Welcome to the Irish Culture & Customs newsletter which is published every week and sent out to nearly 3400 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 end -
but we do hope you'll stay with us.

Greetings & blessings to all,

Ho hum, fiddle dee dee, that's life. Oh well.

Whatever the problem, Russ' mother, Sue Haggerty, had a way of minimizing it and putting it into perspective; This time last year, we could still hear her say any number of phrases that would comfort us; reassure us; and make us feel better. That's what mothers are supposed to do. And God bless her, she did it brilliantly. This year, we won't be making our usual phone call to Florida to wish her a Happy Mother's Day. But, while we miss her so very much, she would not want us to be maudlin. And besides, as with Bridget's mother, she is still very much with us in our hearts and in our memories. So, to all the mums, mummys, mamas, mammys and mothers out there, whereever you might be,
Happy Mother's Day!
Lá an Mháthair faoi shona dhuit!
law ay-leh on waw-hirr fwee hun-ah gwitch!

We hope this edition finds you knee-deep in clover and as happy as a lark (supposedly, old clichés that originated in Ireland. We have a book full of them and one has to wonder if the irish didn't come up with every ancient and honourable proverb there is). In any event, a warm welcome back to all of you and a special hello to all of our new subscribers. Many thanks for joining us - and if you enjoy our musings and meanderings, please feel free to share them with your family and friends.

Enough of the blither and blather. On with the update....

ADVERT: Please help us keep our newsletter free and visit our newest sponsor: Cindy Thomson , author of Brigid of Ireland - an historical novel based on the slave who became a saint.

In 5th century pagan-dominated Ireland, Brigid is born a slave to her own brutal father. Torn from her mother's arms, and desperately seeking love and acceptance, Brigid converts to Christianity - and the miracles begin. But so does the opposition from rulers and the Druids opposed to her faith and her growing popularity. To read an excerpt, place an order or learn how the book cover was created, and to download a T-shirt transfer, visit:
To sign up for a free newsletter, or place an order, please click
Brigid of Ireland
The book is also available on amazon, from the publishers and wherever fine books are sold:
and everywhere books are sold. (ISBN: 082546112X)

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 was
The week that will be, God willing
Events & Classifieds
Leave 'em Laughing
Armagh: National event for Camlough
Feile Chamlocha, the local festival committee, will this year be hosting the All-Ireland Irish Sprint Championship on June 10 in only the third year of holding the Crooked Lake Triathlon. Last year Camlough was chosen to host the Ulster Sprint Championships and did so with great success.

Cork: Bats to move house to facilitate new hotel
A colony of Lesser Horseshoe bats are being encouraged to vacate Dunboy Castle near Castletownbeare in order to facilitate its conversion into a new luxury hotel. The one hundred strong colony had made their home in the ruins of the castle and an extra €150,000 has had to be spent by Resort Hotel Developments to leave the bats undisturbed in their present habitat until they are ready to move to an alternative venue some three hundred yards away. The bat house will include sensors which will monitor the temperature and will also log the number of bats using the new facility.

Derry: Derry barman takes title
The ability to pull a perfect pint, coupled with a knack of creating a good atmosphere in the pub where he works, has netted a Derry barman the title of Northern Ireland's Guinness Best Bartender in Ireland. John White, who works in the Park Bar in Derry, has received £250 as part of the prize and he will also go forward to the grand final of the competition, which will be held on May 22.

Dublin: €95m an acre in Dublin 4
The last piece of land in an area of Dublin dubbed the 'Golden Square' has been sold by the Government for €35.9m.The successful bid for the Faculty Building site in Ballsbridge, Dublin 4, of just under 0.4 of an acre works out at a whopping €95m an acre. That sets a new Irish land record.The bidders for the site, which fronts on to Shelbourne Road, were named as auctioneer David Courtney and developer Jerry O'Reilly.

Galway: Big Top for festival
A 3,000 capacity Big Top is on its way from Britain for July's Galway Arts Festival when music fans can enjoy the delights of six major shows under canvas, more than likely at the Fisheries Field venue which has hosted dozens of festive gigs down through the years.

Laois: Stallholders stand up for trading rights
Laois's market traders came out en masse at the weekend in an attempt to retain their trading rights. Stallholders set up in Portlaoise, Abbeyleix, Durrow, Mountrath, Ballinakill, Mountmellick, Ballickmoyler and Stradbally, stirred into action by a new law which came into force on May 1. The law states that if traders do not exercise trading rights in a particular location for a period of ten years, then they forfeit those rights. Local traders claim that the government has no right to do this, saying King Charles II gave the county's traders indefinite casual trading rights over four hundred years ago. Local producer Mary Phelan said that records of trading rights to locations in the county, which would prove their claims, had unfortunately been destroyed in a fire at Portlaoise Town Hall in 1944.

Longford: Bar for sale on owner's retirement
John Joe Reilly, the owner of one of Longford town's oldest public houses, has decided to retire and his premises has been put on the market. Known as the Corner House, the pub has frontage onto both Main Street and Killashee Street and is known as one of the last bars in Ireland where it is possible to purchase a Kapp and Petersen pipe. John Joe himself, originally from Clonguish, played football at both club and county level and was later a GAA administrator for County Longford and for Leinster. The Corner Bar is due to be auctioned on May 17.

Mayo: National title for Ballycastle hotel
Stella Maris Country House Hotel, run by Frances Kelly, has been named as the Small Hotel of the Year 2006 by the Irish Golf Tour Operators' Association. The hotel, a member of the Blue Book list of properties, is the first county house to receive the honour. In addition to this award the hotel has also received the title of 2006 Hideaway of the Year by Georgina Campbell and was named in three categories of excellence by John and Sally McKenna. Ms Kelly grew up in Ballycastle and has been running the Stella Maris for just four years; in earlier years it has been both a coastguard station and a convent.

Offaly: New bid to save partridges
Environment Minister Dick Roche has unveiled a new joint venture to help protect the last remaining population of the endangered Irish grey partridge in Boora. The once common Irish grey became endangered in the late twentieth century due to habitat destruction as a result of intensive farming. The new venture is a partnership between the Irish Grey Partridge Conservation Trust, which was set up in 1996 to save the Boora birds, and the National Association of Regional Game Councils. In addition to the Boora project, a new company, the National Grey Partridge Conservation Project Ltd, will manage a further eighty acres close to the Boora lands.

Tipperary: Fears over future of castle
The news that eight acres of land between Templemore and Thurles are to be sold has caused concern to members of An Taisce, since the land in question is also the location of the sixteenth century Dovea Castle. It has emerged that the castle is not included in the county council's protected structure lists and there is a fear that it might be demolished and the stone sold off. The tower house was subject to some restoration work in the early part of the last century when it was in the ownership of the Trant family; the present owners are Dovea Artificial Insemination Co-Op.

Wexford: Hollyfort pub stars in new Guinness advert
Cooney's Pub in Hollyfort was the setting for the new ad and the film crew recruited locals to act as extras, saying they were looking in particular for men aged between twenty-four and eighty who were happy to spend a day drinking Guinness. Needless to say, the response was excellent. Although an actor will be playing the barman, locals can expect to see themselves in the background once the ad airs.

ED NOTE: Most of the above news items are from The Irish Emigrant. Space does not allow us to print them all. To read every item, please click

London: First All-Ireland medal goes under hammer
A medal from the inaugural All-Ireland football final of 1887 fetched €15,900 at auction in London this past week. The sale at Graham Budd Auctions of the medal awarded to Pat Treacy of Limerick Commercials followed the sale last November of the one awarded to Malachi O'Brien, which made nearly twice as much, €30,574. The 9ct gold medal - sold by Treacy's descendants - was awarded to Treacy after Limerick Commercials beat Louth (Dundalk Young Irelands).
Help us keep this newsletter free by visiting our good friends at The Irish
There was NO winner of last night's drawing; that means the jackpot for the next draw will be about 3 million Euro! You have to be in it to win it and to to improve your chances, Irish Lotto hasc ompiled a STATS section based on previous draws. So enter now - 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 her for full details:
We had a strange thing happen during the past couple of weeks. One of Bridget's email addresses was mistakenly disabled by a techno-twit at Road Runner, one of our servers. This meant that we lost a ton of messages and messages she sent out weren't delivered. So, if you've written and didn't get a response, that's probably why. A few emails did get through, including a weird one from a person who thinks we should know all about the Huguenots! Very odd indeed. But, we did find a web site that has a lot of information and sent the URL to them.

A more appropriate request was sent in by a reader who wants to incorporate Irish customs and traditions into a birthday party for a 15-year old girl. Your suggestions would be greatly appreciated. (Please keep in mind that the budget is very limited, so a live concert by U2 or the Saw Doctors is out).

Zena writes: Does anyone know about the Doherty (Dougherty) family reunion in Ireland?

And Kate writes:   Can you help me find the story that goes with Sheep Island about how many sheep the island can support?   It includes lines about the number of sheep the island can feed, the number it will starve, etc. I think I may have seen it on a wall panel in the Carrickarede Tea Room. Thank you for any help you can give me.  I'm chronicling my recent trip to the North and wanted to include this.   
She's as sweet as the day
She stole Dad's heart away
That old Irish Mother of mine

Shamrock Radio
A weekly hour long programme hosted by Tommy Murphy and featuring Irish music, reviews, news from Mayo and email requests. http://www.shamrockradio.com/

Irish Aires Archives
To hear our Easter Rising Show (part 1) & our interview with John Fitzgerald about the Irish Baseball Movie "The Emerald Diamond" go to:

Husband of the year awards
We've seen these before, but they are well worth looking at again!

In and out of Dublin airport
Ireland's biggest airport has been maligned in the past for its security issues, and delays. Having traveled through this airport more than a half dozen times, the columnist says she certainly hasn't seen it to be much worse/better than other reasonably busy airports.

From our friend Audrey a very funny card with words and music by Eric idle (He proudly calls himself "the third tallest member of Monty Python.")

Mazes to test your eye/hand coordination
A good one from Hartson who says: "Can you beat all four levels? I highly doubt it. I lost it on #2.  Wait till you see how narrow the paths gets:

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:

Please help us keep our newsletter coming to your mailbox and visit our good friends at Lollysmith:
In stock right now, great gift ideas for Father's Day, graduations First Communions, Christenings and more. also on order, more genuine blackthorn sticks from the same man himself who hand-crafted and presented them as gifts to President Kennedy and many other famous personages. Take a look at these and the many other unique items on offer. Please click
"Before a day was over,
Home comes the rover,
For mother's kiss-sweeter this
Than any other thing!"
 William Allingham
"My toughness comes from my mother's side. It's the Irish in me." 
News Anchor Tom Brokaw
Two mothers were talking about their sons. The first said, "My Patrick is such a saint. He works hard, doesn't smoke, and he hasn't so much as looked at a woman in over two years."
The other woman said, "Well, my Francis is a saint himself. Not only hasn't he not looked at a woman in over three years, but he hasn't touched a drop in all that time." "Indeed," the first mother said. "You must be so proud." "I am so," the second mother replied. "And when he gets out early for good behaviour next month I'm going to throw him a big party."
1. On average, men spend more on their mothers for Mother's Day than women?
2. US President Andrew Jackson's mother was from Carrickfergus?
3. General de Gaulle's maternal ancestors were McCartans from Co. Down?
(Or books on Irish-related topics?)
Who wrote:
1. My Mother and Father were Irish
2. Mother Jones: The Most Dangerous Woman in America
3. Some Mother's Son (Acouple of possible answers - we'll take either one)

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. In the meantime, here are the answers to our last quiz:

Mickey Slabdabber, a Limerick Odyssey by Michael Quinlan
The Celtic Gods: Comets in Irish Mythology by Mike Baillie, Patrick Mccafferty
So Mammy Said by Patrick Burke

Hats off to the following Irish bibliophiles:

Cathleen Toft
My favourite website is Patrick Kavanagh.  The website is http://www.patrickkavanaghcountry.com/html/pkcentre.htm
He is one of my great poets  He has to be; I am related to him - about three cousins in on my mother's side of the family.  His last remaining brother Peter, died about three months ago in the USA.  He is now buried with Patrick in Inniskeen, Co Monaghan.
Love your newletters.  They are so interesting.  Keep up to good work.
Thanks Cathleen!
ED. NOTE: If you'd like to read Russ' entry on Patrick Kavanagh in our poetry section, here's the URL:

Claire Hegarty

Jamie Dossey

Hartson Dowd
An Irish Website I enjoy -  The Emerald Ring:
Helen Dowd
Thanks, everyone who has so faithfully voted for my site. Please keep visiting to see what's new:
- and I also invite you to visit my other site:

ED. NOTE: As of this writing, Helen is in third place on The Top Christian sites! Well done Helen. Now we start the long haul to number two - nearly 15,000 votes away.  But persistance pays off, so please keep voting.

First off, the answer to our last brain bruiser:
There's a three-syllable word that if you take five letters away from it, you will have a word for male. If you remove just four letters, you will have a word for female. And if you take the word as a whole you will have what Countess Constance Markewitz is considered to be.
Q. What is the word?
A. Heroine
Well done to Terry Doherty from Old Saybrook, Connecticut, who was first in with the answer. And now for our next head-banger:

A girl is twice as old as her brother and half as old as her
mother. In 22 years, her brother will be half as old as his
Q. How old is the daughter now?

1. Article: A Powerful Woman
2. Article: Mother's Day in ireland
3. Article: Poems and Lyrics in Honour of Mother's Day
4. Article: The Rosary & All the Trimmings
5. Book Review: Mother Ireland
6. The irish Kitchen: Traditional Irish Breakfast
7. Basic Irish: Mothering Sunday/Mother's Day
8. May Trivia Contest - is posted! All entries must be in by midnight on May 31, whichever time-zone you're in:
Many thanks to all who entered our April contest and congratulations to Edith Bower from Florida who won.
9. Circle of Prayer. Our 7th Novena in this series began on May 10 and continues through May 17. So many are in need of our prayers - family and friends who are ill, in the hospital, going through so many different situations and difficulties. Specifically, we ask that you remember the family of Dr. William Halligan RIP, Barbara Harding, Scott H, Peggy, Peggy's mother Madeline, Sarah's grandmother Nell, Jane, Mickey, and also Linda Langerfeld. Whatever your spiritual leanings, please count your blessings and ask God to hear your prayers and intercessions for those less fortunate. And please don't forget to ask the Good Shepherd of us all to watch over our men and women serving in the military all over the world. To join us every morning or whenever time permits, please click

Russ has been busy creating a new department filled with all the Irish jokes we've published in the newsletters since we began this venture nearly four years ago. Hard to believe it's been that long! It should be posted early in the week. We will also have a new basic Irish lesson, kid's story, kid's Culture Corner, recipe and whatever else we can think of to keep you coming back for more! As always, we'll update the news headlines every day, post the history for the date.

So that's the long and the short of it until next time. Between now and then if you're celebrating a special event, may it be a blessed and joyous occasion. And, whatever is happening in your life, may the Good Shepherd of us all keep you and yours safe from harm in the mantle of His love. But give Him a helping hand - a 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 help us keep our newsletter and the web site coming to you at no cost; send whatever you can to Bridget or Russ Haggerty.
Our snail mail address is 5670 Meryton Place, Cincinnati OH 45224. Of, you can send a donation via PayPal. The Url is:
and our email address is this one:
Many thanks in advance for your kindness.
Please check with the Wild Geese - they have a huge listing of events and we don't want to duplicate our efforts - or theirs.
If we receive a unique event not mentioned there we will be happy to list it here.

Manalapan New Jersey - May 21
Fourth Sunday Afternoon With the Irish from 2 until 5 pm at St. Thomas More Church. Featuring music by Andy Cooney and his Band and step-dancing by performers from the Seery-School of irish Dance.
Sponsored by AOH Div. 16, St. Oliver Plunkett
186 Gordons Corner Rd. Manalapan NJ 07726. Adults $20 Children $10 14/17 years of age. For more details, please call 732-792-0387

Dublin City, Co. Dublin, Ireland - une 13 & July 22,
Bewleys Café Theatre, Grafton Street Dublin
Tall Tales Theatre Companpresent MELODY
A theatrical lunchtime treat
Previews 12 June | 1.10pm
For more details, please visit

Cashel, Co. Tipperary, Ireland - September 8, 9, 10
Are you a fan of Fidelma? Ireland's international best selling fictional detective will be celebrated at a weekend convention in her "hometown." For complete details, please click

Dublin, though it's full of priests
And has a certain charm
Is very far from heaven on earth
And peace, good-will and calm.
Archbishop Connor after Mass
Devoured its Sunday papers,
As usual full of murder, rape
And kinky sexual capers.
A long and searching read was called for
On the bishop's part
To find good news to please, amuse
And warm his holy heart.
But as he read the nineteenth page
He gave a pious squawk.
"A fourteenth child's been born," it said
"To Mrs Ann O'Rourke."
Now there's a thing to make priests sing
And feminists perplex:
In Mother Church and married bliss
Fecund, fruitful sex!
In Ann O Rourke 'Humanae Vitae'
Has found complete reception,
Conception follows on conception
Without the pill's deception.
He called at once his priestly dunce
And chaplain, Mike O'Toole,
"Get on your bike good Father Mike
And pedal like a fool.
"Find Ann O'Rourke to give her this
Ten pounds and bid her flourish
For granting Mother Church a fourteenth
Little soul to nourish!"
So Father Mike leapt on his bike
And pedalled, cassock flying,
Traffic lights, pedestrians' rights,
Police and death defying.
And in a long and littered street
He reached his destination:
Dublin's best domestic nest!
His Bishop's jubilation!
He knocked upon its shabby door
And then stood back and waited.
It opened to reveal the Mum
His bishop celebrated.
Drawn and haggard, worn and ragged,
Drab, dull-eyed, depressed.
Of adverts for 'Humanae Vitae'
Very far from best.
Undaunted Father Mike O'Toole
Held out his Bishop's gift:
"Congratulations, Ann O'Rourke,
May this your spirits lift!
"Ten pounds in admiration of you
From Bishop Patrick Connor
Who thinks your faith and fruitfulness
All Catholic women honour!"
Ann O'Rourke, our heroine,
The Bishop's heart's delight,
Wedged the money in her bosom
Very, very tight.
Then said securely and demurely:
"The Bishop's very kind.
Especially since I'm Methodist.
How odd he doesn't mind!"
At this the Father, troubled rather,
Seemed to change his views,
And fecund fruitful motherhood
Become despised bad news.
With grimace grim and rage enraged
He snatched the money back,
And snarled, "You shameless, protestant!
You sex-crazed maniac!"

 Reprinted with the kind permission of the Reverend
Andrew Neaum - ABC Radio's "Vicar of Verse"