Welcome to the Irish Culture & Customs newsletter which is published every weekend and sent out to going on 1500 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
If, for any reason, you wish to unsubscribe, instructions are at the end - but we do hope you'll stay with us.
Greetings and blessings to all,

Lovely to be back! A warm welcome to each of you - especially to our newest subscribers. Many thanks for signing up and if you enjoy our musings and meanderings, please feel free to share them with your family and friends.

We hope this week's edition finds you in good spirits, good health and good company. As for ourselves, we're swell - literally and figuratively! The annual day of gluttony saw more than a dozen relatives and friends descend on the Haggerty household for a huge feast of love, friendship, and a table groaning with traditional Thanksgiving fare. One unique delicious addition was the turkey breast smoked with authentic Irish peat which our friend Jane FitzGerald brought to augment the "big bird." The flavor was sublime. So good, that we're going to ask Jane to share her recipe. We also went looking for authentic Irish peat and found a great site:
Make sure your speakers are turned on. The music is as sweet as the smell of the turf fire.

It was a wonderful day when we were reminded of how truly blessed we are, and we hope that if you observe Thanksgiving, too, your celebration went just as well.

So with Turkey Day behind us, the Silly Season gets into full gear. Russ is busy washing windows so they will all be sparkling clean; he'll then put a candle in each one and this Friday, Little Christmas, we'll do the official switching on of the lights. In the meantime, herself will be busy with other decorations. We'll also be spending a good bit of time on the web site in an effort to make it as festive as we can. But enough about us...

In news from Ireland:
Warts as well as wonders: This shouldn't surprise any of us - a major study has found that, of 15 developed economies, Ireland is the most expensive for goods and services, alongside Finland.

Great gift idea: The Irish Seed Savers Association is urging consumers to purchase native Irish appletrees that were almost wiped out by careless building development in the past. Good weather this summer has led to bumper crops of native Irish apple varieties, which delight in names such as Irish Peach, Widow's Friend, Bloody Butcher, Eight Square, Yellow Pitcher and Sam Young. You can buy trees here:

Skibbereen, Co. Cork. Why anyone would want to speed by this lovely place is a mystery to us, but the Minister for Transport Seamus Brennan has officially opened the Skibbereen by-pass.

Downpatrick, Co. Down: Pats just too many! Council officials are to press ahead with a controversial plan to erect ANOTHER statue of St Patrick! The proposal to erect a giant sculpture in the town - to rival England's Angel of the North - has been branded "daft" by opponents.

Rostrevor, Co Down: Five monks, who came to Northern Ireland from France, are about to make history by opening one of the first abbeys - since the 12th century - in this part of Ireland. The magnificent new £1.65 million monastery will open in January.

Navan, Co. Armagh: Closed now since May 2001, the Navan Interpretative Centre at Navan Fort is due to re-open by the summer of 2004.

Dublin: The series of artistic cows which have been on display in various parts of Dublin since July were auctioned last week in aid of two charities, the Simon Community and the Jack and Jill Foundation. Leading the field was John Rocha's creation, Wagamoomoo, which was set with fifteen thousand pieces of Waterford crystal and sold for €125,000.

Tullamore, Co. Offaly: A reception was held this week in the Tullamore Dew Heritage Centre to launch the anniversary celebrations of three landmarks, at which Minister of State Tom Parlon did the honours. It is one hundred and fifty years since the opening of Tullamore Railway Station, Tullamore Distillery was established one hundred and seventy-five years ago, and next year marks the bicentenary of the Grand Canal.

In news from all over:
Indiana: At Notre Dame, Julius Jones became the first player ever to rush for 200-plus yards three times in the same season as the Fighting Irish erupted for a 57-7 victory over Stanford.
Note: The Cincinnati Bengals also won their fourth in a row!

From the mailbox:
Gerard writes: Perhaps you could help me in giving a much needed boost to the GAA in general and the Tyrone All-Ireland winning team in particular. The voting for the BBC's annual Sports Personality of the Year is scheduled to end on 7/8 December 2003. A vote for Tyrone captain Peter Canavan would be much appreciated. To cast your vote:
Note: Since this BBC programme is viewed throughout the world, our friends and readers have a unique opportunity to give Ireland's national game some much needed exposure. So please vote!

John writes: "You may want to revisit your history. Your web site says that Moscow had its first (St. Patrick's Day) parade in 1992; this may have been the first official one but I believe the first was actually in 1976. I have an article in Montreal, Canada about my father-in-law George O'Reilly who walked through Red Square. He was very active in the Irish community in Montreal and was in Moscow for a hockey tournament and would not miss an Irish festivity, so he requested permission and had a parade." (John has said he'll be sending us a clipping of the article and we're looking forward to adding this story to our St. Patrick's Day pages).

Links of the week:
Just click on any date and you'll be linked to a different electronic Advent calendar. They range from sublime to silly, beautiful to basic, religious to secular - so feel free to look at more than one a day so you can find a favorite to bookmark for use all season!
Note: Saints Preserved is one of our partners and they have a wide range of lovely gifts on offer. Just mention us in the message box on the order page and we'll get credit. Thanks!

Have fun with one of our ultimate time wasters - Rubberfaces - sent in by Hartson. Naturally, we start you out with an Irishman:

Hartson also sent in a fascinating site about the Irish Cobs - the horse of the Irish Traveler community:

Another fun time-waster was sent in by John O'
(Move your cursor over the bears without clicking)

Last, but certainly not least: We have a very special friend in California who has always been a great supporter of our efforts. While we can't afford to send her a Christmas present, we can publish a link to a website that's near and dear to her (and to all friends of God's creatures). Please click this link today and everyday. It only takes a second to feed an animal. Thank you!

Enough of the blatherin'...on with the update:
Help us keep this newsletter free by visiting the The Irish Lottery:
Lottery tickets make great stocking stuffers! 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 find out! 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
'Tis an old maxim in the schools, that flattery's the food of fools; yet now and then your men of wit will condescend to take a bit. Jonathan Swift
This one is unashamedly adapted from a giggle sent in by Hartson:
A senior citizen in Galway bought a convertible. He took off down the Bishop Connell Road, flooring it to 80 mph and enjoying the wind blowing through what little hair he had left on his head. Then he looked in his rear view mirror and saw a two-bulb behind him. "I can get away from him" thought the old man and he tromped it some more and flew down the road at over 100 mph. Then 110, 120 mph. Then he thought, "What am doing? I'm too old to be making such a holy show of meself." He pulled over to the side of the road and waited for the garda to catch up with him. The garda pulled in behind the ole fella and walked up to him. "Sir," he said, looking at his watch. "My shift ends in 30 minutes and today is Friday. If you can give me a reason why you were speeding that I've never heard before, I'll let you go." The man looked at the garda and said, "Years ago my wife ran off with a Peeler and I thought you were bringing her back." "Have a good day, Sir," said the officer.
1. It's said to be lucky to breakfast by candlelight on Christmas and New Year's morning?
2. One should always wear something new at Christmas (and Easter, too) or new garments will be few in the coming year?
3. It is unlucky to wear a ragged garment on Christmas Day? A hole meant a leak in the purse. However, if clothing is torn on the festival, it should not be sewn; it should be pinned together.
He who has water and peat on his own farm has the world his own way. Old Irish proverb.
Last week's answers:
An Irish Country Christmas - Alice Taylor
Dublin Carol - Conor McPherson
Dolmen Book of Irish Christmas Stories - Dermot Bolger (Editor)
Bonus book: An Irish Christmas:

We were so late with the last edition that there wasn't much time to receive answers to the quiz. But, we can always count on our "core group" of literary sleuths! A round of pints and applause for:

Marjorie Cunningham
Find out more about Nathan Granner, one of The American Tenors, the new sensational trio created by Frank McNamara.

Patricia Edwards
The website of an Irishman living in Sidney, Australia. Lots of info' - and a link to Irish Culture and Customs!

Déirdre McKiernan-Hetzler
Interested in exploring "real Irish culture and history?" Take a look at our most recent tour and then request our new brochure. We'd be delighted to send you one.

Helen Dowd
Here is a great site you may want to check out:
J.P.'s Inspirations

Hartson Dowd
50 years ago this month, the Great Blasket island lost it's last residents. The small farming and fishing community had about 150 inhabitants in the early 20th century but had dwindled to a small number when the island was vacated in 1953. The most westerly point in Europe, the Great Blasket is the largest of a group of islands located 3 miles off Co. Kerry's Dingle Peninsula. The island's rich literary tradition spawned about 40 books written by inhabitants and visiting scholars. For information on some of the books, see

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. All Silver and No Brass: An Irish Christmas Mumming
2. Christmas in Ireland
3. Star Bright: A Christmas Story

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 off, the answer to the last one:
Can a turkey jump higher than the Empire State Building? Answer: Yes! A building can't jump. Congrats to Pauline D. for being first. Also, Lisa T. whose answer came in at the same time.
Here's this week's mind-bender:
My first is a number, my second another,
And each, I assure you, will rhyme with the other.
My first you will find is one-fifth of my second,
And truly my whole a long period reckoned.
Yet my first and my second (nay, think not I cozen),
When added together will make but two dozen.
How many am I?
We'll try to get the home-page updated as early in the week as we can - please be patient with us:
1. Home Page - See what's new at a glance:
2. New - The quiz for December has been posted. All entries must be in by December 31, no matter which time zone you live in.
Congratulations to Sharon Boyle of Canada who wins for a second time! She is delighted to be receiving the Roger Cummiskey poster "Under Construction." The poster for December will be "The Singer"
3. New - Kids' Ireland: December's story. Our resident teller of tales is taking some much needed time off, so we are repeating her beautiful seasonal offering "Midnight Visitors"
4. New - The Irish Kitchen: another holiday recipe from Hartson will be published on Wednesday
5. New - The Music Library: Christmas in an Irish Castle
6. New - The Book Library: we plan on adding more than a few titles to our very sparse collection of Christmas titles!
7. New - Culture Corner: For now, the space is taken up with details on delivery times for packages from Ireland. A new topic will be posted on December 17th
8. Featured: An Irish Christmas - Waiting for St. Nicholas
9. Featured: Yes, Kelsey and Maddie O'Flaherty, there is a Santa Claus
10. Featured - An Advent Memory
11. Featured: Beannachtaí an tSéasúir - Season's Greetings
12. Featured - Preparing the Puddings
13. Featured - Holiday Trims from The Irish Kitchen
14. Ongoing - Circle of Prayer: Our seventh Novena in this cycle began on the 28th and continues through December 6th. So many people need our spiritual support. Specifically, please remember Eileen's brother Bob, her son Christopher, Debbie's friend Bertha, Rita, Lindsea, Dianne, Claire, C.J., baby Christopher, Sam, Steven & Margaret, and the Mulligan family. We also ask that you keep all military personnel in your prayers or meditations, especially those stationed in Iraq. Whatever your spiritual leanings, we hope you will join us each day
15. On-going - Irish News: Headlines for the past week
16. On-going -This month in Irish History:

The blessing has been posted, a new quote will go up on Wednesday and we'll be looking for as many ways as we can to keep you coming back to visit us often. We've enjoyed another banner week, with close to a thousand readers every day. Thank you!

Just a few more bits and pieces and we'll be on our way. In our zany calendar, the 1st is National Pie Day, Eat A Red Apple Day and Snow Day; it's National Fritters Day and Pan American Health Day on the 2nd. the 3rd is International Day of Disabled Persons (UN) and National Ice Cream Box Day; the 4th is Day of the Artisans in Mexico and National Cookie Day; the 5th is Sinterklaas Day (Eve) and National Sacher Torte Day and the 6th is Little Christmas - the Feast of St. Nicholas.

So, that about wraps it up, except for "pinch, punch first day of the month, white rabbit." Also, if you are getting married in December or were wed this month, the old rhyme is: "When December's showers fall fast, marry and true love will last."

Until next time, may you and yours find moments of peace and tranquility amid the holiday hustle and bustle, may God keep you from all harm, and, as they say in Ireland, mind yourself!

Bridget & Russ
Get down on your knees and thank God you're still on your feet
Please help us to keep this newsletter free - visit our good friends, LollySmith!
The LollySmith elves are putting in the overtime to ensure that they'll have the perfect Irish gift for everyone on your list! In stock now, our always popular teas, coffees and foods from Bewleys of Dublin, authentic blackthorn walking sticks, hats 'n caps, tin whistles, and...drum roll please, for Russ Berrie Angel Cheeks - not Irish, but amazingly, a huge seller with our Irish customers. We look forward to your visit and from all of us at LollySmith, Nollaig Shona Duit - Happy Christmas!
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. 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 November/December here:

Silver Arm Performances - Greater Cincinnati area
Come out and enjoy Silver Arm at one of our upcoming performances.
Fri. Dec 12: Dilly Deli, Mariemont (513-561-5233) 7-10pm

Dublin - December 1
Broadcaster to mark tenor's centenary. When It's Moonlight In Mayo - The Forgotten Irish-American Tenor, John Feeney, is a talk with accompanying recordings by broadcaster Harry Bradshaw. It will take place on Monday, 1st December, 6.15pm in the Conference Room, Dublin City Library & Archive, 138-144
Pearse Street, Dublin 2. Admission is free and all are welcome.

England - December 6
A Ghostly Christmas Dinner with Simon Marsden and a special screening of THE TWILIGHT HOUR in the spectacular surroundings of the Great Hall of the Castle at Saint Hill Manor, East Grinstead, West Sussex, England. For further details and ticket sales please telephone 00-44- (0) 207-828-4925

Irish Writer's Centre - Dublin
Writing Creative Non-Fiction Sat 6 & Sun 7 Dec 10am &4pm
Course Tutor: Áine McCarthy Course Price: €110
For more details, please contact Bernadette Larkin: bernadette@writerscentre.ie

Beaumont, Texas - December 6 & 7
Danny O'Flaherty's Celtic Christmas, Crockett Street Entertainment District, Antone's, 240 Crockett Street, Beaumont, TX 77701
For reservations call 409-893-1818. For additional information, email danny@celticnationsworld.com/

Trinity College Dublin - Christmas Homecoming in the Dining Hall
Monday, December 22 from 6:00pm to 8:00pm. Admission is by ticket only, and each graduate may be accompanied by one guest only. To reserve your place, contact Norah Kelso, Alumni Relations Officer, Trinity Foundation, East Chapel, Trinity College, Dublin 2 or mailto:nkelso@tcd.ie
Include your full name, student number (if known), degree, year of graduation and address to which your ticket can be sent. Please reserve your place before Friday, 12 December.

DCU Business School 2001 reunion - December 29
A reunion for 2001 Dublin City University graduates from BBS/BSI4/IML/IBL will take place at the Sugar Club on Leeson Street on Monday, December 29. Entertainment will include a band, DJ and a late bar. Admission will be EU8 before 9.00pm. Graduates wishing to attend may contact Nicola Riordan at mailto:buzinessdcu01@yahoo.com with a "Yes" in the Subject field of the email.

The Chieftains are coming January 13! Sponsored by the Society for
Performing Arts. Details to be announced.

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:
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: