Welcome to the Irish Culture & Customs newsletter which is published every weekend and sent out to nearly 1300 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,

Lovely to be back again, and we hope this week's edition finds you and yours in fine fettle. We also hope that all of our readers in Canada enjoyed a safe and happy Canada Day - and the same goes as well for all of you in the USA who celebrated Independence Day this past Friday.

As for ourselves, typical of July in our valley, it's been steamy and stormy. Mother Nature's own fireworks cancelled many of the displays on Friday night and since then, it has continued very unsettled with power outages and trees down everywhere. We were lucky. We lost just one large limb from an American Elm that towers more than 80 feet over our backyard. What's even luckier, it landed right between a bed of tiger lilies and our compost pile. No-one was hurt and nothing was damaged.

Since the past week was the beginning of the month, we were very busy adding new things to the website, so we hope you'll stop by and visit. Traffic has been way down since the school holidays began, which leads us to wonder if most of our visitors in the last month or so weren't students cramming for their Leaving Certs!

In other news, Russ's mother arrives tomorrow to spend the summer with us. She's really easy-going, so we don't have to go mad preparing for a visit from the queen! But, we do want things to look nice. It's always fun having Mom here - at 80-plus, she's as sharp as a tack and loves a good "debate!"

In news from Ireland, we learned about the "greying of the green." The 2002 Census report shows that the Republic of Ireland's population is now 3,917,203, with 1,004,600 of those living in Co. Dublin. 5.8% of people residing in Ireland are non-Irish nationals, half of whom are British. And, despite having the youngest population in the EU, Ireland is ageing, with an average age of 35.1. If you'd like to read all the Census details, go to http://www.cso.ie/census/pdfs/pdr_2002.pdf

Another interesting tidbit was about tea-drinkers. It appears that tea-drinking in Ireland has declined sharply, with the average Irish person drinking 760 cups last year compared to 870 in 1997. Much to our dismay, the traditional hot cuppa is largely being replaced by herbal drinks, while coffee consumption has also risen to an average of 210 cups annually.

In the fun links department, if you can't get enough of fireworks, click here:
This is actually a greeting card that was sent to us by our good friends, Larry & Judith; it's interactive and fair warning, Bridget probably spent at least 15 minutes playing with it!

In a similar vein, Hartson sent us "SkyFire"
Note: Hartson says "make sure you click in the black sky area and stay well above the flag pole. One other hint, rapid clicking is pretty cool!"

One last bit from the mailbag. Did you know that Pope Paul II will be celebrating his silver jubilee on October 16th, 2003?. Hard to believe it's been 25 years!. To celebrate the event, the Ryan family has set up a website whose sole aim is to encourage Roman Catholics world-wide to have a special Holy Mass said on that date in their parish. To learn more, please click

With that, enough of the nattering and on with the update!
Help support our efforts by visiting our newest sponsor: Celtic Shamrock!
What's "Nua"? Come take a look at our latest offerings, including Pewter hair ties and Celtic toe rings! Also check out our lovely array of Irish apparel, as well as a wide range of items featuring family crests. Fly the flag with pride, but make it extra special with your family's Coat of Arms in the center! From Irish art to Irish weddings, we're confident you'll find what you're looking for at Celtic Shamrock. Plus, we're offering a 15% discount on orders of $50.00 or more. Just insert the Code #29206 in the box on the check-out form. We hope you enjoy your visit and will come back often.
Please click: http://www.celticshamrock.com/index.cfm?aff=34037
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
"Dublin University contains the cream of Ireland - rich and thick."
Samuel Beckett
(And, please, no howls of foul from faculty or alumni - we didn't say it, Beckett did!)
It's not really a joke, but is definitely good for a giggle! Sir Boyle Roche, MP for Co. Kerry was notorious for his oratorical blunders. Witness this lovely example:
During the French Revolution, he warned that the revolutionaries might invade Ireland. "Sir," he declaimed, "they would break in, cut us to mince meat and throw our bleeding heads on that table to stare us in the face."  Who would not answer such a call to arms, not to mention legs and feet?"
1. "Munster Plum" is slang for potato?
2. Dublin's oldest workhouse closed its doors for the last time in July, 1969? Based in Smithfield, it sheltered as many as 10,000 orphans during the 170 years it was in operation.
3. Ireland is the world's 20th largest island?
Since we're in the middle of the "marrying season," here's one of our favorite wedding toasts:
Here's to health, peace and prosperity. May the flower of love never be nipped by the frost of disappointment, nor shadow of grief fall among your family and friends.
The answers to last week's quiz:

1. A New Lease on Life - landlords, tenants and immigrants in Ireland & Canada - Catharine Anne Wilson
2. The Irish in Ontario - A Study in Rural History by Donald Harman Akenson
3. The Irish in North America: A Regional Biography by Seamus P. Metress

Sláinte to 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 Weddings and Our Everyday Heroes

Hartson Dowd
Ever thought of playing the Irish Lotto? Well now you can, and you also get the results emailed to you every week! For complete details, click

Helen Dowd
If you like pet stories, check out http://missionmagazine.tdlofton-ministries.net/articles/petlore/ - a three-part story about Helen's pets. Mission Magazine is a good place to go if you like to read, and a good place to post stories, poems, articles. Check it out: http://missionmagazine.tdlofton-ministries.net/

Déirdre McKiernan-Hetzler
According to Terry Flynn Tours of Ireland, who has the longest continuously running tour from the States to Ireland? The McKiernans of Irish Books &
NOTE: Delighted to hear the wedding went well, Déirdre

Judith Flynn
If you're an aspiring writer and want to know how to promote your work, you'll love this site:

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. When Summer's in the Meadow
2. Summer Days - Stories from Childhood
3. Holiday Walks in Ireland - Connacht

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 note 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!)
1. Home Page - See what's new at a glance:
2. Article: A Letter from America:
3. Article: A Little Bit of Heaven
4. Article: Haymaking in Ireland long ago
5. Article: A Taste of Ireland - Soda Bread - we've added guidelines for anyone who might be interested in entering a Soda Bread competition
6. Article: He came to mock - but stayed to pray. "Garland Sunday" is at the end of this month and it's when people make the annual pilgrimage climb up Croagh Patrick.
7. Kids' Ireland - Sean & The Skelkie - a new story by our resident Seanchai, Graine Rowland
8. Culture Corner: The Ardagh Chalice
9. Culture Corner - Kids' Ireland: Irish Seals & Selkie Tales
10. New Trivia Contest
We're delighted to welcome Enisko Gaspar of Canada into our Irish Trivia Winner's Circle. Congratulations, Enisko! The new contest for July has been posted. All entries must be in by midnight, July 31st, whatever time zone you're in
11. Circle of Prayer. We are in Novena #8 of this cycle and today is the last day. Novena #9 begins tomorrow, July 7. Whether or not you believe in miracles, we're convinced that prayers are heard - and answered. So, we invite you to join us and pray for Sam in California - he's just 5 years old and battling cancer; Christopher is only a few months old and has a brain tumor; Steve is still recovering from an accident on the job and his wife Margaret is also having a difficult time; and then there's Gayla's brother-in-law whose cancer has returned. Last, but certainly not least, are the USA and British military in Iraq - if ever a miracle was needed, it's for these brave men and women; we pray that no more of them will perish and, God willing, please bring them home safely. If you would like to join us, please click
12. The Library: Song of the Selkies, a novel full of suspense and intrigue
13. New Heritage/Genealogy shop - now open and ready for you to browse and buy! So far, we're featuring heraldic items and we'll be adding genealogy products soon
14. Irish News: Headlines for the past week
15. This month in Irish History:
16. The Raccoon Caper - Ms. Half & Company: For those of you who haven't read this crazy critter tale by Russ, here's your last chance: it's published at this special URL accessible only to you and by clicking through here:

We posted a new blessing today, Wednesday, we'll have another quote, and the headlines and history will be updated daily. Also on tap, a new Irish lesson with the focus on Irish dancing, a warm-weather recipe from Hartson, the article about Gregory Peck and a brief piece on "Hungry July."

So that's about the long and the short of it, except for the answer to last week's riddle:
What gets wetter as it dries? A towel! Well done to all who came up with the correct answer!
Now, see how you do with this one from the auld sod itself:
A useless, useful instrument,
Bought for money, cant be lent.
The man who owns it, 'tisn't his own
And the person it's bought for,
It carries him home.

Until next time, many thanks to all of you who sent us cards for the fourth - and also a warm welcome and a thank you to all of our new subscribers. If you've enjoyed your first copy of our weekly meanderings, please feel free to share them with your family and friends.

So...may the coming days find you in good health, good humor and in good company. And may the Good Shepherd of us all hold you and yours in the palm of His hand...and as they say in Ireland - mind yourself!

All the best,
Bridget & Russ
Get down on your knees and thank God you're still on your feet
Help us keep this newsletter free by visiting the Celtic Attic:
Make sure you enter this month's free giveaway: SUMMER COOLER SPECTACULAR! We will be giving away a Gift Basket which contains a Handpainted Iced Tea Pitcher - 2 Glasses, Irish or Scottish Tea, Shortbread & Irish Candy Treats bag, Suncatcher & a Keychain! Value $60.00. Click here to enter:
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Know someone who could use a bit of cheering up? Say it with flowers!
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

The Voyage of the Jeanie Johnston
She is in NY and is docked at the North Cove Marina, Battery Park City until Sunday, July 13. For details, please click

Celtic Camp Starts Tomorrow!
The camp runs for 3 weeks, ending July 25th. Campers may attend all three weeks or one or two as suits your schedule. Camp activities are from 9-4, but we are open 8-6 to accommodate work schedules. The cost is $160 per week with a limited number of scholarships available. The location is the River Valley School in Regent Square, 1 block off the Parkway East. We are also offering a variety of other camps throughout the summer, you might consider joining us for King Arthur's Court, Colonial America, or Mythical Beasts. For information contact Peggy Dague at peigicsa@yahoo.com or by phone at 412-247-9133.

Dun Laoghaire, Dublin, Ireland
Festival of World Cultures - August 22-August 24
Arts festival celebrating cultural diversity through an extravaganza of internationally acclaimed acts including music, film, circus, theatre, dance performances, club nights, markets, exhibitions, workshops & children's activities.

Cultural Holidays on Inis Mór
Walking the Ancient Celtic Way - August 2-9 2003
For more information, please click: http://www.irish-culture.ch

Irish Writers Center, Dublin, Ireland
New Creative Writing Courses at IWC have been announced for the month of August, including Begin Your Novel, Writing Creative Non-Fiction, and Reading & Writing Poetry. A full programme of creative writing is also being planned for the Autumn/Winter and a brochure with full details will be available in August. For more information, please contact
Bernadette Larkin,
Development Officer,
Irish Writers Centre,
19 Parnell Square,
Dublin 1, Ireland.
Phone: (3531) 8721302 Fax: (3531) 8726282

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: