Welcome to the Irish Culture & Customs newsletter which is published every weekend and sent out to more than 1400 readers all over the world. You are receiving this newsletter because you signed up for it - God Bless you! If you'd like to read past issues, they are archived at: http://www.yourmailinglistprovider.com/pubarchive.php?Herself
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Greetings and blessings to all,

It's lovely to be back, both safely home from Florida and here, writing to you. We do this trek at least once a year, either bringing Russ' mom up to Ohio for the summer, or in the fall to take her home. What makes the journey very pleasant is that we take our time, stopping over once at the halfway point, around Columbia, South Carolina. We've grown rather fond of the Carolinas and we're especially impressed with how they take care of the landscape along Rt. 26, specifically the masses of cosmos which create the look of a French impressionist painting. We also love the amaryllis and ornamental grasses at the rest stops. An added bonus in the autumn is heading into NC and the mountains. Unlike last year, when the foliage was a big disappointment, we enjoyed some spectacular vistas this time around. In any event, mom is settled back in and we're attempting to do likewise! Fortunately, our weather here has been just as nice as what we left behind in Florida, so we haven't experienced the usual change in climate shock...yet!

We hope this edition finds everyone in fine fettle - a warm welcome to you all and a special hello to our new subscribers. If you enjoy this edition, please feel free to pass it along to family and friends. And do encourage them to sign up - Bridget still has her heart set on 2000 of us by year end!

In news from Ireland:
Co. Dublin: This should make beleaguered commuters happier: The NRA has backed a plan to upgrade the M50 motorway, beginning with radical alterations to the notorious Red Cow interchange on the outskirts of the city.

Co. Clare: For the second time this year, Bishop Willie Walsh of Killaloe opened up the grounds of his house to allow a Traveller couple to celebrate their wedding. Thomas Keenan and Tracy McDonagh were told only three weeks before their celebration that the hotel they had booked would not be available as the room was being refurbished. Tracy's father, John McDonagh, who had paid the hotel for the reception, asked the bishop for help and then organised a marquee on the lawn. The couple were married in Clarecastle and then they and their two hundred guests enjoyed their reception on the lawn of the Westbourne house.

Co. Galway: A painting of the Madonna and Child which has spent the last three hundred years in Hungary has been returned to its place of origin. Bishop Walter Lynch, Bishop of Clonfert in the mid-seventeenth century, was exiled during the Cromwellian era, first going to Inishbofin and from there to the Continent. He eventually found sanctuary in Hungary, where he was given shelter by the Bishop of Gyor, and there he is buried in Gyor Cathedral. The painting he had carried so far was hung in a side altar. It was presented to the Clonfert diocese by Bishop Lajos Pápai from Gyor during a ceremony in Loughrea.

Co. Kilkenny: The children of Freshford, under the guidance of Brenda Cooper of Threecastles, have been busy collecting conkers in preparation for the Irish Conker Championships which will take place on the last Sunday of this month.

Co. Meath: Since the waiting list for visiting Newgrange at the time of the Winter Solstice has become unmanageable, a new formula has been established to decide who will be allowed to attend. Children from the national schools in Slane, Knockcommon and Donore gathered on the banks of the Boyne to await the arrival of Claidhbh O'Gine in his coracle, bearing three baskets of applicants' names. The applications were placed into the currach in the Interpretative Centre and the children, who had spent the previous week undertaking projects about Newgrange, selected fifty names of people from as far afield as Israel, Australia and the US, as well as Ireland.

Is Ireland becoming a nanny state? Well, if you are a nanny and a non-smoker, it appears that your employers won't be able to light up in their own home. If you'd like to learn more about the far-reaching effects of the smoking ban, please click: http://www.ireland.com/newspaper/front/2003/1015/1516047483HM1SMOKELIAM.html?digest=1

In news from all over:
Rome: Last Thursday, thousands thronged St. Peter's Square for the Pope's 25th anniversary Mass. Today, there will also be a grand celebration for the Beautification of Mother Teresa - the last step before Sainthood. The Irish contingent is being led by All-Ireland Primate, Archbishop Sean Brady of Armagh and Archbishop of Dublin, Dr Desmond Connell. Brigid McKeown, an 80-year old West Belfast pensioner will also be in attendance. Brigid's honoured guest status came after 30 years voluntary work for Mother Teresa's order, the Missionaries Of Charity.

Links of the week
Celebrate the beatification of Mother Teresa and the 25th Jubilee of Pope John Paul II with a Catholic e-card. Click here:

An interactive safe site for children:

From Hartson - fun with a black cat:
If you tease the cat with the mouse pointer on her chest or stomach she will purr, and I got her to meow also, by rubbing her forehead with the pointer. If you make a slow circle around her body, not only will her head/eyes follow your pointer, but toward the top, her paw will go up, and when in front of her paws at the bottom, her foot comes out like she wants to play with your mouse pointer. Don't hold the mouse down, just move it. Enjoy!

A History of Irish Cuisine - before and after the potato

Another fun one for the kids (and grownups, too) http://www.meddybemps.com/halloween/ghostwalk.html

From the mailbag:
Last week, we had this travel tip from: Never go to Ireland with 100 dollar bills. They will not exchange them if you don't have an account in their bank. Jeanne Bryan writes: "We have found out if you just take a little US currency and use your ATM card, the exchange rate is much better. I take just a few dollars and as soon as we land I get some Euros from the ATM at the airport. There are many ATM's throughout Ireland. I rarely have any Euros left over and take money out on a daily basis."
Many thanks, Jeanne!

Roger Cummiskey, the highly-acclaimed Dublin water-color artist, is also one of our readers. He wrote to let us know first-hand about an opportunity to win one of his originals. To enter the contest, please click

Anthony Melling from the Dept of Anthropology at the University of Kent in
Canterbury has an interesting question: "I am currently looking into the ethnomycology of old world psilocybes; put another way I am in need of any information regarding the use of magic mushrooms in Ireland. Whilst travelling around the south I heard people refer to them as "Pooka piles." Have you or anyone you know ever heard them called this? if so how old do you think this reference is or where it came from? Any help would be greatly appreciated." It doesn't take much imagination to figure out what Pooka Piles might be - but, can anyone shed light on the origin - or how old it the phrase is?

George wrote us about a raffle The Irish Heritage E-mail group is sponsoring, where all donations will go to the Ciarán Ferry Defense Fund. Prizes include autographed books from Irish authors, (Bridget has donated one of her wedding books), Irish related VHS videos, Irish design Christmas cards and a few more surprises. Tickets are just $3.00 each and can be purchased by writing to George at: steeler059@aol.com
To find out more about the prizes, check out the following link:

Enough of the blatherin' - on with the update!
Help us keep this newsletter free by visiting the The Irish Lottery:
Remember the Irish Hospital Sweepstakes? It was replaced by the Irish Lotto in 1988. Since then it has become 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 prove it! Please click here for full details:
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
It's hard to believe that Oscar Wilde was born so long ago - October 16th, 1854. His wit and humour are timeless. Here's a gem to prove the point:
Marriage is the triumph of imagination over intelligence. Second marriage is the triumph of hope over experience.
This one is from Hartson - thank you!
Sally was driving home from one of her business trips in Northern Ireland when she saw an elderly woman walking on the side of the road. As the trip was a long and quiet one, she stopped the car and asked the woman if she would like a ride. After a bit of small talk and while resuming the journey the woman noticed a brown bag on the seat next to Sally. What's in the bag?" asked the woman. Sally looked down at the brown bag and said, "It's a bottle of wine, I got it for my husband." The woman was silent for a moment. Then speaking with the quiet wisdom of an elder she said: "Good trade."
1. A ship from Cobh, Co. Cork, discovered the ghostly wreck of the Marie Celeste in 1872?
2. Ireland had its own werewolf legend? These creatures were believed to be the souls of the damned who had rejected the teachings of St. Patrick.
3. According to tradition, at a wake, one should place a piece of candle, a coin and a small quantity of wine or spirits next to a deceased loved one?
With Halloween right around the corner, it seems an appropriate time for a good Irish curse:
No butter be on your milk nor on your ducks a web. May your cow be flayed. And may the flame be bigger and wider which will go through your soul than the Connemara mountains, if they were on fire.
The answers for last week:

1. Yeat's Ghosts - Brenda Maddox
2. Irish ghost Stories of Sheridan Le Fanu - Patrick P. Byrne, et al.
3. Irish ghosts and Hauntings - Michael Scott (Our apologies for the unintentional repeat from last week)

A round of applause and pints for this week's literary sleuths:

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

Déirdre McKiernan-Hetzler
Interested in exploring "real Irish culture and history?" Take a look at our most recent tour itinerary and then request a brochure; we'll be glad to send you one as soon as they're back from the printer. In the meantime, we'd be happy to email you the itinerary.

Pat Murphy
Biddy McGraw's the Pacific Northwest's only authentic Irish pub and the home 'O the "perfect" pint':

Patricia Edwards
Another favourite site (apart from your own, of course) is one that Hartson Dowd mentioned in your newsletter dated 10/6/03:
http://home.freeuk.com/aquinas/indexa.htm which is really great.

Norma Mackey
My favorite Irish site is, of course, yourselves. (Appreciate that, Norma)

Hartson Dowd
Some Irish Wit & Wisdom...

Helen Dowd
Need an angel today? Visit my website at: http://www.occupytillicome.com/literary.html for your choice of reading.

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. Haunted Ireland - Her Romantic and Mysterious Ghosts
2. Haunted Hills - Ghost Tales of Ireland for Children
3. The Epics of Celtic Ireland: Ancient Tales of Mystery and Magic
Hint: All three titles can be found 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
First, the answer to our last one: If you were blindfolded and placed in front of a large bowl containing $50, $20, $10 and $5 bills, and you were allowed to take one bill at a time until you have taken four bills of the same denomination, what would be the largest amount of money you could draw? $305. We had many correct responses, but Bill Smith of NC was first. Well done, Bill! And now for this week's mind-bender: There are only four words in the English language which end in "dous": tremendous, horrendous, and stupendous are three of them; what is the fourth? (With many thanks to John J. O'Callaghan)
1. Home Page - See what's new at a glance:
2. New: Article - Ghosts in Irish Houses and Castles. This will be published in the next day or so
3. New: Article - Music for an Irish Wedding; we haven't forgotten this one. Fingers crossed, Bridget will finally have it finished early in the week
4. New: Monthly Music Column by Michael Carlin - The Irish Music Awards; this will be posted this evening
5. New: The Irish Kitchen - a new recipe from Hartson Dowd. This will be published on Monday
6. New: Library - Irish Ghosts and Hauntings. Ditto a Monday appearance.
7. New: Basic Irish - Home & Decor
8. Featured: The Legend of the Churchyard Bride
9. Featured: The Dullahan, Ireland's Headless Horseman
10. Featured: An Irish Hallowe'en - Part 1
Featured - An Irish Hallowe'en - Part 2
11. Ongoing: Circle of Prayer. Our second Novena in this cycle began on October 14th and ends on October 22nd. The third will begin next Thursday. Please pray or meditate for Lindsea, Dianne DiMella, Claire Spellmire, Bob, C.J., Christopher, Sam, Steven & Margaret, Priscilla's family, the Mulligans, and our military personnel stationed all over the world, especially in Iraq. Whatever your spiritual leanings, we hope you will join us each day
12. On-going: Irish News: Headlines for the past week
13. On-going: This month in Irish History:
14. Trivia Contest - time's running out! Just eleven days to go. All entries must be in by midnight, October 31st, whatever time zone you are in.

Our heads are still in a bit of a whirl after the trip and the desk is piled high with a backlog of messages. That said, we've already posted the blessing for this week and we're working on catching up with everything else. Just keep checking back and we'll endeavor to reward your patience and persistence!

Just a few bits and pieces before we take our leave - please don't overlook the ad after our sig at the end - Carmel and Joe would really appreciate you taking a look at their lovely home in Ireland.

In our crazy calendar, if you can't think what to have for dinner tonight, it's National Seafood Bisque Day. Tomorrow is the feast day of St. Conrad Ferrini's, patron of universities, the 21st is National Pumpkin Cheesecake Day, the 22nd is National Nut Day, the 23rd is the Festival of Forgotten Gods, National Boston Cream Pie Day, and the Departure of the Swallows from San Juan Capistrano, USA. On the 24th, it's United Nations World Development Information Day and on the 25th is Diwali - The Hindu festival of lights. Throughout India, dipas/deepas (clay oil lamps), brighten every windowsill. The festival honors Laksmi, the goddess of fortune, good luck, riches and generosity and She will visit every home during the festival.

Whatever your religious beliefs, may the God of us all smile upon you and yours this week and may you also be abundantly blessed.

Until next time, all the best - and as they say in Ireland - mind yourself!

Bridget & Russ
Get down on your knees and thank God you're still on your feet
Help keep our newsletter free by visiting one of our sponsors for this week's edition: Carmel & Joe Mulligan
Dreaming of owning a house in Ireland? Here's your chance!
For Sale: Charming country cottage on a 1/4 acre near Saggart Co. Dublin, which is a rare find so close to the capital (just 13 miles from Dublin City Centre). It is also conveniently located just 6 miles from Blessington, Co. Wicklow. Local amenities include swimming, golf, fishing and hillwalking. The house includes many original features such as 8ft 6inch high ceilings and original wooden floors. A Quick Sale Is Required. Just the location alone is well worth further enquiries. For more information, please contact lorrainemulligan@eircom.net
To see photos of the house and for a complete description, please click http://www.remax-ireland.com/pubscripts/ListingFull.asp?AgentId=90401002&ListingId=174&Lang=ENI
Did you enjoy reading this edition of our newsletter? Voluntary donations to help keep us going are always welcome and can be sent to us via http://www.paypal.com
Our email address there is bnhaggerty@cinci.rr.com. And 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: http://www.thewildgeese.com/pages/events.html
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 for October here:

The Voyage of the Jeanie Johnston
She is in St. John`s, Newfoundland - her final port of call on this epic voyage. This is your last opportunity to board for a tour because on Thursday, October 23, she will depart for her return passage to Ireland. For more details, please click

Irish Writer's Centre - Dublin
The Autumn - Winter Course Brochure is now available . For more details, contact Bernadette Larkin at bernadette@writerscentre.ie, or visit their website:

Samhain International Poetry Festival Friday 31 October & Mon 3 November in Gort a'Choirce, Co. Donegal. Email: info@samhainpoetrycompetition.com
or info@maggiedans.com

SouthEast Texas
November 9, 2003
Danny O'Flaherty, Irish singer/songwriter, will appear at a special benefit performance at the Julie Rogers Theater. For ticket information, call 982-4140 (weekdays) and 722-7298 (evenings and weekends).

Song and Silence: A Weekend with the Celtic Saints - November 21-23
Pendle Hills, Wallingford, PA
For more information or to register, please contact our registrar, Steve Jackson, at ext. 142, (610) 566-4507 or (800) 742-3150, or e-mail him at registrar@pendlehill.org. If you have access to the Internet, please check out our website:

Texas Dulcimer Cruise - February 5-9, 2004
Galveston to Cozumel on the Carnival Celebration. There will be workshops, jam sessions, talent show and more. These spots will go fast, so book early! Inside cabins are $430.80 pp, double occupancy and oceanview cabins are $480.80 pp, double occupancy. Ask for Marcy: 281-535-5703 or e-mail marcy@delesandri.com

Galveston, Texas
March 28, 03
Galveston 1894 Grand Opera House - James Galway, flautist Sunday March 28, 2004 3pm

Cais Conference/Reunion - May 26-29, 2004
Saint Mary's University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
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, 2004
For full details please visit our website at:
http://members.aol.com/manusclan/mcm2004.htm or contact Phil McManus at Manus@aol.com

7th Clann McKenna Rally - June 25th through Sunday June 27th 2004
For details, please write plunkettmckenna@eircom.net
or click on the following link:
Send an email to: bhaggerty@irishcultureandcustoms.com
OR click on this link: