Greetings & Blessings to All,
Céad Míle Fáilte to our November /December Edition. We hope it finds you and yours as happy as a lark, on the pig’s back and fit as a fiddle! As for ourselves, we kicked off what Himself likes to call the Silly Season last evening when we saw our four year old granddaughter Elliot play  a mouse in the Nutcracker. It doesn't get much cuter!  Next Tuesday, we head out to our nine year old grandson Fievel’s Christmas Concert; he’s playing the sax which he has been taking for less than three months - it promises to be a hoot. Himself is looking for our ear plugs! Then, next Sunday is our annual Black Swap Ploughman’s Lunch. Only the most totally useless, tasteless and tackiest gifts are encouraged and we’ve seen it all. Imagine Last Supper After Dinner Mints, or a Hilary Clinton egg separator. The biggest problem is trying to top the awful presents from the year before - many of which are hidden by departing guests  for us to find later.
Onwards. Since last we wrote, our readers in the USA celebrated Thanksgiving - we hope it was a safe and happy holiday for everyone  and we’d like to thank all the readers who sent us cards - they are very much appreciated. Also, a belated Happy St. Andrew’s day for all our Scots readers.
On a more serious note... 
In our last newsletter, we mentioned that if and when we learned of any fund raising efforts for those affected by the superstorm, we’d try to keep you posted. What we know so far:
Irish Network USA is holding benefits in at least eight US cities. Seventy-five people attended the Washington event this past week, contributing more than $2,000 for Sandy’s victims and other charities. To learn more about  the Irish Network efforts, please click
Daly Communications will be hosting an album Launch Party and SANDY Fundraiser at Klub 45 Connolly's on W 45th St on Thursday, December 13th at 8:30 pm. A portion of ticket purchases and album sales will be donated to the victims of Super Storm Sandy 
ED. NOTE: we will be doing a review of the CD on the web site soon
The American Ireland Fund has raised $250,000, mainly for the strongly Irish-American communities of Breezy Point and the Rockaways. The Ireland Fund’s Young Leaders will co-host fundraisers with US ambassador Dan Rooney and Irish ambassador Michael Collins in coming days, while Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore and secretary of state Hillary Clinton will announce further support from Ireland for Irish- American victims of Sandy when they meet in Dublin on December 6th.
If you hear of any other  events, please let us know.  Meanwhile...
It took many years to make its debut, but finally, The Book: Potion, Pope & Perfidy is now available on Kindle. If you’d like to check it out, just visit amazon’s Kindle store 
Naturally, we’re hoping it will be a best seller - with your help, it would be off to a very good start!  And thanks in advance for taking a look! 
Enough of the blather... except that if this is your first  newsletter, many thanks for becoming a subscriber and if you enjoy our musings and meanderings, please feel free to share them with your family and friends.
SPONSOR: Tara Irish Clothing

We’d like to welcome a brand new supporter of our newsletter and one we really admire for their authentic Irish knitwear and accessories  for men, women and children. Herself owns the sweater shown which she received as a gift last year. That is NOT Herself in the photo! Nevertheless, even if it doesn’t look as good on her as it does on the model, it still gets many a compliment whenever she wears it. To see the full line, please click 
And if you do place an order, tell them Bridget & Russ said hello!

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

SPONSOR: The Celtic Attic
Celebrate the festive season with a wide array of gifts and decorations, all with a Celtic twist, PLUS, exclusively for our 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: 360) 813-1113  On line: 
Heidi Wheelan writes:
I was so personally touched by your newsletter - I can't wait for the next one! If you could please keep the Irish community of Seaside Heights/Toms River also in your prayers & meditations it would be greatly appreciated. Every year there is a church in  Seaside Heights that says Mass in Irish prior to launching the St. Patrick's Day parade - our church has graciously offered the use of our facilities until that parish can open again. Thank you so much for the links - especially the ones for shopping to support the mom and pop businesses! It is because of you and yours that help keep the Irish in all of us.
ED. NOTE: Thanks Heidi!
Heidi also sent  a link to a series of amazing aerial shots:
Gerry Taylor writes:
I would like to convey  to you how much I sincerely appreciate your newsletter! They are so informative and I always look forward to the next one. Please say a Novena for my daughter Kerry and my grandson Luke who are now homeless from hurricane Sandy. They resided in Howard Beach, New York, which is a small community near Rockaway. My wife and I reside  in Bonita Beach, Florida. God Bless you for your work and happy holidays to all.
ED. NOTE: Thanks Gerry.
Our friend Owen at Lollysmith wrote: an elderly friend has asked me to try and get him the words of a song/poem -  some of the words he remembers as:
It was christmas eve in Ireland
on a lonely mountain side
in his old and crumbling cabin
old Pat Maloney cried
oh God of might and mercy
I ask no golden throne
I ask just one last mercy
don't let me die alone goes on:  no priest was there to bless him... and that’s all the friend remembers. We spent a good deal of time looking in the internet  but didn’t find it. Fingers crossed, one of our readers will recognize it! 
Beryl writes: My sisters and I have been trying to recall a saying that was often spoken when we were children.  We cannot get it quite right and wondered just what it meant. What I can remember was “What’s yours/my nose doing up on that hook?   I’m blackening your/my boots me fool.” 
ED. CLUE: We haven’t a clue - do you?
A very short and sweet video with Silent Night accompanying the photos.
Life in Ireland in the 11th century
The year is 1067. Godwin Godwinson the son and heir to the dead Saxon king Harold Godwinson fled to Ireland after the Norman Invasion of England. This podcast looks at the world he found in Ireland. How did he travel to Ireland? What did Dublin look like, sound like and smell like? What did people eat? What did they look like? What weapons did people use? What was the Brehon law? All this and much more is answered in this podcast which follows the heirs of Harald Godwinson through Ireland in 1067.
 We’ve known Mattie for quite some time and he has contributed several articles to the web site. He loves his county Wicklow and sent us this tribute to share with you. Hope you enjoy it!
This was sent to us by our good friends Hartson & Helen Dowd. We’ve seen episodes of Red green before - but never this one; it’s well worth watching!!
ED. NOTE: The Irish Page sent us a Thanksgiving Irish lesson - it has some valuable turkey dinner words in irish:
We hope you like this as much as we did. And if you’re curious about the song, it’s Gabrielle Aplin’s The Power of Love. Enjoy!
This is a wonderful, thought-provoking, one minute clip. It is full of wisdom. . . . and very brief. It’s not a joke, it’s not religious, it’s not political. It’s just special. We hope you agree. And thank you dear Mr. Crotty for sending it to us.
SPONSOR: please visit  Lollysmith  
Be sure to check out their newly updated  web site - it’s brilliant!
It’s Christmas - and Lollysmith is brimming to the rafters with all the very best in Irish gifts and more! Whatever the occasion, Lollysmith is sure to have exactly what you are looking for! And, since 1999,they have earned a well-deserved reputation for their quality, great prices, quick shipping, and friendly personalized service. Plus, new Items are being added all the time, So stop by soon and tell them Bridget & Russ said hello.
There is a remarkable breakdown of taste and intelligence at Christmastime. Mature, responsible grown men wear neckties made of holly leaves and drink alcoholic beverages with raw egg yolks in them.
P. J. O'Rourke
In recognition of Himself becoming a published author: 
In a literature class in Dublin some years back, students were given an assignment to write a short story involving all the important literary ingredients — Nobility, Emotion, Sex, Religion and Mystery. The winner was: "My God!’ cried the Duchess. ‘I’m pregnant. Who did it?"
An old man in Dublin calls his son in New York right before Christmas and says, "Son, I 'm sorry, but I have to tell you that after 45 years of misery, your mother and I are busting up. " "Da, what are you talking about?" the son yells in disbelief. "We can't stand the sight of each other any longer," the father says. "We're sick of each other, and I'm sick of talking about this, so you call your sister in Chicago and tell her." Frantic, the son calls his sister, who explodes on the phone. "No way they're leaving each other!" she shouts, "I'll take care of this." She calls Dublin immediately and screams at her father, "You are not splitting up. Don't do a single thing until I get there. I'm calling my brother back, and we'll both be there tomorrow. Until then, don't do a thing, DO YOU HEAR ME?" and hangs up. The old man hangs up his phone and turns to his wife. "Well then," he says, "they're coming home for Christmas and paying their own way!" 

1. You should never launder a Christmas gift before giving it to the recipient? It washes out the luck!
2.  The carol "While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks by Night" was written by poet-laureate of England, Dublin-born Nahum Tate?
3. To have good health in the coming year, you should eat an apple on Christmas Eve?
SPONSOR: The Irish Lottery
Did you see where that Irish American couple won the Powerball to the tune of about 230 million?  Even the wildest of dreams can come true - and while the Irish lottery doesn’t offer such humungous cash prizes, the jackpot can still get to be massive. Best of all, you can play from just about anywhere in the world - no waiting in line. To be in it to win it, please click on the following link:
First off, the answer to our previous cranium cruncher
I am the center of gravity, hold a capital situation in Vienna, and as I am foremost in every victory, am allowed by all to be invaluable. Though I am invisible, I am clearly seen in the midst of a river. I could name three who are in love with me and have three associates in vice. It is vain that you seek me for I have long been in heaven yet even now lie embalmed in the grave. 
Q What am I?
A. The Letter V
As always, this one was far too easy for our brilliant Riddle People but first in was Kim - location unknown.  Well done, Kim,,  -wherever you are!
And now for our next head banger:
Q. What does December have more of than each of the other months? 
Please send your answers to Bridget and put Riddle in the subject line. Thanks!

To begin with, the answers to our last quiz:
Under the Hawthorn Tree - Marita Conlon McKenna
Mystery of Mercy Close - Marian Keyes    
A Place of Stones         - Deirdre Purcell
A round of applause for our winners:
Jo Hill 
Tom McGuire
Jean Kaniecki
Deirdre Mckiernan Hetzler 
Author of  IRISH AMERICA RE-AWAKENING: The Eoin McKiernan Story. Borealis Press in Ottowa, Canada
And now for our next quiz. Who wrote:
1. An Ulster Christmas
2. All Silver And No Brass
3. Dublin Carol 
Please send your answers to Bridget:
It would be very helpful if you put ‘Know Your Writers’ in the subject line - thank you!
1. Today’s Headlines: We comb the Irish newspapers and web sites to find news to start your day with a positive spin. In this section you will also find links to stories from the past two weeks as well as links to the major Irish newspapers, the current time in Ireland and a link to the weather forecast.
2. Regional round up from Antrim to Wicklow
Bits and bobs from around the 32 counties; we update this feature on Saturday. The latest edition is for December 1st
3. Article: An Advent Memory
4. Article: Waiting for St. Nicholas
5. Article: Beannachtaí an tSéasúir - Season's Greetings
6. Article: Time at this Point of the Year
7. Article: Yes, Kelsey & Maddie O’Flaherty - There is a Santa Claus
8. Article: Preparing the Puddings
9. The Irish Kitchen: Paul Rankin’ Irish winter pudding
10. Basic Irish: Holiday Shopping
11. Kids’ Ireland: The Nightingale and The Rose
12. Music Review: Our resident columnist William Ramoutar shares his opinions of Maura O’Connell - A Voice of Ireland 
13: DECEMBER TRIVIA CONTEST: First off, many thanks to all of you who entered November’s Contest. Sad to say, there can be only one winner. Congratulations to Candi Wood, USA, who selected the Penny Whistle prize so generously provided by Lollysmith:
Meanwhile, we have a brand new contest posted and we tried to make this one as Christmassy as we could, All answers are somewhere on the site, so why not give it a shot? All entries must be in by midnight, December 31st, whatever time zone you are in.
14: CIRCLE OF PRAYER: Our second Novena in this cycle began on November 25 and continues through December 3rd.  Since last we wrote, we heard from one of our subscribers, Maureen Finn Forrester who asked that we remember her friends Joyce and Mickey Carlucci from Leonardo, NJ in our prayers and  meditations. Also Gerry Taylor’s daughter Kerry and his grandson Luke from Howard Beach, NY. As with so many others in the region, they lost everything including their homes  because of the storm. As mentioned earlier, Heidi Wheelan also asked for us to add the Irish community of  Seaside Heights/Toms River to our prayer list.  It will be a long, long time before these hardest hit Irish enclaves will  be back on their feet, so in addition to your spiritual support, we hope you will also help in other ways, either through financial contributions or with hands-on elbow grease.. If you live in the area, there are many Irish clubs organizing recovery efforts including the Aisling Community Centre in Yonkers. They  recently participated in the irish Day of Action which saw thousands of volunteers helping with the clean up. There are sure to be other days, and as we hear about them, we’ll let you know.
Meanwhile, please also  remember the following: Kevin Donahue, Susan Schupp,  Bill Smith  Hartson Dowd, his wife Helen and their family, the family and friends of the McTiernans,  all those who are struggling with serious health and financial problems, and last , but certainly not least, all the men and women serving in the military all over the world. Please God, keep them safe and bring them home soon.
15. Map Your Vote Poll: Irish Actor Gabriel Byrne thinks "The Gathering 2013" is a scam to take financial advantage of the irish diaspora. What do you think? We totally disagree with him. In our opinion, it's a wonderful opportunity to draw attention to the country, its people, its history and its heritage. If we could afford it, we'd be going and taking all of our kids and granddads with us. What's your opinion? You can express what you think on Map Your Vote where you will find numerous polls on a wide variety of topics, not just Irish or Ireland.
ED. NOTE:  Just so you know, Map Your Vote was developed by our nephew Ian Shields and his dad Dennis. We’re trying to help spread the word, so we hope you’ll take a look. Go raibh maith agat!  
16. For all your holiday gifts and decorations: Be sure to visit our shops page where you will find a nice range of Irish gifts and more!

 So there you have it until we send out an update in mid-December .  Until then, a belated Pinch, punch First  Day of the month, White Rabbit: and if you were married in December, here’s your special verse:
When December’s showers fall fast,
Marry and true love will last. 
We’ll take our leave with this old Irish blessing. 
 May you be blessed  With the spirit of the season,  which is peace, 
The gladness of the season, which is hope,
 nd the heart of the season, which is love.
And as they say in Ireland, mind yourself!
Slan agus beannacht leat! 
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
IrishBlessing/For every storm, a rainbow

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Irish Abroad lists many events taking place all over the world. Check them out here:
If we receive a unique event not mentioned there, we will be happy to list it here.
Wee Oscar Knox Appeal - Tir Na Nog Bar & Grill
1600Arch St, Ste 103
Begins at 2pm. There will be food/raffles/auction/kids events/live music and lots more. 2 hour open bar from 3 pm to 5pm. $25 each. 16 & under free.
Blue Leaf Gallery, Whitaker Court, Whitaker Square - Cork artist Tom Climent's long-awaited Dublin show
HOLLYWOOD, FLA -  DECEMBER 16 AND MORE  Hollywood, Florida - December 15th and more!
Upcoming dates for The Irish American Ceili Club ceillis are December 15 with Noel Kingston and on January 26, February 16 & March 9 with Tommy & Sharon.
There is still time to mail in your Membership Dues
for 2 0 1 2 - 2 0 1 3.....& it's only $20 !
Our mailing address is
PO Box 220315
Facebook Link:
Silver Arm, one of the best Celtic groups we’ve ever heard will be giving performances during December around the area. Group member Cyndi is also a superb artist and will be launching an exhibit of her work on December 12th at the Frame Gallery on Beechmont Avenue. For complete details about all of the group’s activities, please visit their web site:
Dublin artist roger Cummiskey Exhibitions
Full details here:  
From Bodran Classes to Irish Fiddle sessions and much, much more, there is always something going on to celebrate Ireland & the Irish. For complete details about all events, please click
Questions? Please contact Patrick O’Dea, President: 
Friends of Ireland of Southern California Monthly Breakfast. Events are held on the 1st Tuesday of the month. Please call in an RSVP to one of the contacts below one day in advance so we can accomodate you.
Barbara Walsh (714) 739-4195 Kathy Wisdom (714) 572-8277
Tom Kennedy (562) 425-2636 Jim O'Dea (626) 965-0307
First Friday of the month Céilís and ongoing Tuesday night Céilí and Sean Nós dance classes. Our season runs from October through June and next season we may be moving the dances to Saturday rather than Friday nights. For more details, please click


 This is a favourite from our collection of jokes on the web site. Definitely worth another read, given the time of year:

The teacher asked each of her students how they celebrated Christmas. She calls first on young Patrick O'Flaherty. "Tell me, Patrick, what do you do at Christmas time? Patrick addresses the class: "Me and my twelve brothers and sisters go to midnight Mass and we sing carols. Then we come home very late and we hang up our pillowcases at the foot of the bed. Then we go to bed and wait for Father Christmas to come with all our toys." "Very nice, Patrick," the teacher says. "Now, Billy Murphy, what do you do at Christmas?" "Me and my sister go to church with Mum and Dad, and we also sing carols. When we get home, we put biscuits and milk by the chimney and hang up our stockings. We hardly sleep waiting for Santa Claus to bring our presents." "That's also very nice, Billy," she said. Realizing that there was a Jewish boy in the class and not wanting to leave him out of the discussion, she asked him the same question. "Now, Isaac, what do you do at Christmas?" "Well, we also sing carols," Isaac responds. Surprised, the teacher questions further. "Tell us what you sing." "Well, it's the same thing every year. Dad comes home from the office. We all pile into the Rolls Royce and drive to his toy factory. When we get inside, we look at all the empty shelves and sing, 'What a friend we have in Jesus.' Then we all go to the Bahamas."
Want more laughs? Here you go: