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Greetings and blessings to all...

Lovely to be back during a week when the temperatures here in the Ohio Valley ventured briefly into the 60s(F) - prompting herself to go out several times to see if the snowdrops were up. They're not. We've experienced snow-storms on St. Patrick's Day in this part of the world, but, nevertheless, there's a feeling that the broad back of winter has finally been whittled down to just an occasional reminder of sleet, sloshing and shoveling. Not so for our friends to the South. Last weekend, a freak snowstorm in Dallas dumped a record three inches and even more on Tennessee and other areas. If you live in this region, we hope you survived - and used the Valentine's Day weekend as an excuse to cuddle up and ignore what our weathermen now call "an event!". To our way of thinking, the St. Patrick's Day Parade qualifies as an event - but the weather?

It's a banner day for our youngest son Ben who opens the doors of his new pub in Bellevue, KY. We hope you will join us in raising a glass to his success: Sláinte, Ben!

Enough about us. We hope this edition finds all of you on the pig's back and in fine fettle. The warmest of welcomes to all of you - and a special hello to our newest subscribers, many thanks for signing up - and please feel free to share our meanderings and musings with family and friends.

With that - on with the update:

In news from Ireland:

Co. Antrim: Last Sunday morning a campaign by parishioners to re-open a Belfast church went one step further when one hundred members of the save St Joseph's campaign occupied the building to hold their own Mass.

Co. Clare: A major chess tournament in the Fitzpatrick's Bunratty Hotel is expected to attract as many as three hundred and fifty players, including a number of professionals. The Bunratty Chess Festival is the country's biggest annual chess event.

Co. Donegal: A campaign to save St Patrick's well near the Donegal/Derry border has been launched by the Doherty clan association. The well where St Patrick supposedly baptised Gaelic chieftain Eoghan of Tyrone around AD430 has been neglected over the years, but the Doherty clan association plans to remedy that by enlisting the help of politicians, Church leaders and the general public.

Co. Galway: Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology student Warren McElhone has been chosen as the top wine waiter in Ireland, in a national challenge conducted by Failte Ireland. He will now go forward to represent Ireland at the world final of the "Cotes du Rhone Challenge 2004 -World's Top Trainee Sommelier", in France this summer. This will be the first year Ireland has representation at the international event.

Co. Dublin: Bewleys is to close its bakery operations later this year, and has also raised significant doubts about the future of its two landmark Dublin cafés in Grafton Street and Westmoreland Street. Bewleys is a name synonymous with the history of Dublin and the company has been associated with the arts since the days of James Joyce.
Ed. Note: Do you think the recent announcement that Starbucks will be opening 30 stores in Ireland later this year is influencing the Bewleys decision?

Co. Dublin: Several items belonging to Michael Collins, including a Luger pistol and matching hand-made holster, have been donated to the National Museum of Ireland by the family of the revolutionary leader.

Co. Kerry: Publicans have unanimously voted to snub the smoking ban which is scheduled to commence on March 29.

Co. Monaghan: Retired teacher Annie Callan celebrated her one hundred and sixth birthday with family and friends last week. Annie's teaching career brought her into contact with some notable people in Irish history and culture. Her first job was in a Monaghan primary school attended by the poet Patrick Kavanagh. When training in Carysfort College, Dublin, the college's former maths lecturer Eamon de Valera was in jail for his role in the 1916 rising. Eoin McNeill, founder of the Irish volunteers, was one of her teachers during this time. Annie was also a college friend of Nora Ashe, whose brother Tomas fought in the rising in Wicklow and died on hunger strike the following year.

Co. Roscommon: For those who have been regular drinkers over the years at Connaughton's pub in Clonark, Drum, there was royal treatment on a mid-week night early this month. The Connaughton family were celebrating the fortieth anniversary of the opening of their premises, at a time when a pint cost just one shilling and eight pence in old money, and they sent limousines to collect a group of the original customers of the bar. The family then laid on a party for their loyal supporters.

Co. Wexford: A new Irish company has set up business looking after people's holiday homes. Having been involved in the property management business, John Atkinson was accustomed to frequent requests by owners of holiday homes to check their houses after a storm or other event. John spotted a golden opportunity and set up his new company, Irish Home Minders.

General: New census figures show a greater reliance on the car to get to school and work, with a million households now owning at least one car.

General: A new study, from the British think-tank Demos, places Ireland sixth in a US/European list which is ranked in terms of economic creativity, or the percentage of total employment made up by "creative occupations". To see the full report, please click:

In news from all over:
Washington, D.C. Why is British Airways Flight 223 from London to Dulles always being grounded amid terrorism warnings? It's a mystery that Mike McMahon of Olney, a law-abiding federal employee, might have a clue to, after being grilled by the FBI as a Flight 223 passenger. To learn more, please click

PaxNet: Many thanks to JF who sent us the following info':
Making of The Passion - a behind-the-scenes look at how the movie was made, complete with testimonies from some of the actors, set directors and crew. This will be shown on Sunday February 22, and on Tuesday, February 24th, each at 9 pm Eastern time. The film itself will be released into movie theaters on Ash Wednesday, February 25th.

From the mailbag:
Irish, living in LA and need a job? Limerick man David Copley will be opening a new pub called The Auld Dubliner in Long Beach this April. He is looking for Irish bartenders, waiters and kitchen staff. If you're interested in applying or know someone who might be, please email David at DCOPCAL@aol.com or telephone him: 562 397 1958. You can also learn more about the pub at their website: http://www.aulddubliner.com

Patti asked us about where to find Connemara tile for floors, table tops and so on. A quick search located this interesting website:

Professor Terry Ballard of Quinnipiac University asked us to share with you that they are the largest supplier of free e-texts on the Irish Famine. To learn more, please visit:

Pauline sent us an inspiring message; it's a bit lengthy, so we've put it after the events. Don't miss "I Wish You Enough"

Links of the week:
Shaving the way to cure cancer in children. The 2004 teams are forming, the locations list is growing - be brave, go bald this St. Patrick's Day! What began with a goal of "$17,000 on the 17th of March," in four years has raised more than $3,000,000! To learn more, please visit:

Cute pets, nice music and a lovely sentiment to share with family and friends

Stressed? Aggravated? Need to relax? Try this nice one from Judith:

For a fascinating A to Z list of literally hundreds of Irish companies, click here:

A silly link the kids will enjoy:

Planning your next trip to Ireland? 1-800-FlyEurope provides access to the lowest airfares to Europe, as well as a selection of great hotels, car rentals, chauffeur services and more.

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 blather - on with the update:
Help keep our newsletter coming - visit our friends at the Celtic Attic
Buy now for St. Patrick's Day! We have just added about 80 new products ranging from Shamrock Lights, to Kids and Baby clothing to Irish Lucky Pennies and much more. Order over $100 and recieve a $5.00 gift certificate good off any future purchase:
And don't forget to to enter the Free Giveaway for February. Our lucky winner will receive a Hearts and Flowers Gift Basket which includes Tea, Candy, Flowers and a Heart Pendant:
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
"There's one thing about a late marriage - it doesn't last long."
Elderly Irishman on RTÉ talking about Courting in the 1940's.
Adapted from one sent in by Patricia Edwards - thank you!
A teacher was testing the children in her Sunday school class to see if they understood the concept of getting into heaven. She asked them, "If I sold my house and my car, had a big rummage sale and gave all my money to the church, would that get me into Heaven?" "NO!" the children answered. "If I cleaned the church every day, cut the grass, and kept everything tidy, would that get me into Heaven?" Again, the answer was, "NO!" By now the teacher was starting to smile - this was fun! "Well, then, if I was kind to animals and gave sweets to all the children, and loved my husband, would that get me into Heaven?" Again, they all answered, "NO!" Bursting with pride for them, the teacher continued: "So, how can I get into Heaven?" Five-year-old Sean shouted out, "YOU HAVE TO BE DEAD."
1. The first St. Patrick's Day celebration in America was in 1737 hosted by the Charitable Irish Society of Boston?
2. The second St. Patrick's Day Celebration was established in 1780 by the Friendly Sons of St. Patrick in Philadelphia?
3. Gan tir gan teanga means no language no nation. Great saying to put on a T-shirt!
Please help us to keep this newsletter free - visit our good friends, LollySmith:
Welcome to our Irish Gift Shop where the countdown to St. Patrick's Day is well underway. 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 and enjoy great prices, quick shipping, and friendly, personalized service
There's no reason to bring religion into it. I think we ought to have as great a regard for religion as we can, so as to keep it out of as many things as possible.
From the Plough and the Stars by Sean O'Casey
To start off - the answers to last week's quiz:
1. A Fine St. Patrick's Day by Tom Curry
2. St. Patrick's City - The Story of Armagh by Alf McCreary
3. St. Patrick's Day Shamrocks by Mary Berendes

A round of applause and pints for the following Irish bibliophiles:

Pauline Dewberry

Hartson Dowd
History of the shamrock, leprechaun, blarney stone and more

Helen Dowd
Jerry Boyer's "Heart to Heart" will bless your heart!

Patricia Edwards

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

Ellen Parodi
Personalized Name Keepsakes and Gifts. Something for every name on your gift list! Visit Namely Gifts at

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. The Wisdom of St. Patrick
2. The Wearing of the Green: A History of St. Patrick's Day
3. St. Patrick's Secrets: 1001 Little Known Truths & Tales of Ireland
Hint: You'll find all the titles 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!)
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
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:
First off, the answer to last week's:
Sue and Hugh were on holiday in Ireland. They were driving along a deserted country road from Ballinasloe to Tuam. They came to a multiple fork in the road. The sign post had been knocked down and they were faced with choosing one of five different directions.
Q. Since they had left their map at the B & B and there was no one around to ask, how can Sue and Hugh find their way to Tuam?
A. Pick up the sign and point the arrow that says Ballinasloe in the direction from which they came and all the other arrows will point in the right direction.
Well done to Clara Byrne who was first with the answer. An honorable mention goes to Bill for his response:
Sue and/or Hugh could raise the signpost and, if it's anything like the sign posts in my old neighborhood of Charleston SC, one side of the post will have moss on it. Orient the mossy side North and follow the sign to Tuam.
Ready for another mind-mangler?
A young peasant wanted to marry the king's daughter. The king didn't like the idea of his daughter marrying a peasant, but he wanted to appear fair in front of his subjects. The king said that he would put two pieces of paper into a hat, one reading EXILE and the other reading MARRIAGE. Later that day, the peasant overheard the king saying that both pieces of paper would read EXILE, thus ensuring that the peasant would be out of his way for good. The peasant remained undaunted and, as arranged, arrived at the king's court where a large crowd gathered for the big event. The peasant then did something that assured him the hand of the king's daughter. What did he do?
1. Home Page - See what's new or recycled at a glance:
2. New - The Irish Kitchen: A pre-Lenten decadent dessert
3. New - Kids' Ireland: The Story of Sadhbh
4. New - Basic Irish: All Work and No Play
5. Republished - Article: Shrovetide - The Marrying Season
6. Republished - Article: Shrove Tuesday - Pancake Day!
7. Republished - Article: Ash Wednesday & The Lenten Season in Old Ireland
8. Republished - Article: What if you were still single by Ash Wednesday?
9. On-going - Trivia quiz for February
Just one week or so left. All entries must be received by midnight, February 29, whatever time zone you're in.
10. On-going - Circle of Prayer: Our 7th Novena in this cycle began on February 17th and ends on February 25. Our 8th begins next Thursday. There are so many among us who need our prayer and meditations. Please remember Doug , Ryan Declan, 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. Please also remember our men and women in the military , especially Paul and Ashley serving in Iraq. Whatever your spiritual leanings, we hope you will join us each day:
11. On-going - Irish News: Headlines for the past week
12. On-going -This month in Irish History:

Look for an update to our Culture Corner and the beginning of our St. Patrick's Day coverage. As always, we'll have a new blessing on Sunday, a new quote on Wednesday and a new recipe (we haven't published one from Hartson's extensive collection in quite a while - time to make amends!). We've also received several recordings to review including the latest from the Saw Doctors, Black 47 and Clannad - if we have time, we'll be giving you our thoughts on these latest offerings.

So there you have it for another week except for the always critically important dates from our wild and wacky calendar - some important, others just plain old fun and frivolous: Today is St. Peter Damian's Day - the patron saint against headaches; it's also National Sticky Bun Day! Feb. 22 celebrates Girl Scout Thinking Day, Washington's Birthday, National Recreational Sports & Fitness Day and National Margarita Day. February 23 is National Banana Bread Day, the Italian Feast of the Incappucciati, International Dog Biscuit Appreciation Day, Iwo Jima Day (U. S. Marines raised the flag on Mt. Suribachi in1945). February 24 is National Tortilla Chip Day and Mexican Independence Proclamation Day/ Flag Day; this year, it's also Mardi Gras or Fat Tuesday - observed the Tuesday before the first day of Lent. Pancake Tuesday (or Pancake Day) is the English version of Mardi Gras or Shrove Tuesday when thin, flat pancakes are cooked and eaten. The name comes from the custom of making confessions and receiving forgiveness on the last day before Lent which was known as being shriven. February 25 celebrates International Clam Chowder Festival day; it's also the first day of Lent. February 26 marks National Pistachio Day and that's followed on the 27th by National Polar Bear Day and National Kahlua Day. Not to be outdone, February 28 is Floral Design Day, National Chocolate Soufflé Day and Kalevala Day or Culture Day in Finland (This is in dedication to the poem Kalevala by Dr. Elias Lönnrot, and occurs on the anniversary of the preface of the first edition in 1835).
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

Before we take our leave, you should know that visiting with you is one of the highlights of our week - we hope you feel the same; we also pray that until next time, you and yours will be showered with "enough" and that the Good Shepherd of us all will keep you from all harm. 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
Are you a loyal reader of our newsletter? Your voluntary donation will help us keep sending it around the world each week. Please send whatever you can to Russ and Bridget, 5670 Meryton Place, Cincinnati, OH, 45224. Donations can also be made via PayPal at
Our email address there is haggertyr@primax.net
FREE shamrock seeds for any donation over $25! Many thanks in advance for your kindness.
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:
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:

Binghamton, NY
The Irish Show hosted by Stu Fralich
Sunday mornings 9am to 11am on WYOS radio 1360am
Have a request or question? Tel: (607) 724-7206 (leave message) or send a message to irish_show@hotmail.com
We also invite you to visit our web site: http://www.theirishshow.com

Cultural Holidays on Inis Mór
The new programme with the dates for 2004 is uploaded now on our homepage:

Dublin Ireland - Ciaran Carson - Thursday, February 26
The Irish Writers Centre is pleased to announce a new series of readings which commences with Northern Irish poet Ciaran Carson For more details, please email: events@writerscentre.ie

Dublin - The Point - March 5
Nokia UCD Arts Fashion show
The charity group Aware will be the beneficiary of this year's Nokia UCD Arts Fashion Show which is expected to be the biggest event in the show's 18-year history. Tickets for the show are available at all Ticketmaster outlets or http://www.ticketmaster.ie
Dallas, Texas - 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.

New York City - March 9 through March 21
The Irish Arts Center will be presenting the show "An Evening with Ronnie Drew (formerly of the Dubliners) and special guest Mike Hanrahan." The Irish Arts Center is located at 553 West 51st, New York, NY 10019. Tickets are $35/$40 and may be purchased from Smarttix at 212- 868-4444 or online at www.smarttix.com.

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 April 19 to May 1
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
Celebrating 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

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

June 7th through 14th - 100 Years of the Abbey Theatre in Galway and Dublin. Trip includes 3 nights in Galway and 3 nights in Dublin. For more information, contact Kathleen Dixon Donnelly, Ph.D., at kdonnellycom@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:

"I Wish You Enough"
Recently, I overheard a mother and daughter in their last moments together at a regional airport. They had announced her departure and standing near the security gate, they hugged and she said, "I love you. I wish you enough." She in turn said, "Mom, our life together has been more than enough. Your love is all I ever needed. I wish you enough, too, Mom." They kissed and she left. She walked over toward the window where I was seated. Standing there, I could see she wanted and needed to cry. I tried not to intrude on her privacy, but she welcomed me in by asking, "Did you ever say good-bye to someone knowing it would be forever?" "Yes, I have," I replied. "Forgive me for asking, but why is this a forever good-bye?" I asked. "I am old and she lives much too far away. I have challenges ahead and the reality is, the next trip back will be for my funeral," she said. "When you were saying good-bye I heard you say, "I wish you enough." May I ask what that means?" She began to smile. "That's a wish that has been handed down from other generations. My parents used to say it to everyone." She paused for a moment and looked up as if trying to remember it in detail, she smiled even more. "When we said 'I wish you enough,' we were wanting the other person to have a life filled with just enough good things to sustain them," she continued. Then, turning toward me, she shared the following as if she were reciting it from memory.
I wish you enough sun to keep your attitude bright.
I wish you enough rain to appreciate the sun more.
I wish you enough happiness to keep your spirit alive.
I wish you enough pain so that the smallest joys in life appear much
I wish you enough gain to satisfy your wanting.
I wish you enough loss to appreciate all that you possess.
I wish you enough hellos to get you through the final good-bye."

They say it takes a minute to find a special person, an hour to appreciate them, a day to love them, but then an entire life to forget them". Send this phrase to the people you'll never forget and also remember to send it to the person who sent it to you. It's a short message to let them know that you'll never forget them.
Send an email to: bhaggerty@irishcultureandcustoms.com
OR click on this link: