Greetings & Blessings to one and all,
We hope this St. Patrick's edition finds you on the pig's back and fit as a fiddle. If this is your first issue many thanks for joining us and if you like our musings and meanderings, please feel free to forward to your family and friends.
The crocuses are blooming, the daffs are almost there and dare we say in our Ohio valley, spring is most definitely  the air. Even better, the forecast for the big day tomorrow is dry and mild; not here, mind you, but in Dublin!   How’s that for a nice change? 
Ready to celebrate? Or perhaps you're in recovery mode  from too much fun over the past weekend?  Whatever the case 
Lá Fhéile Pádraig Shona dhuit/dhaoibh (singular/plural)
Pronunciation: law ay-leh paw-drig hun-ah gwitch/yeeve
(And also  a belated Happy Mother’s Day to all the mums in Ireland & the UK). 
As for ourselves, we had a great time at the annual O’Flaherty Blarney Bash put on by Bridget’s brother Chris and his wife Therese. it was wet and cold, but that didn’t put a damper on the festivities and for the first time in years, we actually managed to stay up and even somewhat alert for the entire evening! Of course, we paid for our lack of wisdom the following day !
Onwards.  Of late, we’ve noticed a significant increase in local stores selling all sorts of trinkets and trash for St. Patrick’s Day parades and parties. These sham baubles and beads used to make us cringe and going back about five years or so, we found this intro to one of our newsletters:
“ Throughout the world, 'tis the week of Paddywackery. A time when otherwise sane adults bring out the "authentic" shillelagh they bought at Shannon airport, sport a kilt and/or tie in their county tartan, drink  green beer at the crack of dawn, and wear variations of the tricolour from head to toe. And it seems as if everything starts with o (as in o' no, o'dear, 'my god, and o'please!) Oddly enough, it's only been in recent years that Ireland has joined in on all of the Oirish fun and foolery. And when we begin getting e-mails asking us if throwing green beans from a float has any foundation in Irish tradition you know that we've lost all hope of ever again having an authentic Irish celebration - whatever that might be anymore.”
Thank God, the intro did lighten up! For while we’ve made every effort to avoid cultural clichés both in the newsletter and on the web site, at this time of year all of us  are winter weary and ready to welcome a respite from Lenten austerities.  As  the poet said...
The year's at the spring
And day's at the morn; ... 
God's in His heaven--
All's right with the world! 
And so, we hope and pray that wherever you are this St. Patrick’s Day, may you and yours  have a grand time of it!
Our annual drive is almost over - but not the fun of selecting  the lucky winners of books and CDs from all the kind people who sent us donations. We'll be pulling your names out of the hat on Wednesday evening and notifying you on Thursday.  There’s still time to get in on the drawing by making a donation via PayPal to this e-mail address:
Please click:
Meanwhile, we'd like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who made a contribution, especially those of you who also included compliments and words of encouragement. We treasure every single one of them!  
Enough of the blather  - on with the update...
SPONSOR: Please help us keep your newsletter coming - visit our good friends at the Celtic Attic:
Spring and Easter are  right around the corner! Stop by the Celtic Attic where you’ll find a wide array of ways to celebrate every season in Celtic style,  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:
News  (this will be sent in a separate document)
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
In response toPatty’s request, we had several people send in the translation for the phrase" domhan is fearr seanmhathair".   It means “World’s best Grandmother.”
We often get nice comments and particularly enjoyed the following about the web site:
This is a wonderful and all encompassing web site of all things Irish.  My husband (and consequently,  children) are Irish.  We are a home schooling family and this web site has allowed me to steep my children in the culture and history of their relations.  I love your content, thank you for all your hard work.   
Alison Rice
And this one about the newsletter:
Thank you so much for your newsletters. I certainly look forward to being educated in many ways!  When I open your newsletter, even though you may be having a rough day, you never show it!
Veronica Cressey.
A special greeting for all of our subscribers:
This is our favourite St. Patrick’s Day card and we are very happy that it is still available. Please click:
Hail Glorious St. Patrick 
This hymn was always played on St. patrick’s Day when Bridget was growing up.  This is an outstanding  version which serves to remind his fans how much we miss the amazing voice of Frank Patterson, RIP   
St. Patrick's Festival, Dublin, Ireland
Although times and purse strings are getting tighter no one knows how to have a great time for free better than the Irish and this year’s Festival programme promises to make FREE FUN the order of the day:
St. Patrick's Day on RTÉ
Watch the parade live from Dublin, view highlights of parades from all over the world, more!
Live Trad
Live web session from Barry’s Public House in Grange, Co. Sligo on St. Patrick’s Day. For complete details, please click:
St. Patrick's Day on the History Channel's web site
You could spend hours exploring what's on offer! Featured are videos, history, a quiz, destinations and much more.
St. Patrick's Day Festival of Irish Recipes 
We found this link last year and were delighted to find it's still there! The link takes you to the landing page for European Cuisine's second annual Saint Patrick's Day Festival of Recipes. Each day, from March 1st until March 17th, they feature a new traditional Irish recipe:
Dyeing the river green in Chicago
What began as an environmental test has become an annual tradition. This video shows how it's done:
If only every day could be St. Patrick's Day!
We don't know when Guinness produced this very funny ad, No matter, it's timeless.
St. Patrick's Day Crafts, Activities & Recipes
Leprechauns, legends, and green galore -- get your little lads and lasses into the Celtic spirit with the following Irish-inspired activities and recipes for the perfect St. Patrick's party!
The Irish Page  - The Forty Shades of Green
This time around, the Hennessy’s offer a page about Johnny Cash who  was so impressed by the Emerald Isle  that he penned a whole album in celebration of Ireland.   Please click
Cleaning for a Reason 
Many thanks to Pamela Boyd who sent us the following: 
If you know any woman currently undergoing Chemo, please pass the word to her that there is a cleaning service that provides FREE 
housecleaning - 1 time per month for 4 months while she is in treatment.    All she has to do is sign up and have her doctor fax a note confirming the treatment. Cleaning for a Reason will have a participating maid service in her zip code area arrange for the service. 
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:
Saint Patrick was a gentleman, who through strategy and stealth
Drove all the snakes from Ireland, here's a drink to his health!
But not too many drinks, lest we lose ourselves and then
Forget the good Saint Patrick, and see them snakes again!
Author Unknown
Never buy anything with a handle on it - it means work. 
'Tis the season of abstention, so we hope you enjoy this favourite classic:
An Irishman walks into a pub in Galway and orders three pints of Guinness and sits in the back of the room, drinking a sip out of each one in turn. When he finishes them, he comes back to the bar and orders three more. The bartender asks him, "You know, a pint goes flat after I draw it; wouldn't you rather I draw fresh pints for you one at a time?" The fellow replies: "Well, you see, I have two brothers. One is now in America and the other, in Australia. When we all left home, we promised we'd drink this way to remember the days when we drank together." The bartender admits that this is a nice custom, and leaves it there. The fellow becomes a regular in the pub , and always drinks the same way: He orders three pints and drinks them in turn.
One day, he comes in and orders two pints. All the regulars notice and fall silent, speculating about what might have happened to one of the absent brothers. When the fellow goes back to the bar for a second round, the bartender says, "I don't want to intrude on your grief, but I wanted to offer my condolences on your loss." The fellow looks confused for a moment and then a light dawns in his eye and says: "Oh, no, everyone's fine. You see, it's just that I've given up the drink for Lent."
1. St. Patrick might not be buried in Ireland at all? One legend says he ended his days in Glastonbury, England and was buried there. The Chapel of St. Patrick still exists as part of Glastonbury Abbey and there is evidence of an Irish pilgrimage to his tomb during the reign of the Saxon King in A.D. 688. 
2. St. Patrick was the first person in history to speak out against slavery and he is the Patron Saint of the Excluded? By the time of his death, or shortly thereafter, the Irish stopped slave trading and they never took it up again.
3. St. Patrick's real name is believed to have been Maewyn Succat?
First off, the answers to our last quiz:
1. Modern Irish Love Stories by David Marcus
2. The Darling of My Heart - 2000 Years of Irish Love Writing by Laurence Flanagan
3. Of Irish Women - Medieval Irish Love Poetry  by Malachi McCormick
Around of pints and applause to the following literary sleuths: 
Helen Dowd
Helen has kindly nominated Irish Culture and Customs. Thank you Helen!
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! 
Rita T Roche,
Baltimore, MD
Norah Lush
The web site I recommend is  A great resource for looking up those elusive ancestors! Please click
Tom McGuire
Tom didn’t nominate a web site but in the past he has mentioned his cousin Mary Pat who write the blockbuster novel Galway Bay. read about it here:
Hartson Dowd
Hartson sent us a link to the Irish Internet Association  which is the professional body for those conducting business via the internet from Ireland.  The aim of the Association is to Connect, Inform and Promote. To learn more, please click
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. The Essential Biography of St. Patrick 
2. The Life of St. Patrick: Enlightener of the Irish
3. Discovering Saint Patrick
Please send your answers to:
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 e-mail. Thanks!
SPONSOR: Please help us keep your newsletter coming - visit our good friends at Lollysmith
They invite you to please 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!
First off, the answer to our previous brain bruiser:
 Assign every letter of the alphabet its numerical value: A=1, B=2, C=3, and so on, up to z=26.
Q. Can you think of a familiar 7 letter word whose letter values total only 21?
A. Cabbage
As always, our Riddle People didn’t let us down - we had an avalanche of correct answers! But first in was Steve Healy from Columbus, Ohio. Well done, Steve.
And now for our next head banger:
The following are a half a dozen groaners just for St. Patrick’s Day; might we suggest having a few of your favourite libations before attempting any answers. First in with a complete set of correct solutions wins the mention in the next newsletter:
1. What would you get if you crossed Quasi modo with an Irish football player?
2. What do leprechauns like to barbecue?
3. How can you tell if an Irishman is having a good time? 
4. Why can't you borrow money from a leprechaun?
5. Why are leprechauns so hard to get along with?
6. What is a nuahcerpel?
 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.  Presidential Proclamation -  Irish-American Heritage Month
4. Article - Celebrating St. Patrick’s day in Old ireland
5. Article - I, patrick, the sinner...
6. Poetry - St. Patrick’s lorica
7. Article - A Visit to St. patrick’s Well
8. Article - Corned Beef & Cabbage: The Feeding of aMyth
9. Article - Emblems of Ireland: The Shamrock
10. Irish Kitchen - Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with a Real Irish Feast
11. Basic Irish - Words & phrases for St. Patrick’s Day
12. Kids’ Ireland - From Slave to Saint
13. Video Reviews - St. patrick: Apostle of Ireland & St. Patrick:Irish Legend
14. Book Review: Celtic Wisdom - Cathi Hassan reviews the latest offering ffrom Cindy Thomson
 15. March Trivia Contest. Have you entered yet? entries must be in by midnight, March 31 no matter what time zone you live in.
February’s Winner: Congratulations to  Tara O’Hearn- St. Amand from Canada who chose for her prize the penny whistle set generously provided by our good friends Lollysmith.
16. Circle of Prayer: The ninth and last  Novena in this cycle began on  March 8 and continues through March 16. The first Novena in the next cycle begins on March 17th - there has to be something extra special about a Novena that begins on St. Patrick’s Day - and God willing may it be so.
Since last we wrote, we are very sorry to report that James, the 8-year old son of Daniel & Linda Leahy passed away after a valiant battle with cancer. Please keep the Leahy family in your prayers as well as Mary Pat McGuire who has just been diagnosed with mantle lymphoma and little Isabella whose leukemia  has returned after more than year of being cancer -free.  Whatever your spiritual leanings we ask that you keep them all in your prayers and meditations as well as the following:   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. 
SPONSOR: Please help us keep your newsletter coming - visit our good friends at the Irish Lottery:
In operation since 1988, it's one of the oldest online sites in the world. With subscribers in 89 countries it is also among the most reliable. Jackpots are never lower than US $1,500,000 and are frequently worth in excess of US$5,000,000 Here's the best part - you don't have to live in Ireland to play and all winnings are Tax Free!
It’s always been a fantasy of ours that one of readers would scoop the big prize, but you can’t win it if you’re not in it. Play from the comfort of home here: - and the best of Irish luck to you!
So there you have the long and the short of it until we write again - God willing before the end of the month.  If you are celebrating a birthday, anniversary or other special event between now and then, we hope it's an occasion filled with joy and happiness.  And if you tied the knot in march, here is your special verse: 
If you wed when March winds blow
Joy and sorrow both you’ll know.
We’ll take our leave with this lovely prayer attributed to the good saint himself and said for God's Protection and Christ's Presence:  (by the way,  It’s said if you ask for St. Patrick’s intercession on his feast day, your prayer will be answered)
"As you arise today, may the strength of God pilot you, the power of God uphold you, the wisdom of God guide you. May the eye of God look before you, the ear of God hear you, the word of God speak for you. May the hand of God protect you, the way of God lie before you, the shield of God defend you, the host of God save you. Amen."
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
And this is for our dear friend Mary O’Hara who asked us to bring this phrase back:
May you be seven times better, a year from today!!
 in the Irish
Go mba seacht bhfearr a bheas tu bliain o inniu!!
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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.
Spain - March 26 through May 7 
Art à la Carte  - an exhibition of a variety of paintings by three members of the Andalusian International Artists Group, including our good friend, and generous sponsor of our Trivia Contest, Dublin artist Roger Cummiskey.  The exhibition is at  galería Aroma,  Calle San Sebastián 8, Mijas Pueblo. For complete details, please click
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 e-mail:
Or take a look at their new web site - it’s awesome
Stay up to day with all the upcoming events and click here:
Or call 754-281-7202 / 954-432-8292
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
We’ve run this one before but it’s well worth doing again. 
St. Patrick's Birthday
On the eighth day of March it was, some people say,
That Saint Patrick at midnight first saw the day.
While others declare 'twas the ninth he was born,
And 'twas all a mistake between midnight and morn;
For mistakes will occur in a hurry and shock,
and some blam'd the babby-and some blam'd the clock-
Till with all their cross questions sure no one could know
If the child was too fast-or the clock was too slow.
Now the first faction fight in old Ireland, they say,
Was all on account of Saint Patrick's birthday.
Some fought for the eighth-for the ninth more would die,
And who wouldn't see right, sure they blacken'd his eye!
At last both the factions so positive grew,
That each kept a birthday, so Pat then had two.
Till Father Mulcahy, who confessed them their sins,
Said, "Ye can't have two birthdays, unless ye be twins."
Says he, "Don't be fightin' for eight or for nine,
Don't be always dividin'-but sometimes combine;
Combine eight with nine, and seventeen is the mark,
So let that be his birthday." "Amen," says the clerk.
"If he wasn't a twins, sure our hist'ry will show
That, at least, he is worth any two saints that we know!"
Then they all drowned the shamrock-which completed their bliss,
And we keep up the practice from that day to this.
(Edited and adapted from Dick's Irish Dialect Recitations, Wm. B. Dick, Editor, New York, Dick & Fitzgerald, Publisher, 1879)