Welcome to the Irish Culture & Customs newsletter which is published every week and sent out to almost 3400 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 and blessings to all,

Well then, what's the excuse this time, you might ask, after a fortnight's absence? We could say we tried our hand at the Leaving Certificate Honours paper in Maths and that's what threw us off on a tangent.

Or maybe it was looking for that long lost shaker of salt following the grilling, swilling and chilling at a Jimmy Buffet Concert! Perhaps, as part of that particular social event, it was the preparations that had to be made for the arrival of the Shields and Doyle beak freaks from DC who used Bridget's birthday as an excuse to descend upon the Haggerty household because the concert was sold out where they live but tickets were still available here? No matter the reason, with a trio of names like the ones we just mentioned, you know the craic was mighty and the recovery equally so!

At any rate, it has been a whirling dervish of a time since we we were last in touch and we do hope this latest edition finds you and yours in fine fettle and fit as a fiddle. And if you've just joined us, a special hello to you and yours. We're very happy you're with us and we do hope you'll forward our musings and meanderings to your family and friends.

Enough of the blitherin...on with the update!

SPONSOR: Help us keep our newsletter coming; please visit our good friends at the Celtic Attic:
Happy June and a safe summer! What better time than now to give the house a Celtic twist, inside and out. Take a look at our wide range of chimes, sun-catchers, and other decorative items, including our newest novelty - a shamrock toilet seat cover! We are also offering FREE SHIPPING on orders over $75.00 and we are including a FREE GIFT with each order from now until the end of summer . Also, don't forget to enter our Monthly Giveaways. You could win a Summer's Day Basket or a delicate Celtic cross.

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

Charles Haughey, RIP
Thousands attend the state funeral
Two large screens were set up to relay the service to crowds who could not be accommodated in Our Lady of Consolation Church, Donnycarney, north Dublin in Mr Haughey's old constituency. Taoiseach Bertie Ahern delivered the graveside oration. For more news in depth about the passing of "the upstart from Donneycarney," we encourage you to visit our news page where we post headlines and links to major stories: http://www.irishcultureandcustoms.com/01News/Home.html

World's richest literary prize is won by an Irish writer
Colm Tóibín's recent novel, The Master, has won the 2006 International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award. Tóibín is the first Irish writer to win the award which is the world's richest literary prize for a single work or fiction.

Armagh: Oxford Island tops the list
Listed in the Top Ten of walking spots in Britain and Ireland by the Good Dog Campaign is Oxford Island near Craigavon. The list was compiled following a survey of more than three thousand adults, to find the best places for family walks, with or without dogs.

Cork: Irish actor Cillian Murphy has promised a hooley in Cork
for the Irish premiere of The Wind that Shakes the Barley,
winner of the Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival. Murphy, who also starred in Batman Begins and Neil Jordan's Breakfast on Pluto, said he was looking forward to the film's premiere in Cork on June 20.

Derry: A brave stance by a Derry priest
Father Michael Canny has stuck his neck out over the World Cup by announcing that he is going to support the English team, as he firmly believes that they can win the trophy. However his views are not echoed by his fellow priests in the Cathedral parish, Father David O'Kane and Father Colm O'Doherty, who totally disagree with his choice; perhaps they will join the growing band of Irishmen and women who will be supporting Poland?

Donegal: There's no fuel like an old fuel
The rising price of oil and gas is leading many people to turn away from its use for home heating; instead they are making increasing use of turf. West Donegal in particular has seen a significant increase in those cutting their own turf, particularly around the area between Loughanure and Dungloe.

Kilkenny: The final whistle for Podge
Podge Butler thought his refereeing career was well and truly over but when he attended the county final between Castlecomer and Mullinavat recently he was called upon to take up the whistle once again. The sixty-seven-year-old was a referee for thirty-four years and the longest serving referee in the county, but on this occasion was a linesman. However when Paul Devlin was injured during the second half Podge was asked to take over for the final twenty-five minutes of the game. A member of the O'Loughlin/Gaels club, the last time Podge took charge of a senior final was in 1992, in a match between Railyard and James Stephens.

Limerick: Silver cup for Silver Dollar
Martin O'Connor, barman at the Silver Dollar Bar in Newcastle West, received a silver cup at a ceremony in Dublin recently after having been named as the Guinness Best Bartender in Ireland. Martin, who was accompanied by his wife Moira, was one of four finalists in the competition held in the Guinness Storehouse and judged by Donal Waddell of Guinness and former rugby player and Limerick publican Peter Clohessy. He was nominated for the competition by a Newcastle West customer, who received a cheque for €1,000, while Martin himself was presented with a cheque for €3,000.

Meath: High Nellies launch haymaking festival
To mark the launch of the Scurlogstown Olympiad Traditional Haymaking Festival, a number of High Nellies accompanied by two vintage tractors made their way recently from Jack Quinn's pub at Scurlogstown to Laracor Cross where they heard a talk on the history of the area by Pat Farrelly. From there they proceeded to Stella's Cottage and Dean Swift's Church where Seamus O'Droma recited a poem by F.R. Higgins, past the Ivy Cottage and on to the Castle Arch Hotel. The group ended their journey at Marcie Regan's pub in Trim where Pete Mathews was presented with the best-dressed person prize.

Roscommon: Cloonfower man immortalised in fiction
A man from Cloonfower who emigrated to England and then to America is the subject of a book written by his great-great nephew. David Quinn has recorded the life of Michael Quinn, who was born just as the Famine took hold in 1846 and who worked as a child in the textile mills of the North of England before moving to America and becoming involved in the Fenian movement. The author, originally from Tennessee, came back to Roscommon recently and gave readings from "It May Be Forever" in Castlerea, Boyle and Roscommon Town libraries.
ED NOTE: We met David and his wife at a reading and signing which took place at Northern Kentucky University a month or so ago. We are hoping to have a review of the book posted on the site soon. It's long overdue.

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

Boston, Mass: A unique mapping collection that was drawn up before the Famine in Ireland (1846-1850) and mass emigration of Irish people to North America will be officially launched in Boston later this year, giving millions of Irish Americans greater access to their ancestors. For more details, please click

SPONSOR: Please help us keep our newsletter coming to your mailbox and visit our good friends at Lollysmith:
It's never too late to select and send a great gift for the dads and grads! From walking sticks to summer hats and caps, as well as Guinness gear and more, we have what the men in your life are looking for. To take a look at all of the unique items we have on offer, please click


A request to readers with Canadian ties:
The Croke Park History Committee are requesting help in documenting the history of Canadian Gaelic games (particularly pre-1987), anyone with specific memories and willing to help should contact: joflynn@mulgrave.com

Mary from California writes:
I've seen many pictures of Irish people, both men and women, wearing a gold band on the middle finger of the right hand.  Does this have any significance beyond fashion?

Donald Fyfe asks: Can you tell me the Irish origin of kicking right or left footed as to which religion it means?  i.e. if you kick with your left you are a Protestant or something of that ilk. Also where did the saying originate?

Where's Nana?
Sandie Weems is asking for help in finding information on her grandmother. She says "I can find information on my mother, her siblings, and the location of my grandfather's remains, but it seems my grandmother didn't exist.  It was due to her being Catholic and marrying my grandfather, a Presbyterian, I am told.  I have checked all the other sites I can think of and no one seems to know anything about her or her family.  When I find a possible link, I run into a dead end.  My grandmother and grandfather lived in Moneymore, Northern Ireland, and both died in the Magherafelt No. Ireland workhouse.  Her name was Agnes Elizabeth Carty and she married Hugh Ferguson.  I even went to the records house in Belfast and that is where I found my aunts, uncles, etc., but nothing on grandma.  Hope you can point me in a direction!"

Help save the Irish Language
Our friend George of the Irish Heritage web site and newsletter sent us the following:
The IH sponsored raffle for the Belfast Irish school, Gaelscoil an Lonnain has started. This Irish medium primary school has been playing a vital role in the life of the Lower Falls community on a shoestring budget. Tickets are just $3.00 each and prizes include autographed CD's books, Bodhran, T-shirts, Irish related DVD movies and the Grand prize is a very large canvas with characters from Irish mythology beautifully painted on it. This fabulous prize was sent directly from Gaelscoil an Lonnain, in Belfast.
Please make your check out to the Irish Heritage E-mail Group. Send to
George Trainor
548 Locust Ave.
Manteca, CA.
95337 - 5412
Drawing is on September 2nd, 2006.

Love horses? Take a look at this link!
Sent in by Hartson who always seems to find the best Irish sources on the internet!

The irish Page
This time around, Vivian & Jack offer us the sorry tale of a young man whose father put him in the army. Upon hearing that his girlfriend had left him he cut off his trigger finger so he would be dismissed.  Turn the sound up- on your computer as the background music is Irish Soldier Laddie as sequenced by Frank Lennon. It is a substitution since the music for the lyrics could not be found.  You'll like the music a lot.  It's a fine air.

Shamrock Radio
Have you tuned in yet? This is a weekly hour long programme hosted by Tommy Murphy and featuring Irish music, reviews, news from Mayo and email requests.

Endless Fun sent in by John Murphy: How good are you at Parking the Car?

World Cup Survival Guide
Whether you love it or loathe it, iVillage provides a surefire guide to making the most of the month-long international battle of the big thighs.
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:


Father and Son
by F.R. Higgins
Only last week, walking the hushed fields
Of our most lovely Meath, now thinned by November,
I came to where the road from Laracor leads
To the Boyne river--that seems more lake than river,
Stretched in uneasy light and stript of reeds.

And walking longside an old weir
Of my people's, where nothing stirs--only the shadowed
Leaden flight of a heron up the lean air--
I went unmanly with grief, knowing how my father,
Happy though captive in years, walked last with me there.

Yes, happy in Meath with me for a day
He walked, taking stock of herds hid in their own breathing;
And naming colts, gusty as wind, once steered by his hand,
Lightnings winked in the eyes that were half shy in greeting
Old friends--the wild blades, when he gallivanted the land.

For that proud, wayward man now my heart breaks--
Breaks for that man whose mind was a secret eyrie,
Whose kind hand was sole signet of his race,
Who curbed me, scorned my green ways, yet increasingly loved me
Till Death drew its grey blind down his face.

And yet I am pleased that even my reckless ways
Are living shades of his rich calms and passions--
Witnesses for him and for those faint namesakes
With whom now he is one, under yew branches,
Yes, one in a graven silence no bird breaks.


The young son met his father on the road as he was returning from a game of cards at the pub. The ould wan was pulling a goat on a rope behind him. "Da, where'd you get that goat?" "Son," he says proudly, "I won him fair and square from an old farmer who had a good hand - but I had a better one". "But da, where are we going to keep the animal? All's we have is the little house and no barn for chick nor goose, never mind a goat!"." "Well son, I was thinking I'd put him under me bed." "But da, exclaims the son. It stinks!" "Well, now," says the father, "don't you be worrying your fool head off. He'll get used to it. "

It's a repeat, but just too good not to do it again:
My Father had a profound influence on me, he was a lunatic.
Spike Milligan

1. Brendan Behan's father was a house painter and that Brendan was apprenticed to the trade at the age of 14?
2. William Carleton's father was a poor tenant farmer? Carleton was educated at hedge schools and spent much of his youth surrounded by extreme poverty.
3. James Joyce is often regarded as the father of the literary genre "stream of consciousness?"

(Or books on Irish-related topics?)
Who wrote:
1. Golf on the Links of Ireland: A Father And His Sons Explore the Coastal Courses of the Emerald Isle

2. Changing Fathers? Fatherhood and Family Life in Modern Ireland

3. My Father's Son

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 irish Experience during the Second World War An Oral History by Benjamin Grob-Fitzgibbon.

2. The Blitz - Belfast in the War Years by Brian Barton

3. The Emergency - Neutral Ireland by 1939-45, Brian Girvin
Hats off to the following Irish bibliophiles:

Déirdre McKiernan Hetzler
"Glorious Ireland" June 28 - July 12, 2006. To view this year's itinerary, go to:

Rita Roche, Baltimore, MD, USA
I really do enjoy your website - one of my favourites!
Thank you Rita!

Helen Dowd
I am always appreciative of those who vote for my site.  Hope you also enjoy some of the stories and poems there:
Hartson Dowd
An Interesting Web-Site I have enjoyed this week is the UK & Ireland's top-Google-ranking Thoroughbred & Sport Horse stud farm directory online.
http: www.stud-farms.com

Brenda Ross
Inspiring Ireland is a small company dedicated to creative luxury travel that celebrates the heart and soul of Ireland.  I am the founder and president and it would be my privilege and pleasure to help you fall in love with Ireland as I have.

Mary K. Ruggiero
I've added lots of poems and jokes since your last visit.  And I'd ask all to sign the guestbook -- I love hearing from you!
Help us keep our newsletter free by visiting our good friends at The Irish
NO WINNER ON SATURDAY NIGHT ! That means the jackpot for next Wednesday' 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:
To start off, the answer to our last mind-mangler:
The rungs of a ten-foot ladder attached to a frigate are one foot apart. If the water is rising at the rate of one foot an hour, how long will it take until the water covers over the ladder?
A. The boat rises WITH the tide, so NEVER.
We had a flood of correct answers, but first in was Mike Horan from CT. Or was it NJ. Wherever he is, well done!
And now for our next cranium cruncher:
An Irish dad insisted on the following names for his children : Donal, Regan, Milseán, Faolan, Sorcha and Labhras. What will he name his next child?
a) Tierney
b) Oisin
c) Radha
June 1-June 8
1. Article: St. Kevin - founder of Glendalough
2. Article: Whitsuntide in old Ireland
3. Aran isle Sweaters - how a dropped stitch gave rise to a myth
4. Kids' Ireland: The Children of Lir
5. The Jokes Department - seven pages worth!
6. The Irish Kitchen - Aunt Hattie's Warcake. Sigh - we know it's been here a while, but we'll try to get off our apple duffs and have something new for next time
7. Basic Irish - Occupations A to Z
8. Music from Mayo - Make a request and please tell them Irish Culture and Customs sent you!
9. Letter of the month for May - including a link to hear prayers in Irish
10. In the Margin - new books and a new Celtic Knot Peat Incense brurner
11. Circle of Prayer: Our last Novena in this cycle began on May 28th and enda on June 5th. This week we ask that you remember Jane, Mieke, Pauline, Barbara, Mickey, and Scott H. Whatever your spiritual leanings, please count your blessings and ask God to hear your prayers and intercessions for those less fortunate. And please don't forget to ask the Good Shepherd of us all to watch over our men and women serving in the military all over the world http://www.irishcultureandcustoms.com/Blessings/CirclePrayer.html
12. Trivia Contest: The new contest for June is posted. All entries must be received by midnight. June 30, whichever time/date zone you are in.
Congratulations to Jackie Young of Marshfield, Missouri who is our winner for May. Many thanks to all who entered and we hope you will keep trying.
June 9-June 17.
1. Article: St. Columcille of Iona
2. Article: Joyce's Dublin
3. Article: How to savor Ulysses this Summer
4. Book Review: Full on Irish - Creative Contemporary Cooking by Kevin Dundon
5. Basic Irish: Father's Day & Graduations
6. Circle of Prayer. We updated the Novena Page to include the dates for the next cycle. The first Novena began on June 6 and ended on June 14. The third Novena began on June 15 and continues through June 23.
We are especially concerned for our dear friend Pauline who was just diagnosed with leukemia and also lost her best friend Garfie at the age of 20. Those of you who know Pauline through her wonderful newsletter, the Daily Mews will know how devastated she must be. Please keep Pauline in your thoughts. She is a woman of great faith and is a firm believer in the power of prayer, just as we are. It was two years ago this week that Bridget nearly died from congestive heart failure and a stroke, The doctors are still scratching their heads but we all know that it was a miracle brought about by the thousands of prayers that were raised up on her behalf.

Summertime and the living has slowed to a comfortable crawl. Unfortunately, so has the work! But now that we have almost recovered from just too much fun with family and friends, we're hoping to get back to business as usual. Certainly, we'll be updating the news headlines every day and posting the history for the date. We'll have a quote on Wednesday, and a blessing on Sunday. Interestingly, Blessings has become our most popular page followed by weddings and basic Irish,.What's your favorite page? We'd love to know!

So that's the long and the short of it until we write again. Between now and then, if you're celebrating a birthday, anniversary or other special event, may it be a blessed and joyous occasion. And let's not forget about all the dads and grads out there! Happy Father's Day and Congratulations.

Also, since June is traditionally the month of the Sacred Heart in Ireland, we hope and pray that you and yours will be blessed by the Father through the Son Himself all month long. BTW, do you still have a picture of the Sacred Heart in your home with a red glass votive candle holder in front of it? It used to be an icon of an Irish house, but you don't see it very often anymore. You can see a baby picture of Bridget here: And there, right along side her is... well, take a look for yourself:

Ah well. They probably don't have a picture of JFK in today's Irish homes anymore either. Sigh.

Safe journey and safe home in all your comings and goings and, As they also say in Ireland, mind yourself!

Slan agus beannacht,

Bridget & Russ
Get down on your knees and thank God you're still on your feet!
Please help us keep our newsletter and the web site coming to you at no cost; 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 our efforts - or theirs.
If we receive a unique event not mentioned there we will be happy to list it here.

The 2006 Austin Celtic Festival will be held on November 4-5. If you would like to be considered for performing at the festival, please send a CD and press-kit to: ACF Music Panel
c/o Austin Celtic Association
P.O. Box 684163
Austin, TX 78768-4163

The recording must be representative of your current lineup. Most (if not all) of your performance repertoire for the ACF must be in a Celtic style. Submittals must be RECEIVED (not just postmarked) by June 30. This is a strict deadline. They hope to have the selection process completed by mid-July. Performer honorarium is $100 per person for the weekend, up to a maximum of $500 per group. Typically each performer plays once on Saturday and once on Sunday.
For more information contact panel@austincelts.org.

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

Farmleigh Gallery, Phoenix Park - June 16-July 9
Art from State Buildings: Ten Years in the making! For more details, please click

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
http:// www.festivalofworldcultures.com

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

Remember the comment we made earlier about this year's Leaving Cert maths paper? Maybe the howls wouldn't have been so loud if the following has been part of the test:

System Conversions
1. Ratio of an igloo's circumference to its diameter = Eskimo Pi
2. 2000 pounds of Chinese soup = Won ton
3. 1 millionth of a mouthwash = 1 microscope
4. Time between slipping on a peel and smacking the pavement= 1bananosecond
5. Weight an evangelist carries with God = 1 billigram
6. Time it takes to sail 220 yards at 1 nautical mile perhour =Knotfurlong
7. 365.25 days of drinking low calorie beer = 1 Lite year
8. 16.5 feet in the Twilight Zone = 1 Rod Serling
9. Half a large intestine = 1 semicolon
10. 1,000,000 aches = 1 megahurtz
11. Basic unit of laryngitis - 1 hoarsepower
12. Shortest distance between two jokes - a straight line
13. 453.6 graham crackers = 1 pound cake
14. 1 million microphones = 1 megaphone
15. 1 million bicycles = 1 megacycle
16. 365.25 days = 1 unicycle
17. 2000 mockingbirds = two kilomockingbirds
18. 10 cards = 1 decacard
19. 52 cards = 1 deckacard
20. 1 kilogram of falling figs = 1 fig Newton
21. 1000 grams of wet socks = 1 literhosen
22. 1 millionth of a fish = 1 microfiche
23. 1 trillion pins = 1 terrapin
24. 10 rations = 1 decaration
25. 100 rations = 1 C-ration
26. 2 monograms = 1 diagram
27. 8 nickels = 2 paradigms
28. 2.4 statute miles of intravenous surgical tubing at Yale UniversityHospital =1 I.V.League

Sent in by our our dear friend Judith Flynn. Go taib maith agat!