over into the next month and if we don’t get something out, we will have wasted them. Can’t bear to do that when they’re almost paid for by your generous donations.
In the meantime, a warm welcome back to all of you and a special hello to all of our new subscribers. If this is your first edition, we hope you enjoy  our musings and meanderings - and please feel free to share them with your family and friends.
We also hope this issue finds you and yours on the pig’s back and in fine fettle. and good company. As for ourselves,  temporarily it wasn’t fine or fettle which is why we’re so far behind. First off, the web site went down for nearly two days due to a major glitch with our server and then Herself went down for the count with the flu.  So here we are - still weak - but willing to get back in harness in hopes you understand this two pronged approach to our latest edition!
We had literally hundreds of entries for Robert Sullivan’s book  “Every Goose Thinks His Wife is a Duck: The Irish Case for Laughing, Crying and Drinking Through Life.”  While we wish everyone could have won, we had just five copies to give away. Congrats to Jim , Catherine, Janet, Joe and Pamela - you should have received your book by now. We love doing drawings and we’re hoping to come up with another one soon; stay tuned. Meanwhile, we’d like to take this opportunity to thank every one who took the time to enter and especially to Robert Sullivan for donating the books.

Annually - and with great apprehension, we make a request for donations to support our efforts; in fact, we’re usually so nervous about it, Herself invariably gets the PayPal address wrong! But enough of all that and more to the point - If you enjoy what we do - whether it’s spending time on the web site or reading the newsletter, would you consider a small contribution to help keep us going? Any amount is fine, but as always all contributions of $5.00 or more will receive a small token of our appreciation. We still have shamrock bookmarks and Irish blessing tokens but we’re looking for alternatives. If you’d like to support our efforts, you can make a donation through at this email address:
Or you can send your gift via snailmail to:
Bridget & Russ Haggerty
5814 Blue Spruce
Cincinnati OH 45224
Go raibh maith agat in advance for your kindness.
Enough of the bltherin’, on with the update...
SPONSOR: Help support this newsletter and our web site by visiting our friends at The Celtic Attic:
Especially now when you can take advantage of their massive post holiday sale! And, exclusively for Irish Culture and Customs readers, take 10% off your order and get FREE shipping on orders over $50!   The discount will be removed AFTER you place your order.  Just put the code IC01 in the ‘add a gift card’ section! 
Contact the Celtic Attic on line or by phone - and tell them Bridget & Russ said hello!
Tel: 1-360-286-2307
On line:
Quips, Quotes, Proverbs & Toasts
A Bit of the Wit
The week That Is
Leave 'em Laughing

Now it's St Brigid's Day and the first snowdrop
In County Wicklow, and this a Brigid's Girdle
I'm plaiting for you, an airy fairy hoop
(Like one of those old crinolines they'd trindle),
Twisted straw that's lifted in a circle
To handsel and to heal, a rite of spring
As strange and lightsome and traditional
As the motions you go through going through the thing.
From A Brigid’s Girdle for Adele by Seamus Heaney 
An Irishman will always soften bad news, so that a major coronary is no more than 'a bad turn' and a near hurricane that leaves thousands homeless is 'good drying weather'.
Hugh Leonard

SPONSOR: Please help us keep your newsletter coming - visit our good friends at the Irish Lottery:
In operation since 1988, it's one of the oldest online sites in the world. With subscribers in 89 countries it is also among the most reliable. Jackpots are never lower than US $1,500,000 and are frequently worth in excess of US $5,000,000 Here's the best part - you don't have to live in Ireland to play and all winnings are Tax Free! It’s always been a fantasy of ours that one of our readers would scoop the big prize, but you can’t win it if you’re not in it. Play from the comfort of home here:
1. Shopping Section: Naturally, we hope you and yours will do all of  your shopping through Irish Culture & Customs and and the advertisers in our newsletter - not just at the holidays - but all year round. For every sale, we make a small commission which goes a long way toward helping us cover the expenses of maintaining the web site and sending the newsletter. Many thanks in advance for your kindness! 
ED. NOTE: Many thanks to all of you who did some or all of your shopping through Irish Culture and Customs - we have received some very nice commissions a result of your thoughtfulness.
 2. County News: The bits and bobs that used to come by mail are now on line here:
We’ve been slugging away at it for several weeks now and we do hope you’re enjoying the results of our efforts. 
3. National News: We keep two week’s worth of headlines and links here: And we try to keep it all positive.
4. Trivia Contest:  All entries for the January Contest must be in by midnight on January 31st, whatever time zone you live in.
December’s winner was Christine Seaholtz, USA who chose for her prize the penny whistle set generously provided by  Lollysmith.
5. Article: St. Brigid - The Giveaway 
6. Article: Brigid of the Songs
7. Article:  Celebrating a Name Day in OldIreland
8.Article: Celebrating Candlemas in Old Ireland
9. Article:  Irish People, Irish Linen by Kathleen Curtis Wislson
10. The Irish Link to St. Valentine
11.  The Irish Kitchen - St. Brigid’s Oatcakes
12. Basic Irish: St. Brigid & Spring
13. Kids’ Ireland: Sean & the Selkie
14. Music Review:  Moya Brennan
15. Circle of Prayer. The 4th Novena in this cycle began on January 24 nd continues through February 1st.  It’s that time of year in the Northern Hemisphere when many people are suffering from a variety of ailments; what we need in this part of the world is a hard frost to kill all the germs! That said, we know that many people in Europe are experiencing  severe winter storms and we hope and pray  if that’s where you are, you and yours are safe and warm. Meanwhile, whatever your spiritual leanings or meditations; please remember Hartson Dowd.  the family and friends of the McTiernans,  County Gort’s mother,  and so many others who are going through so much economic stress and strain. And last, but certainly not least, please ask God to watch over our men and women in the military; that He will keep them safe and bring them home to their families soon.
SPONSOR: Please help us keep your newsletter coming - visit our good friends at Lollysmith who would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your patronage  in 2011 year and wish you a very happy, health and prosperous New Year. And don’t forget - whatever the occasion, birthdays, graduations, weddings or anniversaries, you’re sure to find the perfect present at  Lollysmith!  Stop by soon and tell them Bridget & Russ said hello.
So that’s the short of it until we  send out Part 2.  Until then , pinch punch first day of the month white rabbit and Happy St. Brigid’s Day!
We’ll take our leave with this old blessing:
Through her holy intercession with our Father in Heaven, may St. Brigid bless you and and make you generous in your giving, pleasant in your greeting, honest in your speaking, loyal in your loving, clear in your thinking, strong in your working, and joyful in your living And when it's time for your homecoming, may there be peace in your passing and a warm welcome in heaven.
And, as they say in Ireland, mind yourself. 
Slan agus beannachtái until tomorrow.
Bridget & Russ
Get down on your knees and thank God you’re still on your feet. 
Téigh ar do ghlúine is bí buíoch le Dia go bhfuil tú fós ar do chosa.
A reprise of what we think is the best Irish joke of all time:
Miss O'Leary, the church organist, was in her eighties and had never been married. She was much admired for her sweetness and kindness to all. The parish priest came to call on her one afternoon early in the spring, and she welcomed him into her little cottage. She invited him to have a seat while she made the tea. As he sat facing her old pump organ, the priest noticed a cut glass bowl sitting on top of it, filled with water. In the water floated, of all things, an item the menfolk use to help prevent conception. Imagine his shock and surprise. Imagine his curiosity! Surely Miss O'Leary had lost her senses! When she returned with the tea and scones, they began to chat. The priest tried to stifle his curiosity about the bowl of water and its unusual contents, but soon it got the better of him; he could resist no longer. Miss O'Leary," he said, "I wonder if you would tell me about this?" (pointing to the bowl). "Oh, yes, Father," she replied, "Isn't it wonderful? I was walking in the village last October and I found this little package on the ground. The directions said to put it on the organ, keep it wet, and it would prevent disease. And you know... I haven't had a cold all winter.