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Greetings and blessings to all,

A warm welcome back to everyone - especially our newest subscribers - it's lovely to have you with us; if you enjoy these weekly musings and meanderings, please feel free to share them with your family and friends.

We hope this week's edition finds you in fine fettle and we especially hope that all of our readers on the US east coast are coping with the huge nor' easter that blew in Friday and Saturday (and, from all accounts, is still going on). We well remember these three-day storms when we lived in Boston. While we miss Massachusetts, it's always in winter that we're glad to be where we are. That said, here we have to put up with ice-storms and in our humble opinion, they're way worse than snow. So far, we've escaped the really bad weather, but if the wooly worms are anything to go by, it looks like it's going to be a nasty winter. Maybe. Certainly, for parts of the USA, it's getting off to an early start.

Well, it takes the cockles off our hearts to be able to report that it was a week of big wins for the Irish! Rosanna Davison took the Miss World title (and Miss Canada came in second, which should please our many Irish-Canadian readers), Eamonn Magee claimed the WBU welterweight title, Padraig Harrington won the Hong Kong Open and the Notre Dame Fencing team beat Penn State. Heady stuff that should make us all proud of our Irish lineage.

On the homefront, it's official! The holiday season kicked off at the Haggerty household on December 6th, the feast of St. Nicholas, with the switching on of all the electric candles in the windows - all 42 of 'em . Our electric company is delirious. Next, we'll be hauling out all of the other decorations and hopefully, the halls will be decked in time for our Black Swap next Sunday (more about that in next week's newsletter). But enough about us:

In news from Ireland:
Co. Limerick: It was the end of an era when the Ryan Hotel closed last Thursday. In operation as a hotel since 1940, the historic building served as one of the main hubs for visitors flying into Shannon.

Donnybrook, Dublin: A consortium headed by multi-millionaire Denis O'Brien has re-lodged plans with Dublin City Council for a 26-storey tower facing the end of Morehampton Road. Hard to imagine skyscrapers in Ireland, but there you are - they're coming.

Co. Mayo: More than six decades of hat and cap manufacturing in Castlebar came to an end Friday after 13 workers at the Hats of Ireland facility received their last pay cheques. At one time the plant, which was originally staffed by Jewish refugees at the start of the second World War, had 300 employees and was a mainstay of local employment.

Co. Meath: Dr. Alice Murnane, from Drumree, Leishanstown, near Dunshaughlin, celebrated her 100th birthday this past week. Considered to be one of the State's oldest doctors, she practised as a locum until she was 94. Early to bed and early to rise, Dr. Alice enjoys quiz and wildlife shows during the day as well as a daily glass of sherry with her lunch.

Belfast: Northern Ireland drivers are now the only motorists in the UK who can legally use a mobile phone handset while driving. New legislation which has come into effect in England, Scotland and Wales means motorists using a hand-held mobile face fixed-penalty fines of £30 or a maximum of £1,000 if the case comes to court.

From the mail bag:
We received a message from Brian and Lisa Pickens, the lovely couple who do the Irish Christmas Cards for the Children's Friendship Project for Northern Ireland. They wanted us to let you know about a new CD that is winning rave reviews. Here's what they said: "It is fantastic, really one of the best Irish music CDs out there now, especially for those who remember warm and friendly sessions from their life (or vacation) in Ireland. Listening to it is like drinking real coffee after suffering through months of freeze-dried instant." The CD is called Music at the House and you can find out more abut the recording and the musicians here:

From last week's mailbag:
Don't forget to cast your vote for Tyrone captain Peter Canavan in the . BBC's annual Sports Personality of the Year contest. Gerard writes: Perhaps you could help me in giving a much needed boost to the GAA in general and the Tyrone All-Ireland winning team in particular.

Links of the week:
Here's a great stress-reliever - note, you need to keep hitting the "poke again" letters at the top so you can "participate" in the entire sequence; have your sound turned on for the full impact - all puns intended!:

This one is just too funny. (And thanks to our friend Audrey for sending it in). Shake the globe and watch what happens. Be sure your speakers are turned on:

Photo Gallery of Ireland - gorgeous shots from the State's official site:

Beautiful photos of Donegal in winter:

This one is dedicated to all the mothers in the military who will be away from home over the holidays - have the tissues handy:

A new (to us) music page - from country to Celtic:

And last but definitely not least - especially for 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!

We've blithered and blathered long enough...on with the update:
Help us keep this newsletter free by visiting the The Irish Lottery:
Lottery tickets make great stocking stuffers! 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
To be a fully paid-up member of Dublin 4*, you have to eat polenta, send your children to fee-paying schools, have a superior attitude to rural Ireland, criticise the Catholic Church and the traditional political set-up, take holidays in Tuscany or Provence, own a cottage in the west of Ireland, think nationalism frightfully old-hat, and regard Mary Robinson, the progressive-minded former President of Ireland, as a divine creature a cut or two above the Virgin Mary. To belong to Dublin 4, you also have to regard the whole existence of Dublin 4 as a myth dreamt up by the resentful masses who eat bacon and cabbage rather than polenta, send their children to state schools, can't afford to take a holiday, and when asked 'Have you read Marx?' reply 'Only where I sit down'.
From The Truth about the Irish by Terry Eagleton.
*a phrase used to refer to a certain intellectual elite in the city.
A man comes home from an exhausting day at work, plops down on the couch in front of the television, and tells his wife, "Get me a Guinness before it starts." The wife sighs and gets him a Guinness. Fifteen minutes later, he says, "Get me another before it starts." She looks cross, but fetches another Guinness and slams it down next to him. He finishes that one and a few minutes later says, "Quick, get me another, it's going to start any minute." The wife is furious. She yells at him "Is that all you're going to do tonight? Drink beer and sit in front of that TV? You're nothing but a diabolical, desperate, mangled midden, and furthermore ..."The man sighs and says, "It's started ..."
1. The popular song "Do They Know It's Christmas?" was written by Bob Geldof?
2. "Christmas in Killarney" was written by singer-songwriter John Redmond of Burditt Hill, in Clinton, Massachusetts?
3. The carol "While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks by Night" was written by poet-laureate of England, Dublin-born Nahum Tate?
'Never dread the winter till the snow is on the blanket' i.e. there's no need to worry about the cold as long as you have a roof over your head. P. Reilly, Co. Kildare
First off, the answers to last week's quiz:

All Silver and No Brass - Henry Glassie
Christmas In Ireland - Colin Morrison
Star Bright - Andrew M. Greeley

A pat on the back and hearty congrats to our Irish bibliophiles:

Déirdre McKiernan Hetzler
"Glorious Ireland in May"
May 25 - June 8, 2004
View last year's itinerary:

Frankie Gorman
My favorite website is this one for tenor Jerry Hadley:
Jerry and his wife, Cheryl, are friends of mine. Jerry has a beautiful tenor voice and a great operatic career and Cheryl is an accomplished pianist and accompanist.

Helen Dowd
I invite you to visit my website...
...where little angels welcome you. Take a look around. Push on the "Literary" tab to discover several categories of reading: Bible quizzes, studies and stories, children's lit., poetry, inspirational articles, missions, a variety of other reading, including new Christmas items. Please don't forget to sign the guest book.

Patricia Edwards
If you like jokes, this site will keep you busy for ages!

Hartson Dowd
Ireland's Culchie Festival was recently held in Co. Tipperary, and after serious competitions involving nappy-changing, sandwich-making, cocktail-drinking, etc., a Kerry farmer was crowned King. A culchie is a person born in any part of Ireland outside of Dublin. Thousands joined in the fun, but of course, no jackeens (aka city folk from Dublin) were there to spoil it! See:
http:// www.culchiefestival.com

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 Man Who Was Marked By Winter
2. Winter in Meath
3. Winter Work
Hint: All three titles can be found here - and this would make a great Christmas gift!:

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 keep this newsletter free and visit the Celtic Attic:
There is still plenty of time to place your order for Holiday Delivery. We are shipping daily during this most busiest of seasons. Remember to guarantee Christmas delivery, place your order by the 12th of Dec. Orders placed after this date may still arrive for Christmas, but that is cutting it very close. We are now offering Gift Wrapping on our items for the Holidays. Simply place your order and put in the Comments Section that you would like your package Gift Wrapped. There is NO Additional Charge for this! And don't forget to enter the Free Giveaway for December. It's a grand one this time: a Picnic Basket filled with Tea's, Cookies, Sweets and more. http://www.celticattic.com/contact_us/free_giveaway.htm
Note: If you place an order, please mention the special code IC46 in the comments section. Himself and Herself will earn a small commission. Many thanks!
Full marks to Bill W, originally from Belfast and now living in Florida, who was first with the answer to the following:
My first is a number, my second another,
And each, I assure you, will rhyme with the other.
My first you will find is one-fifth of my second,
And truly my whole a long period reckoned.
Yet my first and my second (nay, think not I cozen),
When added together will make but two dozen.
How many am I?
Four and a score!
Now for this week's mind-bender - and this one is Irish; it was created by Jonathan Swift:
We are little airy creatures,
All of different voice and features;
One of us in glass is set,
One of us you'll find in jet.
T'other you will see in tin
And the fourth a box within.
If the fifth you should pursue,
It can never fly from you.
What are we?
We'll try to get the home-page updated as early in the week as we can - please be patient with us:
1. Home Page - See what's new at a glance:
2. New - Basic Irish: This week's lesson (which will be posted on Tuesday) focuses on shopping
3. New - The Irish Kitchen: Good libations for your celebrations
4. New - The Music Library: Christmas in an Irish Castle
5. New - The Book Library: we've added nearly a dozen seasonal titles http://www.irishcultureandcustoms.com/Libr/1BkXmas1.html
6. Featured - Article: Irish Superstitions for the Christmas Season
7. Featured - The Irish Kitchen: Irish Spiced Beef - a traditional buffet favorite http://www.irishcultureandcustoms.com/2Kitch/rBeef.html#SpicedBeef14.
8. Ongoing - Circle of Prayer: Our eighth Novena in this cycle begins today (December 7) and continues through December 15. This past week we heard from long-time friends Bob & Kathy Kelly in Utah. Bob's been diagnosed with an aortic aneurism and asks that you please petition he won't need surgery. In addition to Bob, please continue to remember Eileen's brother Bob, her son Christopher, Debbie's friend Bertha, Rita, Lindsea, Dianne, Claire, C.J., baby Christopher, Sam, Steven & Margaret, and the Mulligan family. We also ask that you keep all military personnel in your prayers or meditations, especially those stationed in Iraq. Whatever your spiritual leanings, we hope you will join us each day
On-going: We are receiving lots of entries into December's quiz. Maybe we made it too easy! All entries must be in by December 31, no matter which time zone you live in.
9. On-going - Irish News: Headlines for the past week
10. On-going -This month in Irish History:
11. On-going - Looking for the perfect Irish gift? Come browse our shops!

Bridget is busy researching the old Christmas custom of Mumming; we'll be posting the Culture Corner for Kids' Ireland; the blessing has been posted, a new quote will go up on Wednesday, and a new recipe from Hartson will appear toward the end of the week. In the meantime, our site average continues to go up with nearly 1100 unique visitors every day. Thanks to all of you who stop by daily to see what's new.

Well, that's about the length of it for another week - except of course, for these tidbits from our often strange and curious calendar (we really don't make these up and one should note that "national" refers to the USA). Today, December 7th, is Bodhi, a Buddhist Celebration, the 8th is Winter Flowers Day, the 9th is National Pastry Day, the 10th is International Human Rights Day and the Festival for the Souls of Dead Whales (Inuit Eskimos), the 11th is National Noodle Ring Day and the Birthday of UNICEF; the 12th is National Ambrosia Day as well as Poinsettia Day; and the 13th is St. Lucia Day, Ice Cream & Violins Day and National Cocoa Day. If you'd like to look ahead, our source is: http://www.web-holidays.com
Which reminds us - we were gently reprimanded by a reader for referring to Thanksgiving as "Turkey Day." No offence was meant. We get just as upset when we hear the phrase St Patty's Day. On a more serious note, we can't allow December 7th to pass by without mentioning Pearl Harbor. This morning, we took a look at the list of those who who perished on "the Day of Infamy." Not surprisingly, there were many Irish names. For all of you who lost relatives and friends, please know they are remembered and cherished.

Until next time, may the horns of your cattle always touch heather, may God keep you and yours from all harm, and, as they say in Ireland, mind yourself.

Bridget & Russ
Get down on your knees and thank God you're still on your feet
Please help us to keep this newsletter free - visit our good friends, LollySmith!
The LollySmith elves are putting in the overtime to ensure that they'll have the perfect Irish gift for everyone on your list! In stock now, our always popular teas, coffees and foods from Bewleys of Dublin, authentic blackthorn walking sticks, hats 'n caps, tin whistles, and...drum roll please, for Russ Berrie Angel Cheeks - not Irish, but amazingly, a huge seller with our Irish customers. We look forward to your visit and from all of us at LollySmith, Nollaig Shona Duit - Happy Christmas!
Did you enjoy reading this edition of our newsletter? Voluntary donations to help keep us going are always welcome and can be sent to us via http://www.paypal.com
Our email address there is bnhaggerty@cinci.rr.com. 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: 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 November/December here:

Silver Arm Performances - Greater Cincinnati area
Come out and enjoy Silver Arm at one of our upcoming performances.
Fri. Dec 12: Dilly Deli, Mariemont (513-561-5233) 7-10pm

Sunday December 14
Philadelphia to roll out the Red Carpet for Canavan, Harte and Sam
In celebration of Tyrone's All Ireland Championship, they will be guests of honour at two gala events. The first is a VIP reception which will take place at Tir Na Nog in the Phoenix Hotel from 1pm to 3pm. Donation is $500 and includes open bar and hors d'oeuvres. The second event is a cocktail reception from 5pm to 8pm at the Commodore John Barry Club (Irish Center). Donation to this event is $100 and includes open bar and hors d'oeuvres. Proceeds from both events will be donated to the Greater Philadelphia Irish-American Cultural Association, Inc.which has been established to purchase the New Philadelphia GAA pitch located in Limerick Township. For ticket information, please contact Sean Breen at (610) 832-7508 or Owen Treacy at (610) 828-5240.

Trinity College Dublin - Christmas Homecoming in the Dining Hall
Monday, December 22 from 6:00pm to 8:00pm. Admission is by ticket only, and each graduate may be accompanied by one guest only. To reserve your place, contact Norah Kelso, Alumni Relations Officer, Trinity Foundation, East Chapel, Trinity College, Dublin 2 or mailto:nkelso@tcd.ie
Include your full name, student number (if known), degree, year of graduation and address to which your ticket can be sent. Please reserve your place before Friday, 12 December.

DCU Business School 2001 reunion - December 29
A reunion for 2001 Dublin City University graduates from BBS/BSI4/IML/IBL will take place at the Sugar Club on Leeson Street on Monday, December 29. Entertainment will include a band, DJ and a late bar. Admission will be EU8 before 9.00pm. Graduates wishing to attend may contact Nicola Riordan at mailto:buzinessdcu01@yahoo.com with a "Yes" in the Subject field of the email.

The Chieftains are coming January 13! Sponsored by the Society for
Performing Arts. Details to be announced.

Texas Dulcimer Cruise - February 5-9, 2004
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

Galveston, Texas
March 28, 03
Galveston 1894 Grand Opera House - James Galway, flautist Sunday March 28, 2004 3pm

Cais Conference/Reunion - May 26-29, 2004
Saint Mary's University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
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, 2004
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 2004
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: