Welcome to the Irish Culture & Customs newsletter which is published every week and sent out to more than 2100 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
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Greetings and blessings to all,

It's lovely to be back but we're still scratching our heads - how did it get to be Wednesday already? So much for a Saturday or Sunday edition. We'll try again this weekend.

Part of what consumed our time was two doctor visits for Bridget and babysitting our grandson. According to her cardiologist, Bridget has "turned the corner" and we don't have to go back for three months. Truly, if you're not a believer in the power of prayer, what happened to us would make you one; even the doctors are totally baffled by her amazing recovery; not that she's 100% yet, but certainly, we're now a lot more confident that day will come. Again, our deepest gratitude to all of you who included us in your prayers and meditations.

Babysitting was an absolute delight; at fourteen months, Feievel is fascinated by everything - and into everything; he especially likes the TV controller - must be a guy thing! We had our first overnighter with him - went really well. He's really an easy little one to take care of. But very tiring all the same!

In other news, We're really proud to announce that we were invited to join the Waterford Crystal affiliate program. So, if you have in mind to buy a uniquely Irish product, we hope you will click through the following link (and save it for future reference)

"Fonstarensheehy" - do you know what it means? We didn't either and we mention what we were sure was the phonetic spelling for an Irish phrase in our article on Parshell crosses.

We bring this up is because Joe Andrews of Celtic Links wrote to to say that he had put us in the Internet Hall of Fame! The reason? Google had given us a "Google Whack" for Fonstarensheehy. What it means is that our website is the only place in the entire website world where the word/phrase appears. If you're interested in finding out more about google whacks, here's the URL

Anyway, having been google whacked, we decided to properly investigate the meaning of the word/phrase; we had said we'd do it and hadn't. A message was fired off to Aideen who came back with what seems ro be a plausible explanation - she thinks the phrase might mean something along the lines of the protection of that cross was no longer needed. (It was said when the old cross was being taken down and before a new one would be going up to replace it).

We 're delighted to report another big uptick in new subscribers! We're well on our way to 2200. Many thanks for sighing up and if you like our musings and meanderings, please feel free to pass them along to family and friends.

Enough of the blither and blather...
Help keep this newsletter free - visit our friends at the Celtic Attic
'Tis the Christmas Season at the Celtic Attic. Place your order in November and receive a FREE STOCKING STUFFER GIFT! Jewelry, Wedding Gifts, Christmas Ornaments & Decorations, Irish Peat for your Fireplace, Celtic Sea Salt, Irish & Scottish Food and Gifts Galore await you at the Celtic Attic. To guarantee Christmas delivery place your order by the 13th of December. Visit us online at:
In news from Ireland:

Hard winter to come?
Ancient folklore suggests that this year's ample bounty of haws, sloes and other berries is a sign of a colder winter than usual. However, an agriculture expert insists it's more likely just a reflection of this year's mild spring weather.

One of the country's worst traffic bottlenecks cleared
The opening of the new 140 million euro Monasterevin bypass has taken place, and, as a result, drivers on the Dublin/Cork road will not have to face the familiar tailbacks. The new 17.5km M7 Heath-Mayfield motorway has been completed almost a year ahead of schedule.

Lavery Painting To Go On Public Display In June
A major early work of Sir John Lavery "The Return of the Goats" has been acquired by the National Gallery of Ireland from a private collection in Oslo and will go on public display next year.

Best chance in years to see the Northern Lights
A massive explosion on the surface of the sun has delivered one of the best chances for the next few years of viewing the "Northern Lights" over Ireland. Astronomers are urging everyone to try and catch the spectacular phenomenon over the next few days.

Co. Antrim - The 'Wee Tin' church is no more
A brand new church has been officially opened beside the one hundred year old St Matthias' Church, known affectionately as the 'wee tin church'. On the Glen Road in Andersonstown, the new church is located just a short distance from the old building .

Co. Armagh - village named "Best Kept"
Loughgall has been judged the "Best Kept" urban area in Northern Ireland. The Northern Ireland Amenity Council announced the winner of the prestigious SuperValu Best Kept Town and Village Awards 2004 at a ceremony at the Newry arts centre.

Co. Dublin - Dublin: Archaeological find at Stepaside
Archaeologists working on a site for new homes at Kilgobbin Lane in Stepaside discovered evidence of a community living in the area near between 500AD and 1000AD. The discovery, comprising evidence of early industry including furnaces and hearths which suggest work carried out with iron and glass, was made near the remains of Kilgobbin Church and High Cross.

Co. Galway - Superloos to cost 500,000 euros each
Mr Stephen Lally, town engineer, told Tuam Town Commissioners that tenders had been received for the provision of public lavatories in Tuam and Loughrea, costing 500,000 euros each. Mr. Lally explained that the public toilets were automatic, self- cleaning units, which required no maintenance. While councillors expressed shock at the cost of the lavatories, they urged Galway County Council to proceed with the project as soon as possible, as it was unacceptable that a town the size of Tuam had no public toilets.

Co. Kerry - Only men can change nappies in hunt for the best culchie
The 15th annual Culchie Festival held recently in Lisselton, a north Kerry village, was strictly for countryfolk. And only men at that. Eugene O'Sullivan, Kerry organiser in The Thatch Bar, Lisselton, said the competition was based on "the Fionn MacCumhail challenge". This is made up of a variety of events. Potato-picking, culchie karaoke, nappy changing and baling were just some of the activities in the village, where US president Bill Clinton made an impromptu stop during his famous visit to Ireland.

Co. Limerick - Ice rink for coming for Christmas
Setting up ice-rinks close to Christmas seems to be catching on in Ireland and Limerick will be next on the list, with the "Holiday On Ice" taking place at the Potato Market on Merchants Quay over the Christmas period.

Co. Wicklow - A wet Walking Festival
Despite fairly atrocious weather conditions the fifteenth Wicklow Mountains Walking Festival recently attracted some four hundred participants from all over Ireland and Britain to the event which was based in the Glendalough and Laragh areas.

News from all over
Paris, France - Athlone stylist takes international crown
The recent International Hairdressing Competition in Paris saw the Irish hairdressing team sweeping the boards, with Mary Kennedy from Athlone taking the top individual award. A native of Cornafulla and a past pupil of St Joseph's College, Summerhill, Mary is the daughter of Paddy and Ann Kennedy from Johnstown. She has worked in the Bellissimo hair salon in Galway for the past five years.

From the mailbag:
Lucy writes: I am trying to find a house that my mother lived in. It was called Cleavragh House in Cleavragh, Sligo. Is there any chance that you might know anything about it?

Colleen writes: I have viewed approximately fifty websites on Irish culture and customs and was so happy to have found yours! I am hoping you can help with a question. Several years ago I was reading a decorating magazine in which the designer referred to an Irish custom of hanging a garland around the doorway at Christmas time with purple and gold cord to symbolize Christ the King. I have not since been able to find any information on this and no one in my family has ever heard of it. Do you know if this is in fact a tradition or where I might research further?

Terry Keegan, owner of Keegan's Pub in Minneapolis tells us that he is hosting the third annual "Salute to the Military" weekend. First drink is free for all military personnel and veterans. Patrons may also contribute to "Soldiers Angels" a charity that provides material and emotional support for men and women serving in the military overseas. The "Salute" runs November 10 through 14. Address is 16 University Ave. (across from Surdyk's). Ph. 612-252-0880
Fax 612-252-0882

Christina writes: I was looking for Claddagh Cookie Cutters. I wanted to give them out as favors for my wedding. I know I have seen them before but now I cannot find them anywhere. If you could please let me know either if you sell them or if you know of anywhere I might look, I would greatly appreciate it.

Peg is looking for a video of a program called "Ireland - A History" which was produced by the BBC/RTÉ and aired in 1980. It was narrated by the author of a book by the same title, Robert Kee. Anyone have any ideas where I can buy it?

Links of the week:
The names on the wall of Irish men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice in Vietnam

Irish military mottos

Lest we forget...
Select from a series of memoirs written by Irish military veterans .

Ireland's history with the United Nations

Congratulations to George Steeler & the Irish Heritage web site.
He and his team of hard-working contribitors have been given a Nancy 2004 Celtic Award and the Philadelphia AOH Division 51 has named them their 2004 Outstanding Website Award To see why they re so deserving of this recognition, please visit them at

The latest offering from Vivian & Jack of the Irish Page
This week we have a poem originally written in Irish. The author's name is unknown and the poetry is considered traditional. The tale related in the poem is common in the oral tradition in Ireland and the countries of Northwestern Europe.
Please click here for An Mhaighdean Mhara - The Sea Maiden http://www.irishpage.com/songs/roaninis.htm.

A great time-waster from Hartson

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!

It only takes a second to feed hungry people, too:

Had enough of the meanderings? On with the update - promise!
Quips, quotes, proverbs & toasts
A bit of the wit
Joke of The Week
Did You Know
Writer's Quiz
New This Week
The Week Ahead
Nothing soothes me more after a long and maddening course of pianoforte recitals than to sit and have my teeth drilled George Bernard Shaw
Help us keep this newsletter free by visiting our good friends at The Irish Lottery. Did you know that 34 Millionaires were created by the Irish lottery in 2003? You could be next! 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, winnings are tax-free and checks are mailed within 48 hours. Do you have the luck of the Irish? Play the Irish lottery and find out! You can't win it if you're not in it. Please click here for full details:
Ladies and gentlemen are permitted to have friends in the kennel but not in the kitchen. George Bernard Shaw
OUR FAVORITE JOKE OF THE WEEK - Another gem from Hartson - thank you!
A minister was completing a temperance sermon. With great emphasis he said, "If I had all the beer in the world, I'd take it and pour it into the river." With even greater emphasis he said, "And if I had all the wine in the world, I'd take it and pour it into the river." And then finally, shaking his fist in the air, he said, "And if I had all the whiskey in the world,I'd take it and pour it into the river." Sermon complete, he then sat down. The choir director stood very cautiously and announced with a smile, for our closing selection,let us sing Hymn #365, "Shall We Gather at the River."
Please help us to keep this newsletter free - visit our good friends, LollySmith:
Explore what we have on offer, including our great selection of authentic Irish whistles from the leading makers like Fádóg, Clare, Walton, guinness & Clarke. One of the oldest musical instruments in Ireland. the Irish whistle is affordable, easy to learn and can be used to play music your entire family will enjoy - from haunting airs to lively reels. Come take a look - browse to your heart's content, and remember, when you buy from Lollysmith, you'll always enjoy great prices, quick shipping, and friendly, personalized service.
1 One-third to one-half of the American troops who fought during the Revolutionary War were Irish or of Irish descent?
2. Of the total individual Americans who have been awarded the Medal of Honor, at least 261 were born in Ireland, and scores of others were the children and grand children of Irish immigrants?
3. Twenty-eight Irishmen who were killed in the Korean War were made posthumous citizens at a special ceremony held in Washington, D.C. on October 30, 2003? One by one the names were called and in answer, sisters, brothers, nephews, nieces and cousins stood up to accept the specially framed certificates of posthumous citizenship made for the occasion by the U.S.
To start off, the answers to our last quiz:
1. Celtic Mysteries: Classic Ghost Stories for Today's Readers by Kevin Carolan
2. Banshees, Beasts & Brides from The Sea - Irish Tales of the Supernatural by Bob Curran
3. Spirits, Fairies, Leprechauns & Goblins - An Encyclopedia by Carol Rose

Hats off to our Irish bibliophiles:
Patricia Edwards
This is quite an interesting site: http://www.rootsweb.com/~irlkik/ihm/iremaps.htm

Helen Dowd

Mary Gallagher
Fun site to explore:

Liam Kelleher
This site is for Irish writers and fans of Irish literature:

Nancy Flanagan
Great listing of pubs and bars in Ireland!

Susan McNeill

Want to see your name on next week's list? Try finding the following. (We assure you, it's really easy) Who wrote:
1. The Irish Soldiers of Mexico
2. The Wild Geese - The Irish Soldier in Exile
3. A History of the Irish Soldier

HINT: All three titles can be found here, and note that this is Bridget's "bible" - well worth adding to your library: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/redirect?tag=irishcultucus-20&path=tg/detail/-/1856350932/qid%3D1073257674/sr%3D1-3

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 - peferably Irish.. 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 ==================================================================
Back in Print!!!!
The Traditional Irish Wedding. Updated, expanded and revised 2nd edition now available:
To begin with, the answer to our last head-banger:
It is in a rock, but not in a stone,
It is in marrow, but not in bone;
It is in a bolster, but not in a bed,
It is not living, nor is it dead.
Q: What is it?
A: The letter R. Well done to all the brilliant readers who sent in the correct answer almost within minutes of us sending out the newsletter - , however, congrats to Kathy W from Tennessee who was first.
And now for our latest cranium cracker:
You use it between your head and your toes, the more it works the thinner it grows.
Q What is it?

1. Article - Irish Celebrations and Feastdays - Martimas
2. Article - Irish Celebrations: The Feast of St. Martin
3. Article - Danny Boy
4. Article - The Irish Soldiers in World War I
5. Article - The Irish Soldiers in the American Civil War
6. Article - It's a Long Way to Tipperary
7. The Irish Kitchen - A Taste of Ireland: Irish Soda Bread
8. Basic Irish Lesson - The Big Dinner
9. On-going: . Circle of Prayer; the last Novena in this cycle began on November 5 and ends on November 13. Please keep kidnapped Irish aid worker Margaret Hassan in your prayers, and all the hostages being held; also Mollie's son Casey, Mary from NY, Michael Davitt in Houston, Hartson & Helen, Aideen, Graine, Barbara G's mom who just had a stroke, Cheryl, little Sebastian, Matt Maupin still being held hostage; (it is now 7 months since he was taken); the sons of personal friends Paul and Ashley, who are serving in Iraq, and all of our military personnel stationed in Iraq and all over the world.
10. Ongoing - November Trivia Contest. To enter, please click http://www.irishcultureandcustoms.com/TriviaContest.html
All entries must be in by midnight, November 30, whatever time zone you live in.

Obviously, the content this week is devoted to material in recognition of our military personnel - especially those who have made the ultimate sacrifice. We hope you will join with others all over the wolrd and stop whatever you are doing for a minute of silence at 11:00 am on Thursday, November 11. We'll keep our veteran-related articles posted until next Monday; we'll then freshen the home page with some brand new stuff.
In case you're not familiar with our set-up, we keep two weeks worth of headlines which you can read here:
And we keep a week's worth of history here:
We'll also post a new blessing this coming Sunday and a new quote next Wednesday.

So there's the long and the short of it except for the "essential" goings-on in our crazy calendar - many of em' frivolous, but some serious. This feature will return this weekend. Celebrating a birthday, anniversary or other special event between now and then? We hope it's a joyous occasion for you and your loved ones! Can't wait to find out what wild and wacky holidays are on tap for the rest of November? Check out:

Until next time, may the Good Shepherd of us all keep you and yours safe 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 give 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 bhaggerty@irishcultureandcustoms.com
FREE shamrock seeds for any donation over $25! Many thanks in advance for your kindness.
Events & Classifieds
To avoid duplication, we list only those events not already mentioned in the Irish Heritage Newsletter - 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:

Cincinnati, OH - November 12
Cincinnati's premier Celtic theatre company has announced its first season, beginning with A Christmas Musical: A Child's Christmas in Wales, based on the story by Dylan Thomas. The musical will be presented Friday, November 12 at 8 p.m., Saturday, November 13 at 8 p.m. Sunday, November 14, a matinee at 3 p.m.; Friday, November 19 at 8 p.m., and Saturday, November 20 at 8 p.m.
at the Columbia Performance Center, 3900 Eastern Avenue in the historic Tusculum area. Tickets: $16 in advance; $18 at the door
Students, seniors and children 12 and under: $12 in advance; $15 at the door. For tickets or additional information, go to New Gate's Web Site at http://www.geocities.com/newgateceltictheatre/, call 513-305-7958 or e-mail new.gate@fuse.net

Minneapolis, Minnesota - November 10-November 14
Keegan's Pub is hosting its third annual "Salute to the Military" weekend. First drink is free for all military personnel and veteran. Patrons may contribute to "Soldiers Angels" a charity that provides material and emotional support for men and women serving in the military overseas. The pub is decorated with all the service flags and the POW/MIA flag.
Address is 16 University Ave. (across from Surdyk's Ph. 612-252-0880; Ffax 612-252-0882

Subject: Actual Personal Ads in the Dublin News. These were sent to us by Joe McTiernan. Thanks, Joe! Fair warning, they're a bit risqué; but, that's Dubliners for you.
Heavy drinker, 35, Cork area. Seeks gorgeous sex addict interested in a man who loves his pints, cigarettes, Glasgow Celtic Football Club and starting fights on Patrick Street at three o'clock in the morning.
Bitter, disillusioned Dublin man, lately rejected by long-time fiancée, seeks decent, honest, reliable woman, if such a thing still exists in this cruel world of hatchet-face db***ches.
Ginger haired Galway man, a trouble-maker, gets slit-eyed and sh&8##* after a few pints, seeks attractive, wealthy lady for bail purposes, maybe more.
Bad tempered, foul-mouthed old curmudgeon, living in a damp cottage in the arse end of Roscommon, seeks attractive 21 year old blonde lady, with a lovely chest.
Limerick man, 27, medium build, brown hair, blue eyes, seeks alibi for the night of February 27 between 8 PM and 11:30 PM
Optimistic Mayo man, 35, seeks a blonde 20 year old double-jointed supermodel, who owns her own brewery, and has an open-minded twin sister.

We warned you!!!!!
Send an email to: bhaggerty@irishcultureandcustoms.com
OR click on this link: