Welcome to the Irish Culture & Customs newsletter which is published every week or so and sent out to more than 3800 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:
If, for any reason, you wish to unsubscribe, instructions are at the very end - but we do hope you'll stay with us. And if you need to update your info' or change your email address, you can do that at the end, too.
Greetings and Blessings to all,

Pinch, punch, first day of the month, white rabbit! We hope this edition finds you in fine fettle and fit as a fiddle. A warm welcome to everyone and a special hello to all of our new readers. We hope you like what 's on offer and if so, please feel free to share our musings and meanderings with your family and friends.

Did you see or hear the history being made for the second time in as many weeks at Croke Park last Saturday? We were on the edge of our chairs wondering what would happen when the Artane Boys Band struck up God Save the Queen. As one newspaper headline put it - "The Day Ireland Grew Up" - and fair play to every Ireland fan in the stands who showed the respect owed an opposing sports team as their anthem is played. Next up were "Amhrán na bhFiann" and "Ireland's Call" which were sung with unprecedented passion by a crowd of more than 82,000. Such was the emotion of the occasion that at least two members of the Irish squad couldn't hold back the tears. (See below for links to videos).

Tears also flowed when we received a box from Irish Books & Media which contained the last few remaining copies of Bridget's book published by our guardian angel, Ethna McKiernan. But for her faith in its sales potential, it would have gone out of print long ago. Now, there are a few stores who bought copies from existing stock, including our good friends Lollysmith, and amazon may still have some. But after they're gone, we will have all that's left . The tears weren't for the book. As of February 28, Irish Books & Media doors closed for the last time and even the web site now says "no more books available." We tried calling and ended up leaving a a message. We're thinking that the McKernan family may have gathered for a proper Irish wake to celebrate so many successful years of bringing Irish literature, music and more to North America and beyond. We hope so.

On a lighter note, earlier this week we were contacted out of the blue by Fireside Ireland. It seems that they have an annual "Best of the Web sites for Dreaming about Ireland list and we were very surprised to learn that we had been nominated and then astonished to discover we had placed sixth out of forty sites. If you'd like to see the listing, here's the URL:

We also received a phone call from Women's World. Snippets from an interview Bridget did last October will appear in the March 6th issue under a topic along the lines of what makes the Irish happy. Bridget can't remember all of what was discussed. Fingers crossed, she's not misquoted as so often happens with the press!

Before we forget - belated Happy St. David's Day to all of our Celtic cousins in Wales. We also hope and pray that all of you who live in the region of the devastating tornadoes in the USA are okay. Talk about March coming in like a lion!
Enough of the blitherin' - on with the update!
SPONSOR: Help us keep your newsletter coming. Visit our good friends at Lollysmith:
In anticipation of all the upcoming holidays, we're fully stocked with a wonderful selection of gifts for St. Patrick's Day, Mothering Sunday (March 18), Easter, and more. And to make it as convenient as possible, we've combined gifts with holiday themes from throughout our shop on to one page. So come browse around a bit and check out our adorable tatty Teddy bears, inspirational Rosary beads of genuine Connemara marble, and many other great gift ideas.
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 Is
Leave 'em Laughing
Ingrid Craigie given special Irish Theatre award
Actor Ingrid Craigie received a special tribute award for her contribution to Irish theatre, at last Sunday's 10th Irish Times Theatre Awards in the Burlington Hotel, Dublin. Gabriel Byrne and Sorcha Cusack presented the award.

Clare: Harris statue on the move?
A tribute statue of Richard Harris, which was last year unveiled in Kilkee could be moved. The statue shows the Limerick man playing racquet ball, a sport he won four times in a row in a Kilkee competition. Last August, a local resident said the statue was too close to her home. Because of the objection, the statue launch went ahead last September at a different site overlooking the Pollock Holes.The now is to relocate the statue to its original location at Wellington Street.

Galway: Rum Spirits Ltd, Salthill, has applied to the Galway City Council for permission to demolish the Salt & Pepper restaurant/takeaway and apartments. The building dates back to 1935.

Kerry: Killarney road is away with the fairies?
The N22 at Curraglass near Killarney has proved a difficult road for council engineers to fix - so much so, that independent councillor for the Killarney area Danny Healy-Rae has suggested that the good people may be the cause of the primary road problems. A dip keeps appearing on the road, which runs through an area of Celtic stones and monuments. Though Kerry County Council made repairs, the noticeable hollow continues to reappear. The place-names in the area often refer to "lioses" or fairy-forts. The council's road department claims the cause of the dip may be a subsoil or geotechnical problem. Hmmm.

Kildare: Moorefield on the up and up
These are good days for Moorefield Gaelic football club after their draw in the AIB All-Ireland semi-finals against Dr Croke's last weekend. If they manage to win the replay, which is to take place in Nenagh, Co. Tipperary on Sunday, they will be the first Kildare club side to reach a final in Croke Park in twenty-five years; the final takes place on St Patrick's Day.

Laois: Blue bridge to make way for shopping centre extension
The renowned blue bridge over James Fintan Lalor Avenue, Portlaoise will soon be demolished to make way for an extension to Laois Shopping Centre. Planning permission was recently granted to developers Lindat Limited for removing the bridge, which has stood in the town for over fifteen years.

Longford: Full boating trips on Royal Canal for summer '08
Waterways Ireland announced this week that the Royal Canal would reopen within three kilometres of the Shannon by this summer, but complete boating journeys could not take place until summer 2008. The Benagh Bridge east of Clondara is to be completed in a few weeks, and a final bridge between Benagh and Clondara Harbour is to be replaced by Longford County Council over the coming year. This final bridge will reopen the journey between Spencer Dock, Dublin and Clondara.

Louth: Hopes for Medieval boat to remain in Drogheda
A Medieval boat found last November on the bed of the River Boyne might be moved to the National Museum in Dublin. The vessel is believed to be a single-mast clinker-built boat that could have been carrying salted fish when it sank. Louth county councillor Frank Maher has insisted that the boat should stay in Drogheda, where it was discovered by Drogheda Port Company. He said the raising and conserving of the vessel would take years to complete. The councillor hopes to put the Medieval boat on display in a Louth museum to show the county's rich heritage and maritime history.

Tipperary: Land should be used for park, not hotel, say nuns
A group of Presentation Order nuns who sold their convent and grounds on St Francis Abbey, Friar Street, Cashel, recently objected to plans for the construction of a hotel on the site. The nuns had sold the land to Cashel Town Council in the belief that the site was to be allocated as a town park. However the council decided to allow a hotel to be based on the spot, selling the site for €1.9m, after the nuns sold them the property for a mere €380,000. Shelagh Marshall, secretary of the Save Our Town Park Committee, has secured 1,400 signatures in a petition to restore the land as a park.

Wicklow: Bray football turns up on Isle of Man
Gary Donnelly, player-manager of the over-35 Garden County team, recently received a phone call from the Isle of Man regarding a football he lost while kicking it around in the People's Park in Bray. The ball was washed away by the River Dargle and was eventually recovered by the man while he was walking the beach in the Isle of Man. The ball had Gary's mobile number on it and so the finder was able to contact him. The man told Gary that a number of unusual items are washed up on his local beach, including plastic ducks from the annual duck race in the Liffey.

USA: Don't miss out on the opportunity to represent your State in this year's 2007
Rose of Tralee International Festival.
The search is now on to find the 2007 Rose of Tralee in the following locations: Atlanta, Boston, California (2 centers),Chicago, Kentucky, Maine, New Jersey, New Orleans, New York, Philadelphia, Ohio, Texas and Washington DC. For complete details about the competition in general, please click
SPONSOR: Help us keep this newsletter free by visiting our good friends at the Celtic Attic:
Need a dash of Irish flair for St. Patrick's Day? Want to send something really nice to your "mum" in Ireland & the UK for Mothering Sunday (March 18th this year)? Planning an Irish wedding? Whatever the occasion, we can help make it memorable with our wide range of gifts and novelties. Come take a look. And remember - we offer Free Shipping on most orders over $75.00 (some restrictions apply). Also, act now and take an additional 25%, YES 25% off any SALES PAGE item in our Sales Section! And don't forget to enter the Monthly Free Giveaway.  This month we have combined our free giveaway so you only have to fill out one form. Happy shopping from all of us at the celtic Attic!

In our last newsletter, Pat Murphy wanted to know the proper way to pronounce Tullamore. Our native Irish speaker Aideen tells us it's tull as in gull a-more. Another reader wanted to know how to pronounce Moher as in the Cliffs of Moher. Aideen says it's Moh-er with just a slight accent on the second syllable.

Tina & Joe want to know all of the words and origins of the following:
How far is it to Dublin town,
Three score and 10 sir.
Will I be there by candlelight,
Yes and back again sir.....

Marilyn writes: A friend mentioned to me recently an Irish Ballad/Lovesong that was written in blood on a prison cell wall; he said it was beautiful & but of course cannot remember the name or who sings it; any chance you might know just what the heck he's talking about??  Thanks!

Jane Graybill asked about "the bite of friendship" and wanted to know exactly what the custom is and where it began. We were correct in saying that it was offering a visitor the hospitality of the house; that said, Harold wrote and told us that in medieval times, visitors to an Irish castle took bread and salt before entering as a token of trust. We weren't able to corroborate this bit; it would appear that the custom of dipping bread into salt as a sign of friendship and/or welcome is still in use all over the world.

Many thanks to Rosemary for the following: The Rome diocesan office charged with promoting the sainthood cause of Pope John Paul II continues to distribute the official prayer cards for the cause and the only authorized relics. The relic is a small piece of one of the white cassocks worn by Pope John Paul. The free cards and relics can be requested by letter, fax or e-mail, she said. The e-mail address is: Postulazione.GiovanniPaoloII@VicariatusUrbis.org; the fax number is: (39-06) 6888-6240. The mailing address is: Postulazione Giovanni Paolo II, Vicariato di Roma, Piazza San Giovanni in Laterano 6A, 00184 Rome , Italy.

Tony Keaveney shares this bit of the Irish wit: The wife and I were traveling around Ireland by car when it developed a slow puncture; we managed to find a small local garage where I asked the the owner if they had an air line. He says "an air line?  You must be joking; we don't even have a bus station!"

Happy St. Patrick's Day - U2
The group as they were many years ago.

The anthems at Croke Park last Saturday
If you missed these historic moments, here's your chance to see them. The first one appears to be professionally produced segment and includes all three anthems beginning with God Save the Queen. The others confine themselves to Amhrán na bhFiann and were taped by fans. Amazingly, these are just a sampling of 75 videos you can watch on the Ireland vs England match:

Author, Author!
Many of our subscribers are published or about to be published authors - no mean feat as Bridget can attest! In this newsletter, we introduce you to two of them:
Green are the Valleys and Blue are the Hills by Thomas Crane. This is a heart-warming tale of Tom's search for his ancestors and includes original poetry and personal photos. You can download it here:

Congratulations to Harold Curtis who is under contract with Twilight Fantasies to publish his first book. The Tribunal of the Rose is a fantasy/romance and there are definitely Celtic themes running through it, as well as a little bit of the Irish (language). For more details, please click

Around the old turf fire
Yearning for the unmistakable smell of a peat fire burning in the hearth? Here's the next best thing: a nostalgic turf incense burner! And if you should decide to buy one, you'll receive a 10% discount at check out if you include the code ICC200 and we'll get a small commission. Thanks in advance!

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:

Free Pet Food!
Last but certainly not least - our ongoing 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!

Free People Food!
It only takes a second to feed hungry people, too:
Here's a classic toast to memorize before St. Patrick's Day:
St. Patrick was a gentleman who through strategy and stealth
Drove all the snakes from ireland, here's a toasting to his health;
But not too many toastings lest you lose yourself and then
Forget the good St. Patrick and see all those snakes again!
Always forgive your enemies; nothing annoys them so much.
Oscar Wilde
A Scottish rugby fan was walking through the streets of Glasgow when he sees a sale on at a video shop. When he stops to look he sees a video called Scottish Rugby The Golden Years. The guy enters the shop and asks how much the video costs. The shop owners replies, £300. The Scots rugby fan replies,What! I'm not paying £300 just for a video! The shop owner replies "Don't be daft, the video is £5 the Beta-Max video player is £295!!
1. St. Patrick introduced the Roman alphabet and Latin literature into Ireland?
2. The first name of St. Patrick's parents are Calphurnius and Conchessa?
3. St. Patrick's remains were wrapped in the shroud woven by St. Brigid's own hands?
To start off with, the answers to our last quiz:

1. The Life of St. Patrick: Enlightener of the Irish - Zachary Lynch
2. The Writings of St. Patrick: The Apostle of Ireland  - Charles H. Wright
3. Discovering St. Patrick - Thomas O'Loughlin
Please clap your feet for our brilliant Irish bibliophiles:
Helen Dowd
I invite you to come visit my web site and click on "Literary" for your choice of reading. And thanks to all who have voted for my site.http://www.occupytillicome.com

Susan O'Connor
As a teacher in the US, I'm fascinated with education in other countries and I've enjoyed exploring the following site which is about schooling in Ireland.

Kathleen Driscoll
Here is a great site for finding links to Irish literature pages on the net:

Mark Healy
My nomination is the official site for my favorite vocalist - Eyna!

Kevin Linehan
They say they're the biggest and best Irish joke site on the world wide web. True or not, they've got a lot of them - and some them are pretty good!

Want to see your name and favorite web site in our next newsletter?
Who wrote:
1. St. Patrick's Secrets: 101 Little-Known Truths and Tales of Ireland
2. The Wisdom of St. Patrick
3. May the wind be at your back: The prayer of St. Patrick
SPONSOR: Please help us keep the newsletter coming - visit our good friends at the Irish Lotto.
The jackpot is soaring! There was NO winner in Wednesday's drawing. That means Saturday's big prize will be about 6.5 million Euro. It's always been our fantasy that one of our readers will be the big winner, but as they say in Ireland, you can't win it if you're not in it. And here's the best part - you don't have to live in Ireland to play and your winnings are not subject to Irish taxes! Click here for more details or to buy a ticket:
First off, the answer to our last brain-bruiser:
Q. How many 1 foot by 1 foot bricks would it take to complete a building that's 20 feet long on all four sides and 20 feet
A. One!
Many of you went to an awful lot of trouble figuring our how many bricks it might take to BUILD the structure and missed the key word COMPLETE. Just one of our brilliant riddle people came up with the correct answer and they prefer to remain anonymous. They know who they are - so well done!

And now for another brain matter melt-down:
It lives above a star, but does not burn.
It has 11 companions that do not turn.
Its initials are PRS.
What is it?
1. Article: Celebrating St. patrick's Day in Old ireland
2. Article: A Bit of the Blather
3. Article: Emblems of ireland - The Shamrock
4. Article: Sure begone and begorrah to Oirish greeting cards!
5. Article: Who was behind the doors of Dublin?
6. Kids' Ireland: St. Patrick - from Slave to Saint
7. Basic irish: St.Patrick's Day
8. Irish Kitchen: Recipes for the Lenten Season
9. Circle of prayer - Our 3rd Novena in this cycle ends on March 2 and our 4th begins on March 3. So many are in need of your prayers and meditations; whatever your spiritual leanings, please remember Patricia Edward's daughter Heather who is having an extremely difficult time with her chemotherapy; our dear friend Bob Kelly who has pneumonia; Simon Shepherd who needs a miracle if he is to live longer than another 18 months.; baby Joseph who is still holding his own, Pauline Dewberry who is home from the hospital but still very weak following her bone marrow transplant, little Emma Josephine, Mickey, Jane Fitz., Scott H and so many others who need our spiritual support - especially our men and women in the military serving their country all over the world God willing, they will all be home safe and sound soon.
10. Trivia Contest. The new contest for March will be posted asap. We have a winner for February and they have been notified. We'll let you know who it is next time.

The Week That Will Be - God Willing
March took us a bit by surprise so we're behind with things like the Trivia Contest, music review, letter of the month and so on. We'll do our best to catch up as quickly as we can. In the meantime, don't forget to visit our site every day for the news headlines here:
History of the Day here:
A new blessing on Sunday and a new quote on Wednesday.

So there you have it until we write again.  If you're celebrating a birthday, anniversary or other special event between now and then,  we hope it's filled with joy, laughter and love.  Are you getting married this month or did you tie the knot in March? Here's your special verse:
If you marry when March winds blow,
Joy and sorrow both you'll know.

With that, we'll leave you with this lovely Irish blessing:
Bless you and yours as well as the house you live in;
May the roof overhead be well -thatched,
and those inside well matched!

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!
Help keep the newsletter coming
Officially, our annual dollar drive is over but we are always happy to receive donations at any time of year. If you'd like to help us out you can send a little something through PayPal:
and to this account:

or by snail mail to:
Bridget & Russ Haggerty
5670 Meryton Place
Cincinnati, OH 45224.

Go raibh maith agat in advance for your generosity and 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.

San Francisco - March 1-4
The San Francisco Irish Film Festival will take place at the Roxie Film Center, 16th and Valencia Streets. The festival will feature more than 20 films, documentaries, shorts and TV programmes. For full details see http://www.sfirishfilm.com

Winston-Salem, North Carolina - march 1- march 31
From the Beara to Sligo: Works from the West of Ireland by Amy Funderburk; Timothy Nichols Gallery, 629, North Trade Street. For more details, please click

Ennis, Co. Clare- March 2nd-4th  
This year's Ennis Book Club Festival features  number of internationally renowned authors including playwright and novelist Patrick McCabe, author of 'The Butcher Boy' and 'Breakfast on Pluto' and Edna O'Brien, a County Clare novelist, short story writer, playwright and screenwriter. For complete details, please visit:

Florence, KY - March 3
Irish Day at the races - Turfway Park Race Course; music and vendors begin at 12:00 noon and continue until 7:30 pm. In addition to the horse-racing, there's a wide range of entertainment on offer, from Irish dancers to the Friendly Sons of St. Patrick Glee Club. Did we mention the food and drink? For more details please click

Detroit, Michigan- March 7
Brian Bonner, famous accordian player will be playing at the Waterford Senior Center in Waterford Michigan on March 7 at 1 PM for an Irish Sing-a-long.  He will also be playing at the Saline Evangelical Home in Saline Michigan on March 13 at 4:15 PM. Brian isdonating his time and talent on behalf of Hospice of Michigan.  For more details about Brian, please click

Cincinnati, OH - March 9 through 11
New Gate Celtic Theatre Company proudly announces its upcoming
production, "The Freedom of the City" by Brian Friel on March 9-10 at 7:30 pm, March 11 at 2:00 pm and 16-17, 2007 at 7:30 pm at the Brookwood Retirement
Community Theater, 12100 Reed Hartmann Highway. To purchase tickets, please click

Philadelphia, PA - March 4 through 11
Philadelphia Flower Show: Legends of Ireland; Pennsylvania Convention Center.

Houston, Texas - March 9
St. Patrick's Emerald Ball & Reception and Silent Auction
Honoring the IRISHMEN OF THE YEAR The Carr Boys: Billy, Michael & David At the Houston Club, 811 Rusk at Milam. For information & Reservations call Dorothy Davitt: 281-358-2380

Cincinnati, OH - March 10
"Sacred Relics" - The History of the Irish in Cincinnati. Hibernian Hall, 3926 River Road from 12 noon to 6:00 pm. For more details please call (513) 245-9299 or email Patrick Mallory 

Sligo - March 18
A School Reunion will be held in St. Joseph's Secondary School, Gurteen, Co. Sligo, Ireland. Mass will be celebrated at 5pm in St. Patrick'sChurch, Gurteen, followed by a reunion dinner in "Teach Murray" at 8pm. Names and Addresses of past pupils from September 1954 to June 1968 and copies of photographs would be greatly appreciated by the committee. Please contact Nicholas Ryan at 071 9182289, Nuala O'Dowd at 071 9182114, Ita O'Rourke at 071 9182089 or alternatively email:
orourkeita@hotmail.com or cphannan@yahoo.co.uk 

Co. Letrim - April 14 through April 20
Leitrim Roots Festival 2007. Are your ancestors from "Lovely leitrim?"Have you yearned to return and find your roots? That's what this festival is all about! To find out more, please click

If you think Ireland has problems with delivering quality medical services, take a look at the following physician transcriptions taken from patients' records around North America - remember, these are real:

By the time he was admitted, his rapid heart had stopped, and he was feeling better.

On the second day the knee was better and on the third day it had completely disappeared.

She has had no rigors or shaking chills, but her husband states she was very hot in bed last night.

The patient refused an autopsy.

She slipped on the ice and apparently her legs went in separate directions in early December.

Rectal exam revealed a normal size thyroid.

She stated that she had been constipated for most of her life until 1989 when she got a divorce.

The patient was in his usual state of good health until his airplane ran out of gas and crashed.

I saw your patient today, who is still under our car for physical therapy.

Bleeding started in the rectal area and continued all the way to Los Angeles.

She is numb from her toes down.

While in the emergency room, she was examined, X-rated and
sent home.

The lab test indicated abnormal lover function.

Occasional, constant, infrequent headaches.

Patient was alert and unresponsive.

When she fainted, her eyes rolled around the room.

And, in our opinion, the best one is.....
The patient was to have a bowel resection. However he took a job as a stockbroker instead.