Greetings & Blessings to one and all,

We hope this edition finds you in good health, good spirits and good company. If this is your first issue, many thanks for joining us and if you take some pleasure from perusing our musings and meanderings, please feel free to share them with your family and friends.

Meanwhile, since last we wrote, our friends down under celebrated Australia Day - God willing it was a safe and happy occasion - and not too blooming hot! Compared to the freezing extremes of the Southern Hemisphere, it’s been exactly the opposite in the North; would that Mother Nature could balance things out a bit more evenly! That said, the snowdrops are up in Cornwall. How do we know that? One of our favourite writers, Joe McGowan sent Bridget a Happy St. Brigid’s Day greeting which was accompanied by a photograph of a St. Bridid’s Cross lying nestled in a clump of snowdrops. It’s very striking and we have been given permission by the photographer, Gillian to reprint it on the homepage of the web site. We’ll be putting it up this coming Monday which is St. Brigid’s Day and the first day of spring in the Celtic calendar. With the temperature in our parts late being in the teens and even colder of late, we can’t wait for more balmy days!

Thanks so much to all of you who wrote and said you were praying for Russ. It has been a very difficult time since his diagnosis and operation, but we are optimistic about the outcome. Another round of meds is now being tried andplease God, it will be what’s needed to relieve his discomfort. He sees his surgeon next Wednesday and we will know more then.

Also, since the last time we were in touch, we were happy to receive a helping hand from several readers in response to our annual dollar drive. But we made a huge mistake in our email address for PayPal. If you copied and pasted the address in the last letter, you may have wondered why your gift is still unclaimed. The problem is that the address doesn’t exist. We have been in touch with PayPal and the only thing that can be done is for you to cancel your donation and start over with the correct address. We are very sorry for the inconvenience - but we will be even sorrier if we lose out on a contribution. The correct address is:

We have been wondering why the donations are way down compared to last year and this could very well be the reason. We also received a message from a reader who runs an Irish group and one of her members wanted to know why we were asking for donations. We were a bit taken aback because we assumed our subscribers would understand that there are many out of pocket expenses associated with running a web site and sending out a newsletter. Since it’s just the two of us living on a fixed income, we must rely on the kindness of our subscribers and advertisers to help cover these extra expenses. And there are rewards if you help us out ( besides feeling chuffed):

Thanks to the generosity of Anita Daly Communications, we have several Irish CDs to give away. For every dollar you donate, your name will go into Russ’s old top hat. And for every donation of $5.00 you will receive an Irish Blessing coin. But wait there’s more: (We’ve been watching American TV too long!)

Patricia Banker, the artist behind Patriarts and Saints preserved has graciously offered to give us one dollar for every sale in the month of February. This applies to all products including new items such as Chaplets and Penal rosaries. When placing an order. please use the code word Irish.

As in previous years, we’ll run the campaign for a month or so. In addition to our PayPal account, and if you prefer, your donations are just as welcome by snailmail at
5814, Blue Spruce La
Cincinnati OH 45224

Many thanks in advance for your kindness!

Enough of the blather - on with the update...
SPONSOR: Please help us keep your newsletter coming - visit our good friends at the Celtic Attic:
St. Valentine’s Day is right around the corner! Stop by the Celtic Attic where you’ll find a wide array of gifts for those special people close to your heart - and all with Celtic flair. Plus, take 5.00 off an order of $50 or more exclusively through Irish Culture & Customs. Just put the code IC01 in the add a gift card section!
Contact the Celtic Attic on line or by phone - and tell them Bridget & Russ said hello!
Tel: 1-360-286-2307
On line:

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
We post major news stories on our web site daily - but we make it a point to avoid murder, mayhem and politics. There’s enough of that already without adding more. You’ll find two weeks worth of stories here:

With a special thanks to the Irish Emigrant, what follows is a selection of news items that probably won't make the national headlines. To read complete regional round-ups for the past several weeks, please click


Antrim: Belfast building saved from demolition
Plans to demolish the nineteenth century Swanston Building - a former linen warehouse - to make way for an apartment and retail complex have been quashed by the High Court in Belfast. The Ulster Architectural Heritage Society brought the action against Carlisle Property Developments,

Armagh: New life for Seven Houses site
The original house which was destroyed by fire in the 1950s, was built towards the end of the eighteenth century by Dean Averall for his seven sisters; in its new life it will have four storeys on the Lower English Street side with three storeys fronting onto College Street.

Carlow: A pothole to beat all potholes
The county was recorded as the coldest place in Ireland during the recent freeze and now it can claim another unwanted record, as having the largest pothole. The road at Rathnagrew on the outskirts of Hacketstown has been left with a pothole that stretches from one side of the road to the other, with the result that children living there have to be brought to school by Willie Whelan and his tractor.

Cavan: Crosserlough does it again
There were a number of entrants from the county in the provincial final of Scór na nÓg, which took place in Galbally, Co. Tyrone recently. Among the line-up were céilí dancers from Templeport, a recitation and ballad group from Cornafean, and participants in Question Time from Drumlane. However it was the set dancers from Crosserlough who brought home a trophy, having been named as Ulster champions for the fourth consecutive year. For the last three years the group has reached the All-Ireland final but has never quite made it to the national title. They hope things will be different this year.

Cork: Hotel extends luxury to canine clientele
The Hayfield Manor Hotel, known for its five-star service, is extending its hospitality to encourage people with dogs to stay with them. The hotel has added two new rooms which house kennels. Each of these has either Lord of the Manor or Lady of the Manor on a sign over the door and, in addition to what constitutes a gourmet meal in the canine world, the four-legged guests will be taken for walks by Louis, the hotel’s doorman.

Cork: Murphy's brewery archives online
The history of Murphy’s Brewery in Cork has become available for public perusal with a new online guide to the institution’s archives.
The records in the Murphy’s archive document the social and economic history of Cork from the mid 19th-mid 20th century. Comprising 91 archival boxes and 147 bound volumes, the collection represents a genealogical treasure trove for families connected to the brewery. For complete details, please click

Derry: Atlanta-based Derryman looks after his own
When a basketball team became stranded in Atlanta and subsequently had their passports stolen, they were welcomed into the home of Derryman Peter Casey and his family. The Limerick sports team’s plane to Heathrow was grounded and, having already enjoyed the Casey family hospitality when they were invited to dinner, the team coach contacted Peter for help. Not only did he give over his basement to the eight players and their coach, he also carried out all the necessary work to procure them new passports, even paying for the coach to fly to Washington DC to collect them. Peter owns Claddagh Resources, which has an office in Buncrana, Co. Donegal.

Donegal: The earth moves in Bridgend
As if the county hadn’t enough to deal with during the freezing weather, a large area experienced an earthquake measuring 1.6 on the Richter Scale on Thursday night. The tremor was centred on Bridgend, in the south of Inishowen, and was heard as what appeared to be a loud thunderclap followed by a tremor. The disturbance was felt in Inishowen and the Fanad peninsula, with one of those reporting it being Teresa Gillespie from Desertegney near Buncrana. In Kerrykeel a number of people left their homes until the tremor had passed. According to Dr Thomas Blake of the School of Cosmic Physics the county is one of two areas in Ireland susceptible to earthquakes.

Donegal: Ceremonies to be in held in memory of “Laurentic” sailors
This weekend two ceremonies will be held to commemorate those who lost their lives during the First World War when the Laurentic struck two German mines. More than three hundred sailors died when the vessel sank in Lough Swilly, and many are buried in graveyards in the Fanad and Inishowen peninsulas. The memorial ceremonies will be held on Inishowen, at Cockhill graveyard outside Buncrana and at St Mura’s, Fahan. Organised by the Ulster Newfoundland Initiative, the ceremony will include wreaths being laid and it is anticipated that the Canadian ambassador to Ireland, Patrick Burns, will attend.

Dublin: Some were disappointed...
When a Guinness tanker turned up on the Kilmore Estate in Santry there were a few disappointed people who were hoping that there would be Guinness on tap. However most of the residents were delighted to receive supplies of fresh water, since the area has been without water since the freezing weather, due to burst pipes and to people running taps to prevent such an occurrence. The brewery has vast reserves of water from which it can draw supplies and it has been able to transport the precious liquid to areas affected by the shortage, without affecting its own production.

Fermanagh: Small pullet, large egg on Tempo farm
When Victor Graham went to collect the eggs from his flock of six-month-old Light Sussex pullets he discovered that one of them, and he still doesn’t know which one, had laid a gigantic egg. While most of the eggs weigh approximately two ounces, the egg Victor found weighed an amazing five and a quarter ounces. Victor runs the farm at Modena with his son Stephen, who has a flock of ten rare breeds of hens on the Modena farm. Victor intends to have the egg blown and will put in on display if he can find an egg cup large enough to hold it.

Kerry: Family housebound for three weeks
Paul and Jacky Stanley, with Jacky’s parents Catherine and David Parish, have been confined to their home at Muingwee, Lyreacrompane since before Christmas. The roads in the remote area are completely impassable, even for an SUV, while a neighbour with a tractor who managed to reach them on a couple of occasions was eventually defeated by the snow and ice. With their own well, their own laying hens and Catherine Parish’s baking skills, the family have managed to survive, though Paul has not been able to go to his work in Abbeyfeale since December 20. They are now hoping that the thaw will allow them to get to the shops once more.

Kerry: It’s an ill wind...
While many bemoaned the recent spell of bad weather, and they themselves were called on more frequently, the members of the Kerry Mountain Rescue Team were able to carry out a training exercise without leaving the country. Normally they would go to Scotland or even to the Alps for specialist winter mountain training, but this year the McGillycuddy Reeks provided the perfect setting for all the procedures, according to press officer Damien Courtney. The thirty-strong team practised walking on the snow and ice using crampons, snow belays and self-arrest using an ice axe.

Kilkenny: Historic first for Kilkenny IFA
Recently, the Kilkenny branch of the Irish Farmers’ Association created county history by electing a woman, Joan Fitzpatrick from Threecastles, as chairman for the first time. Joan runs a farm with her husband Sean, who is also active in the IFA and is Forestry Chairman for Kilkenny. Prior to her appointment Joan has held the post of National Farm Family Chairman.

Laois: Town’s oldest pub closes
Hume’s on Main Street, the oldest pub in Portlaoise and also the town’s first when it opened, has closed after serving the local people for almost one hundred and fifty years. The licence was first granted to Robert Hume, great-grandfather of Noel, the last member of the Hume family to run the pub. He and his wife Maureen retired five years ago and Noel decided not to attend the closing party. His family also ran Peig’s and Lockie’s on the Top Square. At the closing party a sing-song took place, which was particularly enjoyed by Hume’s long time regular customer Liam ‘Skipper’ Deegan.

Limerick: City won’t sell stone
City coffers may be overdrawn, but the council has confirmed there are no plans to sell Limerick's historic Treaty Stone to a casino in Atlantic City in the United States.

Limerick: Plea posted for Paula the Parrot
A Raheen-based family has issued a plea for the return of their African grey parrot, Paula, who has been missing from their Thornberry home since New Year’s Eve. The parrot flew off from the back garden of the Swiatek family home when Marzena Swiatek walked out into the garden with Paula on her shoulder. The bird, which is a great favourite with Marzena and Adam’s children, Eliza and Eryk, is able to give details of her owners but unfortunately only in the Polish language.

Longford: Some good news about St Mel’s
Although it is going to take up to five years to restore St Mel’s Cathedral, one bit of good news has emerged during the last week. Ken Ryan of Abbey Stained Glass Studios has confirmed that his studio still has in its possession full tracings of each of the windows. This is unusual as such tracings are usually discarded after ten years, but it means that the windows can be accurately restored. It is thirteen years since Ken last worked on the windows, when they were removed, restored and refitted, and it is from that time that the tracings date.

Longford: Landmark birthday for confectioner turned nun
Sister Alacoque Natton, who worked as a confectioner before entering the Sisters of Mercy convent in 1935 at the age of twenty-eight, celebrated her one hundred and third birthday last week. Sister Alacoque entered the convent in Ballymahon and she was joined in her celebrations by many of her co-religious, as well as staff from Laurel Lodge in Longford where she has lived for the last two years.

Louth: St Brigid to be celebrated in Dundalk
A six-day celebration of Brigid of Faughart comprising lectures and workshops will culminate on St Brigid’s feast day on February 1. Workshops will include the making of St Brigid’s crosses by local schoolchildren, and in the town centre opposite the courthouse a ceremony will take place for the reception of a sacred flame and healing water.

Mayo: Murrisk is set to host the 2010 National Famine Memorial Day. It is proposed that the national event will take place in the village on May 16 next after Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs Éamon Ó Cuív outlined the National Famine Commemoration Committee’s plans for the memorial day for 2010. Murrisk is home to the evocative National Famine Monument. The sculpture by John Behan depicts a ‘Coffin Ship’ with skeletal bodies and commemorates the Great Famine of the 1840s and is the largest bronze sculpture in Ireland and will likely form a central part of the Memorial Day.

Mayo: Cong man honoured in New York
Eddie Gibbons, who left Cong for New York fifty-three years ago, has been named as the Mayo Society Person of the Year. A former flight steward with Eastern Airlines, Eddie married Mary Hopkins from Corr na Mona and the two operated the Potcheen Still and the Irish Imports Store in Queens for sixteen years. He also has his own cable show which is broadcast in Queens and in Nassau County, Long Island. Eddie has two sisters still living in Mayo, Dorrie Murphy who lives in Carnalecka, Ballinrobe, and Alice O’Sullivan whose home is in Corr na Mona.

Meath: Mystery return of church silver
Parishioners in Culmullen are mystified by the sudden appearance on the church doorstep of a two-hundred-year-old chalice and a patten, wrapped in bubble wrap and a brown envelope. The silverware was recorded in the diocesan records in the 1930s but no one knows when it went missing. It was found on the doorstep of St Martin’s Church by Oliver Walsh, husband of church sacristan Vera, when he arrived to open the church just after seven o’clock. Oliver is certain it was not there the previous evening when he locked up and the fact that it was dry indicated that it wasn’t long there when Oliver found it.

Offaly: Misguided motorists have to be rescued
Over the last few weeks gardaí based in Birr have had to go to the rescue of motorists who have been directed up into the Slieve Bloom mountains by their satnavs. Apparently when motorists are travelling east to west across the country their satnavs select the quickest route and this results in their being directed off the motorway onto a boreen which leads them through four miles of the mountains. The problem was exacerbated during the cold weather when patrol cars couldn’t reach the motorists and gardaí had to call first on Garda Traffic Patrol jeeps and eventually on an industrial tractor.

Roscommon: Improvements carried out to Rinn Duin
A grant from the Irish Walled Town Network and the co-operation of the owner, PJ Grady, have enabled the St John’s Parish Heritage Group to almost complete the first phase of the stabilisation work on Rinn Duin close to Lecarrow. The work includes removing ivy from one of the three towers of the wall, the repair of arrow loops and inserting reinforcing steel in to one side of the tower. Repairs have also been carried out on the gable end of St John’s Hospital, thanks to a grant from the county council. A further venture is the opening soon of a Looped Walk around the shores of Rinn Duin incorporating two walkways.

Sligo: Old corn mill to be restored
The old corn mill at Keenaghan in Ballymote, built at the end of the eighteenth century by Sir Jocelyn Gore-Booth, is to be restored and will become a major tourist attraction for the area. It is hoped that the project will be completed by 2012 and it is to include a Transport Museum and a Paddy Killoran Room, the latter a tribute to the Ballymote traditional musician.

Tipperary: Councillor bemoans longevity of Cashel scaffolding
Councillor Tom Wood, an expert on the history of the Rock of Cashel who first worked on the site as a teenager, has expressed concern at the length of time the 12th century building has been covered in scaffolding over much of the past four decades. At present the Office of Public Works is carrying out conservation work on wall paintings in the chapel and has erected a temporary roof and access scaffold. According to Mr Wood Cormac’s Chapel has essentially been a building site since the mid-seventies when the Hall of Vicars Choral was restored. He compared the length of the work to the speed with which work was carried out on Kilkenny Castle and at Newgrange

Tyrone: Strabane shop closes with owner’s retirement
With Seamus McPhilemy’s decision to retire from his shop on Railway Street in Strabane at the end of the month comes the closure of the store which he first opened on Abercorn Street almost forty years ago. Seamus, known as Mr James, has been in retail for fifty-four years, having started at Wright’s furniture and clothing store on Railway Street before working in the menswear department of Morgan’s for sixteen years. He moved his own menswear shop to Railway Street in 1980 and had a second area of responsibility over the years, for anyone who wanted to send a parcel by Ulsterbus had to come into his store to purchase a ticket.

Westmeath: St Loman’s grotto renovated
The grotto at St Loman’s Hospital, which has recently been renovated, was recently rededicated and blessed in a ceremony conducted by Father Colm Brown. The grotto was originally constructed in 1964 to fill a space left when some large conifers were felled. The grotto was built over a twelve-month period with the help of some of the patients of St Joseph’s Ward, the forerunner of the present-day St Enda’s unit.

Wexford: A precious item returned
When Eleanor Quilty left her hat in the back of a taxi in Limerick she thought she would never see it again, but a story in a national paper led to the hat being returned to her. Eleanor, from Killinick, is an aunt of Munster rugby player Paul O’Connell and over the years she has collected a number of club and international badges with which she adorned her hat. However Kerry woman Marian Walsh noticed the hat on the floor of a nightclub in Limerick, took it home and mentioned it to a member of her family. He recalled a newspaper article about the missing hat and Marian was able to trace Eleanor and her husband Bobby and posted the hat back to a grateful Eleanor.

Wicklow: A snowman was too ordinary for one Arklow father
While most people were content to build snowmen of varying sizes following the recent heavy falls of snow in the county, one father in Woodlands Green in Arklow decided to go one better to keep his daughter Alexandra entertained on her extra days off school. Teddy Gramiak, originally from Poland, first constructed an elephant from snow and followed this up with two dolphins. Teddy is no stranger to snow sculpture, having begun forming shapes from snow as a child, but this is the first time in his four years in Ireland that he has had to chance to show off his skill.

Scotland: Sad farewell to voice of rugby
On Monday, January 26, hundreds of people gathered for the funeral of veteran rugby commentator Bill McLaren, RIP. The service was held at the Teviot Church in his home town of Hawick in the Scottish Borders.
Mr. McLaren, who was known as the "voice of rugby" retired in 2002 after almost 50 years as a broadcaster. He received an OBE, CBE and MBE for services to the sport and combined his work as a broadcaster with that of a PE teacher until 1987. McLaren's final commentary was the game between Wales and Scotland in 2002.
SPONSOR: Please help us keep your newsletter coming - visit our good friends at Lollysmith:

Here’s what’s on offer: First off, they hope you are having a good new year so far! They also hope you will stop by and take a look at the many new items they have added to their ever-growing inventory including Connemara fleece throws, wall hangings, shamrock curtains, satin silver door knockers, and new Easter, Holy Communion and Confirmation Angels. And did we mention Walking sticks? You’re in for a real treat when you browse through their vast collection -and with Valentine’s Day right around the corner, there’s no better time than now to select a gift for your loved one from Lollysmith.


Patty writes:
I would like to get a translation for the following phrase" domhan is fearr seanmhathair". i think seanmhathair might be grandmother? thank you for any help you can give me.

Gregg is also seeking a translation:
I am originally from Ireland but cannot speak Irish. Would you please be able to let me know what: ONLY GOD CAN JUDGE ME is in Gaelic writing. Thanks!

In response to Phil who is looking for a film clip of John McCormack singing Panis Angelicus at the 1932 Eucharistic Congress at Phoenix park in Dublin, several subscribers are trying to help. Thus far, no luck, but our readers are persistent!

Also, no help thus far for Joan who is looking for Leprechaun superstitions or for Joe who is looking for a top notch violinist playing Roisin Dubh.

How to make a St. Brigid's Cross
The demonstration shows the authentic Co. Sligo way:
St. Brigid & the Celtic Church
A very short but well done video:

Hymn to St. Brigid
An all too short but sweet hymn sung sean nos:

The relics of St. Brigid in Portugal
Fascinating piece on how back in the Midddle Ages, three knights transported the skull of St. Brigid to Lumiar near Lisbon:

Irish Saints
Inspiring video that touches upon all of the major Irish saints including St. Brigid. Powerful music from Michael Card:

The Irish Page
Although Jack & Vivian are away on holiday,

Countdown to St. Patrick’s Day clock
Hard to believe it’s right around the corner - just 45 days as of this writing.

The Irish American Post
The Winter 2010 issue of the Irish American Post is now available on line. It is chock-ablock with interesting articles. Many thanks to Hartson for bring this valuable link to our attention:

Irish Theatre Magazine
The Ulster Bank Dublin Theatre Festival may have ended, but Irish Theatre Magazine, much like the glory of life itself, still goes on. Read their freshly updated book reviews, theatre reviews and be sure to check out Fíona Ní Chinnéide's dissenting new blog entry Please click

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:
ED. NOTE: Maria Eryaatz advises that free mammograms are also available in all states via the VNA (visiting nurses association).
Click on 'Find A VNA' for the your nearest location.

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:
If Candlemas is wet or foul, half the winter has gone at Yule. If Candlemas is fine and fair, half the winter is to come and more. Irish Proverb
"I am between the devil and the Holy See... My task is to prevent the Californication of Ireland."
James Montgomery - on being appointed Irish Film Censor, 1964.
This one came in fom Hartson. Hope you find it as funny as we did:

Irish Password:
During a recent Password Audit at the Bank Of Ireland it was found that Pat O'Toole was using the following password : 
When Pat was asked why he had such a long password, he replied:
Well sir, wasn't I after being told the password had to be at least 8 characters long and include one capital?' 

1. St. Brigid is the patron saint of New Zealand?
2. Imbolc is traditionally a time of weather prognostication? The old custom of watching to see if badgers came from their winter dens is considered a possible precursor to the North American Groundhog Day.
3. In Irish, Imbolc (pronounced im'olk) from the Old Irish, meaning "in the belly" (i mbolg), referring to the pregnancy of ewes? In old Ireland, this was most definitely a harbinger of spring!
First off, the answers to our last quiz:
1. With My Lazy Eye by Julia Kelly
2. Wilderness  by Roddy Doyle
3. The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas by John Boyne

A round of pints and applause to the following Irish literary sleuths

Heather Blake
My favorite Irish site is yours of course!
ED. NOTE : Thank you Heather!

Hartson Dowd
Irish Games that Children Play. The games  were found on a website listing games that the author played in the streets of Dublin:

Helen Dowd
ED. NOTE: At the moment Helen is in second place on the top Christian sites listing. Please vote for her and help her be first again - she deserves it! Thanks!

Tom McGuire
I would like to nominate the site of Mary Pat Kelly, the author of Galway Bay:

Lee Patterson
There is a Radio Station in New South Wales, Australia which you can listen to all over the world. It is an Irish Show on Sunday mornings from 6am until 9am. It is called Countryfolk Around Australia. Just put in BLUFM 89.1 and Click onto Live Stream. The URL is:

Norah Mary Ryan, Athens, Greece
The sites I would like to recommend are:
At long last we can get various RTE news and programmes live.
And another news site:
All the breaking news from home with the possibility to leave your own comments.

Nora Lush

Pauline Dewberry
I would like to nominate this cute site I found:
ED. NOTE: We took a look and discovered that it’s a site created by children at an Irish school. Well worth a visit! Also well worth visiting, especially if you like cats is Pauline’s site, the Daily Meews.

Siobhan Sheehan
I love your Newsletter & News from Ireland....drives my cousins in Co. Waterford mad that I know little tidbits.
ED. NOTE: We suggested to Siobhan that perhaps her cousins in Waterford should subscribe - then may be they can keep up...just kidding!.

Beverly Faulkner
Can't begin to tell you how much I enjoy our mailings. I'm an artist who paints Ireland so am quite familiar with the back-roads, and so the News of the Counties always is a favourite read!
My website is
ED. NOTE: We think beverly is very talented - take a look at her web site and see if you don’t agree.

Déirdre McKiernan Hetzler
Personalized Tours of Ireland:
Imagine you’re in the country of your dreams with your favorite people. It could be your closest colleagues through the years from work, or your extended family, for a once-in-a-lifetime gathering. Instead of being herded onto a huge tour bus of strangers, you’re together in a small van getting a personalized tour of Ireland. To learn more, please click

If you’d like to see your name in our Irish bibliophile’s list, tell us who wrote the following:

1. Brigid's Cloak: An Ancient Irish Story
2. The Rites of Brigid: Goddess & Saint
3. Brigid of Ireland: A Historical Novel
Please send your answers to Bridget:
Don't forget to nominate a favorite Irish site and it would be helpful if you put "Know Your Writers" in the subject line of your email. Thanks!
First off, the answer to our last cranium cruncher::
Three playing cards in a row.   Can you name them with these clues?
There is a two to the right of a king.
A diamond will be found to the left of a spade.
An ace is to the left of a heart.
A heart is to the left of a spade.
Q. Can you identify all three cards?
A. Ace of Diamonds, King of Hearts, Two of Spades.
We thought this might be more of a challenge than usual - but not for our brilliant Riddle People. We had more than a deck of correct solutions, but first in was Melva Donovan in Michigan. Well done, Melva!

And now for our next head banger:
A car's odometer shows 72927 miles, a palindromic number. What are the minimum miles you would need to travel to form another?
Please send your answer to:
It would be helpful if you put riddle answer in the subject line. Thanks!

1. SEARCH FUNCTION: Have you tried it out? You can find the search box in the banner on the left-hand side. Simply key in whatever word or words you wish and if they’re on the site, Google will find them!

Every purchase through our shop links, helps support our efforts. Many thanks in advance.

3. Article - St. Brigid, the Giveaway

4. Article - Brigid of the Songs

5. Article - Celebrating a Nameday in Old Ireland

6. Article - Celebrating Candlemas in Old Ireland

7. The Irish Kitchen - St. Brigid’s Oaten Cakes

8. Basic Irish - St. Brigid & Spring

9. Kids’ Ireland - Making St. Brigid’s Crosses

10. Music Review: In Tribute to Liam Clancy by William Ramoutar

11. Trivia Contest: The new contest for January is posted. All entries must be in by midnight, January 31 no matter what time zone you live in.

12. Circle of Prayer: The fifth Novena in this cycle began on January 30 and continues through February 8. Whatever your spiritual leanings we ask that you keep the following in your prayers and meditations: Dana Slye- young girl with brain cancer and her mother Kimberly who also has serious health issues; Jane Donahue, Mickey, Keyra . the aunt of our friend Carlos who has advanced breast cancer; Jeff Minnick’s 3-month old son. Ronnie Kennedy and Joe Colum, Hartson Dowd, Burnett McManus’ friend, Christy Banik, Joe Colum, Patricia's daughter Heather, the family and friends of the McTiernans, Laureena Blankenship, Sierra Mitchell, Katie Lacinak and so many others including the poor people of Haiti devastated by the recent earthquake; we also ask that you keep in mind all those who are suffering from the financial hardships of the economic downturn, and please don't overlook our military personnel serving their countries at home and abroad. Dear Heavenly Father, please keep them safe from all harm and bring those away from home back to their loved ones soon.
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So there you have it until we write again about mid February.

Pinch Punch First Day of the Month, White Rabbit and happpy Valentine’s Day! It’s also Chinese New Year and the Year of the Tiger. Very symbolic, that. God willing, it might bring prosperity back to Ireland and to all of us.

Celebrating a birthday, or other special event between now and our next edition? We hope it's an occasion filled with joy and happiness.
And if you tied the knot in February - or plan to - here’s your special verse:
When February birds do mate
you may wed, nor dread your fate.

And in honour of St. Brigid's Day, we'll leave you with this lovely old blessing:
May Brigid bless the house where you dwell,
every fireside door and every wall;
every heart that beats beneath its roof,
every hand that toils to bring it joy,
every foot that walks its portals through.
may Brigid bless the house that shelters you.

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!
Celtic Blessing - sung by the St. Coca's Choir, from Kilcock, Co. Kildare

Send an email to:
or click on this link:
Please check with the Wild Geese - they have a huge listing of events and we don't want to duplicate their efforts:

Irish Abroad also has a comprehensive listing:

If we receive a unique event not mentioned there, we will be happy to list it here.


On-going in Cincinnati, OH...
...The restoration of the former McKinley Elementary School to turn it into the area’s first Irish Heritage Centre. If you live in the Cincinnati area, volunteers are needed to help with the transformation. To learn how you can help, please call Maureen Kennedy at 513-225-6915 or send her an email:

Crosshaven, Co. Cork - Now through February 2010
Martha Cashman Sculpture Exhibition, Mad Fish Restaurant
at Cronin’s Pub. Martha will also be presenting her work in Showcase' 10 a trade fair of all Irish art and craft work in the RDS in Dublin on Jan 23rd to 27th. To view examples of Martha’s work, please click

February 13 - Hollywood, Florida
Monthly social & dance at the American Legion Hall 211 North 21 Avenue. Saturday, February 13, 7pm-11pm
Music: Sharon O'Meara & Tommy Goodwin
Admission:  $10 [members] & $12 [guests]
Complimenatry Coffee, Tea, Cake
More info @
Or call 754-281-7202 / 954-432-8292

Glendale, California - March 13th
The Irish Center of Southern California Inc. will hold its annual St Patrick’s  Celebration on Saturday 13th March at the Hilton Hotel. For reservations please call Mrs. Mary Dempsey at (626) 337 0075 or leave a message on the Irish Center’s line at (818) 238 0445.

Los Alamitos, California -1st Tuesday of every month
Friends of Ireland of Southern California Monthly Breakfast. Events are held on the 1st Tuesday of the month. Please call in RSVP to one of the contacts below one day in advance so we can accommodate you.
Barbara Walsh (714) 739-4195 Kathy Wisdom (714) 572-8277
Tom Kennedy (562) 425-2636 Jim O'Dea (626) 965-0307

Portland, oregon - 1st Friday of the month
Ceili of the Valley Society - First Friday of the month Céilís and ongoing Tuesday night Céilí and Sean Nós dance classes. Our season runs from October through June and next season we may be moving the dances to Saturday rather than Friday nights. For more details, please click

This one came in from Carolyn in Wangaratta, North East Victoria where it’s extremely hot at the moment. God willing it will cool off soon. (However, God may not be so willing because of this slightly irreverent joke she sent :) That said, we hope you find it as funny as we did.

St. Peter decides to take the day off to go fishing. Jesus offers to keep an eye on the Pearly gates. He is not sure what to do so Peter tells him to find out a bit about people as they arrive in heaven and this will help him decide if he can let them in.

After a while. Jesus sees a little old man with white hair approaching who looks very familiar. He asks the old man to tell him about himself. The old man says I had a very sad life. I was a carpenter and had a son who I lost at a relatively young age and although he was not my natural child, I loved him dearly.

Jesus welled up with emotion. He threw his arms around the old man and cried, Daddy!

The old man repled, Pinocchio?