Welcome to the Irish Culture & Customs newsletter which is published every fortnight or so and sent out to nearly 4600 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 very end - but we do hope you'll stay with us. And if you need to update your info' or change your email address, you can do that at the end, too.

Greetings and blessings to all,

Surprise, surprise - we're back! We've sent out just one newsletter for the entire month of July and we foot the bill for two. We just couldn't bring ourselves to waste the opportunity or the money to get back in touch - especially since it's such an important time in the Celtic calendar - Lughnasa!

So here we are and we hope this edition finds you and yours as fit as a fiddle and in fine fettle. And if this is your first issue, many thanks for signing up; we hope you enjoy our musings and meanderings and please feel free to forward all or part on to your family and friends.

Have you sent in your name for our Elders drawing? You have until midnight tonight to be in the drawing which will take place on Friday. We have two prizes on offer - a CD and a DVD. We've seen this group and they are phenomenal. Send us your entry asap to Bridget at
And to learn more about the band, please click

It's so hard to believe we're at the beginning of August - so pinch, punch, first day of the month, white rabbit. And if you're in Ireland, have a safe and happy bank holiday weekend!

In other news, our daughter Catherine is just about recovered from her injuries in the car crash. We really appreciate all of the prayers on her behalf - and so does she!

Weather wise, it's once again a typical Cincinnati summer - miserably hot and humid. About the only rason we go outside is to sit and watch the hummingbirds coming to the feeder. For some folks this would be like watching paint dry. But we're fascinated. This is probably due to fast becoming old farts.

Enough of the blather ...on with the update:
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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
Leave 'em Laughing
What follows are news clips from around the counties and the world. Links for more news stories can be found on our web site where we post the latest headlines from Ireland every morning and we keep two week's of previous news: http://www.irishcultureandcustoms.com/01News/Home.html
And more county news can be found here:
ED. NOTE: We encourage you to visit the Emigrant. They have redesigned their web site and we think it's brilliant.

Antrim: Church looks for restoration before centenary
Clonard Monastery in west Belfast, which is at present hosting its annual Solemn Novena, will be celebrating its centenary in 2011 and before that time hopes to have completed a £2m restoration on the building. A brochure is being handed out during the novena asking people to contribute to the restoration fund.

Armagh: Musician honoured by exhibition and festival
The annual Festival of Traditional and Folk Song in Armagh is this year being held in honour of the late musician and singer Tommy Makem, a native of Keady. An exhibition mounted at the Cardinal O Fiaich Memorial Library in the city includes memorabilia from his early years when he sang with Canon Pentony's choir in Keady in the 1940s and 1950s, his days with the Clippertones showband and the Keady Dramatic Society. It also features, of course, Tommy Makem's years with the Clancy brothers and his Aran sweater forms part of the exhibition.

Cavan: Bailiborough Agricultural Show approaching
The coming weekend will see the annual Bailiborough Agricultural Show taking place on Sunday in the grounds of Killinkere Leisure Centre. At the event there will be a total prize fund of more than €14,000 for shows of cattle, horses and ponies, and sheep. In addition there will be a dog show, flower show, cookery demonstration, and garden produce, as well as competitions to find the Bonniest Baby and the most appropriately dressed lady and gentleman. The show has also been selected to host the regional final of the Macra na Feirme Farm Tasks competition, involving contestants from seven counties.

Clare: "Loo with a view" yields €400k
The derelict construction known as the old toilets in Lahinch, which was auctioned in the Old Ground Hotel in Ennis last week, yielded €400,000. The toilet block was bought by John Galvin of Galvin Construction in Ennis who already owns an adjoining property on the promenade. His new purchase has twenty-three metres of frontage onto the sea and has obvious development potential, according to auctioneer David Costelloe. The money raised will be used by the county council to improve surfing facilities in Lahinch and to upgrade the promenade area.

Donegal: Remembering the Derry boat
For generations boatloads of Donegal emigrants would return to Moville from Greenock in the west of Scotland for their holidays, sailing up the Foyle on the Laird's Loch. And now Moville Events are endeavouring to renew the contact between the two towns as a means of increasing tourism in the Inishowen town. Last week a representative of the group travelled to Greenock where a meeting had been arranged with the Provost of Greenock, Michael McCormick. The message that the group wants to get across is that the Troubles are now over and they'd like to see the "Scotchies" coming back to Moville on a regular basis.

Donegal: Margo to open Dungloe festival
Singer Margo has agreed to perform the official opening of this year's Mary From Dungloe International Festival, which takes place over ten days at the end of July and beginning of August. When approached by festival co-ordinator Tricia Gallagher, Margo said she could remember standing outside Sweeney's Hotel in the first year that the festival was held. Meanwhile last weekend entrants from a number of businesses and organisations gathered at Ostann na Rosann for the selection of the two local Marys, to represent Dungloe itself and Donegal.

Down: Preparations in hand for Ferguson commemoration
The garden which has been built opposite the birthplace of Harry Ferguson on Magheraconluce Road in Hillsborough is to be officially opened in mid-August. The organising committee have asked that every Ferguson tractor be assembled at the site for the official opening. Part of the site has been made into a car park, and there will be a life-sized bronze statue of the man who revolutionised the design of the tractor. The statue will be set standing beside the recently restored gate into the garden, and there will be information boards at various locations as well as garden seating.

Kerry: Rossdohan home for Flatleys?
It seems that dancer Michael Flatley might soon be a resident of an island in Kenmare Bay, after a planning application was lodged to build a house on Rossmore Island near Rossdohan. Flatley is hoping to be allowed to demolish an existing house on the island to replace it with a new one. The asking price for the fifty-six-acre island is believed to have been more than €1m and the Flatley family are expected to use it mainly as a holiday home. They already own the Georgian Castlehyde House near Fermoy in Co. Cork on which Michael Flatley has spent millions in refurbishment.

Kilkenny: New festival for the county
In August a new one-day festival will take place in Thomastown, coinciding with the Kilkenny Arts Festival and featuring Jools Holland and his nineteen-piece rhythm and blues orchestra. Also appearing will be The Blind Boys of Alabama and John Martyn. The new event is the initiative of artist Ramie Leahy and his son Enda and it will take place at Dysart Castle, just outside Thomastown. The castle, a listed heritage site which is in a very poor condition, will benefit from the festival since a third of any proceeds will go towards restoration work.

Leitrim: Country's smallest chapel to be restored
The one hundred and thirty-year old Costello Chapel, situated at the junction of Main Street and Bridge Street in Carrick-on-Shannon, is at present undergoing restoration. The chapel was built by nineteenth century merchant Edward Costello following the death of his wife Mary Josephine at the age of forty-seven. She was laid to rest in the floor of the chapel, as was Edward after his death in 1891; the building is just sixteen feet long and twelve feet wide and is the smallest chapel in Ireland and the second smallest in the world. The work is being carried out by the local Heritage Group who have leased the chapel from its present owners, Fintan and Peg Gannon.

Limerick: Traditional novena goes hi-tech
The annual Solemn Novena held by the Redemptorist order in Limerick has this year been made available on the internet, and Father Seamus Enright reports that in the first three days more than four thousand people logged on to the site. The website, which is following the initiative of the Belfast Novena at Clonard, was formally launched by Senator Ronan Mullen and it has proved a boon to those who cannot attend the services in person, as well as Limerick people overseas who would like to be part of the annual event. The ultimate aim of the order is to have the Redemptorist Church site online twenty-four hours a day.

Mayo: New road to be named after Civil War hero
A hero of the Civil War and Ballina native is to have a new road named after him, some years after another section of road bearing his name had been redesignated. What is now Emmet Street in the town was at one time known as Emmet Street, Victoria Terrace and James Street, the latter commemorating Thomas James who was shot in Co. Galway in 1922. Also killed in the same incident was another Ballina man, Padraig Morrison, after whom Morrison Terrace is named. Now the town council has voted to name the new link road connecting Kevin Barry Street with the junction and Connolly Street and Hill Street after Thomas James.

Roscommon: Ghostly search at King House
The Paranormal Research Association of Ireland paid a visit to King House recently to investigate any other unexplained sightings or sounds. Eight investigators used a range of equipment including magnetic field meters, electronic audio recorders, and night vision cameras and detectors in an attempt to prove or disprove, on a scientific basis, the existence in King House of any paranormal activity. Although it will be some weeks before all the evidence collected is sifted through and collated, the group reported that at least one unexplained phenomenon was registered on their equipment.
Marilyn writes: Here are a few pictures taken at the Great American Irish Festival this past weekend in Utica, NY, of Eileen Ivers, I just adore her!!
ED. NOTE: We like her a lot, too - and we especially like her doing ByGone Days - you can hear it hear. (Have the tissue box handy!)

Except for answers to the writer's quiz, riddle and entries into the Elders Drawing, that was all the mail we had this time around. _________________________________________________________
Irish Horse Racing Documentary
Seven minutes of fascinating history and heritage:

Dublin & The Dublin Horse Show 2007
Detailed slide show of the city and then the show:

The Curragh of Kildare
A lovely vesion of the old traditional song:

The Galway Races
Luke Kelly and The Dubliners. Need we say more?

Summer Course at NUI, Galway
Our newphew Ian Shields has been taking a course at the University of Galway. He is puttimg together quite a gallery of great photos:

The GAA Anthem
Directly as a result of that same nephew attending his first hurling match, we went looking for THE hurling song of all time. Thanks to the Manchester Irish web site, we're able to share it with you (and Ian):

Free Mammograms
Many women can't afford the test, but here's how you can help: Go to the Breast Cancer site and click on their free mammogram link; if the site gets 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:
ED. NOTE: Maria Eryaatz advises that free mammograms are also available in all states via the VNA (visiting nurses association).
Click on 'Find A VNA' for the your nearest location.

Free Pet Food!
Last but certainly not least - our ongoing 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!

Free People Food!
It only takes a second to feed hungry people, too:
SPONSOR: Please help us keep our newsletter coming - visit our friends at the Celtic Attic:
NEW ITEMS section for everything just added. And place your order now to get your complimentary Relax tea gift, complimentary Gift and complimentary shipping or reduced shipping (some restrictions apply). If you would like faster shipping such as Priority or Express, there will be a charge, but Regular shipping is paid by US!
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Order on line or by phone - and tell them Bridget & Russ said hello!
Order by phone: Tel: 360-765-0186
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The blacksmith's horse and the cobbler's wife are always last to have shoes.
Irish proverb

A Kerry man went for a job at the local stables and the farmer said "Can you shoe horses?" The Kerry man thinks for a minute and then says "No,but I once told a donkey to get lost."
An out-of-towner accidentally drives his car into a deep ditch on the side of a country road. Luckily a farmer happened by with his big old horse named Seamus.The man asked for help. The farmer said Seamus could pull his car out. So he backed Seamus up and hitched Seamus to the man's car bumper. Then he yelled, "Pull, Paddy, pull." Seamus didn't move. Then he yelled, "Come on, pull Cormac." Still, Seamus didn't move. Then he yelled really loud, "Now pull, Riley pull hard."Seamus just stood. Then the farmer nonchalantly said, "Okay, Seamus pull." Seamus pulled the car out of the ditch. The man was very appreciative but curious. He asked the farmer why he called his horse by the wrong name three times. The farmer said, "Oh, Seamus is blind, and if he thought he was the only one pulling he wouldn't even try."
1. In Ireland there is written evidence of horse racing dating back to the third century? Chariot races were held at the "Cuireach" - the Gaelic word for racecourse, on the lands known today as the Curragh in Co. Kildare
2. The steeplechase originated in Ireland? The first steeplechase is said to have been the result of a wager in 1752 between Mr. Cornelius O'Callaghan and Mr. Edmund Blake, racing four miles (6 km) cross-country from Buttevant Church to St. Leger Church in Doneraile Co Cork.
3. Arkle, rated the greatest steeplechaser of all time, was bred and trained in Ireland and became a national hero through his exploits?
To start off: ,the answers to our last quiz:

1. Ireland's Golf Courses: The Complete Guide - by Vic Robbi

2. Links of heaven: A Complete Guide to Golf Journeys in Ireland - by Phinney and Scott Whitley

3. Emerald Fairways and Foam-flecked Seas: A Golfer's Pilgrimage to the Courses of Ireland by James W. Finegan
A tip of the hat and a pat on the back for the following irish bibliophiles:
A round of applause and pints for the following Irish literary sleuths:

Hartson Dowd
I haven't been on the computer much of late but I would like to share a great paperback with your readers:  
Incredibly Indispensable Irish Web Directory by Sheena Lavery (Compiler), Pauline McCaffrey (Compiler), Dolores Vischer (Compiler), Liam Donnelly (Compiler), Steffen Higel (Compiler, Editor), Irish Times (Author)

Helen Dowd
Helen Dowd
I have some new entries this week. You can read them in the Missionary Section and the Pet Section. Have a great week.
Thomas Lynch

Catherine Murphy

Want to see your name and favorite web site in our next newsletter? Who wrote:
1. King of Diamonds: An Irish Show Jumping Dynasty
2. Showjumping Legends: Ireland, 1868-1998
3. Galway of the Races: Selected Essays
To begin with, the answers to our last Cranium Crunchers:
The Classic:
You have 9 golf balls, 8 of which are equal in weight. The ninth is slightly heavier then the rest. You also have a balancing scale.
Q.Can you use this scale two times and only two times in order to tell which ball is heavier?
A. Put three balls on each side of the scale.
 If both sides equal weight, than heavier ball is in the remaining three.
 If one side is heavier, then heavier ball is one of those three.
  Of the three containing the heavier ball, put one on each side of the scale.
  The heavier ball will be one or the other, or if both equal weight, then the remaining ball is the heavier.
Congratulations to Fr. Denis McGowan of Ikeda City, Japan who was first in. And well done to so many of our Riddle People who also came up with the right answer!

The Groaner:
Q.Why did Ian Poulter bring two pair of pink slacks to the British Open?
A. He had a hole in one.
We had some very creative answers - but no-one sent in the correct solution.

The Classic:
In a stable there are men and horses. In all, there are 22 heads and 72 feet. How many men and how many horses are in the stable?
The Groaner
Q: What did one horse say to the other horse?
SPONSOR: Please help us keep your newsletter coming - visit our good friends at Lollysmith:
Our Christmas in July Sale is still going on with discounts up to 40% on selected items including Celtic Knot  Earrings & Necklace, Green Onyx Heart Claddagh Rings, Irish Bear and Shamrocks Baby Rompers, Irish Shamrock Baby Blanket , Irish Girl Tee Shirts , Irish Whiskey Fudge, Traditional Irish Toffee, Irish After Dinner Mints and much more! Please click
1. Article - Celebrating the Harvest - Lughnasa
2. Article - Haymaking in Old Ireland
3. Article - Season of the Corn
4. Article - Putting out the Hare, Putting on the harvest Knots
5. Article - Puck Fair
6. Article - Who was benind the doors of Dublin
7. The irish Kitchen - Kerry Pies
8. Basic Irish - Hobbies & Sports Terns
9. Kids' Ireland - Learning through film
10. Music Review - The newest offering from our resident reviewer William Ramoutar is Muireann Nic Amhlaoibh' s Daybreak - Fáinne an Lae
11. Circle of Prayer : The seventh Novena in the cycle began on July 29 and continues through August 6. . Whatever your spiritual leanings, please keep the following in your prayers and meditations: Patricia's daughter Heather , the family and friends of the McTiernans, Pauline Dewberry, our daughter Catherine, Cyndi, Mickey, Hartson, Laureena Blankenship, Sierra Mitchell, Michelle Lester, Katie Lacinak and so many others including all the military personnel serving in Iraq and Afghanistan who are enduring stifling heat on top of risking their lives. God keep them safe and bring them home soon.
12. July Trivia Contest - we're down to the wire. All entries must be in by midnight whatever time zone you're in:

So that's the long and the short of it until we put pen to paper again Seems odd to use that old Irish phrase in this day and age of e-mail. But we're trying to hang on to the phrases our parents used for as long as we can. Send us your favourites - we'll see if we have enough to put together an article.

If you're celebrating a birthday, anniversary or other important event between now and next time we hope it's an occasion filled with joy and happiness. If you're getting married in August or tied the knot this month, here's your special verse:
Whoever we in August be,
Many a change are sure to see.

We take our leave with this lovely old blessing

May God grant you and yours
For every storm, a rainbow,
For every tear, a smile,
For every care, a promise,
And a blessing in each trial.
For every problem life sends,
A faithful friend to share,
For every sigh, a sweet song,
And an answer for each prayer.

...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!
Celtic Blessing - sung by the St. Coca's Choir, from Kilcock, Co. Kildare

Please check with the Wild Geese - they have a huge listing of events and we don't want to duplicate their efforts:
If we receive a unique event not mentioned there, we will be happy to list it here.

Dublin Ohio August 1, 2, 3
One of the best Irish Festivals in the country. We've been as both spectators and entertainers and it truly is one of the greatest. We think it's even better than Milwaukee.
On August 2, local artist and musician Cindy Matyi will be giving a workshop in Celtic Art at 3:00 pm and her group Silver Arm will be performing on the Shamrock Stage at 5:00 p.m.
For details about the festival in general, please click

Sea Isle City, NJ - Every Friday this summer
Fintan Malone, Irish traditional musician extraordinaire from Milltown Malbay, Co. Clara and Pete McDonald will be teaming up on Friday evenings at Kix McNulty's, 6400 Landis Avenue from 5 5 to 8 p.m.
For changes and updates, please check the website schedule page, http://www.petemcdonald.com/schedule.html

Los Alamitos, California -1st Tuesday of every month
Friends of Ireland of Southern California Monthly Breakfast. Events are held on the 1st Tuesday of the month. Please call in RSVP to one of the contacts below, one day in advance so we can accommodate you.
Barbara Walsh (714) 739-4195 Kathy Wisdom (714) 572-8277
Tom Kennedy (562) 425-2636 Jim O'Dea (626) 965-0307

Portland, oregon - 1st Friday of the month
Ceili of the Valley Society - First Friday of the month Céilís and on-going 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

Eastern Caribbean Irish Genealogy Seminar Cruise - January 09
The Irish Ancestral Research Association is organizing an Irish genealogy cruise in January 2009 on Royal Caribbean's Independence of the Seas. Speakers include our friends Eileen & Sean O'Duill from Dublin. For complete details, please click

This one is an all-time horse-racing favourite and we think it's well worth repeating. We hope you agree:

A Rabbi is walking slowly across Eyre Square in Galway City when a gust of wind blows his hat down the street. He's an old man and can't walk fast enough to catch his hat. Across the way, Brendan sees what's happening, rushes over, grabs the hat and returns it to the Rabbi. "I don't think I would have been able to catch my hat." The Rabbi says. He places his hand on Brendan's's shoulder and says, "May God bless you." Brendan thinks, "I've just been blessed by a Rabbi, this must be my lucky day." So he goes to the Galway Races and sees in the first race a horse named 'Top Hat' at 20 to 1. He bets €50 and the horse comes in first. In the second race, Brendan sees a horse named Fedora at 30 to 1 so he bets it all and this horse comes in first also. When Brendan finally returns home to his wife, she asks him where he's been. He explains how he caught the Rabbi's hat and was blessed by him and then went to the races and started winning on horses that had a hat in their names. "So where's the money?" she asks. "I lost it all in the ninth race. I bet on a horse named Chateau and it lost." "You ejit, Chateau is a house, Chapeau is a hat." "It doesn't matter," Brendan said, "the winner was some Japanese horse named Yarmulka."