Welcome to the Irish Culture & Customs newsletter which is published every weekend and sent out to more than 1500 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: http://www.yourmailinglistprovider.com/pubarchive.php?Herself
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Greetings and blessings to all...

Welcome back to everyone - and a special hello to our new subscribers; many thanks for signing up and please feel free to share our musings and meanderings with your family and friends.

We hope this edition finds you in good health, good company and good spirits. As for ourselves, we were elated that the Patriots won the Super Bowl. However, being the old fogies that we are, we went to bed after what was a very dull first half. Of course, that meant we missed all of the excitement of the half-time "show". May be a good thing - Bridget's not sure how Russ' ticker might have taken the exposure!

Down memory lane - in doing the daily history the past week, we waxed nostalgic when we saw the anniversary of sweets going off rationing. It was in England, 1953, and even though we were both quite young, we do remember when the first un-rationed sweets went on sale. But, we didn't recall that toffee apples were the biggest sellers, with sticks of nougat and liquorice strips also disappearing fast!

We were also a bit wistful - at least Bridget was - when the past week also celebrated the 40th anniversary of the Beatles arrival in the USA. Hard to believe it's been that long.

On the health front, herself had a bit of a relapse. We're now on the third round of antibiotics - fingers crossed, three's the charm. She's feeling a bit better and asks that you don't inundate her with get well messages - we do feel obligated to answer each one and the last time it took forever to catch up - if, indeed we ever did.

Hope all of our Kiwi friends enjoyed your national day. Here in the states, there wasn't much cause for celebration as that world-famous groundhog, Punxsutawney Phil, saw his shadow - which means six more weeks of winter:
"I'm glad I live in this luxurious burrow on the Knob and not in a dirty, smelly spider hole like a slob.
When I come out I don't want to negotiate; But to just do my job and prognosticate.
Today because my shadow I see, six more weeks of winter there will be. Sigh.

Enough about us...

In news from Ireland:
Aer Lingus introduces non-stop service to Shannon from Chicago in
addition, to their daily service to Dublin. In celebration they are
offering terrific Spring and Summer fares starting at $199 each way to
Shannon. Fares available until February 18, 2004. For more details, click http://www.aerlingus.com

The Irish Draught Horse: Tribute has been paid to this magnificent breed in a new book just launched in Dublin. The book, published by the Irish Draught Horse Society, is a personal memoir to the great mares and stallions that made up the Irish Draught breed. It also includes reports and updates from international breeders who are battling to ensure it becomes one of the world's great horses. Believe it or not, the Irish Times neglected to say what the official title of the book is! (We'll try to find out)

Gaeltacht Study Will Decide Boundaries: The boundaries of the Gaeltacht areas may be redrawn if a new study finds that the usage of Irish in these locations has diminished greatly in the past 50 years. The speaking of Irish in these areas will be examined in a two-year study by NUI Galway and NUI Maynooth, beginning in April.

Co. Armagh: Preparations are well underway for the Ploughing Championships which are taking place at the end of this month in Mullahead.

Co. Meath: Cheapest pint in Molloy's of Navan - Mark Finnegan and Stephen Mackeral, co-proprietors of Molloy's pub in Navan, claim their establishment boasts the cheapest pint in the country. Both Mr. Finnegan and Mr. Mackeral have invited anyone that can beat their low price to step forward; and at €3 a pint, they're entitled to feel confident.

Co. Clare: Draft by-laws have been published by the county council that will effectively ban dogs from all beaches in Clare between the hours of 11.00am and 6.00pm from June until the end of the summer.

Co. Cork: Turning a fiver into €200k. Officer administrator Sinead Hudson from Bellyphehane found a fiver on the street last Friday and was persuaded by her aunt to buy a Lotto ticket with the money. The advice turned out to be very good indeed as three days later the twenty-three-year-old flew to Dublin to collect her winnings of €200,000 in the Lotto Plus Two draw.

Co. Galway: Biology meets physics and chemistry in a research programme underway at National University of Ireland, Galway, where a team is building nanotech structures as a foundation for new types of biological sensors. The new devices could transform medical diagnostics and biological sampling.

Co. Waterford: First altar girl for St John's - eleven-year-old girl Nicola Croke from Grange Cohen has made history by becoming the first female altar server at St John's Church in Waterford City.

Co. Dublin to get 300 new Merrill Lynch jobs: Merrill Lynch said this week that it will create 300 jobs over the next four years at its new back-office operation in Leopardstown. Interested in applying? Click here:

Co. Cork: Punch Industries, the family-owned Cork-based shoe- and fabric-care company, has been named overall winner of the 2003 All-Island Innovation Awards.

In news from all over:
Plano, Texas: The Ireland Funds, Dublin Chamber of Commerce, Belfast Chamber of Commerce and The Harry McKillop Irish Spirit Award Board of Trustees honoured Jean Kelly with their inaugural recognition of extraordinary humanitarianism. Mrs. Kelly was presented with this year's award on February 5 at the Four Seasons Hotel in Ballsbridge, Ireland.
For more details, please click

From the mailbag:
More requests - hope you can help out with the following:

From Vicki Simpson: "I am trying to find a copy of a tale my Grandmother told when I was a small child. I know the story revolved around an Irishman, a train, and a bull. About the only thing I really remember was the phrase the Irishman used, "Kershma Krashma Doosha". Do you have any idea what the title of this might be and how I could find a copy?"

From Katie: "My friend and I are looking for the remake of the "Irish Need Not Apply" signs. I know I've seen one before when I was getting a pub sign made for my dad for Christmas. I can't seem to find it now that I'm looking for it."

Links of the week:

Do you know what day of the week you were born on? Find out here:

A reader asked for this one again - fly the helicopter:

Irish Aires in Houston has an extensive listing of Irish links and they've just added more. To see the list, please click

St. Patrick's Day Fun & Games

Wishing well link - a nice sentiment to share with friends

And last but definitely 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!

We've blithered and blathered long enough...on with the update:
Please help us to keep this newsletter free - visit our good friends, LollySmith:
Welcome to our Irish Gift Shop where the countdown to St. Valentine's Day is well underway. Find a great selection of gifts for your loved ones, from Claddagh jewellery to Russ Berrie Angel Cheeks Collectibles. St. Patrick's Day is also looming - we have what you need to look the part - and party! Caps, shirts, walking sticks, Guinness gear and glasses, lapel pins and more! Stock up now before the rush begins and enjoy great prices, quick shipping, and friendly, personalized service

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
"The proper basis for marriage is mutual misunderstanding."
Oscar Wilde, Lord Arthur Savile's Crime, 1891
Edited and adapted from one sent in by AG - thanks!
Mrs. McGuire went to the doctor's office where she was seen by one of the new physicians. After about 4 minutes in the examination room, she burst out the door and ran screaming down the hall. An older doctor stopped her and asked what the problem was, and she told him her story. After listening, he had her sit down and relax in another room.The older doctor marched down the hallway to the back where the first doctor was and demanded, "What's the matter with you? Mrs. McGuire is 72 years old, she has seven grown children and ten grandchildren, and you told her she was pregnant?" The new doctor continued to write on his clipboard and without looking up said, "Does she still have the hiccups?"
1. The first Irish saint wasn't Saint Patrick? It was Saint Abban, who preached in Southern England in the 2nd century
2. The Pope is also bishop of the tiny see of Kilfenora in Co. Clare?
3. According to the 12th century prophecies of St. Malachy, Ireland will be at peace, when the shamrock meets the palm - in other words, when St. Patrick's day falls on Palm Sunday?
Show your support for the Irish Culture and Customs newsletter with a dollar donation - that's less than 2 cents an issue! FREE shamrock seeds for all donations over $25.00! Please send your donation to Russ and Bridget, 5670 Meryton Place, Cincinnati, OH, 45224. Donations can also be made via PayPal at http://www.paypal.com
Our email address there is haggertyr@primax.net
Many thanks in advance for your kindness.
Time to get into practise for bending your elbow on St. Patrick's Day - or at any time!
"May misfortune follow you the rest of your life - and never catch up"
To start off - the answers to last week's quiz:

1. St. Brigid: The Girl Who Loved to Give by Patricia Egan
2. The Goddess Companion: Daily Meditations on the Feminine Spirit by Patricia Monaghan
3. Kildare: Saints, Soldiers and Horses by Con Costello

A round of applause and pints for our Irish bibliophiles - Sláinte to:

Déirdre McKiernan Hetzler
"Glorious Ireland in May" May 25 - June 8, 2004
To request a brochure or see the itinerary, please visit us at: http://www.irishbook.com/tours.htm

Wanda Lomer
I found a website that has helped me quite a bit in my genealogy research. One discovery was that my grandfather had a brother who died in WW1. A very interesting site for anyone doing genealogy. The "Debt of Honour Register" is the Commission's database listing the 1.7 million men and women of the Commonwealth forces who died during the two world wars and the 23,000 cemeteries, memorials and other locations world-wide where they are commemorated. The register can also be searched for details of the 67,000 Commonwealth civilians who died as a result of enemy action in the Second World War. Canadian War Graves Commission: http://www.cwgc.org

Helen Dowd
For all those who like cats as much as I do, you will enjoy these two great sites:
http://www.thedailymews.com and http://www.online-thecatsmeow.com

Hartson Dowd
The Irish gift for language is an important part of Ireland's culture. For a generous serving of that culture visit Toasts, Blessings, and Sayings. Here you'll find a detailed history of the custom of "toasting" and how the Irish have perfected it as an art form.

Judy Skapik
God bless her - this time Judy "volunteered" a sample of her work - you have to scroll a ways down to find her contribution to "Mommy's Tales"

Moira Callahan
If you're from Mayo, this is one of the greatest sites:

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. Modern Irish Love Stories
2. The Darling of My Heart - 2000 Years of Irish Love Writing
3. Of Irish Women - Medieval Irish Love Poetry

Hint: You'll find all the titles here (just in time for Valentine's Day, a lovely little volume of letters from a love-sick Irish farmer): http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/redirect?tag=irishcultucus-20&path=tg/detail/-/1570981833/qid%3D1076204836/sr%3D1-33

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

Help us keep this newsletter free by visiting the The Irish Lottery:
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:
First, the answer to last week's mind-mangler:
A farmer had a stone that he used to measure grain on his scale. One day his neighbor borrowed the stone, and when he returned, it was broken into four pieces. The neighbor was very apologetic, but the farmer thanked the neighbor for doing him a big favor. The farmer said that now he can measure his grain in one pound increments starting at one pound all the way to forty pounds (1, 2, 3, 17, 29, 37, etc.) using these four stones.
Q: What did each of the four stones weigh?
A. The four stones weighed 27, 9, 3, and 1 pounds. This solution requires the kind of scale that has two suspended sides, like the 'scales of justice', so that one can add and subtract from either side
Congrats to James Gaffney who was first with the answer - well done!

And now for this week's skull-scrambler:
There is a well known story of a famous mathematician who showed his brilliance even as a young boy. While in elementary school, he was given the problem of finding the sum of all the whole numbers from one to 100. For most of us it would be a long and tedious task of adding "1+2+3+4 etc." This young lad, however, solved the problem in his head in just a few moments.
Q. What is the answer and how did he manage to do it in his head?

1. Home Page - See what's new or recycled at a glance:
2. Republished - Article: Celebrating Candlemas in Old Ireland
3. Republished - Article: The Irish Link to St. Valentine
4. Republished: Article: The Irish in Love
5. New - The Irish Kitchen: Strawberry Scones
6. New - Basic Irish Lesson: Good for what ails you
7. New - Trivia quiz for February
Congratulations to Maureen Anderson of Canada who was our January winner. As they say in Ireland, you can't win it if you're not in it; all entries must be received by midnight, February 29, whatever time zone you're in.
8. New - Spiritual Shop: St. Valentine Anachron
9. New - Wedding Page: Revised intro and a new sponsor!
10. New - Red roses for your loved one?
11. Featured - Article: Celebrating a Name Day in Old Ireland
12. Featured - Article: St. Brigit, the Giveaway
Featured - Article: Brigid of the Songs
13. Featured - The Irish Kitchen: St. Brigid's Oatcakes
14. On-going - Circle of Prayer: Our 5th Novena in this cycle began on January 20 and ends today. Our 6th begins on Sunday, February 8. This week, we heard from a dear friend who had quadruple by-pass surgery last Thursday - please keep Thom in your prayers. Also Ryan Declan, Eileen's brother Bob, her son Christopher, Maggie's family and friends, Bob and Kathy in Utah, Debbie's friend Bertha, Rita, Lindsea, Dianne, Claire, C.J., baby Christopher, Sam, Steven & Margaret, and the Mulligans. As always, we ask for your prayers and meditations on behalf of our military all over the world, especially Iraq. Whatever your spiritual leanings, we hope you will join us each day:
15. On-going - Irish News: Headlines for the past week
16. On-going -This month in Irish History:

More St. Valentine's-related items are in the works - and Bridget still hopes to finish that article on superstitions related to love and marriage - before the big day goes by! As always, we'll have a new blessing on Sunday, a new quote on Wednesday, another recipe, and whatever else we can think of to keep you coming back - also, don't forget, the news and history are updated every day.

So that wraps it up for another week, except for the always critically important dates from our wild and wacky calendar - some important, others just plain old fun and frivolous: Today is National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day and Grenada Flag Day/Grenada Independence Day. Feb. 8 is Boy Scouts Day, Clean Out Your Computer Day and World Marriage Day. Feb 9 is the Start of Random Acts of Kindness Week; Feb. 11 is Inventor's Day, Iran Flag Day, Japan Flag Day and White Shirt Day; Feb. 12 is Lincoln's Birthday (Traditional) and the 45th anniversary of when the first Barbie dolls went on sale. And finally, Feb. 13 is Dream of Your Sweetheart Day, Read to Your Child Day and I Value Your Friendship Day. Celebrating a birthday, anniversary or other special event this week? We hope it's a joyous occasion for you and yours!
Can't wait to find out what's coming up for the rest of the month? Check out: http://www.butlerwebs.com/holidays/february.htm

Until next time, may the Good Shepherd of us all wrap you and your loved ones in the mantle of His loving care, keep you from all harm, and shower you with an abundance of blessings.

Bridget & Russ
Get down on your knees and thank God you're still on your feet
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:
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 here:

Irish Aires Fund-Raiser
Houston's only all-Irish radio program on KPFT-FM needs your support! They are currently holding their winter fund-raiser and would welcome any and all contributions. For more details, please click

Cultural Holidays on Inis Mór
The new programme with the dates for 2004 is uploaded now on our homepage:

Hollywood, Florida
Irish American Ceili Club Annual Picnic - Sunday, February 8
T.Y. Park - Pavilion # 7 - Sheridan Street - Hollywood; Club Chaplain, Father Pat O'Shea will celebrate Mass for all our deceased Members & Friends @ 12 noon. Feast on Chicken Wings, Italian Sausage, Hamburgers, Hot-dogs Beer - Wine - Soda. Free to Club Members. Guests $10
For details on this and other events, contact Patrick: Irish32@aol.com
or visit their website:

Mariemont, OH - Friday, Feb 13
Silver Arm plays from 7pm to 10pm at Dilly Deli, 6818 Wooster Pk. Great Food!

Houston, Texas, Sunday, February 14
Come enjoy the McTeggert Irish Dancers as they perform traditional Irish dancing and learn the story behind this unique Irish art form. The performance will be at 3 PM in the Jerabeck Center's Scanlan
Room, 4000 Mt. Vernon. Free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served.

Houston, Texas, Sunday, February 15
Fedora's Lounge, Kaleidoscope Center, 10630 Westheimer
Sean Quinn, the Belfast author, will speak on "Michael Collins & the Irish Civil War". Afterwards, we will adjourn to Chili's on Westheimer to reintroduce Sean to Margaritas. For additional details, contact Jay Dooling: rdooling@swbell.net

Dallas, Texas - Saturday March 6 & Sunday, March 7
North Texas Irish Festival, Fair Park, Dallas.
This is the largest Celtic Festival in the Southwest, at which the
finest of World and Regional Celtic Bands will be featured on 4 stages. There will be vendors galore, Celtic Assoc. and Clan booths and the best Irish food around. For more details, visit the website at www.ntif.org.

New York City - March 9 through March 21
The Irish Arts Center will be presenting the show "An Evening with Ronnie Drew (formerly of the Dubliners) and special guest Mike Hanrahan." The Irish Arts Center is located at 553 West 51st, New York, NY 10019. Tickets are $35/$40 and may be purchased from Smarttix at 212- 868-4444 or online at www.smarttix.com.

March 13-14
Sean-nós work-shop with Treasa Ní Mhiolláin from Inis Mór, Aran Islands. For more details, please contact Elizabeth: info@irish-culture.ch

Galveston, Texas - March 28
Galveston 1894 Grand Opera House - James Galway, flautist. More details coming.

Zurich - Irish Set Dancing Workshop
April 3 & 4 with Pat Murphy (Westport) and Tony Ryan (Galway)
For more information, please click

Day of Welcomes from 19/04/2004 to 01/05/2004
The 'Day of Welcomes' on Saturday 1st May marks the historic day when 10 new countries join the 15 current member states of the E.U. For more details, click

ReJoyce Dublin 2004
celebrates the centenary of Bloomsday, the day on which James Joyce's masterpiece "Ulysses" is set. Ireland is planning a world-class, five-month festival lasting from 1 April 2004 to 31 August 2004. For more details, click

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