Welcome to the Irish Culture & Customs newsletter which is published every week and sent out to going on 3500 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 & Blessings to all,

After a week of blistering heat and humidity here in the Ohio Valley, we are enjoying a brief respite. However, while we're cooling off, the stifling temperatures are just starting to affect places like British Columbia - certainly not an area where one would expect temperatures near 90 ( 30C). It's been a record-breaking week all over the northern hemisphere, while our friends in places like South Africa would welcome a bit of the warmth. We're told they're having a miserable winter.

Whatever the weather, and wherever you are, we hope this edition finds you on the pigs back, in fine fettle and fit as a fiddle. Generally, at this time of year, visits to the site go way down and also the number of new subscribers. But we're happy to report that quite a few have signed up for the newsletter and we really appreciate you joining us. A warm welcome aboard and please feel free to share our musings and meanderings with your family and friends. And please do tell them to visit us on line. If we can demonstrate lots of visitors to the site, we just might attract a major advertiser such as Guinness or Aer Lingus! One can only reach for the stars or what's a heaven for? Didn't an Irishman write that?
Enough 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 was
The week that will be, God willing
Events & Classifieds
Leave 'em Laughing
ED NOTE: Did you know that we keep two week's of links to the latest news from ireland on the web site? What follows are the tidbits that don't always make the national papers. For those, read on. For major stories, click here:

Hotter than Hell
Michigan that is! This past week, temperatures soared throughout Ireland and many areas such as Galway recorded 30C - the highest in thirty years - and warmer than Rome or Rio!

Irish people are the most frequent flyers in Europe:
A new poll of EU holiday habits shows we are the quickest to jump on a plane when it comes to taking time off abroad, even for breaks of just a few days. But for some of our EU neighbours there's no place like home. More than 90pc of all Greeks think locally - compared to the 73pc of Irish people who leave the country whenever they can.

Population passes 4.2 million mark
The Republic's population has reached its highest level since 1861 with the census showing almost 4,235,000 people live in the State. The 8.1% rise represents an increase of 318,000 in the four years since the last census was conducted.

Free Travel for Irish Seniors
Ireland's Minister for Foreign Affairs and Britain's Northern Ireland Secretary have agreed a cross-border free travel scheme. From April of next year anyone 66 or older resident on the island of Ireland can avail of free travel on public transport on both sides of the Irish border.

Language Charter
An Irish language rights charter, detailing ten basic rights for Irish speakers in dealing with state organizations, has been published. Irish people have the right to speak Irish in court, in the Houses of the Oireachtas (Parliament), in correspondence with government bodies, and specific State publications must also be made available in

Antrim: Wildlife Trust opens new amenity
The Ulster Wildlife Trust has officially opened the Slievenacloy Nature Reserve with eighteen kilometers of fencing being built and more than twenty-five thousand new trees planted. The reserve has been designated an Area of Special Scientific Interest and, in addition to being home to orchids, Irish hares and curlews, it will also play a part in preserving one of the rarest breeds of cattle in the world, the Irish Moiled.

Antrim: Shaw's Bridge cottage to be restored
The Lock-Keeper's Cottage at Shaw's Bridge, at one time nominated for the BBC "Restoration" programme, is to become a tourist attraction. The four-room dwelling dates from the early nineteenth century and was once home to twelve people. The last member of the last family to live there, Dorothy McBride (nee Kilpatrick) sold the building in the early nineties.

Kildare: Precious cargo stays out of arm's way
An exhibit from a Kilcullen pub destined for New York travelled to the US in the cockpit of the plane for safe keeping. The arm of prize fighter and champion bare-knuckle boxer Dan Donnelly has been in the Byrne family for seventy-five years and for more than four decades was on display in the Hideout Bar in Kilcullen. It was the late Des Byrne's dream that the boxer's arm, preserved with lead, should go on an international tour and his widow Josephine has now ensured that this will happen. The arm is to be part of the "Fighting Irishmen: A Celebration of the Celtic Warrior", to be held at the Irish Arts Center in Manhattan.

Kilkenny: Keeping a beautiful idea afloat
Divers have launched two large barges covered with flowers onto the River Nore as part of the work towards the Entente Florale competition, judging for which takes place at the end of the month. The Keep Kilkenny Beautiful group were undeterred by the fact that some youths visiting the city tried to sabotage the barges by jumping onto them from John's Bridge, as not too much damage was done. Other preparations being carried out for the competition includes the planting of flowers and window boxes, and this weekend volunteers are gathering in Wolfe Tone Street car park to continue the good work.

Laois: Steam museum opens once again
The Steam Museum in Stradbally, which has been closed for many years, was officially reopened after refurbishment work had been carried out. The official opening was performed by Deputy John Moloney and among the guests was ninety-year-old Ossie Bennett, a long-time steam enthusiast.

Laois: Association works to enhance Slieve Blooms
Members of the Slieve Bloom Association have been working on a new map of the area which will help tourists find their way around the scenic area. The detailed guide, sponsored by local businesses, is part of the association's thirtieth anniversary celebrations and was deemed necessary due to the poor condition of signposting in the area. In addition, the monument at Glendine to a founder member of the association, James J. Fanning, which was subjected to vandalism some time ago, has now been replaced. The new monument was unveiled by his grandson, Derek Fanning.

Leitrim: Diamond Jubilee celebrations for Carrigallen priest
Monsignor Vincent McCabe, one of three brothers who entered the priesthood, has recently celebrated the Diamond Jubilee of his ordination. Monsignor McCabe worked in Los Angeles for eight years after his ordination as there was at the time a surplus of priests in the Kilmore diocese. After two years serving as curate in Rosinver he returned to Los Angeles where he worked until he retired nine years ago. Recently back in Tully for a holiday, Monsignor McCabe was also on the 1945 championship football team with his brothers Canon Gerald and Alphonsus. Another brother, Father James McCabe, was parish priest in Bawnboy.

Louth: Another major prize for an Irish gardener
Following the success of Orla and Paul Woods of Gorey at the Chelsea Flower Show in May, another Irish gardener has made his mark in London. Paul Martin from Dundalk has won a silver-gilt award at the Hampton Court Palace Flower Show with his show garden, entitled "Falling Waters, the plants for which were provided by the Woods. However this is not Paul's first success across the water; he has won a bronze at the Tatton Park Flower Show and a silver at the Chelsea Flower Show in previous years. The garden has been bought by a Dublin company to be installed in a new business and retail park near Baldonnel.

Monaghan: Wanted: ferrets, dead or alive
A Co. Cork man is undertaking a survey of the ferret population in Ireland and has issued a request for people, particularly in the north of the county, to keep their eyes open for the animals. North County Monaghan is one of the only two places in Ireland where feral populations of ferrets are known; the other is Rathlin Island off the coast of Antrim. In order to establish whether the animals have spread further through the county the researcher is looking for photographs of ferrets which people might come across; he is also hoping that the less squeamish will actually post carcasses of ferrets to him, either victims of the road or of pest control.

Offaly: Strong campaign for beatification of Offaly priest
Father William Dempsey has spent much of his life campaigning on behalf of a Tullamore priest who died in 1818 at the age of twenty-eight. Now in his late seventies, Father Dempsey believes that in the next few years the healing priest will be declared venerable, the second stage on the road to beatification; Father Mullen has already been declared a servant of God. Buried in Phillipstown cemetery in Daingean, his grave has been visited by thousands of people searching for healing, and Father Dempsey has collected some fifty statements over the past thirteen years testifying to miracles performed by Father Mullen.

Offaly: Tullamore is en fete this week
All this week the Tullamore Phoenix Festival is taking place, having been launched at the Guinness Store in Dublin last week by Anne Starling, Chairperson of the festival committee. Now in its sixth year, one of the outstanding events is the ascent of hot air balloons morning and evening from Charleville Castle Estate and Tullamore Town Park respectively. Immediately after the evening ascents a team of skydivers from the Irish Parachute Club will land in the Town Park, while on Saturday the more intrepid can experience their own 'flight' from Ireland's highest bungee jump, at two hundred feet.

Tipperary: Jack stays faithful to VWs
Veterinary surgeon Jack Powell from Nenagh has obviously been well-satisfied with his Volkswagen cars over the last fifty years, for he has just purchased his thirty-ninth from Tom Harvey Motors on the Racecourse Road. Jack, now aged ninety-three, collected his latest version, a Polo, from John Ryan and he has promised to be back for his fortieth car some time in the next two years. The Toomevara native is still practising as a vet and spent time on his recent birthday testing a herd of cattle.

ED NOTE: Many of the above news items are from The Irish Emigrant. Space does not allow us to print them all. To read every item, please click
We always receive many messages, but this time around, we don't have any queries, oddities, or requests to share with you. That said, we did get a very nice message from a reader in canada who was thrilled to be finding her Celtic roots; she also commented on how the national anthem Oh Canada is the only one like it in the world with that naming convention, i.e. there isn't an Oh Australia. We wrote back and asked her if she thought that perhaps it was named that way because there are so many people in the country with Irish names, like O'Callahan. Okay, Okay - it was supposed to be funny!
Demolition Dubliner - Becky
Listen in on a Dublin schoolgirl talking to a demolition company. This is one of the funniest links we have ever received. We can't remember who sent it in - but whoever you are - Go raibh maith agat! We must have listened to it a dozen times.

Irish sobriety test
The accent and the uniforms are Scots but it's still funny

Here's Health to the Company
If you have a few minutes to listen to this lovely old song, then do click through.

The next generation Irish Cooking show?
We can't top what they say on the site: So Will Millar who played in the Irish Rovers is now a chef in a cook show called stewed? By the looks of things isn't it a wonder why people around the world think everyone in Ireland is a jumping leprechaun who have fiddlers in the kitchen during meal times?

Photos of ireland
Jay of Irish Airs, the radio program in Houston, recently returned from a holiday in Ireland with his wife Bertha. They'd like to share their photos with you: (They will make you yearn to go or return)

What is your Celtic Tree Sign?
Helen and Hartson sent us info" about Celtic Tree Astrology; this put us on the trail for links which will help you identify your tree sign and what it means. Not all the links we found agree. We say, don't say rubbish; find the tree and meaning you like and go with that one!

Christy Moore performing Bico Drum
If you have not heard Christy Moore before it would be safe to tell you that he is an Irish legend when it comes to songwriting and peforming:

The real meaning of Original Sin
For all of you who will be adhering to the old Irish tradition of going to confession on Saturday night, might we suggest taking a look at this link first. It's Another one from the Dowds, God bless 'em! http://funnyken14620.tripod.com/sin.wmv

Free mammograms
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:

Last but certainly 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!

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

And an occasional curse:
May his pipe never smoke, may his teapot be broke.
May he swell with the gout, may his grinders fall out.
May his door have no latch, may his house have no thatch.
And may he keep to the bed till the hour that he's dead.
A mind of the calibre of mine cannot derive its nutriment from cows.
George Bernard Shaw


In Ireland, there's a mental institution that every year selects two of its most improved patients and questions them. If they answer the questions correctly, they are free to leave. This year, the two lucky patients are Moira and Mike. They are escorted by an orderly to the chief psychiatrist's office and told to wait outside while the psychiatrist examines their files. At last, the psychiatrist comes out and motions for Moira to to come into her office. They sit down at her desk across from each other. "Moira," she says, "you have been with us a while, so I imagine you well know our traditions and why you are here. You will be asked two questions and if you answer them correctly, you will be free to go. Do you understand all that you have been told? Moira nods and the questioning begins. "Moira", the psychiatrist says, "If I was to poke out one of your eyes, what would happen?" "I would be half-blind, of course." Moira answers without much thought or hesitation. "And what would happen if I poke out the other eye?" asks the psychiatrist. "I would be completely blind," says Moira, all smiles knowing that she had just won her freedom. The psychiatrist then sent Moira outside while she drew up the paperwork and accessed Mike's files. Naturally, when Moira joined Mike outside the office, she told him what the questions would be and how he should answer them. So then it's Mike's turn. Mike, says the psychiatrist, "what would happen if I cut off your ear? "I'd be blind in one eye,", says Mike. The psychiatrist looks a bit perplexed but continues on. "And what would happen if I cut off your other ear?" she asks. 'Well, I'd be blind entirely, he says, with a smile because he knows he has passed. "And what would be your reasoning man?" the psychiatrist demands.
"Me hat would fall down over me eyes. "
SPONSOR: You can help us help us pay the expenses for producing this newsletter when you visit our advertisers, including our good friends at Lollysmith:
Even though they have gone through a very difficult time since the floods of two weeks ago, they have managed to keep the business going without skipping a beat. Please show your support for their tremendous efforts on your behalf and visit Lollysmith on line today. There, you will find a wide range of Irish and Celtic themed gifts imported directly from Ireland - from Irish Jewelry and Shamrock Seed to Connemara Marble, Tin Whistles, Irish Bodhráns, Hanna Hats and more.

1. Ivan Beshoff, the former owner of Beshoff's fish and chip shop in Dublin, was the last survivor of the famous 1905 mutiny on the battleship Potemkin? He died in 1987 aged 104.

2. You can only call yourself a true Dubliner if you were born between the North and South Circular Roads.

3. You are automatically an Irish citizen if you can prove one of your parents was born in Ireland? As basic as this information may seem to many of our readers, we didn't know.

(Or books on Irish-related topics?)

Who wrote:
1. Fertile Rock: Seasons in the Burren

2. Pagan Celtic Ireland: The Enigma of the Irish Iron

3. The Story of the Irish Pub

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. In the meantime, here are the answers to our last quiz:
1. The Stranger and the Pooka by Patrick Devaney
2. The Hedgehogs prickly problem by Dan Conroy
3. Matt the Mitcher by Paula M Caudert
ED. NOTE: The common thread in this group is that they are all books for young readers.

Please clap your feet for our Irish book mavens:
Cathleen Toft
My nomination this time is BookMark which is featuring Sister Genevieve - A Courageous Woman's Triumph in Northern Ireland

Liezl Maartens, South Africa
If I could nominate a website of my choice. it would be yours. It has so much insight and interesting things - and the news page where you store the past two week's news is fantastic.
ED. NOTE: Many thanks for those kind comments, Liezl. It's always nice to know that people are looking at the news as it does take quite a bit of time and effort every day.
Haven't seen the news section? pay us a visit every day and it will help us improve our statistics - as well as your knowledge of what is happening in Ireland. BTW, we do our best to publish positive stories! Items like the Bog Snorkeling championships. Seriously. Here's the URL:

Laney O'Leary

Helen Dowd
Thanks for voting for my site, all of you who do. See new stories and articles in the Missionary, Inspirational, Devotional, Pet and Poetry sections of:
ED. NOTE: Helen is a whisker away from 20,000 - so why not help her over the top? Thanks!

Hartson Dowd
A web site you might enjoy is Hand of History by Tom O'Connor, a radical reconstruction of early irish history and geo-politics. The Ireland you thought you knew will never be the same again.

Rita T Roche, Baltimore, MD, USA
I really don't know too many Irish websites but I do like your newsletter!
ED. NOTE: Go raibh maith agat, Rita!

First off, the solution to our last brain bruiser:

We can bring a smile to your face,
A tear to your eye,
Or even a thought to your mind.
But, we can't be seen.
Q. What are we?
A. Memories

Congratulations to Mrs. Marshall who was first in with the answer. Well done, Riddle People, you truly outdid yourselves this time around - we had an avalanche of entries, including this honourable mention from Jim Turley who responded: Memories - of our last trip to Ireland.
We know there are many who will echo the sentiment, Jim.
And also this one from Bill in NC: Leprechauns. There were several with that answer, but Bill was first.
And now for our next Skull Scrambler:
You are walking through a field, and you find something to eat.
It doesn't have bones, and it doesn't have meat. You pick it up
and put it into your pocket. You take it home and put it on a
shelf, but 3 day's later it walks away. What is it?
1. Watching the Weather on St. Swithin's Day
2. Haymaking in Ireland Long Ago
3. Season of the Corn
4. Surf Culture in ireland
5. A Little Bit of Heaven - Part II
6. Kids' Ireland The Bees that Would Not Be Left behind
7. Kids' Ireland Culture Corner - Fungie, the Dolphin of Dingle bay
8. The irish Kitchen - Recipes for Lughnasa
9. Golf page - In honor of the upcoming Ryder Cup, we have created a page of must haves
10. Circle of Prayer: Sixth Novena in this cycle began on July 21st and continues through July 29th. Please continue to remember baby Joseph, Tommy Meehan, our friends at Lollysmith ; our friend Mickey; Patricia and her family in England; Clara Byrne's husband ; the family of Malley Keelan; Pauline, Jane, Mieke, Barbara, and Scott H. Whatever your spiritual leanings, be sure to count your blessings and please ask God to hear your prayers and intercessions for those less fortunate. And don't forget to ask Him to watch over our men and women in the military all over the world.
11. The New Trivia Quiz is posted! All entries must be in by midnight, July 31st, whatever time zone you're in. Take a look and check out the new prizes from Irish Books & Media and the Celtic Attic:
In the meantime, congratulations to our winner for June - Sheila Cohen, USA.
12. In the margin. Fancy some genuine McCambridge bread delivered right to your door - and no, you don't have to make it - it comes fully baked! Or how about Ireland in Song & Ballads from Lollysmith? We don't always keep up with what's new and "five minutes ago" - but we do our best!

The last week of July presents some interesting reprint possibilities and we're also going to be greeting the festival of Lughnasa. Might we suggest that you visit us every day to see what's new? As always, we'll have a new blessing on Sunday, we may yet have a new lesson for the month on Tuesday, there'll be another quote on Wednesday. No promises on anything more. But for certain, we'll update the news each day, we'll publish the history ever day for the date, and we'll do whatever we can to keep you coming back. Ultimately, our success depends on you.

So there you have it until next time. If you are celebrating a birthday, anniversary or other special event between now and then, may God grant that it be filled with joy. In the meantime, we pray that you and yours will be held safe in the palm of His hand but that He won't close His fist too close upon you. 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!
Every penny does make a difference, so please send whatever you can to Bridget or Russ Haggerty.
Our snail mail address is 5670 Meryton Place, Cincinnati OH 45224. Of, 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.

Cincinnati, Ohio - July 28th and 29th
Attention Silver Arm fans, the group will be playing at Molly malone's in Pleasant Ridge from 8:30 yntil 11:30 in July 28th. And on Saturday, they will be at the Dilly Deli in Mariemont from 7:30 until 3:30.
For updates on all Silver Arm performances, please visit: http://silverarmmusic.com

Michigan - August 3
Put on your dancing shoes and join the fun as world-renown Irish band Gaelic Storm performs their Michigan CD-release party as a benefit for Hospice of Michigan on Thursday, August 3, at The Ark, 316 S. Main Street in Ann Arbor, Tickets include a copy of the group's new CD "Bring Yer Wellies." For more details, please visit

Temple Bar , Dublin. Ireland August 10-26
The irish Premiere of Mother Teresa is Dead by acclaimed playright Helen Edmundson. Presented at the Focus Theatre. For more details, please contact Conlath Teevan:
email: conlethteevan@eircom.net

Dun Laoghaire, Ireland - August 25, 26, 27
Festival of World Cultures
Anyone who still believes that Ireland is mono cultural needs look no farther than Dun Laoghaire at the end of summer to see how global the country has become. For those that cannot make it to Dun Laoghaire, highlights of the Festival will be broadcast on RTÉ Two sometime in September.The full programme will be announced in July 2006. For further information visit

Cashel, Co. Tipperary, Ireland - September 8, 9, 10
Are you a fan of Fidelma? Ireland's international best selling fictional detective will be celebrated at a weekend convention in her "hometown." For complete details, please click

From our friend Pauline in England who reminds us that "A merry heart doeth good like a medicine." Proverbs 17:22

And a reminder from us on Pauline's behalf - if you're a cat lover, you owe it to yourself to visit her really great web site:

A Feminist Fairy Tale!"
Once upon a time, in Ireland long ago, a beautiful independent self-assured princess saw a frog as she sat contemplating ecological issues on the shores of an unpolluted pond in a verdant meadow near her castle.

The frog hopped into the princess's lap and said: Elegant Lady, I was once a handsome prince, until an evil witch cast a spell upon me. One kiss from you, however, and I will turn back into a dapper, young prince that I am and then, my sweet, we can marry and set up housekeeping in your castle with my mother, where you can prepare my meals, clean my clothes, bear my children and forever feel grateful and happy doing so.

That night, on a repast of lightly sautéed frogs' legs seasoned perfectly in a white wine and onion cream sauce, she chuckled to herself and thought: I don't think so!

Author unknown. Found circulating the Web.