Welcome to the Irish Culture & Customs newsletter which is published every week or so and sent out to going on 3,600 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:
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Greetings and blessings to all.

Hello from a harried but very happy Haggerty household. Our third grandchild has arrived. Dashiell Patrick. We now have one grandchild for each of our children and what a gift it has been to see the expression of your own child when they look at their own baby. Magic. What makes all of this even more magical is that the proud parents are Ben and Sarah who bought our house and we're renting the apartment on the third floor. For doting grandparents, how more convenient does it get? As Bridget has been saying to Russ, 'I think I'll just go downstairs to see if they need anything." Translation: To see if she can cadge a kiss and a cuddle. The parents are being very patient.

Needless to say, but we will anyway, it's been a very distracting week or so since last we wrote. There was a bank holiday in the Republic - we hope it was a safe and happy occasion for all of our readers who live there; then we celebrated Hallowe'en and the Celtic New Year. God willing, Trick or Treat night came and went without mischevious mishap; and a very belated Happy Celtic New year to all!

In our daily walks up to the meditation garden at a church nearby, we've been paying close attention to the change in season. This past couple of weeks the autumn colours have reached their peak, but the rose bushes are still valiantly putting out buds and blooms. So, we haven't seen the last rose of summer yet. That said, we've had mornings when a heavy frost gave us a glimmer of the winter ahead. The wheel of the year has turned. No doubt about that. In the old days, you'd have everything ready for the unforgiving months ahead; livestock weould have been brought down from the pastures and nestled warm and snug in the barn; the byre would be filled with hay; the larder loaded with the fruits of the harvest; and over the great peat fire, joints of meat and creels of fish smoking away for consumption on Sundays and other special times during the long, hard winter. By contrast to rural Ireland of long ago, we are already being subejected to a deluge of Christmas adverts. And it doesn't take much to wish for the tranquility of a less commercial way of life. Ah well. Those days are gone. But we do hope you will take the time now and then to slow down and count your blessings. May they be quadrupled in the year ahead.

Enough of 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/was
Leave 'em Laughing

The Future of Dublin?
This was brought to our attention by a loyal subscriber Judith W. We took a look and surely, his has to be a hoax or worse yet, a scam? An all-giraffe zoo? Sky views at night that show areas lit up in the shape of a shamrock?C'mon, people - this isn't for real...is it? Take a look and tell us what you think:

Move to beat L-test waiting
The fastest way for some L-drivers to pass the driving test is to move to Monaghan or Skibbereen. It now takes 60 weeks to sit your driving test if you live in Navan, Co Meath. In Monaghan, the wait is just 13 weeks, while the same fast-track process is also in place in the west Cork town of Skibbereen.

Campaign to bring back village harlot
A small rural village wants her controversial harlot back and officially recognised by the State. However, the community of Doon in east Limerick is not campaigning to have a woman of ill-repute reinstated in the locality but wants the original Irish name for the village - Dun Bleisce - restored by the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs, Eamon O Cuiv. The "bleisce" part of the official name was previously dropped by the Placenames Commission.

Antrim: Reminder of bygone days unveiled in Belfast
A life-size bronze statue of a "speaker" from the 1930s recalls tshe use of the square by orators in the early years of the last century, a time when Custom House Square was the city's equivalent of London's Speakers' Corner in Hyde Park. The artwork, commissioned by the corporation, was created by sculptor Gareth Knowles as his interpretation of the historical forum.

Cork: End of an era for Bantry
After one hundred a fifty years the Vickery Inn in Bantry has closed its doors. Established in 1850 by Thomas Vickery, the present owner, Hazel Vickery, has been with the hotel since her marriage forty-five years ago to the late Ian Vickery and she had been approached by a consortium interested in buying the property. The hotel was built on the site of a dye works attached to the local linen industry; it was burnt down during the Troubles and re-opened five years later with the innovation of wash basins in all the bedrooms.

Down: Newcastle to honour songwriter
It seems likely that a statue of Percy French will be erected as part of the redevelopment of the promenade in Newcastle. Already a restaurant in the grounds of Slieve Donard Hotel bears the name of the man who wrote "The Mountains of Mourne" and the hotel's owner, Dr Billy Hastings, is supportive of the plan to erect a statue. The restaurant also carries a short biography of French on all of its menus.

Kilkenny: Seventh conker festival in Freshford
The conkers were gathered and threaded and enthusiasts themselves gathered in Freshford for the seventh annual Conker Championships. In addition to the adult competitions, for which the overall prize was a holiday voucher, there were graded children's competitions and a team event. An arts and crafts exhibition, the selection of a King and Queen and a treasure hunt for the children were also featured.
ED. NOTE: Our Kid's ireland Culture Corner is about Conkers. See:

Tipperary: Sons steer father to final resting place
William O'Callaghan's life was one spent largely on the River Suit, fishing, and drawing sand and gravel, and it was only fitting, therefore, that his final journey should be taken on that same river. Following Requiem Mass in St Molleran's Parish Church, celebrated by parish priest Father Tom Flynn, William's coffin was carried to a special boat which was steered upstream for the six miles to the Churchtown graveyard by his two sons, William and Ralph. Mourners lined the two bridges and the quayside to give a round of applause as the special voyagerr passed by.

Waterford: Portlaw Heritage Centre opens
The Portlaw Pipe Band and a troupe of dancers were on hand to entertain the large crowd that gathered for the official opening of the Heritage Centre in Portlaw recently. Among the dignitaries attending the ceremony were County Mayor Mary Greene, who performed the official opening, and Father Ned Hassett who delivered the blessing. Chairman of the Heritage Committee Paudie Coffey paid tribute to all those who had helped transform what was a derelict building into the new facility, giving particular mention to Tom Larkin, John Crotty, Willie Power and John Walsh. The event was filmed for showing on RTE television early in November.

Wicklow: Anne was the greatest
A poll taken by the Wicklow 400 Committee has found that Wicklow people believe that Anne Devlin was the county's greatest ever person, coming top of a list which included Charles Stewart Parnell, Michael Dwyer and St Kevin. One of the organisers of the poll, historian Emmet O'Byrne, believes that it was her courage and fortitude in the face of imprisonment and torture that won the accolade for the ally of Robert Emmet and messenger for Michael Dwyer. Anne Devlin won the contest by a margin of two hundred and fifty votes over Parnell, but she was not the only winner; all those who entered the poll were also entered into a draw for a Florida holiday, which was won by Elizabeth Byrne.
Anne writes: Have been enjoying your website and appreciate your attempt to validate sources for the quotes, etc. So, I'm sending you a riddle and asking you if you've heard it before and can verify its wording and whether or not it's really Irish. It is:

He wears his own jacket,
Has more than two eyes,
And when baked by a shepherd,
He makes a fine pie.
What is he?
(a potato)

Another version says "Has more than ONE eye" but that doesn't make sense to me (everyone has more than one eye). Makes far more sense as "Has more than two eyes" or "Has many eyes".

Have you heard this riddle before? With one or two eyes? I haven't been able to verify its origins or the wording.
ED. NOTE: We have heard the riddle before but we don't know if it's Irish or not. Perhaps one of our widely-read readers might have an answer?

Paul writes: My wife & I are visiting Ireland again next month, and were wondering if its possible to purchase Donegal Tweed in its material form, so my wife could sew herself. If so, where would one go to find it?
ED. NOTE: We found a couple of places that may sell what Paul's wife wants, but we'd much prefer it if a reader could give them a personal recommndation.

Sandi writes: My grand daughter Delaney Moria Shea Meyer is scheduled to be born sometime between December 21 - December 27. I have given all six of my other grandchildren nicknames and I would like to do the same with Delaney. Would you please tell me how to spell and say "Christmas Angel" in Gaelic. Thank you so very much!
We asked our native irish speaker Aideen and as always she came through for us and Sandi:
Aingeal na Nollaig - pronounced angle nah noll-ig.

Last, but certainly not least, Tommy asked us how the Irish might refer to a grandfather. Since dad is often said as "Da", we think it would be something along the lines of granda. Can anyone verify that for us?
SPONSOR: You can help us keep this newsletter free when you visit our good friends at the Celtic Attic:
We have the deal of the year for you the entiremonths of November & December: Free Shipping on most orders over $75.00 (some restrictions apply). Act now and take an additional 25%, YES 25% off any SALES PAGE item in our Sales Section (applies to sales items only). You can buy anything else you want to get free shipping, but the 25% will only be applied to Sales items. We will take the discount off after you have placed your order. We have to clear out inventory for the Holidays. And finally, We will be offering a FREE GIFT with every order through the whole month of November & December. Remember to Start your Holiday Shopping Now!

Veteran's Day 2006
Military.com salutes America's 25 million living Veterans. They invite you to join the rest of the nation in remembering their sacrifice and thank them for their service to their country:
Related Link: http://www1.va.gov/opa/vetsday/
King of the Culchies
Ireland's Culchie Festival was recently held in Co. Tipperary, and after serious competitions involving nappy-changing and sandwich-making, a Meath man was crowned King. A culchie is a person born in any part of Ireland outside of Dublin. Thousands joined in the fun, but of course, no jackeens (a/k/a city folk from Dublin) were there to spoil it! For details, see
http:// www.culchiefestival.com
The latest offering from The Irish Page
This week they have an encore presentation of Slievenamon (Sliabh na mban) This song was written by one of Tipperary's most famous historical figures, Charles Kickham. His most famous song today is undoubtedly Slievenamon or as it was originally known as "The Maid of Slievenamon". This song is recognized by Tipperary people world wide as their National Anthem and is sung at major occasions within the county and in particular after hurling and football games:
Turn your sound on as the music is beautiful.

Irish in California
Many thsnks to Frank Tipps for this great link which may help some of us who are searching for ancestors:

Josh Groban's Latest
If you like listening to a voice that has been compared to Mario Lanza, then be sure to click on this link sent in by "Big mama:

Something beautiful from Budweiser
This one was sent in by our dear friend Ag. About the only Irish connection is that it's beer and Bud Light is very popular with the younger lads. Beyond that, it's an ad that we highly recommend to all anumal lovers.

Click for cans!
Vote for your favourite American football team between now and December 15 and The team with the most votes wins a donation from Campbell'Soup for your local food bank. You can vote once a day:

Free Mammogbrams!
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:

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:
"Could he not find in his heart the generosity to acknowledge that there is a small nation that stood alone not for one year or two, but for several hundred years against aggression; that endured spoliations, famines, massacres in endless succession; that was clubbed many times into insensibility, but that each time on returning [to] consciousness took up the fight anew; a small nation that could never be got to accept defeat and has never surrendered her soul?"
- Eamon De Valera, on Victory Day in Europe, May 8, 1945, responding in a radio speech to criticism by Winston Churchill of Ireland's neutrality in World War II, a speech in which De Valera also thanked Churchill for not invading Ireland.
When we visited the Mighty 8th Museum in Pooler, Florida, all of the guides were veterans One of them was Robert Emmett (______) who was delighted to meet the family of a fellow servicerman of Irish descent. He had more jokes and one-liners in his repertoire than Gay Byrne! Here's one we liked in particular:
And then there was Murphy from Southie. He was so good at blowing up bridges and railroads, they decided to send him overseas. __________________________________________________________________
Fair warning - this is a bit off colour; but it's too good to ignore and we tidied it up a bit. Many thanks to Audrey for sending in Old Pilots Never Die.

He was a ragged looking old man who shuffled into the pub that afternoon. Stinking of whiskey and cigarettes, his hands shook as he took the "Piano Player Wanted" sign from the window and gave it to the bartender. "I'd like to apply for the job," he said.

The bar-keep wasn't too sure about this doubtful looking old guy, but it had been awhile since he had a player and business was falling off. "What do you do?" he asked.

"I used to be a B-58 pilot in Strategic Air Command," was the answer.

Now, really unsure, the bar-keep decided to give him a try...he really needed more business. "The piano is over there...give it a go."

The old man staggered his way over to the piano and several patrons snickered. But, by the time he was into the third bar of music, every voice was silenced. What followed was a rhapsody of sound and music unlike anyone had ever heard in the bar before. When he finished, there wasn't a dry eye in the place.

The bartender brought the old guy a beer and said that he sounded really, really good. "What do you call that?" he asked.

"It's called "Drop Your Panties, Baby, We're Gonna Rock Tonight," said the old pilot as he took a long pull from the beer. "I got another," ...and he began to play again. What followed was a knee-slappin', hand-clappin' bit of ragtime that had the place jumping.

People were coming in from the streets to hear this guy play. After he finished, the pilot acknowledged the applause and told the crowd that the song was called "Big Boobs Make My Afterburner Dance."

He then excused himself as he lurched off to the men's room. After thinking a bit, the bartender decided to hire the guy, no matter how bad he looked, or what his songs were called. When the guy came out of the men's room, the bartender went over to tell him he had the job, but noticed that the old fighter pilot's fly was undone and his member was hanging out. He said, "The job is yours, but first I got to ask, do you know your fly is open and yourwillie is hanging out?"

"Know it?" the pilot replied, "Hell, I wrote it!"
1. Brussels was liberated by the Irish Group of the British Army in 1944?

2. The Bloody Oak, a tree standing near Armagh, contains fragments of bullets fired during the battle of the Yellow Ford (a rare Irish victory), fought on the site in 1598?

3. Dublin housewife Kit Welsh disguised herself as a man and served twenty years in the army of the Duke of Marlborough from 1692? She was wounded four times without doctors discovering her secret and survived to be personally decorated for bravery by Queen Anne.
__________________________________________________________________DO YOU KNOW YOUR IRISH WRITERS?
To begin with, the answers to our last quiz:
1. The Banshee: The Irish Death Messenger by Patricia Lysaght
2. The Devil, the Banshee and Me by L.M. Falcone
3. Banshees, Beasts and Brides From the Sea: by Bob Curran

A round of pints and applause to our latest literary sleuths:

Helen Dowd
Please visit my web site where I hope you will ind comfort, entertainment, encouragement in something you may read there. There are many wonderful guests featured in the guest author's section. Also, many thanks to all of you have voted for my site.
http://www.occupytillicome.com - Helen Dowd

Déirdre McKiernan Hetzler
"Glorious Ireland"
May 24 - June 7, 2007 watch for
this year's itinerary: www.tours2ireland.com
or http://www.irishbook.com/tours.htm

Karin Nystrom
I have "The Banshee: The Irish Death Messenger" and it is a fascinating book, well documented and extensively researched. I highly recommend it. "Kat"

Hartson Dowd
Star*Dreamer's Lucky Shamrock - A wee bit of Irish Luck for all ages! Blessings, sayings, poems, songs, music. Links to History of St. Patrick & Ireland and St.Paddy's sites! Stop by make a wish and celebrate with me!

And now for our next quiz. Who wrote:
1. Irish Voices from the Great War
2. A Long, Long Way
3. They Shall Grow Not Old

Send in your answers and if you get two out of three correct, we'll list your name and web site (or your favorite Irish web site) in our next newsletter.
First off, the solution to our last skull scratcher:
Q. What is a banshee's favorite dessert?
A. Ice Cream ( I scream)
This one was just too easy for our brilliant Riddle People and we deserved to be swamped with correct answers. But first in was Brenda Ross from Dartmouth, Massachusetts. Well done!
ED. NOTE: Brenda has a great web site:

We also have two hnourable mentions. Bill Smith from NC came up with banchee'se cake (cheesecake) very clever. We also thought Blood Pudding sent in by John Cassidy was very creative and well worth sharing with you.

So, now for our next brain bruiser:
Soldiers line up spaced with pride,
Two long rows lined side by side.
One sole unit can decide,
If the rows will unite or divide.
Tell me, tell me, scream it out.
What's the thing I talk about?
1. Article: A Tribute to Bram Stoker (his birthday was November 8, 1847)
2. Article: Irish Celebrations and Feastdays - Martinmas
3. Article: Irish Celbrations - The Feast of St. Martin
4. Article: The irish Soldiers in the American Civil War
5. Article: The Irish Soldiers in World War I
6. Article: It's a Long Way to Tipperary
7. Article: Danny Boy - A World War II story
8. Poetry Corner - Oliver Goldsmith (his birthday was November 10, 1728)
ED. NOTE: Another great Irish poet who died for his country is Padraic Pearse. His birthday is also celebrated in November. See:
9. The Irish Kitchen: Marinated Pork Chops in hnonour of St. Martin's Feastday. (It's traditional to serve pork on his feastday).
http://www.irishcultureandcustoms.com/2Kitch/rPork.html#Marinated PorkChops
10. Basic Irish: Autumn in Ireland
11. Kids' Ireland - Check out the new Culture Corner which is all about one of our favorite childhood games - Conkers!
12. Letter of the Month for October - Was your letter chosen? Check out our home page and scroll down:
13. November Trivia Contest. It's posted and Midwest Irish Radio has added to their prize. Take a look (and keep in mind that all entries must be in by midnight, November 30 whichever time zone you're in)
October's winner: Congratulations go out to Kimberley Cook, USA. Well done. And many thanks to the going on a hundred entries - please keep trying!
14. Circle of Prayer. Our last Novena in this cycle began on November 6th. We received a request from Judith to pray for her brother brother-in-law Rudy. Baby Joseph is also still in need of your spiritual support as are Hartson & Helen Dowd, Anne Daly, Pauline & Heather. And with Veteran's Day this Saturday, we also ask that you remember those who have served their country and those serving in the military all over the world - especially Paul, the son of a friend who is back in Iraq for a second tour of duty.
15. New in the margin and the shop: The Doors of Dublin poster is now a 1000-pc. jigsaw puzzle. This would make a grerat Chjristmas gift!
Help us keep this newsletter free by visiting our good good friends at The Irish Lottery:
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Well, there you have it until we write again. Between now and then, if you're celebrating a birthday, anniversary or other special event, we hope it's a joyous evet, And you were married this month or plan on getting hitched, here's your special verse:

We hope this issue has found you in good health, good spirits and company ; and if it's your first edition, we hope you have enjoyed it. If so, please feel free to forward it to your family and friends .

mind yourself!

Slan agus beannacht,

Bridget & Russ
Get down on your knees and thank God you're still on your feet!
We are thankful for whatever you can send; whether it's a penny, a dime or a dollar, every penny does make a difference. Our snail mail address is
Bridget & 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.
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.

USA - Grainne Hambly Tour September - December
Her dad Michael is a lovely man who runs the Out of Mayo web site which many of you probably know about. His daughter Grainne is an incredibly accomplished traditional harpist. She is now touring the USA and fingers crossed, she may be playing at a venue near you! For tour details, please click

Los Angeles - October 6 through November 12
An Claidheamh Soluis/The Celtic Arts Center presents Brian Friel's Molly Sweeney at the Celtic Arts Center, 4843 Laurel Canyon Blvd., Studio City. For c complete details, please click

Alora, Spain - Now through November 16
The Gallery in Casa Correos will be featuring the works of our very dear Dublin friend and world-renowned artist Roger Commiskey! For more details, please visit:

Dublin, Ireland November 2nd - November 18
The world premiere of This Is Not A Life written by Alex Johnston and
directed by Jimmy Fay Project Arts Centre.
For more details, please click

Christ Church Cathedral, Cincinnati, OH - November 3 through November 30
The Perfect Anomaly: an exhibit of over 40 original oil paintings which focuses on the versatility of artist Cindy Matyi. For additional information and directions to the Cathedral, call 513/621-1817 or visit http://www.christchurchcincinnati.org/

Hollywood, Florida , November 11
IRISH-AMERICAN CEILI CLUB Dinner & Dancing at the American Legion Hall, Post 92
211 North 21 Avenue, Hollywood MUSIC: Donegal Shores Admission $10 [members] Guests [$12]. Call 954-432-8292 / 954-522-4948
Email: irish32@aol.com
Or visit

Thomas More College, Crestview Hill KY -December 8 & 9
THE IRISH -.and How They Got That Way!!Written by Pulitzer Prize winning author Frank McCourt and performed by the Irish American Theater Company, this is a moving, uplifting, eye-opening musical celebration of all things Irish.
Tickets and information: 513-225-6915 IrishAmericanTheaterCo@fuse.net
A few years ago, I decided to visit my brother who was stationed in Germany. I assumed that most Germans would speak English. But I found that many people spoke only their native tongue - including the ticket inspector on the train. He punched my ticket, then chatted cordially for a bit, making gestures like a windmill. I simply nodded from time to time to show him that I was interested. When he had gone, an American woman in the compartment leaned forward and asked if I spoke German. No," I confessed. "Then that explains," she said, "why you didn't bat an eyelid when he told you that you were on the wrong train."