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Greetings and blessings to all,

It may be April, but we woke up to near freezing temperatures this morning with more of the same predicted for the coming week - brrr! To add salt to the wound, official summertime arrives in the USA this weekend! In any event, if you're in the states, don't forget to put your clocks forward one hour before you go to bed tonight. One of our readers, Rae, told us that Arizona stays on Standard Time all year and that there are three more locations that do not go on DST. Can you name them?

The World Irish Dancing Championships begin in Belfast tomorrow and we're really excited that a friend of ours, Emily, will be competing once again, as will her close pal, Ollie Smith from New Zealand. (You may recall we did a write-up on him for the web site several months ago). We hope they both do well. Which reminds us that if you haven't checked out a great series of videos on Northern Ireland, you owe it to yourself to visit:
Or read our review here:

We were in a hurry to get our newsletter out last week and made an error in our 'Did You Know' section. We said that 10% of Co. Roscommon's population is Brazilian. It should have said the town of Roscommon!

Hard to believe but it was 30 years ago today that hundreds of tornadoes devastated our region. It was the first time Bridget had ever seen one - and fingers crossed, it's the last! Our children collected a few of the hailstones that came down and put them in the freezer so we could see them when we got home from work - some were bigger than golf balls and they damaged many of the cars parked on our street.

How did you fare on April Fool's Day? For us, the joke was having our email go down until the next morning. It was the strangest thing not to receive any messages for nearly 24 hours! We heard of many great pranks being played, but we think the best one was a story in the Cork Examiner - read it for yourself and see what you think:

NOTE: The Examiner requires registration, but it's free and it's very easy to sign up.

Enough about us. We hope this week's edition finds you and yours in fine fettle and fit as a fiddle. A warm welcome back to everyone - especially our newest readers! We now number 1796! Many thanks for subscribing and if you like our musings and meanderings, please feel free to pass them along to your family and friends.
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In news from Ireland
It might come as a surprise to those who wrapped up against sleet and snow showers last month, but it was the sunniest March for decades in most parts of the country!

Tougher identity checks for travellers to US - It was announced in Washington last night that as of this coming October, Irish citizens travelling to the United States will be fingerprinted and photographed before entering the country. Ireland joins 26 other countries, including Gt. Britain, that will be subjected to these more stringent regulations.

Co. Cork - Recently 20 students from Cape Clear, Heir and Sherkin Islands graduated from a unique course in Art and Culture. The three-year pilot programme, delivered through a combination of direct and distance learning, arose from a demand among islanders for a formal art course. For more details, click
http://www.dit.ie or http://www.sherkinisland.ie

Co. Dublin - Dublin property developer Seamus Ross has received planning permission for a total of eighty-five houses and one hundred and ninety apartments on a site directly opposite the Government-owned Farmleigh and just outside Phoenix Park. An eighteenth century house already located on the site, Mount Hybla, is to become a bed and breakfast facility.

Co. Galway - The country's first Discovery Museum for Children has been opened on the Ballybrit Industrial Estate. Ireland is the last country in Europe to acquire such a facility.

Co. Mayo - The train station in Castlebar has the distinction of winning the award for the Best Inter City Halt for the seventh successive year, a feat never achieved in the twelve-year history of the awards.

Co. Limerick - Yet another historic site is in jeopardy. The proposed construction of the 260 million euro motorway between Limerick and Nenagh will affect a neolithic site, claimed to be a location for the production of stone axes. Axes in mint condition have been found there. Also, an archaeologist, Mr Brian Hodkinson, whose house at Annaholty is due for demolition if the motorway goes ahead, said he had identified sites of five ancient castles that are on or in the vicinity of the proposed motorway route.

Co. Galway - Conference To Reflect On Irish Heroes: Veronica Guerin, Éamon de Valera, Roy Keane, Ned Kelly and the transformation of Seán MacBride from "terrorist into statesman"will be the subject of a conference on the Irish hero in NUI Galway today and tomorrow. Billed as the first such gathering of its type in Ireland, the conference will also discuss whether Diarmuid and Gráinne were "star-crossed lovers" or "gun-toting gangsters."
NOTE: Visit our site every day for the latest headlines; we also keep two week's worth of links to Irish news in case you miss a day. Click here:

In news from all over:
Gozo - Last week we said that Gozo was Gibraltar's sister island. Oops - big geographic goof; our subcriber there, Maire, wrote to tell us Gozo is Malta's sister island. Thanks for setting us straight, Mrs. Daly!

Columbus, Ohio - Kerry Bog Ponies made their debut at the annual Equine Affaire - the largest trade show of any horse exposition in the United States. The sturdy ponies only ten hands high have wooed horse lovers in America ever since five of them crossed the Atlantic last year, bought by Ohio judge, Michael Ashar and his wife Linda. At the show, president of the Kerry Bog Pony Society, John Mulvihill and his son Tim outlined their battle to save the ponies which now number just 230.

Las Vegas, Nevada - How times change. Michael Flatley is gearing up to launch his $750m Irish-themed casino in Las Vegas, involving his biggest financial risk since he quit Riverdance in the mid-1990s. Flatley's Lord of the Dance took in $75m in ticket sales worldwide last year, meaning that Flatley, who holds onto 41 cents of every dollar he earns, made over $30m before tax in 2003. In 1992, Flatley performed at the Seattle Center during the Irish Week Festival for a flat fee of $750.

Chicago - The television drama 'Holy Cross' has won a prestigious American award. The drama, about the Holy Cross school pickets, won The Golden Plaque Award for Feature Length Telefilm at the Chicago International Television Competition. The BBC and RTE co-production overcame stiff competition from more than 10 countries. The award is the fourth the drama has won since being screened last year.

From the mailbag:
Last week's warning about ether in perfume turns out to be a hoax. Many thanks to all of you who wrote to tell us that this was just another urban myth. Thanks as well for providing some great links to separating fact from fiction:

On the heels of the perfume hoax came a new warning from Cecily. Parking lot carjackers are placing flyers on the rear windshields of automobiles, then taking the cars when drivers step out of their vehicles to remove the flyers. So far, it's undetermined if this one is true or not. You can read the full details here:

A note of thanks for your prayers came in from Eileen. She writes "I would so much like to send our gratitude to everyone who has offered their prayers for my brother, Bob and our son, Christopher. Christopher, who will be tested for the next five years, has had good monthly tests results and he is feeling well. My brother, Bob, who has been extremely ill with inoperable pancreatic cancer is now at the one year mark. Remarkably, through the power of all your prayers, he has continued to surprise his doctors as this tumor, which was not expected to shrink at all, has been doing just that! In December, Bob's tumor markers were at 5600, in January they were at 3500, and his most recent test in March show them to have fallen dramatically to an unbelievable 18! While we do not know what the outcome will be, we do know it has been everyone's prayers that have miraculously brought him to this point. Thank you all and please continue to believe in the power of your prayers. We certainly do and will keep you in ours."

Links of the week:
Hear WB Yeats reading The Isle of Innisfree
He sounds very old and frail, but just the idea that it's the great man himself gave us goosebumps. BTW, his reading is flanked before and after by Bing Crosy singing the song:

O'Carolan or Carolan? Take a look at this link and learn a lot about Turlough (thanks Hartson!)

In memory of Lloyd Gibson
Some additional photos and quotes have been added to the webpage:
Also, the performances on the Ceilidh Stage this year at the Houston Highland Games are dedicated in memory to him and June 18 is a tentative date for an Irish Wake in his honor at the Knights of Columbus.

Steven Digman has a great interview with Mary Black here:

Ancient Music of Ireland
A few pages mainly inspired by the collections of Edward Bunting, who had attended the famous Belfast Harp Festival in 1792 and had been engaged to note down the music from the last harpers, before it would vanish with them for ever:

Does Elvis have Irish roots? His number one fan in Ireland thinks so! Read all about it here:

German bears - a really fun link from Wanda - just move your mouse cursor across the bears - you do not have to click the mouse:

Think you could be an airport baggage screener?
Eileen sent us this link to a really tough test (in our opinion). Bridget tried it and failed miserably. Scroll down until you get to Interactive - you be the airport baggage screener:

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 blither and blather - on with the update:

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
The famed satirist Jonathan Swift, the dean of Dublin's St. Patrick's Cathedral for many years, was a vocal critic of the British. "Burn everything British," he once advised his Irish countrymen, "except their coal."
Help us keep this newsletter free by visiting the 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 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:
A man walked into the lingerie department of Dunnes in Dublin and said to the woman behind the counter, "I'd like to buy a Baptist bra for my wife, size 36B." What type of bra? asked the clerk. "Baptist" said the man. She said get a Baptist bra, and that you'd know what she meant." "Ah yes, now I remember" said the saleslady. "We don't sell many of those. Mostly our customers want the Catholic type, the Salvation Army type, or the Presbyterian type."Confused the man asked, "What's the difference between them?" The lady responded, "It is all really quite simple; the Catholic type supports the masses, the Salvation Army type lifts up the fallen, and the Presbyterian type keeps them staunch and upright. Then there's the Baptist type." "What does that do?" asked the man. She replied, "It makes mountains out of molehills."
1. The Irish word for province means fifth? And yet there are are only four provinces, you say - Leinster, Munster, Connaught and Ulster? The answer is that at one time Meath, which means in the middle, was once the fifth province.
2. In old Ireland, the word Tory meant a brigand or highwayman? Strange that the Brits adopted this word for Conservatives - or maybe not!
3. Sigmund Freud once remarked that the Irish were the only people who couldn't be psychoanalysed? While most of us would like to think we have no need for it, there are many who think we're beyond hope!
Source: The Truth about the Irish by Terry Eagleton
Dunsany Castle, Lord Dunsany's home in Co. Meath, Ireland, was once sacked by the Black and Tans. As the soldiers departed, leaving a trail of destruction in their wake, they were bid adieu by Lord Dunsany's butler: "Who," he tartly inquired, "shall I say called?"
Please help us to keep this newsletter free - visit our good friends, LollySmith:
It's Easter time again, and we've been busy finding the perfect gifts to celebrate the day. Please stop by and have a look around - we have a wide range of Easter gifts with an Irish theme in mind, including Irish Rosaries, Russ Angel Cheeks Easter Collection, as well as Irish and Celtic Jewelry - over 50 gift items to choose from! And don't forget - Mother's Day is right around the corner - May 9th! Browse to your heart's content and remember, when you buy from Lollysith, you'll always enjoy great prices, quick shipping, and friendly, personalized service.
To start off, the answers to last week's quiz:
1. Cathleen Ni Houlihan - WB Yeats
2. The Bit O' Writin'- John Banim
3. The Garden Lover's Guide to Ireland -Terrence Reeves-Smyth

A round of pints and applause for this week's Irish bibliophiles:

Claire McManus
Check out this site for Irish Roots, music & culture, property and other websites on tourism and business in Ireland, including a links section for every county:

Déirdre McKiernan Hetzler
"Glorious Ireland in May" - May 25 - June 8, 2004
View this year's itinerary:

Hartson Dowd
Looking for the lyrics to an Irish song? This site has a collection of 325 and a searchable directory:

Helen Dowd
I invite you yo visit my site for new Easter items in several categories: Bible, Poetry, Devotional, Inspirational:

Ellen Parodi
Namely Gifts at http://namelygifts.com
Personalized Name Keepsakes and Gifts
Something for every name on your gift list!

Therese Toomey
If you're looking for an Irish website, the Doras Directory is the best!

Neal Groghan
"Best of Irish Websites" from Co. Kildare

Nancy Riordan
For readers down under, here's my favorite link to Irish-Australian sites:

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 Easter Rising: Dublin, 1916
2. Agony at Easter - The 1916 Irish Uprising
3. 1916 - The Easter Rising
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
Congrats to Steve Healy who was first with the answer to last week's cranium-cracker:
A man was found shot dead in his study. He was slumped over his desk and a gun was in his hand. There was a cassette recorder on his desk. When the police entered the room and pressed the play button on the tape recorder they heard, "I can't go on. I have nothing to live for."Then there was the sound of a gunshot.
Q. How did the detective immediately know that the man had been murdered?
A. The tape had been re-wound to the beginning of the message - something a dead man could not have possibly done.
And now for this week's brain-bruiser:
Sean was describing his grand farm to everyone at the pub when cantankerous Patrick broke into the conversation saying it was probably just a two-horse patch in the bog. Sean straightened his shoulders and said, "I'll have you know that I have all horses but two, all cows but two, and all pigs but two." How many animals does Sean own?
Help keep our newsletter free - please visit the Celtic Attic:
Easter's almost here - April 11. If you're hunting for the perfect Irish gift to put in the Easter baskets, see our grand selection of Rosary Beads and other religious gifts here:
And, to all our Irish Mothers - lá mháthair shona dhuit - God bless you on mother's day, May 9. Come visit our special "Mums Day" page and see our wonderful collection of gifts: http://www.celticattic.com/treasures/home_decor/mums_day_gifts.htm
Purchase any Mum's Day gift and receive a FREE GIFT just for you! Place in the comments section of the Shopping Cart that the purchase is a present for your dear Mum.
Note: If you do place an order - and we surely hope you will - please mention the code IC46 in the comments section on the order form. This will earn Irish Culture and Customs a small commission. Thank you!
1. Home Page - See what's new or recycled at a glance:
2. Republished - Article: April Fool's Day
3. Republished - Article: Palm Sunday in Old Ireland
4. Republished - Article: The Rosary & All the Trimmings
5. Republished: The Legend of the Claddagh Ring
6. New - Basic Irish: This week's lesson is on travel and tourism
7. New - April Trivia Contest: The new contest has been posted and the winner's name for March has been drawn. Congratulations to Michelle Ortz from PA! Enter now - you could be our next winner:
8. On-Going - Our third Novena in this cycle began on April 2nd and ends next Saturday. Please continue to keep the following in your prayers or meditations: 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, Lindsey, Dianne, Claire, C.J., baby Christopher, Sam, Steven & Margaret, the Mulligans and 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:
9. On-going - Irish News: Headlines for the past week
10. On-going -This month in Irish History:

On Monday, we'll update the home-page with several articles related to the holiest week in the Christian calendar. Menus for an Easter dinner will be republished on Monday, as well. Our children's story for the month has been delayed, but we hope to have it soon. We're also happy to report that our music columnist, Michael Carlin of Irish Music international is back in harness - we will be posting his latest offering either in the coming week or soon after. As always, we'll have the usual blessing on Sunday and a new quote on Wednesday.

So that's the long and short of it - except for the "essential" goings-on in our wild and wooly calendar - most of em' frivolous, but some serious: Today is Find-A-Rainbow Day (and maybe a crock of gold!) It's also Tweed Day and with the temperatures here this morning, very timely! April 4th is Bonza Bottler Day - an excuse to celebrate. This happens every month when the day and the date are the same number. It's also Palm Sunday and Hug a Newsman Day (Huh!?); Monday is National Raisin & Spice Bar Day and Tuesday, April 6th is the beginning of Passover. It's also Student-Athlete Day in the US. April 7th is No Housework Day and World Health Day. April 8th is Maundy Thursday, and April 9 is Good Friday. Celebrating a birthday, anniversary or other special event this week? We hope it's a joyous occasion for you and your loved ones! Can't wait to find out what's coming up for the rest of the month? Check out:

Until next time, may God shower you with blessings and 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
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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:

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

Zurich - April 3 & 4
Irish Set Dancing Workshop with Pat Murphy (Westport) and Tony Ryan (Galway) For more information, please visit our website:

Parsippany, NJ - from April 15 to18
Traditional Irish Weekend - Each year Comhaltas Ceoltoiri Eireann in North America holds a Traditional Irish Weekend in a North American city. The location this year is The Hilton in Parsippany, NJ, about 45 minutes outside of New York City. The event attracts over 3000 people, many staying the entire weekend to attend music sessions, ceilis and music/language workshops. Renowned traditional musicians, many All Ireland Champions, will be conducting the music workshops. For full details, please visit our websites:
http://www.ccenorthamerica.com or http://www.Comhaltas.com
You can also contact Jim Madden at NewJerseyIrish@aol.com

Hollywood, FL - April 17
Irish American Caeli Club April Ceili with Noel Kingston
For details, check our website:

Cincinnati OH - April 17
Silver Arm, one of the area's most popular Celtic music groups, will play at the Dilly Deli, 6818 Wooster Pike. Please check their web site for more details about their performances: http://www.silverarmmusic.com

Dublin, Ireland 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

Dublin, Ireland - May 4
Celebrating 21 years of journalism at DCU. This is an invitation, particularly to graduates of the Graduate Diploma in Journalism and the Masters in Journalism, to the DCU Media Round Table and a reception afterwards. For more details, visit:
To book a place please contact Mary Nulty at +353-1-7005220 or mailto:mary.nulty@dcu.ie

Boston, Mass - May 8
Irish Genealogy Seminar sponsored by the New England Historic Genealogical Society. Several speakers will lecture on genealogy topics and the husband of one of our readers, Sean O'Duill, is coming from Dublin (with Eileen, our reader) to present his talk on Matchmaking and Marriage customs in 19th century rural Ireland. The URL for further information is:

Nova Scotia, Canada - May 26 to 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:

Co. Sligo, Ireland - September
The Sligo Heritage and Genealogy centre is hosting a 4 day international conference on Irish genealogy, heritage and culture. Even if you come from another county, this conference will be of interest as experts in various fields of study from all over Ireland will be speaking on a wide range of topics. Preliminary details of the conference are available at:
Send an email to: bhaggerty@irishcultureandcustoms.com
OR click on this link: