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Greetings & Blessings to Everyone,
We hope you and yours are enjoying all the preparations for Easter! In Ireland, this is a bank-holiday weekend and many people will be heading for resort areas (especially since it's been warmer than the Mediterranean the last few days!) For those of you on the roads, we wish you "safe journey" there and back.
As for ourselves, we managed to survive the ordeal of Tax Day and then proceeded to enjoy the blessings of beautiful spring weather for the rest of the week. Oddly enough, as always seems to happen here on Good Friday, it was bleak, chilly and overcast. But, today is once again sunny and warm and we can't wait to get outside and begin decimating our bumper crop of dandelions. From our top floor, they actually look quite pretty - but, given half a chance, they'd take over!
When we weren't involved in either money-making projects or working on the house, we spent some time on the web-site which celebrated its 2nd anniversary on April 16. We've come a long way since that skinny debut - but, we couldn't have done it without the help of three wonderful people who have made a tremendous contribution to our efforts, Aideen in Cyprus, who does all of our Irish translations and pronunciations, Grainne, in Mississippi,who is our teller of tales for children, and Hartson, in British Columbia, who not only provides most of the recipes for the Irish Kitchen, he also finds us a tremendous amount of "fodder for the files." Thank you so much for all of your help!
Are you doing up Easter Baskets? While our children are now all grown, we do have a granddaughter, Caity, and we'll be seeing her tomorrow; naturally, Nana and Bumpa will have a few surprises on hand! We'll also be seeing the rest of the family for dinner and Bridget expects to be busy later today with dyeing a few dozen eggs. Whether or not, we'll do an Easter Egg Hunt remains to be seen. By the way, if you plan on colouring eggs, we found a recipe for doing them with natural dyes - most likely very similar to how they would have done them in Ireland and other European countries, years ago. If you're interested, it's at the end of the letter, right before this week's events.
Our menu tomorrow will be traditional - Ham and Lamb. Russ is the "ham what am man" while Bridget loves roast leg of lamb. She didn't like the prices this year, though - outrageous! But, we managed to buy a small joint that won't break the budget. We'll accompany the main course with spring vegetables and roast potatoes. As for starters, our biggest regret is not finding the iGourmet web-site in time to order a few of our favorite Irish Farmhouse cheeses. A spread of Cashel Blue, Coolea and Ardrahan with crackers and fruit would have made a lovely appetizer. Oh well, now that we've found this great resource, you can be sure we'll keep them in mind for our next special meal. In fact, we were so excited about our discovery, we dusted off an article we did last year and re-published it. (The URL is listed below in our regular line-up for the past week.)
In other news, if you're into Irish dancing, you are probably well aware that Oireachtas Rince na Cruinne (the Irish World Dancing Championship) is taking place this week in Killarney. We haven't heard of any qualifiers from our area this year, but in 2002, we were checking the daily results in eager anticipation of seeing how well Emily, the daughter of a friend was doing. She didn't win - but just being selected to go was certainly a huge honour for which any Irish dancer should be proud. If you are rooting for a competitor, we wish them, and all the dancers, well! We've also devoted our writer's quiz, the joke, and an ad to the great tradition of Irish dance.
Have we blathered on enough yet? May be so! Except to say, a warm welcome back to all of you - and a word of thanks to those who have just subscribed. We hope this week's edition finds everyone in fine fettle!
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IN THIS ISSUE:
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
A BIT O' THE WIT
In a literature class in Dublin some years back, students were given an assignment to write a short story involving all the important literary ingredients - Nobility, Emotion, Sex, Religion and Mystery. The winner was:"My God!' cried the Duchess. 'I'm pregnant. Who did it?"
OUR FAVORITE JOKE OF THE WEEK
So, you may be wondering why the Scots dance with their hands in the air and the Irish with their hands down? According to one old wag, the Scots surrendered, but the Irish will never give up.
DID YOU KNOW...
1. According to Irish custom, cold and wet weather was welcomed on Good Friday? It was interpreted as a sign of nature in mourning for the death of Christ.
2. If a boy was born on Easter Sunday, he was destined for high office in the Church?
3. It was on Easter Monday, April 18, 1949, that Éire became officially known as the the Republic of Ireland? __________________________________________________________
QUIPS, QUOTES & ANECDOTES - PROVERBS & TOASTS, TOO~
It was cold and rainy in Ballynahinch where I was spending my summer holiday, but I finally bundled up and went down to the beach. There I saw a man in a bathing suit, lying on a large beach blanket. I walked up to him and asked why he was punishing himself that way. "I've been waiting all year for this holiday so I could get some colour," he said. "And I'm going to get it - even if it's blue."
KNOW YOUR IRISH WRITERS & BOOKS?
The answers to last week's quiz:
1. Agony at Easter- the 1916 Irish Uprising - Thomas M. Coffey
2. Easter 1916 and other Poems - W. B. Yeats
3. Grace Gifford Plunkett and Irish Freedom - Marie O'Neill
Please clap your feet for this week's literary sleuths:
Free Ezines with something for everyone
For a bit of "Easter" reading, you may enjoy these poems on my website:
http://occupytillicome.online-ministries.com/poetry/messages/163.html - The Reason For Easter
http://occupytillicome.online-ministries.com/poetry/messages/159.html - I Was There.
To Learn about Ireland: Free Games for Children is an excellent site for teachers, or parents (photo-copying allowed) check out:
Who has the longest continuously running tour from the States to Ireland? According to Terry Flynn Tours of Ireland it's the McKiernans of Irish Books & Media:
This is an excellent source for checking anything that looks like a hoax or urban legend. Unfortunately these things take on a life of their own - they are a nuisance and this is a good way to put an end to them - check with Stiller and then DELETE!
For those who wish to check out information on Irish businesses this site is terrific:
Studies show people who craft live longer, happier lives. Every edition of the Craftideas Newsletter brings you great craft project patterns and instructions for all types of projects, inspiration, tips from the crafting experts, and articles for "Crafthealthy" living. Get more out of life with crafting and the HerCraftIdeas Newsletter from America's favorite crafting website:
Note: Anne sent us her entry just hours before she and her husband were due to go to the hospital to have their second child. Our prayers are with you and your family, Anne - we hope all went well!
An interactive ezine for writers. Discover paying markets, writing/marketing tips, and more. You also get the chance to promote your Website/book in the following issue. Sign up at the Website!
This week's quiz - who wrote:
1. The Dancers Dancing
2. Toss the Feathers
3. A Handbook of Irish Dances
Hint: All three titles can be found on amazon - please click here:
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!)
NEW OR REPUBLISHED FROM OUR INDEX THIS PAST WEEK:
To visit our Home Page, please click: http://www.irishcultureandcustoms.com
1. Article: Dance of the Sun at Dawn and a Cake Dance in the Afternoon
2. Article: Easter Saturday and a Funeral for a Fish
3. Good Friday Haircuts and Seaweed for Dinner
4. Extraordinary Irish Farmhouse Cheeses - Revisited
5. The Irish Kitchen: A Tasty Menu for Easter
6. A picture of the plum
7. Circle of Prayer: Our ninth and last Novena in this cycle began on April 17 and will continue through April 25. Many people need our prayers and meditations during these unsettled times. If you would like to join us, please click
8. Think You're Irish? Try our Trivia Contest! All entries must be in by midnight, EST on April 30. To enter. please click:
NEXT WEEK, GOD WILLING:
In the run-up to Beltaine on May 1, we'll be re-visiting previously published related articles, as well as adding some new pieces. Bridget has been working on a tribute to Synge (whose birthday was this past week). She's also found out about an Irish lyricist who wrote Red Sails in the Sunset and many other famous standards. Hopefully, that story will also appear in the coming week. We're due for a new Irish lesson - topic is still to be determined. As usual, regular features will make their appearance on the appropriate days - Wednesday quote, Sunday blessing, and so on. Headlines and history will go up each day and we'll post a new recipe over the weekend.
So, another week comes to a close - and a very special one at that. Until next time, Beannachtaí Ná Cásca oraibh - May the blessings of Easter be on you. May you and yours be watched over by the Good Shepherd of us all. And, as they say in Ireland, mind yourself.
All the best,
Bridget & Russ
Get down on your knees and thank God you're still on your feet
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How To Color Easter Eggs With Natural Dyes
In a saucepan, place as many papery outer skins of yellow and/or red onions that you have. Cover with an inch of water. Bring to a boil, lower to a simmer and cook until onion skins have colored the water, (about 10 minutes). Use this same method for red cabbage (just chunk it up), beets, spinach, etc. Even coffee grounds can be used. Strain and add a teaspoon of vinegar to the dye. This sets the dye.
Now, put your boiled eggs in. Depending upon how long they sit in the dye, the eggs made with yellow onion skins will be pale yellow to dark amber. Red onion skins produce eggs that are brick/brown red. Red cabbage makes beautiful teal blue eggs!
To make brilliant yellow eggs, place two heaping tablespoons of turmeric in 1-1/2 cups water. Stir and place in pan. Cook until it starts to boil. Remove, let cool but don't strain. Add a teaspoon or so of vinegar. Place eggs in dye, stirring to coat. When you remove the eggs, gently wipe off the turmeric with a soft cloth or run them very quickly under running water.
Live in San Antonio?
Project Children and Habitat For Humanity have teamed up on a program called "Building Bridges". They will bring 12 young Irish lads (18-21 yrs) to San Antonio from 3 May until 29 June 2003. While staying with Host Families in the area, they will work 5-6 days a week at Habitat, building houses for needy families in San Antonio area. This is one of the "Peace and Reconcillation" programs of Project Children, a 29 yr old Irish-American charity that works with the people of Ireland and Northern Ireland. If you would like to cook a meal, host a party, or just meet them, please contact Pat Kelly at email@example.com.
The Provost of Trinity College, Dr John Hegarty and his wife, Neasa Ni Chinneide, would like to invite graduates from the University of Dublin, Trinity College, to a lunch in the Charles Carroll House and Gardens in Annapolis, Maryland at noon on Sunday, May 4, 2003, by kind permission. Families are welcome. This get together for graduates and friends living in the States of Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, Virgina and in Washington DC will be the opportunity to bring to life an active TCD Alumni Branch in the region. RSVP to Brenda Kelliher by e-mail:
mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org (Confirmation of receipt of e-mails will
be after April 25).
A ground-breaking international conference and festival will be held May 7-10, 2003 in Charlottesville, VA. Major arts events will include concerts by "De Dannan" and "The Green Fields of America" and by "Solas" and "Cherish the Ladies." For more information, please click http://www.re-imagining-ireland.org/
The Brazos Valley Celtic Association meeting on Tuesday May 13 will feature
Keltic Cross-Fire doing a presentation consisting of traditional Celtic dance tunes, vocal stories and original music. As always, the meeting will be held at 7:00pm at Carney's Pub, located at 3410 S. College in Bryan. Open to the public - No need to be a member to attend meetings or to be Celtic to be a member. The BVCA is a non-profit organization dedicated to the promotion of the appreciation of all Celtic Cultures. For more information, please contact Claire Byrne - email@example.com
Eighteenth-Century Ireland Society
Cumann Éire san Ochtú Céad Déag
2003 CONFERENCE - Dublin, 2-4 May
Religious and Political Identity in Eighteenth-Century Ireland
7th Clann McKenna Rally - June 25th through Sunday June 27th 2004
For details, please write firstname.lastname@example.org
or click on the following link:
Like to write? Our Cincinnati Celtic Music and Cultural Festival has just announced a brand new writing competition. If you're interested, you can get the rules and other details here: http://home.fuse.net/cfl/festival.html