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Greetings and Blessings to all,

Pinch, punch first day of the month, white rabbit! Hard to believe that it's December 1st and for many people it's the official start of what Russ likes to call the "silly season." Bridget prefers "Holly Daze."

The lights are being switched on everywhere, including the big Christmas tree on O'Connell Street and the usual traffic snarls from both cars and drivers are destined to become even worse than ever as the capital puts into effect the traditional Operation Freeflow which the natives have dubbed "go slow !" Or is that "no go?"

Our lights won't go on until the feast of St. Nicholas on December 6th. For Bridget, that's when the month-long season of merriment commences. Her mother called it Little Christmas (not to be confused with Women's Christmas on January 6th) and it's when St. Nick visited good little children and filled their shoes with treats. KitKat bars for breakfast - what a wonder that was!

But we digress. We hope all of our family and friends in the USA enjoyed their Thanksgiving holiday. In the Haggerty household , it was the usual mad but happy chaos in the kitchen. Miraculously, the turkey and all the trimmings made it to the table almost on time. Visits from all the children and grandchildren were the highlight of a lovely afternoon and evening spent with old friends and new faces. We have much to be thankful for.

So here we are, still partaking of leftovers - and putting on the pounds! Oh well. We hope this edition finds you in good health, light of heart (and lighter in body than us!) Welcome back to you all and a special hello to our newest readers. Many thanks for joining us and please feel free to share our meanderings and musings with those you think might enjoy them.
Help us keep your newsletter free. Please visit our good friends at Lollysmith:
Cap off your Christmas shopping gift list with authentic Irish caps from Hanna Hats of Donegal! Just in! See these and many more gifts imported directly from Ireland, including Jewelry and Shamrock Seeds, Connemara Marble, Tin Whistles, Bodhráns, and much more. So, stop by soon. Lollysmith is always open and they also offer Celtic themed gifts from American companies such as Russ Berrie Angel Cheeks, Silver Moon Jewelry, and Dorfman Pacific Hats. And definitely take a look at their genuine Irish Blackthorn and Hazel Walking Sticks! Please click:
From the mailbag
Links of the week
Quips, quotes, proverbs & toasts
Joke of The Week
Did You Know
Writer's Quiz
The Week That Was & The Week that Will be, God Willing
Leave 'Em Laughing


George Best's funeral on Saturday is expected to be the biggest seen in Northern Ireland. It is expected that 500,000 people will either attend the service at Stormont estate or line the proposed route the cortege will take. Television broadcasts will relay the proceedings to millions more.

Last Sunday, relatives of Arthur Griffith joined the Lord Mayor of Dublin and others at Mansion House to honour the founder of Sinn Fein which is celebrating its centenary year.

Phone numbers changing across the midlands
Dialing codes for towns including Mullingar, Tullamore, Birr, Portlaoise, and other parts of Westmeath, Offaly and North Tipperary are to change from December 5. Parts of Wexford will also be affected by the changes. The move is being made by ComReg, which says it needs to do so to meet increased demand for telephone services.
NOTE: Both the new and the old number will work until June next year, after which only the new number will work.

Irishmen a washout for cleaning, laundry and cooking
A large majority of Irishmen do almost no cleaning, laundry, or cooking at home, a survey by the Economic and Social Research Institute has found. Did we need an official survey to tell us this?

Armagh: Bards and mulled wine for the city
This coming weekend sees two events taking place in Armagh city, the first attracting people from all over Ireland as well as England and Scotland. The reigning Bard of Armagh, Jimmy Rafferty from Loughall, will be at the annual Bard of Armagh Festival on Friday in a bid to regain his title. The following day the centre of the city will have a Georgian theme as the second Georgian Event will take place. Members of the "Living History" team, dressed in Georgian attire, will promenade the streets and visitors will be able to enjoy warmed mince pies and mulled wine.

Clare: Two Campbell awards for the county
In her latest guidebook, food critic Georgina Campbell has singled out two premises in Clare for awards. Vaughan's Anchor Inn in Liscannor was chosen Pub of the Year and chef Mark Anderson of the Cherry Tree Restaurant in Killaloe was named as Chef of the Year.

Donegal: Shane helps launch 2006 coin set
Shane Callaghan a pupil of Termon National School helped to launch the new 2006 Central Bank coin set at Glenveagh National Park . These are the first euro coins to pay homage to the park and adjoining castle. Sets are expected to sell out very quickly.

Fermanagh: Life's work comes to fruition for Newtownbutler man
Dermot Maguire from Drumlone, Newtownbutler has spent the last twenty-five years collecting local folklore and history, and his work has now been published. "Drumlone at the Crossroads" will be launched this Friday by author and playwright Eugene McCabe in Newtownbutler Community Centre

Mayo: Festive lights for Ballinrobe
After a gap of several years, the funding has been found for festive lights. Some eighty local business people; some have given lump sums while others have pledged a monthly amount over the next five years. Preparations are already underway for the installation of the lights which will be switched o this Sunday by the current Rose of Tralee, Aoibhinn Ní Shúilleabháin.

Mayo: Achill Island to get 56 new call-center jobs
The job-starved island got a major boost with the announcement by Udaras Na Gaeltachta that it will set up a new call centre on the island in the new year.

Monaghan: Nursing Home Has Its Own Pub
St Mary's Hospital believes ready access to a good pint may help its patients -- average age 85 -- actually live longer. "We would say the whole social aspect of life does extend the years -- it means the patients aren't bored to death," So says Rose Mooney, assistant director of nursing. The pub, which opens at 11 a.m. and closes at 9 p.m. and charges normal bar prices, had also led to an increase in the number of visitors, she said.

Sligo: Future assured for old Sligo building
Both the County Council and the Borough Council have agreed that one of the oldest pubs in Sligo town should be added to the Record of Protected Structures. Hargadon Bros. in O'Connell Street, formerly a nineteenth century spirits grocery, dates from the 1850s and there has been a public house on the premises from 1868; the pub front has been in place for the past one hundred and fifteen years.

Wicklow: Old Soldiers' numbers dwindling
The Wicklow branch of the Organisation of National Ex-Servicemen has taken the decision to disband due to a fall in numbers; when the organisation held its annual Mass in Rathnew last month the remaining members discovered they did not number enough to form a Colour Party. After fifty years, there are just three ex-servicemen left, Jack Murphy from Kyle, Knocananna, Bill O'Toole from Wicklow town and Jack Hollingsworth from Rathnew.

USA: Read all about it: US Echo on sale in Ireland
After almost 80 years of providing a news service to Irish people in America, the Irish Echo newspaper is now on sale in Ireland. In a sign of the changing times, the paper took the decision to print in Ireland because thousands of Irish people who had gone to live in the US have now returned home.

USA: New York - Antrim woman wins election to public office
A 57% share of the vote has led to the election of Andersonstown native Kate Browning, neé Maguire, to the county legislator of Suffolk County. She will represent eleven towns in the third legislative district, including the town of Shirley where she lives with her husband Steve and their children, Aoife, Seán and Aodhan.

Paris: President McAleese Honours St. Columbanus
To commemorate the 6th-century Irish monk credited with reconverting Europe to Christianity, the Centre Culturel Irlandais, the Irish Bishops' Conference and the Columban Fathers commissioned a statue from one of Ireland's best-known sculptors, German-born Imogen Stuart. "Columbanus was one of many Irish monks whose lives were dedicated to pilgrimage, exile and evangelism," Mrs McAleese told the crowd in the Irish College courtyard.
"But his is the name that sticks." So much so that Robert Schuman, one of the founders of the European Union, called Columbanus: "One of the patron saints of all those who today seek to build a united Europe." The words are
engraved on the base of Stuart's sculpture.

Please help keep our newsletter coming to your mailbox - visit our good friends at the Irish Lottery: There was no winner in Wednesday' draw. That means this Saturday's jackpot could go as high as 3 million Euro. Wouldn't that be nice to have for Christmas? So play now. You don't have to live in Ireland to enter, 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! I Please click here for full details - and best of Irish luck to you!


Helen Dowd continues to keep us updated on her husband Hartson's progress. (For those of you who may not know, Hartson is a prolific contributor to this newsletter and to the Irish Kitchen on our web site). As of this writing, he is doing well, although the knee was swollen this morning. However, that isn't stopping him from writing and thanking everyone who has sent cards and notes of encouragement. Helen says it's one of the highlights of his day when the nurse brings him his mail. He will be in the hospital for a few more weeks yet, so if you'd like to help keep his spirits up, please send a greeting to him here:

Fraser Canyon Hospital
1275 7th Ave.
Hope, British Columbia, Canada
V0X 1L4
NOTE: no room number is necessary, as it is a very small hospital, and they all know who Hart Dowd is!

Tom writes: We have a elderly Irish neighbor that asks a different Dad/head of the family in the neighborhood to enter her front early each New Year morning. She directs him to enter the door first with the rest of his whole family immediately behind She says this is an Irish tradition for good luck and is very particular about how you do it/ what you wear/all your family is present, etc. We end up visiting for 1/2 hr, then she seems to want you to leave. I have performed this in the past but some neighbors refuse saying it's creepy and sounds like a witchcraft ritual. My mom is Irish (McDivitt) and has never heard of this tradition. I believe this is a real Irish tradition and am interested in knowing if you can direct me to information to help the other neighbors understand this a harmless tradition and not something harmful.
ED N OTE. We've heard pf the tall dark man carrying a piece of coal through the front door at midnight (Bridget's brother used to act the partwhen she was growing up) but we have never heard of what Tom's neighbour wants done.

Dot writes: Could you please help me. am an Australian and I am looking for the third line of an Irish saying.
"Two little pillows trimmed in lace"
"Two little heads side by side"
"And everything else will fit into place"

Jack Hennessey writes: I used to listen to the Irish Mass each sunday and that Mass came from the Gaeltacht. My link has not worked for the past year and I miss listening to it. Then the thought came to me that maybe one of your many readers might know the new link so I could go back to the site again.

Preparing for the coming of Christ
Jack and Vivian of the Irish Page have sent us links in recognition of the four Sundays before Christmas - Advent - which means "coming." Please click

Sunrise on the Wicklow Hills
Now available on DVD, almost an hour long tribute to the county that inspired John Millington Synge, gave refuge to freedom fighters, welcomed lovers to it's hills and valleys and continues to provide tranquility, peace and relaxation for its many visitors. The brainchild of our good friend and contributor Mattie Lennon, you can buy the DVD or learn more about the project by contacting Mattie here: lennonaspect@iol.ie
Tell him Bridget & Russ said hello.

First Love on Line
A free Irish dating & worldwide dating resource created by a young Irishman who met a girl online and after two years, they were married. It could happen to you, too. All you need to know is here:

The weather outside might be frighful...
...but you can be ready for the big freeze in the northern hemisphere with the games, recipes, downloads and seasonal sections you'll find here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/northernireland/winter/

Subscriber Spotlight
Our riddle solver Gary Jemsen turns out to be an architect and an Irish musician as well. You may have heard of his group - The Foggy Dew. Check out their web site here:

'Do ya know who's dead?'
That conversation opener is among the many things Culchies like - and say. Others include 'Well Holy God ... will ya look at that', winnin' a tukey at the cards, Tayto Cheese & Onions, as well as Sponge 'n Custurt. Check out the official Culchie site here:

Celtic Cross in dark, white or milk chocolate!
Penny R sent us this link to a company who creates delicious chocolate renditions of religious symbols and deities. Thanks, Penny!

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:


"I always love to begin a journey on Sundays, because I shall have the prayers of the church, to preserve all that travel by land, or by water."
From Polite Conversation, by Jonathan Swift

1. The latest "slanguage" in Ireland includes 'kippers'? It means: Kids in Parents' Place Eroding Retirement Savings!
2. Ireland is the third most expensive place in the EU, and sixth worldwide, for foreign people to live in? Norway is the most expensive followed by Denmark and then Japan.
3. Because they couldn't afford a traditional Thanksgiving dinner, poor Irish immigrants in Boston made do with cheap corned beef and cabbage? It became known as Irish Turkey!

We received this one from a namesake - Tom Haggerty; don't think we're related, but we do like his sense of humour. Hope you do, too!
The local priest had just hired a new housekeeper, Mary. The first morning while Father was having breakfast, Mary entered the room and exclaimed that the toaster was not working. He explained to Mary now that she was part of the household she should refer to the toaster as "our toaster". A few days later Mary mentioned to Father that the refrigerator was not working. He once again explained that she should refer to it as "our refrigerator". About a month later, the priest was entertaining the Bishop
for dinner when Mary rushed into the room screaming in panic, "Father, Father, there' a mouse under our bed!"

Help us keep our newsletter coming to your mailbox. Please visit our good friends at the Celtic Attic:
We want to invite our Loyal Customers, Newsletter Readers and Visitors to participate in the First Annual Celtic Attic Gift Basket Friendship Christmas Giveaway. We did this for Thanksgiving and the responses and stories were amazing. Some brought tears to our eyes. So we decided to do this for Christmas as well. All you have to do is Fill out the Free Monthly Giveaway or Gift Basket Giveaway forms and in the Comments Section nominate someone you feel is in need of one our Fantastic Celtic Gift Basket. Please tell us why you feel they deserve this prize. If your entry is chosen, you as the nominator will receive a Free Celtic Cross Pendant and your nominee will receive the Gift Basket. One Grand prize winner for the Gift Basket will be chosen on Christmas Eve by the Celtic Attic Staff. We will also pick 5 Runner Up's and each will receive a $5.00 Gift Card good for any purchase at the Celtic Attic. It never expires and will be mailed out to each runner up. The 5 nominators will also receive a Free Christmas Ornament for their participation. The links to the Free Giveaway sections are below. We hope to hear from as many of you as possible.Help make someone's Holiday Season Grand and send in your Nominees!

Also - Shop now and avoid the Holiday Rush!!!. Shipping on all orders under 1lb via PARCEL shipping option is FREE from Dec 1st - Dec 5th. This is the last time before Christmas to receive Free shipping on parcel orders, so take advantage now... To see all of the lovely items on offer, please click on the following URLs or cut and paste either one into your browser:

To start off, here are the answers to our last quiz:
1. Winter Blessings: Thoughts and Poems to Warm Your Heart - Patricia Scanlan
2. Moments That Changed Us - Colum Kenny
3. Lark's Eggs - Desmond Hogan

A round of applause and pints to our dedicated Irish literary sleuths:

Helen Dowd
For a variety of reading, please check out the literary section of my website: http://www.occupytillicome.com/literary.html
ED NOTE: Thanks to your votes, Helen has just a few hundred more votes needed to get to the next position on the Top Christian Sites list. Please keep up the good work and vote for her every day.

Rita Roche from Baltimore
We hope Rita will nominate a favourite web site next time.

Patricia Edwards
Another Castle - but this one is also a Heritage Museum:

Want to see your name in our next newsletter? Send us the names of the authors who wrote the following:

1. They Put the Flag AFlyin'
2. Islands of Connaught
3. Irish Blood, English Heart, Ilster Fry

ED. NOTE: Many books have the same title; please keep in mind that we are looking for Irish authors or Irish-related books.
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 - preferably Irish. 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!)
NOTE: It would be very helpful if you would send your entries to: bhaggerty@irishcultureandcustoms.com

Love the aroma of a turf fire? Experience the next best thing with Irish Incense, the peaceful, nostalgic scent that will transport you back in time and place. The perfect gift for Christmas or any other occasion, order now. And when you mention that you heard about Irish incense in the Irish Culture and Customs newsletter, you'll receive an extra pack of incense for FREE (plus your newsletter writers will receive a nice commission which will help keep us going). Please click

But first, the answer to our previous Cranium Cruncher:
Three playing cards in a row. Can you name them with these clues?
There is a two to the right of a king.
A diamond will be found to the left of a spade.
An ace is to the left of a heart.
A heart is to the left of a spade.
Q. Can you identify all three cards?
A. Ace of Diamonds, King of Hearts, Two of Spades
As always, the Riddle People didn't let us down. Well done to all of you who had the correct answer but first in was Gary Jensensen from Santa Barbara, CA. Not only did he give us the right solution, he also gave us the title for our next poser - "Brainium Bruiser!"
We hope it proves up to the mark:
A girl is twice as old as her brother and half as old as her father. In 22 years, her brother will be half as old as his father. How old is the daughter now?

1. Article: The Weavers of Donegal
2. Article: An Advent Memory
3. Poetry Corner: Joseph Mary Plunkett
4. Article: White-Washed Walls
5. Article: The Rosary & All the Trimmings
6. The Irish Kitchen: Preparing The Puddings
7. Basic Irish: Written Communication
8. Kids' Ireland: The Young King
9. Circle of Prayer: Our seventh Novena in this cycle begins on November 29 and ends on December 7th. It's that time of year when people come down with all kinds of ailments. Perhaps it's due to the change in seasons or the stress of the holidays. Whatever the reason, we hope you will pray or meditate for all of those who are troubled, wthether from illness or other worries. This week, we'd like you to remember the brother-in-law of Sue Girard, Rachael Savoca Caicco RIP, Also please continue to pray for Hartson Mally Keelan's family, for the victims of the recent tornadoes in the USA., and for our military personnel all over the world, especially those in Iraq and Afghanistan. Whatever your spiritual leanings, please visit our Novena page:
10. Sunday Blessing: A beautiful composition by Phil Coulter
11. Back in the Kids' Shop - Tweed Caps! We are really pleased that Lollysmith is now stocking these popular caps which look especially good on precocious kids - oops, we meant precious kids!
12. Trivia Contest. The new contest for December will be posted later today. All entries must be in by midnight December 31st, whichever time zone you're in:

In the works, more seasonal articles, yummy Yuletide recipes, and, (if we can ever get our act together), a new Christmas shopping page filled with unique Irish gifts. As always, we'll update the headlines each day and also post the history for that date. In addition, it's the beginning of December and that means a new Trivia contest, new Irish lesson, and more!

So there you have it until next time. Before we forget - were you married in December, or are you getting hitched this coming month? Here's the old Irish verse:
When December showers fall fast,
Marry and true love will last.

Celebrating another special event? Whatever the occasion, may it be filled with happiness and joy.

Until we write again, may the Good Shepherd of us all enfold you and yours in His mantle of gentle love and protection. And, 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
If you like our newsletter and the website, please help support our efforts and send whatever you can to Bridget or Russ Haggerty, 5670 Meryton Place, Cincinnati OH 45224. Or you can send a donation via PayPal. The URL is:
and our email address is this one:
Many thanks in advance for your kindness


Dania, Florida-December 3
Tropical Acres Steakhouse, 2500 Griffin Road.
Tickets [$25] in advance by calling 954-432-8292 / 954-522-4948
For more details, please click

Washington DC - December 4
Benefit Fund-Raiser for the Brendan McCage Family
Top Irish Music from 4:00 pm to 8:00 pm
Nanny O'Brien's Pub, 3319 Co9nnecticut Ave NW
One of our own needs us! For more details, please call: 202-686-9189

Carnegie Hall, New York City - December 8
The Irish Sopranos in The Magic of Christmas. Featuring the beautiful voices of Wendy Dwyer, Kay Lynch and Deidre Masterson Also on the bill are Ciaran Sheehan, Gay Willis, Marble Community Gospel Choir, the Festival Youth Chorus, New York Festival Orchestra, the Garden State Children Dance Company and the Gaelic Harpists. For tickets contact the CarnegieCharge at 212 247 7800. For Group tickets contact 914- For details, contact Anita Daly, Daly Communications, 212-772-0852 . Tell her Bridget said hello!

Studio City, CA - December 2-December 23
Christmas O'Carol Adapted by Dan Conroy and Michael Sean McGuinness from Dickens' Christmas Carol.The Celtic Arts Center. For complete details, please click

From Pastor Tim by way of the Good Clean Funnies List:
A musical director was having a lot of trouble with one drummer. He talked and talked and talked with the drummer, but his performance simply didn't improve. Finally, before the whole orchestra, he said, "When a musician just can't handle his instrument and doesn't improve when given help, they take away the instrument, give him two sticks, and make him a drummer." A stage whisper was heard from the percussion section: "And if he can't handle even that, they take away one of his sticks and make him a conductor."