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,

Hello from the hot, hazy and humid Ohio valley. It's in the 90s and only going to get worse - but we're used to it in July. Not so our friends up north in Minnesota who are experiencing triple digit temperatures! Whatever the weather, it's lovely to be back although all of our recent socializing is making it very difficult to resume our normal schedule.

The big event was visiting with Russ' sister and our nephews in Washington DC and then going on to a a family reunion in New Jersey. What made this gathering particularly special for us was that it came very close to the one year anniversary of mom's passing; seeing Aunt Marian who is mom's older sister was a bit like seeing mom again. It made for a very emotional moment when we all hugged each other.

We were also delighted to discover Irish connections we didn't know about. Liam Murphy, the son of a first cousin Patricia and her husband Arthur has been doing archaeological digs in Ireland and is writing a book. Then there's the wife of our host David Hunt, another first cousin. Her professional name is Paula Kramer and recently she was invited to Trinity College for the second time to do a lecture on occupational therapy. Apparently. she is world-famous in her profession and also the author of several books.

All in all, it was a lovely time and the most important thing was renewing relationships that had lain dormant for a decade or more. We have now vowed to become regulars at this annual event.

Enough about us. We hope this edition finds you and yours in fine fettle and somewhat relieved that both Wimbledon and the World Cup are over! It's been an exciting month, and even without our favourite teams in the final, we couldn't resist watching. How could anyone not be stunned at Zidane losing his head - literally. But before that shocker, we were really upset when our TV network went to commercials and horrible commentary during half-time and we missed Placido Domingo. Whose brilliant idea was that?

Oh well. Enough of the blitherin'; and rantin'. If this is your first issue, many thanks for joining us and we hope you will forward our musings and meanderings to your family and friends. Meanwhile, 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 usually make the national papers. For those, read on. For major stories, click here:

Loach film becomes major Irish box office hit
'The Wind that Shakes the Barley' has become a major hit at the Irish box office. The Irish Civil War drama has taken over €887,000 since its release on 23 June. Read RTÉ's review here:

Clare: GAA founder's house to be restored
Over 150 years after it was built, the first sod in a €1 million restoration of the cottage lived in by GAA founder Michael Cusack has been turned in Carron.The project includes the restoration of the cottage and a space where the Cusack story from his birth in 1847 until his death in 1906 will be told. Promoters face a race against time to have the cottage restored for November for the 100th anniversary.

Cork: 'Nursery' for hurlers finally shuts its doors
St Finbarr's College, Farranferris, Cork city, a boys' secondary school set up in 1887 and which included RTE's Bill O'Herlihy and hurler John Gardner among its alumni, has closed due to dwindling numbers. In its final year it had just 73 pupils It was considered one of the finest 'nurseries' of hurlers in the country.

Dublin: Last blocks standing
A formal ceremony took place at Fatima Mansions recently when the last two blocks of flats were formally handed over for demolition. Thirteen of the fifteen blocks are already gone and more than a hundred homes have been built. As part of the ceremony residents were presented with clay hearts to which they were encouraged to attach memories of their time living in the flats, and these will be displayed in the community centre.

Fermanagh: Enniskillen is again Ireland's "Best Kept Large Town"
The judges commented in particular on the well-presented and freshly-painted buildings in the town centre, the control of litter and the well-kept green areas and private gardens. All areas within the forty miles per hour zone are taken into account, so the contribution of private citizens is crucial to the final result.

Galway: Ryder Cup delays Oyster Festival
The annual Galway International Oyster Festival is normally held on the second last weekend in September but is being put back this year to avoid clashing with Ireland hosting golf's Ryder Cup in Kildare.
It will start off with the Magic Mardi Gras party on Friday, September 29, before the serious business of oyster tasting begins the following day.

Galway: The Big Top is back
T h e d e c i s i o n b y G a l w a y A r t s F e s t i v a l m a n a g e m e n t t o r e v i v e t h e B i g T o p f o r m a j o r m u s i c a l s h o w s a f t e r a n a b s e n c e o f s e v e n y e a r s a p p e a r s t o h a v e b e e n v i n d i c a t e d b y s t r o n g t i c k e t s a l e s .

Kerry: Further work at Baile an Rannaig
Coastal protection work carried out with government funding is already credited with having saved the gravesite at An Teampall Ban at Baile an Rannaig beach, and further work is now to be carried out to protect the coast against winter storms. Work is due to begin at the end of the summer season and it will include the provision of a seventy-metre wall to the east of the present wall, built two years ago. The gravesite, for the preservation of which local people have been campaigning for several years, is believed to contain the remains of those killed in the Dún an Oir massacre in the early years of the sixteenth century.

Kerry: A development group on the well-known Ring of Kerry has
produced a novelty Passport which states, "The Kingdom of Kerry is
an independent State (of Mind) attached to its nearest neighbour, Ireland,
by a fluke of geology and a couple of half decent roads." It proclaims that
the principal occupation of Kerry people is to give "thanks for having been
born there". The aim of the humorous passport is to raise money for an
organization that is trying to stop population decline in the area. For more details, please click

Kerry: Tally-ho : Steaming on in a truly vintage style
Motoring enthusiasts from the Steam Car Rally Association of Great Britain, who have come to Ireland for the first time. The 17 cars, some of which over 100 years old, are a very rare sight. One of them is valued at more than €150,000. The cars, all steam driven, travelled through the Gap of Dunloe and the Black Valley yesterday before heading back to Killarney.

Limerick: Maureen O'Hara attends the official opening of the newly refurbished Foynes Flying Boat Museum,
The B314 Yankee Clipper, the luxury Flying Boat that operated out of Foynes in 1939, is now one of the museum's main attractions. Inside the plane, you can see the Honeymoon Suite which was in great demand by the top Hollywood stars as they crossed the Atlantic between 1939 and 1945. In 1942, Captain Charlie Blair, who later married Maureen O'Hara, piloted the first non-stop passenger flight from Foynes to New York in 25 hours, 40 minutes. Foynes is the only dedicated flying boat museum in the world. For more details, please click

Limerick: Street teams pave way for warm welcome to Limerick City
Until the end of August, ten street ambassadors will promote visitor attractions, give out information and directions to tourists and promote the welcoming face of Limerick during the summer.

Louth: Dundalk's final drag
Two weeks ago Noel Mullen from Railway Terrace in Dundalk signed his name on a cigarette; this might seem an odd thing to do but it was a very special cigarette, the very last one to roll of the very last machine at the town's Carrolls factory. Shortly afterwards Bernadette Breen threw the switch that ended the company's one hundred and eighty two-year association with Dundalk. Many former employees who had left over the last few months came back to the factory to witness the final moments of an industry that was begun in Church Street by Patrick James Carroll in 1824.

Wicklow: Papal medal for church's "information centre"
Peg Lacey from Thomastown, who has been sacristan of St David's Church in Johnstown for more than sixty years, was described by Father John Piert as the "information centre" of the parish. Peg was presented with the Papal Bene Merenti medal during Mass at the church where Father Piert was joined by two former curataes, Father John Deasy and Father Gerry O'Brien. At the same ceremony a presentation was made to Father Piert by the local community as he is retiring from the local Gymkhana Committee and stepping down from administrative duties in the parish, though he will remain as curate.

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
Sponsor: Help us keep our newsletter free by visiting our good friends at The Irish
NO WINNER ON WEDNESDAY NIGHT ! That means the jackpot for next Saturday' s draw will be about € 3 Million Euro. But you have to be in it to win it. So enter now - 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! Please click her for full details:
Last time, , Francis asked for more information on wearing An Fáinne which her mother told her signified a fluent Irish speaker. We had two responses from our readers - thank you!

Padraig writes:
Fluent Irish speakers wear An Fáinne, their emblem. It is designed
to show that the wearer is fluent in Irish and wants to speak the
language as often as possible. We have many fluent Gaeilge
speakers here in Glasgow where we speak Ulster Irish (usually the
Donegal dialect).

And Donal writes:
The Fáinne is worn to show that you can and will speak Irish. The Silver Fáinne is suitable for those who have a basic ability in Irish and the Gold Fáinne is suitable for those who are fluent speakers. An old fashioned Fáinne which is bigger than the others is also available There is no test and no pressure!If you would like to order a fáinne or more information please ring +353 1 6794780 or send an e-mail tofainne@comhdhail.ie
or write to: An Fáinne, Gaelport, 46, Sráid Chill Dara, Baile Átha Cliath 2
We did a bit of digging and found that you can order a badge on line. The site seems a wee but confusing to us, but if you can speak Irish, it probably won't be for you!

Kate writes: I'm looking for information on a legend about Gortin near Plumbridge, NI that has something to do with the townspeople abstaining from drink for a hundred years. I read it in a pub in Gortin but an email I sent to them came back undeliverable.  You're my last hope.

Tommie Ray writes:
I am writing to tell you there is another traditional Irish musical program on Midwest on Sunday Morning called Come to the Ceili.  The host is Seamus Duffy.  I think the readers would enjoy the program.
Thanks, Tommie. We agree. Here's the link:

World eBook Fair
This one came to us by way of Kemberlee who owns and operates a newsgroup we belong to. Check out the Irish translations from such works as the Annals of the Four Masters, Annals of Ulster, the Statue of Kilkenny, Treaty of Limerick and more.

All Ireland Travel Newsgroup
And just in case you might be interested in looking into the news group, here's the URL for that, too:

Bandstand veterans send yobs packing
It's not irish, but it's such a feel good story, we wanted to share it with you.
A gang of youths who tried to ruin a pensioners' open-air concert were beaten back and fled when faced by a "Dad's Army" armed with walking sticks.

'Be good to the land. They're not making any more of it you know'
This link is to the highly acclaimed short film Spirit. It was featured at the Kerry Film Festival last summer and is now available on DVD

The Three Marys
This is the latest offering from Jack & Vivian of the Irish Page. This song is about keening the death of Christ. Keening was a practice common in Ireland where women would come to the wake and loudly lament the loss of a loved one. Click on the link below to hear the song and read the lyrics: 

Picturesque Ohio
There are places in our region that could be said to match ireland in beauty - and our good friend Jum Crotty has captured some amazing examples. If you haven't vsited his site lately, you owe it to yourself to take a look. And by the way, Jim is also a sponsor for our trivia contest, offering that remarkable photo of a shamrock he grew from seed he bought from ANOTHER sponsor, Lollysmith!

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:

Mol an óige agus tiofaidh siad"
This is a well-worn phrase in the Irish language which can be translated as "Praise the young and they will improve".
Baseball has the great advantage over cricket of being sooner ended.
George Bernard Shaw
From our friend Patricia in England:
One morning the husband returns after several hours of fishing and decides to take a nap. Although not familiar with the lake, the wife decides to take the boat out. She motors out a short distance, anchors, and reads her book. Along comes a Game Warden in his boat. He pulls up alongside the woman and says, "Good morning, Ma'am. What are you doing?" "Reading a book," she replies. "You're in a Restricted Fishing Area," he informs her. "I'm sorry, officer, but I'm not fishing. I'm reading."
"Yes, but you have all the equipment. For all I know you could start at any moment. I'll have to take you in and write you up." "If you do that, I'll have to charge you with sexual assault," says the woman. "But I haven't even touched you,"protests the game warden. "That's true, but you have all the equipment. For all I know you could start at any moment."
With a tip of his cap, the game warden says "Have a nice day ma'am," and leaves.
SPONSOR: You can help support our efforts when you visit our advertisers, including our good friends at the Celtic Attic.
Did you know that members of the Irish Spirit world prefer to be known as the "Good People?" That's not what they're called at the Celtic Attic, but we don't think they'll mind when they see the charming collection created in their honour! Check out the delightfully whimsical hand-painted Tee shirts, Prints, Greeting Cards, Wall hanging and Treasure Boxes! And don't overlook other new additions, including the Irish Cottage and Pet Stones. Give your life and home a Celtic twist - Browse and shop the Celtic Attic for all your Irish, Scottish and Welsh Gifts, as well as Wedding presents and Jewelry.
1. The Irish were the first humans to set foot in Iceland?
2. Three thousand years ago, Irish metal workers were crafting jewelry so intricate that it cannot be reproduced today?
3. Between the 7th and 10th centuries, there were a total of 250 kings in
Ireland so that most of us 'of the blood' would be a descendant of some form of royalty?

(Or books on Irish-related topics?)

Who wrote:
1. The Stranger and The Pooka
2. The Hedgehog's Prickly Problem
3. Matt The Mitcher

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. Ireland: the Quest for the World Cup: A Complete Record
by Clive Leatherdale
2. Football Captains: The All-Ireland Winners
by Brian Carthy
3. Goal! World Cup 2002: The Essential Guide to Ireland's World Cup Campaign  by Frank Coughlan, John Giles, Paul Hyland and Bill O'Herlihy

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

Helen Dowd
Thanks for voting for my site, all of you who do. See new stories and articles in the Missionary, Inspirational, Devotional and Poetry sections of: http://www.occupytillicome.com
ED. NOTE: Helen is fast approaching the 20,000 mark! Just a few more thousand to get to number two, so please keep voting. Go raibh maith agat!

Hartson Dowd
A Wonderful "BLESSING" awaits all Irishmen by clicking on:
and passing it on and on to others!

Marjorie Cunningham
The official website of Frank McNamara, Ireland's internationally acclaimed arranger, conductor, composer and pianist, best known for his work with The Irish Tenors and The American Tenors

Sheila, WV
This site has Irish Christmas ornaments for sale. I found it through a purchase that I made last Christmas:

Cathie Toft
My favourite Irish Website this time is
The Castle of Dunluce, Bushmills Co Antrim

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.
To start off, the answer to our last skull scambler:
I have 10 red socks and 10 blue socks in a drawer.
Q. How many socks must I take out to ensure that I have at least one matching pair and how many to ensure I have at least a pair of red and a pair of blue?
A. To ensure a matching pair:  three
To ensure a matching pair of each color:  twelve
A pat on the back to Mary R (AKA Irish Royal) from Northern California who pipped Jim Kelly at the post by a matter of seconds. However seeing as it was the long July 4th holiday weekend, we asked Jim how could we get three pair, one red, one white and one blue if we also had ten white socks?
A.You need to draw twenty two (22) socks. Worst case (the answer) is that one would draw ten (10) of one color;
ten (10) of the next color (at this point you have two (2) pairs); and
then two (2) of the last color.
Easy enough for an engineer. But definitely deserving of an honourable mention.
And now for our latest 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.
What are we?
1. Article - What the 12th means to me
2. Article - Irish Linen: The Cloth of Kings
3. Article - Is Your Shillelagh a Sham?
4. Article - The Irish Wolfhound
5, A Little Bit O' Heaven - Part 1
6. Kids' Ireland: The Children of Lir
7. The Jokes Department - seven pages worth!
8. The irish Kitchen - Summery Flummery
9. Basic Irish - Summertime
10. Circle of Prayer: Our fifth Novena in this cycle began on July 12th and continues through July 21st. This week we are making a special request for baby Joseph who is critically ill in hospital and not responding to treatment. Please keep him and his family in your prayers and meditations; also , Tommy Meehan (President - Division 22, Marshall - Phila. Co. Brd.); all the victims of the recent flooding in the USA, including our friends at Lollysmith ; our friend Mickey who was hospitalized with pneumonia; 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, 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. Letter of the month for June is posted - finally!

The plan is to revamp the Kids' Ireland page which has been terribly neglected. In addition, we have already begun posting recycled articles apppropriate to this time of year and we'll be doing our usual daily updates on the headlines and history. We will also have a new blessing this coming Sunday and a new Irish lesson next Tuesday. As for the recipe, we just put up a repeat which we hope you will find interesting as the celebration of Lughnasa approaches.

So that's the long and the short of it until we write again. Meanwhile, as we said last time, since so many of us are either going on holiday or returning, safe journey safe home in all your comings and goings; may God grant you and yours the blessings of good health, good spirits and good company; 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.

Dublin City, Co. Dublin, Ireland - June 13 & July 22,
Bewleys Café Theatre, Grafton Street Dublin
Tall Tales Theatre Company presents
MELODY: A theatrical lunchtime treat
Previews 12 June | 1.10pm
For more details, please visit

Dublin, Ireland - July 20
Focus Theatre presents the Irish Premiere of Two Rooms by Lee Blessing,
Andrews Lane Studio, Dublin. For more details, please visit

Chicago - July 23
A fund-raising concert will be held at the Irish American Heritage Center on behalf of the Irish Music School of Chicago to help cover the costs of competing at the Fleadh Cheoil na hEireann in August. Fore more details, please visit our websites:
ED. NOTE: One of our readers, Megan FitzPatrick Reasor, shared this info with us. She is very proud that her daughter lillian is one of the harpists who will be competing in Ireland. She will also be performing at the Bristol Renaissance Faire on July 22nd.

Dublin, Ireland - July 21
Samuel Beckett Theatre, Trinity College - The Irish Modern Dance Theatre in association with A l l i a n c e F r a n c a i s e , G o e t h e I n s t i t u t & I n s t i t u t o C e r v a n t e s , D u b l i n present the irish premiere of D O U B L E B ( L ) I N D
B y A g ne s C h e k r o u n , F a b r i c e M a z l i a h a n d J o n S a n M a r t i n. For more information, please contact Conleth Teevant Tel:0 8 7 1 2 2 1 6 4 8 | E : c o n l e t h t e e v a n @ e i r c o m . n e t

Seattle - July 21- July 23
The Dance for Life Feis Irish Dancing Competition at the Seattle Marriott SeaTac Airport, 3201 S 176th St. For more details, please click

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

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
This one came in from hartson - thank you kindly!

A man dies. He had left $30,000 to be used for an elaborate funeral

After everything is done at the funeral home and cemetery, his widow tells her closest friend that "there is absolutely nothing left from the $30,000 ."

The friend asks, "How can that be ?"

The widow says, "Well, the funeral cost was $6,500 . And of course I made a donation to the church -- that was $500, and I spent another $500 for the wake, food and drinks -- you know. The rest went for the memorial stone

The friend says, "$22,500 for the memorial stone? My Goodness, how big is it ?"

The widow says, "Four and a half carats".