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
If, for any reason, you wish to unsubscribe, instructions are at the end - but we do hope you'll stay with us.
Greetings and blessings to all...

...from the frigid Ohio Valley. This morning, it was 5 below zero (F) - the coldest morning of the winter, so far. And what a winter it's been. Just this past week, we had several snow-storms, sleet, and what the weather-man likes to call "a wintry mix" - precipitation that starts out as snow, turns to sleet, and then turns to ice when it hits the ground. Just lovely. Fortunately, we were able to stay close to home and avoid the inevitable slew of fender benders and other highway mishaps. The good news is that tomorrow marks the first day of spring in the old Irish calendar, and we know that under the blanket of white stuff in the back-yard, snowdrops are getting ready to emerge.

Being as it is the start of February in just a few hours, "pinch punch, first day of the month, white rabbit!" And if you were married (or will be getting married) at this time of year, the verse is: "When February birds do mate, you may wed, nor dread your fate."

Our fund-raising efforts are still going at a snail's pace - just four donations, so far - but we did want to mention that while the donations are very welcome, the notes that accompany them have really touched our hearts - thank you!

Ready for the Super Bowl? When Bridget first emigrated to the states, we lived in Boston, so she's definitely rooting for the Patriots! Russ isn't much of a sports fan, but he does enjoy the commercials. Oh to be in Houston, where it's supposed to be a perfect 70 degrees (F) for the game!

We were very sad to hear of Captain Kangaroo's passing yesterday. He was a regular on telly in our house when the kids were growing up - but, what we didn't know is that Bob Keeshan - his real name - was the son of an Irish immigrant.

Ever the proud grandparents, we have a new picture of our grandson here:
Typical of most 3-4 month olds. he's discovered the motor-boat sound - and he likes to sing!

On a more serious note: Do you use a cell phone? If you're in the States, our friend Audrey alerts us to a little known number that could save your life. Punch in #77 and you will be connected to the local police dispatch office. Audrey went so far as to call #77 on her cell phone and the local dispatch officer answered. She told her she had just received this info' and wanted to verify the facts before sending it on. She said, "Yes, Ma'am, that is correct." So, make a note of it: #77". And for our friends in other countries, check with your cell phone company to see if you have access to the equivalent.

Enough about us...

In news from Ireland

Co. Dublin: More than 38,000 crowded into Smithfield's China village for the official launch of the Year of the Monkey. The stage entertainment included a Chinese lion dance, and martial arts demonstrations of Kung Fu and Tai Chi. "It's the first time that the new year has been celebrated here on a scale like this," said Counsellor Brady, who expressed his surprise at the estimated 35,000 to 40,000-strong Chinese community living in Dublin. By the way, people born in the Year of the Monkey are "intelligent, well liked by everyone and successful in their chosen field".

Co. Galway: Tanaiste Mary Harney has officially opened the Imbusch Observatory in the National University of Ireland, Galway, which will provide opportunities for students of the BSc in Physics and Astronomy programme to carry out project work using the latest equipment.

Co. Mayo: Erris Exile of the Year Award: Award is open to persons born in Erris, now resident outside of Ireland, who have distinguished themselves by exceptional achievement whether through charitable, philanthropic or sporting endeavours, or notable commitment to the place of their birth. http://towns.mayo-ireland.ie/WebX?14@@.ee884d6

Co. Roscommon: Fans of the O'Carolan Harp Festival will be pleased to learn that it is back again in 2004 with a host of entertainment for all. http://keadue.harp.net/

Generation X: Irish people born between 1961 and 1976 are better educated than their parents and are far more likely to have University degrees. 33% of them received a third level education compared to 12% of the 1930s generation. Galway has a higher number of third level graduates than any other Irish city.

In news from all over:
Tehran: Did you know there is a Bobby Sands St. next to the British Embassy? We didn't. Now, it seems there has been pressure put on the Iran government to change the name. If you don't agree, there's a petition you can sign here:
To read the petition:

From the mailbag:
Last week, we mentioned that a pet rooster needed a home. One of our subscribers, Cecily from Texas, kindly made an offer, but "The General" was already on his way to a new owner. Cecily, an ardent pet-lover was very happy.

Links of the week
Eileen sent us an awesome site that shows the Freedom Rock in rural Iowa

Site Caddy turns Irish golfers into web designers. A new website established by golf enthusiast and software engineer John Flanagan enables Irish golf clubs and societies to provide their members with up-to-date tournament results, news, photos, bulletins and more via the Internet, whether they have a website or not.

A laugh for the ladies

To listen to a lovely Irish wedding song put together by Jack of The Irish Page, click

Now active, Studentdealz.ie is a new Irish website dedicated specifically to the student market. Studentdealz.ie is there to help both students and businesses prosper. It provides third level students with hundreds of discounts, offers and competitions nationwide.

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!

Enough of the blither and blather...on with the update:
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:
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
How do you confuse a Kerryman?
Place three shovels against a wall and ask him to take his pick.
Contributed by Hartson - thanks!
Maureen's husband, Patrick, was a typical Irish male chauvinist. Even though they both worked full-time, he never helped around the house. Housework was woman's work! But one evening, Maureen arrived home to find the children bathed, one load of clothes in the washer and another in the dryer, dinner on the stove, and the table set. She was astonished; something's up, she thought.
It turns out that Patrick had read an article that said wives who worked full-time and also had to do all the housework were too tired to make love.
The night went well and the next day she told her office friends all about it. "We had a great dinner. Patrick even cleaned up. He helped the kids do their homework, folded all the laundry and put everything away. I really enjoyed the evening." "But what about afterward?" asked her friends. "Oh, that was perfect, too. Patrick was too tired!"
1. Comedic genius and creator of the Keystone Cops, Mack Sennett, was the son of Irish immigrants born in Nova Scotia?
2. in 1765, John Hannon, Irish immigrant, opened the first chocolate shop in America, at Dorchester, Massachusetts?
3. John Ford, father of Henry Ford the founder of the Ford Corporation of America, emigrated to America after being evicted from a smallholding in Ballinascarty Co. Cork in 1847?
Show your support for the Irish Culture and Customs newsletter with a dollar donation - that's less than 2 cents an issue! 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 haggerty@primax.net
Many thanks in advance for your kindness.
Is fearr lán doirn de cheird ná lán mála d‚ór
A handful of skill is better than a bagful of gold.
To begin with, the answers to last week's quiz:
1. Brigid of the Gael - A complete collection of primary resources - Conrad Bladey
2. Brigid's Cloak - An ancient Irish story - Bryce Milligan, Helen Cann (Illustrator)
3. Brigid and the Mountain - Sean Dorman

In the words of one Irish wag, clap your feet for this week's literary sleuths:

Hartson Dowd
With over 300 golf courses, the emerald Isle is a haven for duffers from around the world. Golf Club Ireland provides a list of courses, golf news, vacation information and unique golf humor. If you can't actually get over to Ireland to play, try Golf Club Ireland's virtual golf section.

This site is filled with beautiful pics and interesting info about some
of the very special places in Ireland:

Jean Marie Ryan

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

Helen Dowd
For stories of relaxation, I invite you to visit:
Especially see the "Odds 'n Ends" section: http://www.occupytillicome.com/articles and stories: http://www.occupytillicome.com/stories

Ellen Parodi
Namely Gifts at
Now featuring personalized Name Keepsakes and Gifts for your Valentine!
Something for every name on your gift list!

Marjorie Cunningham
Don't miss world-reknown Irish arranger/conductor/musician, Frank McNamara's, appearance with his newest creation, The American Tenors, at Chrysler Hall, Norfolk, VA on 2/15/04!

Patricia Edwards
My favorite site just has to be your own (thanks, Patricia!)

Judy Skapik
Judy is a great writer - but she seems reluctant to promote her work - so we took it upon ourselves to find one of her many articles:

Pat Murphy
Biddy McGraw's the Pacific Northwest's only authentic Irish pub and the home 'O the "perfect" pint':

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. St. Brigid: The Girl Who Loved to Give
2. The Goddess Companion: Daily Meditations on the Feminine Spirit
3. Kildare: Saints, Soldiers and Horses

Hint: You'll find all the titles here - and, if you're a gardener, this is something to brighten your great outdoors come spring:

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
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 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
Congratulations to Maggie, as well as Hartson, who both tied for first place:
A man on his deathbed informs his three sons that he will leave them his horses. To the eldest son he leaves half of his horses. To his second son he leaves one third of them, and to his youngest, he leaves one ninth. After he passes away, the three sons went to get their horses, but discovered there were 17 animals. They did not want to sell or kill any of the horses, and they could not think of a way to divide the horses exactly as their father wished. Just then their next door neighbor came riding along on his horse and listened to their problem. Immediately the neighbor thought of a way to divide the horses just as their father had wished.
Q. What was his easy solution?
A: He should add his own horse to make 18. Then 9 is half the horses, 6 is a third, 2 is a ninth, and he rides away on his own horse.
And now for this week's head-banger:
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?
1. Home Page - See what's new or recycled at a glance:
2. Republished - Article: St. Brigit, the Giveaway
3. Republished - Article: Brigid of the Songs
4. Republished - Article: Celebrating Candlemas in Old Ireland
5. Republished - The Irish Kitchen: St. Brigid's Oatcakes
6. Featured - Article: Celebrating a Name Day in old Ireland
7. Featured - Article: Making St. Brigid's Crosses
8. Featured - Article: St. Ita, Foster-Mother to the Saints of Ireland
9. Featured - Kids' Ireland: Finn's Hounds
10. Featured - Music Review: What's Wrong with This Picture
11. Featured - The Irish Kitchen: Cheese Tart
12. Featured - Spiritual Shop: St. Brigid's Anachron
13. Featured - St. Patrick's Day Cards
14. On-going - Circle of Prayer: Our 5th Novena in this cycle began on January 30 and continues though February 7th. This week, we heard from a reader who told us about 14-month old Ryan Declan - he has a fatal disease and needs a miracle. As always, we ask for your prayers and meditations on behalf of our military all over the world, especially Iraq. We also ask that you continue to pray for 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. Whatever your spiritual leanings, we hope you will join us each day:
15. On-Going - Trivia Quiz: This is the last day. All entries must be received by midnight, tonight, no matter which time zone you live in.
16. On-going - Irish News: Headlines for the past week
17. On-going -This month in Irish History:

It's the beginning of a new month, which means we'll be posting a new Trivia quiz for February, tomorrow. By the way, we're sorry to say that Celtic Brands has gone out of business, so we can no longer offer a side of salmon as a prize. If you are a recent prize-winner and did not receive your salmon, please let us know.
Aideen reminds us that it's time for a new lesson - what with all the various ailments, colds and whatever that abound this time of year, we'll be focusing on words and phrases related to health. As usual, we'll have a new blessing on Sunday, a new quote on Wednesday, another recipe, and whatever else we can do to keep you coming back - also, don't forget, the news and history are updated every day.

So that does it for another week, except for the always critically important dates from our wild and wacky calendar: Today is Valkyries' Day in Scandinavia and National Brandy Alexander Day in the USA. Tomorrow is St. Brigid's Day, National Freedom Day, Robinson Crusoe Day, Serpent Day, and Women's Heart Health Day. Monday is Candlemas, Groundhog Day, and Bonza Bottler Day (Any excuse to celebrate! This happens every month when the day and the date are the same number) February 3rd is National Carrot Cake Day, February 4th is Girls and Women in Sports Day, Stuffed Mushroom Day and Kosciuszko Day which is celebrated by Polish-Americans on the birthday of Tadeusz Kosciuszko (1746), who fought in the American Revolutionary War. February 5th is the anniversary of the third manned Moon expedition and February 6th is New Zealand Flag Day and Pay A Compliment 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, we hope this edition finds you in good health, good spirits and good company. We'd also like to thank all of you who signed up this past week - and if you like our musings and meanderings, please pass them along to your family and friends.
Just one more thing and we promise to take our leave. This time last year, as we were writing the newsletter, it was with sinking hearts that the news began coming in about the Columbia. We can still remember the definitive words "the Columbia is lost." We hope you'll take a moment tomorrow, on the first anniversary, to say a special prayer for all those who lost a loved one.

Between now and next Saturday, may the generosity of the good St. Brigid bless you and yours and may God keep you from all harm. And, as they say in Ireland, mind yourself!

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: http://www.thewildgeese.com/pages/events.html
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:

Jazz stars kick off spring concert series at UU
February 2 and February 3
Clarinettist Gay McIntyre, widely respected as one of the elder statesmen of jazz, will team up with Sligo-born jazz guitarist Mike Nielsen for concerts at Coleraine and Magee. The duo will perform in the Octagon, Coleraine campus, on February 2, and the Great Hall, Magee campus, on February 3. Click here for full details:

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:
Book Now! You will get 5% off if you book before the end of January.

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:

Texas Dulcimer Cruise - February 5-9
Galveston to Cozumel on the Carnival Celebration. There will be workshops, jam sessions, talent show and more. These spots will go fast, so book early! Inside cabins are $430.80 pp, double occupancy and oceanview cabins are $480.80 pp, double occupancy. Ask for Marcy: 281-535-5703 or e-mail marcy@delesandri.com

Houston, Texas - 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

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.

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

Calling all Gurteen past pupils for a reunion, May 2
Past pupils of Clonkeenkerrill, Shanballard, and Tample national schools are invited to recall their school days at a reunion taking place in Loughrea. Tickets for the event cost € 30, and can be purchased from Breda Noone at (090) 9675912; John Corbett at (090) 9677825; Oliver King at (087) 2975132; or any committee member. Tickets must be purchased before Sunday February 1

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: