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Gleefully ghoulish and ghostly greetings to all, God help us!

Welcome to our  Hallowe’en and Samhain edition. If this is your first issue, many thanks for joining us and if you enjoy our musings and meanderings, please feel free to forward them on to your family and friends.

Meanwhile, are you ready for Spirit Night?  Here in our Ohio Valley, Mother nature is being kind to the Trick or Treaters  with a dry but cold evening predicted.  That’s unusual for these parts as it’s often wet and miserable. Not that nasty weather  would ever bother the wee witches and goblins  (even if their chaperones don’t look too thrilled).  

We’re expecting a good crowd including some of the grandchildren which is always a treat for us. Then, when  all the kids have been and gone,  we’ll extinguish the pumpkins, draw the curtains and relax for a while with  a pint or two for Russ and a few glasses of wine for Bridget. Also in the plans  is putting into practice an old superstition to find out if we’ll be  in good health until next Hallowe’en. Each of us will take a perfect ivy leaf and place it in a cup of water where it will be  left undisturbed until tomorrow morning. If our leaves are still perfect and don’t have  any spots on them, we should be in fine shape for the next 12 months. As many of you know, Russ is having surgery next week for prostate cancer, so it seems particularly appropriate to use a  bit of the old folklore to see what might be in store. That said, we’re counting a lot more on the power of your prayers  and we want to thank all of you  for your care and concern. The many messages we have received help us, especially Russ, to keep a positive attitude.

Onwards. We hope all of our readers in the Republic enjoyed a safe and happy bank holiday weekend and we wish everyone in the UK the same for Guy Fawkes Night on November 5th. Bridget well remembers as a little girl going with friends to Wimbledon Station in the days before November 5th  with an effigy of what looked more like a scarecrow  than the Gun Powder Plot conspirator. We’d prop him up against a wall so people could see him as they passed by. We’d then cry out “Penny for the Guy, Penny for the Guy!” Do they still do that?  What little money we made was used to buy fireworks and our poor misfortunate effigy was burned on a bonfire. We can’t imagine kids being allowed to do that anymore.  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
In a departure from our usual news round-up, what follows is a selection of headlines and links to news stories appropriate to Hallowe'en. Our regular news feature will return in our next issue.

Belfast: The headless Horseman
The story begins with Gordon Thompson telling his friends that if he did not find a place in heaven then he would return and haunt Jennymount, off York Road.

Clare: No bats in his belfry
A specially built €200,000 bat house has failed to attract its intended residents. The lesser horseshoe bat has decided not to take advantage of Clare Co Council's 'secret bat house' built near the Ennis bypass.

Derry: Ghostly wife relives husband's death
In this piece of film, broadcast on BBC Northern Ireland, the haunted history of the 'Anxious Mother' is explained by Teddy Butler the administrator of Springhill House in Moneymore.

Dublin: Growing pumpkins to scary sizes
Visitors to the OPW’s walled garden in the Phoenix Park have been enthralled by the giant pumpkins while the gardeners are already busy planning for next year’s crop of show-stoppers.  

Kerry: Great Blasket makes spooky ghost-town list
One of the world's spookiest abandoned towns is in Ireland. Travel review web site IgoUgo has compiled a list of the globe's top 10 ghost towns based on recommendations from its readers. Coming in at number nine is Great Blasket Island.

Mayo: A glass of poitin for the pooka
A man who grew up in the shadow of the Nephin mountains used to tell tales of pookas and poitin, a dangerous combination, and the need to keep this spectre of the underworld away from your back door on a wet and windswept night.

Offaly: Tullamore zombies to join worldwide dance
Zombies are invited to gather outside Lee's bar on Church Street in Tullamore on Saturday night to take part in a worldwide performance of the Michael Jackson Thriller dance routine. Last year a total of one hundred and forty-two dancers gathered in Ferbane and Tullamore hopes to beat this county record. http://www.emigrant.ie/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=74799&Itemid=23

Tyrone: Factory ghost spooks crystal staff
Houses are where most reports of hauntings come from, but not all. Tales of the supernatural can also be centered on places of work with the staff at Tyrone Crystal reporting a mysterious apparition called Isaac.  

Wicklow: Jail house shock
Restless spirits are lifting and moving furniture during night-time paranormal tours of a jail where 1798 rebels were held. The place is Wicklow's Historic Gaol.

Canada: Dracula sequel published by blood relation of Stoker
'The Un-Dead’ by Dacre Stoker – the Canadian great-grand-nephew of the famed novelist – is being advertised as the ‘official sequel’ to ‘Dracula’ and has been endorsed by the Stoker Estate.

NYC, NY. USA: Irish immigrant's grave uncovered
For 210 years the body of 28-year-old Co. Kildare native James Jackson, has lain undisturbed in the center of Manhattan’s Greenwich Village. But this week, as park workers dug below Washington Square they  uncovered his headstone. The  writing  is still  clear and reads “Here lies the body of James Jackson, who departed this life the 22nd day of September 1799 aged 28 years native of the county of Kildare Ireland.” To read the full story, please click
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Last time, Abbey asked about a word that  phonetically sounded like  aweagueness. We had quite a few responses and we print them here as they came in. Thanks to all of you who took the time to write:

From Dave:  I think that the word Abbey seeks is uaigneas which means loneliness, or solitude. 

From Mary  Donegan:
Uaigneas  translates as "loneliness or longing. It is pronounced OO IG NAS I think of it as similar to the Welsh word for longing   "Hiraeth"...as in the song by Harry Lauder,  "We'll keep a welcome in the hillside, we'll keep a welcome in the Vales,   We'll kiss away each hour of hiraeth, when you come home again to Wales."   I visited Newfoundland a couple of years ago and after visiting with one of the local women on Fogo Island, I wished her "Slan Abhaile" (pronounced  SLAWN A WALLYE).  She informed me that they used that expression in her family...had heard her mother say it, except she thought it was SO LONG AWHILE.  Its amazing how words and expressions get passed along.

From Elizabeth FitzGerald:
The word is uaigneas which is usually translated as loneliness but I think it's also used for nostalgia as well. There's probably a great deal more depth to the word than that but it's a start!

From Aine:
 The word you are  looking for is Uaigneas  which is sheer Loneliness. Look at this site: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trasna_na_dTonnta

And from Micheal O Murchu in Saudi Arabia:
The actual word in Irish is "uaigneas," meaning loneliness. The adjective is "uaigneach" - lonely. Its etymology may be related to the Irish word for a grave: "uaigh." "Uaigneas" is pronounced "oo-ig-nas." In certain parts of Ireland it is also pronounced "weg-nas." "Uaigneach" is pronounced "oo-ig-nach" (the "ch" like that in Scottish "loch."); also "weg-nach."  "Uaigh" is pronounced "oo-ee" or "oo-ig." The word crops up in numerous poems in the Irish language. Brendan Behan (no "daw" when it came to the native tongue) wrote a lovely little Haiku-like poem on the subject. Here it is:
Blas smeara dubh'                               The taste of blackberries
treis baisteach                                     After rain
ar bharr an tsleibhe                              on top of the hill.
I dtost an phriosuin                               In the silence of the prison
Feadaoil fhuar na traenach                    The cold (sharp) whistle of the train.
Cogar gaire beirt leannan                      The laughing whispers of two lovers
don aonaran.                                        To the lonely.
Hard to beat Behan's sentiments to illustrate the sensations of "uaigneas."
I hope I've answered Abbey's query.
ED. NOTE: We’d say you more than covered it, Micheal. Go raibh maith agat! 

The Celtic roots in the Samhain festival
As millions of children and adults participate in the fun of Halloween on the night of October 31st, few will be aware of its ancient Celtic roots in the Samhain festival. In Celtic Ireland about 2000 years ago, Samhain was the division of the year between the lighter half (summer) and the darker half (winter). At Samhain the division between this world and the Otherworld was at its thinnest, allowing spirits to pass through. Read more at:

In honour of All Saints Day - November 1
Jack & Vivian Hennessy of The irish Page offer a lovely tribute accompanied by the hymn Be Thou My Vision - one of Bridget’s
favourites. Please click

A great time-waster for Halloween
Great for the kids and just as much fun for the grown-ups, this was sent in by our good friend Hartson Dowd. Thanks Hartson! Fair warning: It’s addictive!
Trick or Treat Game for Kids but us old folks find it challenging and addictive
A Fun time waster - http://donnasholidaysentiments.com/trickortreat.html

RTE Halloween Archives
A creepy cauldron filled with features gathered from all over Ireland.  Watch and listen here:

Irish Horror Movies
Here’s a great collection  to have on hand on a wet and wind-swept night:

Hallowe'en Hangman
The old classic with a wicked twist. It's worth getting the letters wrong and losing just to hear the comments and see the end result! This one came to us by way of our good friend Hartson Dowd a couple of years ago. Go raibh maith agat!

Garfield Scavenger Hunt
Non-stop hungry Garfield searches for chocolate chip muffins and other sweet treats inside a haunted mansion. Are fearsome face-to-face encounters with goblins and ghoulies worth the promise of mini powdered sugar donuts? You betcha!

Hungry for more? Here's the sequel:

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:
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:
"Midnight has come and the great Christ Church bell
And many a lesser bell sound through the room;
And it is All Souls' Night.
And two long glasses brimmed with muscatel
Bubble upon the table. A ghost may come;
For it is a ghost's right..."
William Butler Yeats - All Souls' Night.
Dúirt mé leat go raibh mé breoite.
Supposedly Spike Milligan's epitaph which translates "I told them I was ill."
A vampire bat came flapping in from the night covered in
fresh blood and parked himself on the roof of the cave to
get some sleep. Pretty soon all the other bats smelled the blood and began hassling him about where he got it. He told them to knock it off and let him get some sleep, but they persisted in hassling him to no end until finally he gave in. "OK!" he said with exasperation. "Follow me," and he flew out of the cave with hundreds of bats following close behind him. Down through the valley they went, across the river, and into the deep forest. Finally he slowed down, and all the other bats excitedly gathered around him."Do you see that tree over there?" he asked. "Yes, yes, yes!" the bats all screamed in a frenzy. "Good," said the first bat, "because I DIDN'T!"


1. Ireland had its own werewolf legend? These creatures were believed to be the souls of the damned who had rejected the teachings of St. Patrick.

2. For centuries, an unholy ringing sound coming from a gnarled old oak tree on windy nights terrified the people of the County Down village of Kilbroney? In 1885, the tree was blown down and the source of the ghostly noise was discovered - a golden bell hidden in the hollow of the trunk by a monk hundreds of years before.

3. Dracula, written by Dubliner Bram Stoker, has never been out of print and has been translated into over 50 different languages?
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Please visit the shop and have a look around at our other latest items.  
First off,  the answers to our previous quiz:

Let the Great World Spin by Colum McCann
At Grattan Road by Gerard Hanberry
May You Live in Interesting Times by Conor O'Clery

A round of pints and applause to the following irish literary sleuths:

John C. Laney

Cathleen Toft

Tom McGuire

Déirdre McKiernan Hetzler
Personalized Tours of Ireland:
Imagine you’re in the country of your dreams with your favorite people. It could be your closest colleagues through the years from work, or your extended family, for a once-in-a-lifetime gathering.  Instead of being herded onto a huge tour bus of strangers, you’re together in a small van getting a personalized tour of Ireland. To learn more, please click

Helen Dowd
ED. NOTE: Thanks to your votes, Helen remains in first place on the top Christian site.  

Hartson Dowd
A favorite Irish site  is Overheard in Cork - a collection of funny, unusual and interesting anecdotes sent in by Cork people.  For example: At a funeral recently, and while the church was in silence the priest was burning incense and swinging it around the coffin. Some guy piped up "shouldn't someone tell that guy his hand bag is on fire"

If you’d like to see your name in our Irish bibliophile’s list, tell us who wrote the following:
1. A Haunted Land: Ireland's Ghosts
2. Mysterious World: Ireland:
3. Famous Irish Ghost Stories

Please send your answers to Bridget:
Don't forget to nominate a favorite Irish site and it would be helpful if you put "Know Your Writers" in the subject line of your email. Thanks!
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Take 5.00 off an order of $50 or more  exclusively through Irish Culture & Customs. 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: 1-360-286-2307
On line:
To begin with, the answer to our last bit of skull duggery:
Q. What goes up a chimney down, but won't go down a chimney up?
A. An umbrella
We were literally deluged with correct answers! But frist one in was Jas Turley. Well done, Mr. Turley (and go Fighting irish!)

And now... a couple of frightful groaners:
1. Where do baby ghosts go during the day?
2. Why do mummies make good employees?
Please send your answer to:
It would be helpful if you put riddle answer in the subject line. Thanks!

SEARCH FUNCTION: Have you tried it out? You can find the search box in the banner on the left-hand side. Simply key in whatever word or words you wish and if they’re on the site, Google will find them!

2. SHOPPING SECTION:  After Hallowe’en? Christmas! It’s not too early to start thinking about the holidays and our shops are already stocking up on festive fare, gifts for everyone on your list, Irish-inspired decorations and more. Please click
ED. NOTE: Every purchase through our shop links, helps support our efforts. Many thanks in advance.

3. Article: An Irish Hallowe’en - Part 1

4. Article: Legend of the Churchyard Bride

5. Article: Something Wicked This Way Comes

6. Article: A Triple Treat for Hallowe’en

7. Article: Samhain - The irish New Year

8. Article: The Day After Samhain - All Soul’s Day

9.The Irish Kitchen Colcannon - a traditional Hallowe’en dish
ED. NOTE: Another traditional food served on Hallowe’en is Barmbrack. You can find our recipe here:

10. Basic Irish: Hallowe’en and Samhain

11. Kids’ Ireland:   A Wolf  Story

12. Music Review:  Our resident reviewer William Ramoutar recommends the latest from Beoga - “The Incident”:

13. Trivia Contest:  Time has just about run out for the October contest. All entries must be in by midnight, October 31, no matter what time zone you’re in.  

14. Circle of Prayer: The 4th Novena in this cycle begins on November 1 and continues through November 9. Whatever your spiritual leanings we ask that you keep Russ  in your prayers and meditations, especially on November 6 when he will have surgery to remove the tumor in his prostate. We also ask that you remember Linda, the aunt of our friend Carlos who has advanced breast cancer; Jeff Minnick’s 3-month old son in the hospital with meningitis, Ronnie Kennedy and Joe Colum, Hartson Dowd,  Burnett McManus’ friend who recently underwent surgery for lung cancer, Christy Banik, Joe Colum, Patricia's daughter Heather, the family and friends of the McTiernans, Laureena Blankenship, Sierra Mitchell,  Katie Lacinak and so many others as well as all those who are suffering from the financial hardships of the economic downturn.  And please don't overlook  our military personnel serving their countries at home and abroad. Dear Heavenly Father, please keep them safe from all harm and bring those away from home back to their loved ones soon.
We are very happy to report that our good friend Pauline Dewberry just celebrated 1000 days since her stem cell transplant and she continues to do well.  We and she thank  you for your prayers - they DO work! And if you’re a cat lover, we invite you to visit Pauline’s purrfectly delightful  web site - The Daily Mews. It’s a feline good kind of place and well worth exploring:

So there you have it until next time.  ‘Til then,  if you or a loved one are celebrating a birthday,  or other special event  we hope it's an occasion filled with joy and happiness.  And if you tied the knot in November or perhaps are planning to exchange wedding vows here’s your special verse:

If you wed in bleak November
Only joy will come, remember.

With that, Pinch Punch, First Day of the Month White Rabbit and we’ll take our leave with this Halloween blessing:

From tinker and pooka and black-hearted stranger
From harm of the water and hurt of the fire
From the horns of the cows going home to the byre
From teasing the ass when he's tied to the manger
From stones that would bruise and from thorns of the briar
From evil red berries that waken desire
From hunting the gander and vexing the goat
From depths o' seawater by Danny's old boat
From cut and from tumble, from sickness and weeping
May God have your loved ones this day in His keeping.

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

PS: Don’t forget to turn your clocks back one hour tonight and it’s also recommended that people check the batteries on their fire alarms.
Send an email to: bhaggerty@irishcultureandcustoms.com
OR click on this link:
Please check with the Wild Geese - they have a huge listing of events and we don't want to duplicate their efforts:

Irish Abroad also has a comprehensive listing:

If we receive a unique event not mentioned there, we will be happy to list it here.


Hollywood, Florida - November 14
The Irish-America Ceili Club will be holding its next Ceili on November 14.
For details and directions, please click
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 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

The following is a repeat from a year or so ago - too good not to do again. Enjoy!

A few amusing epitaphs from all over: 

On the grave of Ezekiel Aikle in East Dalhousie Cemetery, Nova Scotia:
Here lies Ezekiel Aikle, Age 102.
The Good Die Young.
In a London, England cemetery:
Here lies Ann Mann, Who lived an old maid
But died an old Mann. Dec. 8, 1767
In a Ribbesford, England, cemetery:
Anna Wallace:
The children of Israel wanted bread,
And the Lord sent them manna.
Old clerk Wallace wanted a wife,
And the Devil sent him Anna.
In a Ruidoso, New Mexico, cemetery:
Here lies Johnny Yeast.
Pardon me For not rising.
In a Uniontown, Pennsylvania, cemetery:
Here lies the body of Jonathan Blake.
Stepped on the gas Instead of the brake.
A lawyer's epitaph in England:
Sir John Strange. Here lies an honest lawyer,
And that is Strange.
John Penny's epitaph in the Wimborne Cemetery, England:
Reader, if cash thou art In want of any,
Dig 6 feet deep; And thou wilt find a Penny.
In a cemetery in Hartscombe, England:
On the 22nd of June, Jonathan Fiddle
Went out of tune.
Anna Hopewell's grave in nosburg Falls, Vermont :
Here lies the body of our Anna -
Done to death by a banana.
It wasn't the fruit that laid her low,
But the skin of the thing that made her go.
On a grave from the 1880s in Nantucket, Massachusetts:
Under the sod and under the trees,
Lies the body of Jonathan Pease.
He is not here, there's only the pod.
Pease shelled out and went to God.
In a cemetery in England:
Remember man, as you walk by,
As you are now, so once was I.
As I am now, so shall you be.
Remember this and follow me.

To which someone replied by writing on the tombstone:

To follow you I'll not consent
Until I know which way you went