Greetings & Blessings to one and all,

Happy St Valentine's Day
Beannachtaí na Fhéle Vailintín
Pronunciation: Ban-ochth-thee na Fay-leh val-in-theen
Literally, Blessings of St. Valentine

We hope this most romantic of days on the calendar finds you in good health, good spirts and most of all, good company. If this is your first issue, thank you so much for signing up and we hope you enjoy our musings and meanderings. If so, please feel free to share them with your family and friends.

Since last we wrote, we celebrated St. Brigid’s Day, Candlemas, and the feast of St. Blaise. Our friend Mary in NYC reminded us about the tradition of getting your throat blessed on St. Blaise’s Day. It was also the birthday of our Irish translator Aideen, RIP who told us about the custom. It’s still difficult to believe that she isn’t with us anymore. Our basic Irish lessons have suffered for her absence. But on a positive note, it would appear that she has sent us several readers who are very proficient in Irish and tremendously helpful with translations. She would cringe at the idea of being called an irish angel, but for us she was - and still is.

Onwards. Bridget was delighted with all the St. Brigid’s cards she received - go raibh maith agat! But neither she nor Russ were thrilled with what we received following Candlemas :
In our Ohio Valley, even an inch of snow brings on panic - “We’re all gonna die” followed by a stampede to the grocery store for the basic four catastprohe supplies - beer, bread, milk and toilet paper. As of this morning, snow covered 49 of the 50 states in the USA. We had two major storms back to back and have already surpassed what we usually get all winter - and we go again with another storm tonight and 5 to 8 inches expected. Global warming? We’re confused. Russ’s sister Renee lives in a suburb of Washington DC and they have 5 feet of snow on the ground. Unbelievable. As might be expected, our friends down under are experiencing the total opposite - unbearable heat. Would that we could make a trade. We’d gladly swap some of our chill for a wee bit of warmth!

If the predicted snowstorm wasn’t enough to make us depressed, the Six Nations game yesterday certainly did the trick. We were slaughtered in Paris and we’re still trying to understand what happened. It seemed to start so well before it all came unravelled. Small comfort that Scotland committed suicide and lost to Wales. On a happier sports note, after a couple of disputes that had to be settled, the Irish two-women bobsled team will be allowed to compete in Vancouver - three cheers! And best of luck to all of our Irish athletes at the 2010 Winter Olympics.
Still with us? We did say we meander...

Many of you have written to ask about Russ. He is doing better and your prayers are very much appreciated. There are still some complications that have not be resolved but he is now on medication to help relieve his pain. Again, even though he has been going through major discomfort, we count our blessings that the cancer is gone. But please keep praying.
Meanwhile, one of the greatest pleasures of Bridget’s day at this time of year is sending out a personal note of appreciation to those of you kind enough to send us a donation toward our Dollar Drive. Sad to say though, writer’s cramp has yet to set in as thus far we have received just thirty two contributions. When you consider that we have going on 5,000 readers, it’s not very encouraging. So, while we are greatly reassured by the generosity of some, we are very concerned by the lack of response from the majority. If you enjoy receiving the newsletter, please show how much you value the time and effort that goes into it by sending a dollar or more to help pay for the expenses. You can send a contibution via PayPal:
at this address:
or by snail mail to:
5814 Blue Spruce
Cincinnati OH 45224

There are rewards:
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 too much late night American TV!)

Robert Sullivan, author of “The Great Little Book of Fun Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Ireland” has donated several books to the cause. Robert also has a great wb site that’s well worth visiting:

And last but certainly not least, 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 until about St. Patrick’s Day.

Many thanks in advance for your kindness!

Enough of the blitherin and beggin’ - on with the update...
SPONSOR: Please help us keep your newsletter coming - visit our good friends at the Celtic Attic:
St. Patrick’s Day is right around the corner!. Stop by the Celtic Attic where you’ll find a wide array of ways to show off your Irish heritage. 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: Maritime landmark for Lagan
For the first time in some two thousand years a currach is to sail through Belfast, as part of this year’s Féile an Earraigh. The boat has been built by Corkman Pádraig Ó Duinnín whose research has failed to find any record of currachs being used either on the River Lagan or on Belfast Lough, though there are photographs of one such vessel in Ballycastle one hundred years ago.

Armagh: 18th century building to be restored
Funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund and the Tourist Board has facilitated the restoration of 5, Vicars’ Hill in Armagh, a Grade A listed building designed as a registry for the records of the Armagh diocese of the Church of Ireland. The first phase will see work carried out on the building itself while the second phase of the project will concentrate on the display and interpretation of items owned by Armagh Public Library which also owns the building.

Cavan: An unusual display at Corlough
The back wall of the new stand at Corlough GAA grounds has an unusual exhibition, a series of paintings of the club’s footballers in action by Maria Gkinala . In addition to the paintings of footballers, Maria has also painted the White Horses of Benaughlin, and a painting of St Bridget of Laragh, the home place of Cardinal Seán Brady, now hangs in the Primate’s Armagh residence.

Clare: Council honours céili band with civic reception
Ten members of the band, under the leadership of John Lynch, comprise three fiddle players, two flute players, an accordion player, a drummer, a pianist, a concertina player and a banjo player. The currrent group have been together for the past seventeen years. Although the band was founded in 1909, there was a fife and drum band in the village of Kilfenora in the 1870s, and the band has gone from playing in local houses to an appearance at last year’s Glastonbury Festival.

Cork: The man from Fairhill who is Mel’s double
Patrick Hayes from Fairhill in Cork city and now based in the US has been putting in long hours acting as stunt man, body double and stand-in for Mel Gibson in the recently released film “Edge of Darkness”. He also had to learn the entire script as Gibson’s stand-in, but said he received much helpful advice from the actor. Patrick is now spending a few weeks at home in Cork with his wife Christiana.

Derry: There’s more to the Bogside than Free Derry Corner
The Gasyard Development Trust has decided to investigate the history of the Bogside area of Derry city. The project will comprise a series of lectures on various aspects of the area’s history including St Columba, who built a church overlooking the original wetlands from which Bogside takes its name. The part it played in the Siege of Derry and the significance of the street names will also feature, a book is to be published by the Guildhall Press, and an online archive is to be established.

Donegal: The search is on in the county
With the announcement from experts at Astronomy Ireland that the most likely landing place for last week’s meteorite is in Donegal, large numbers of people are expected to be setting out on long walks searching for its fragments. Last time a meteorite landed in the country the experts were correct to within twenty miles of where it landed in the Carlow/Wicklow area, and it sold for $500 a gramme on the internet. Astronomy Ireland has pinpointed Donegal following the submission of one thousand reports, though they are still asking for more reports of sightings and, if possible, CCTV footage taken at the time.

Donegal: Seismic network station for Donegal
Dr Tom Blake of the School of Cosmic Physics at the Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies has confirmed that the institute plans to install a permanent seismic network station in the county this year. In the past week Donegal has again experienced tremors, this time centred on Clonmore, south of Buncrana and measuring 1.5 and 1.7 on the Richter scale. Among those who experienced the tremors were all the pupils of St Egney’s National School in Desertegney, which is one of the schools that hosts a seismometer for the institute as part of the Seismology in Schools Programme.

Down: Artists opposing redesignation of coastline
A group of artists whose work has been inspired by the beauty of the county’s coastline have set up a campaign to protest at the Environment Agency’s decision to remove its designation as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The sculptors, painters and photographers have mounted an exhibition in the Library Gallery in Downpatrick to highlight their campaign.

Dublin: Viking house discovered north of the river
Archaeologists who have been carrying out excavations since last year on a site at Smithfield owned by the Office of Public Works have uncovered evidence of a Viking house. The eleventh century house fronts onto Church Street which would have been a major route to the city from the north, and there is evidence of a second house beside the first one. According to Dr Pat Wallace, director of the National Museum, evidence to support the presence of a group of houses north of the Liffey would be of enormous significance. The archaeologists have found latrines and ditches, and the post holes where wooden posts would have been placed in the ground to support the walls of the house.

Dublin: Dublin-born professor is Australian of the Year
Having been named as the Australian of the Year for the State of Victoria last November, Dublin-born Professor Patrick McGorry has now been selected as overall Australian of the Year for 2010. He was born in Finglas though his family moved to Wales when he was two years old, and then on to Australia where he has become a world-leading researcher in the area of youth mental health. He recently spent a six-month sabbatical in Ireland accompanied by his sixteen-year-old son Fionn, who enjoyed himself so much that he is now staying with relatives and attending St Andrew’s College in Blackrock.

Fermanagh: Children visit patron saint’s cave
The children from seventh class in St Ninnidh’s school in Derrylin had a chance recently to visit a cave which is connected with their school’s patron saint. The children climbed through the hazel wood at Knockninny before entering Knockninny Cave armed with torches. There is a legend that the saint lived in the cave as a hermit.

Galway: City tailor retires
Pat McDonagh, described by Tom Kenny of Kenny’s Bookshop and Art Gallery as “part of the fabric of life on Middle Street”, has retired from the tailoring business he carried out on the city centre street for the past twenty-nine years. However Pat had been working at his craft for eleven years before that in various parts of the city. Much of his work comprised alterations carried out on behalf of Anthony Ryan’s department store just across the road from Pat’s workplace. His other great interest in life is the GAA and pictures of the various teams adorned the walls of his workshop. Acutely deaf, Pat communicated with his clients by writing on pieces of paper.

Kerry: Three do the Blackwater Way
When Nathan Kingerlee, who runs Outdoors Ireland in Killarney, decided to walk the Blackwater Way from Shrone to Clogheen in Co. Tipperary, he took with him two companions, a dog and a goat. His choice of a goat was prompted by his having just read “Round Ireland With A Fridge”, though he thought a goat would be better company. The walk of almost one hundred and seventy kilometres took him a week with his dog Cara and Bob the goat, lent to him by Cronin’s Yard at Carrantuohill. Nathan was keen to test whether the famous Irish hospitality still existed, and found that he was given a great welcome wherever he stopped en route.

Kerry: Ashes reveal surprise for Kerry couple
When Sheila Edgeworth was cleaning out the range of the home she shares with her husband Pat Joe in Martara in Ballylongford she came across a small piece of metal embedded in the ashes. At first Pat Joe thought it was part of a donkey’s mouth-bit but he finally recognised it as a brooch, from pictures he had seen. The item has been identified as a zoomorphic penannular brooch from the sixth or seventh century, possibly worn to close the cloak of a cleric as its terminals bear two crosses. The brooch has been handed over to Griffin Murray, the collections officer of the Kerry County Museum.

Laois: Proposal to bring the goats back to the Rock
Restoration work carried out at the Rock of Dunamaise four or five years ago, at a total cost to the taxpayer of €1.9m, is now under threat since ivy is once again encroaching on the castle ruins. Laois Heritage Society has a solution, which was proposed by chairman Teddy Fennelly, who would like to see feral goats reintroduced to the rock to keep the vegetation down. When cattle were introduced onto the Rock there were objections from people walking in the area and the Office of Public Works brought in a blanket ban on all animals

Limerick: Limerick men to appear on US television
After parish priest Father Donough O’Malley and local historian Tony Browne helped trace the Limerick ancestry of American satirist Stephen Colbert for a television programme, Tony is hoping that the footage will include one of the two Limerick men examining church records. They were instrumental in finding Stephen Colbert’s great-great-grandfather, Michael Gearon, in St Mary’s parish records but since he left Ireland in the early years of the nineteenth century there is no record of his entry into the United States. Satirist Colbert, who hosted this year’s Grammy Awards, jokingly claimed to be related to 1916 rebel Con Colbert, while talking to Bill Reilly of Fox News.

Longford: Aughnacliffe company makes Irish Food Guide
Jamie O’Neill and his wife Beatrice moved to Aughnacliffe from Naas, Co. Kildare with their two young children just eighteen months ago, but they have managed to put their new home on the map already. The couple run ChocOneill, producing home-made chocolates, and took over an outbuilding on an old farm in Dunbeggan. Their work has now been recognised with an entry in this year’s Irish Food Guide. While they are now based in Aughnacliffe the couple still travel to Naas each week where they have regular outlets and customers but they hope soon to build up a customer base within Longford.

Mayo: Eamonn makes the record book
Eamonn Keane from Louisburgh has qualified for the 2010 Guinness Book of World Records by becoming the first man to complete the Superhuman Strength Challenge. Eamonn, a primary school teacher, completed the challenge at the Lough Lannagh Fitness Centre in Castlebar. He had to undertake a series of challenges known as The Big 5, including a one-hour bench press; a one-hour barbell squat; a one-hour deadlift; a one-hour military press; and a one-hour incline dumb-bell flys.

Offaly School garden to celebrate centenary
Playing a part in the celebrations of Oxmantown National School’s one hundred and fiftieth anniversary this year is a school garden developed over the last two years. Audrey Colton, head teacher of the Birr school, identified a walled area in front of the school for the garden and over the two years both students and parents have worked hard to develop the amenity. They will be holding an open day for the garden in June to show off their flowers, shrubs and vegetables.

Sligo: Riverstown artist on awards shortlist
Michael Budd, an artist, blacksmith and sculptor based in Riverstown, is one of nine artists shortlisted for the 2010 Golden Fleece Award. The awards recognise excellence in all the traditional crafts as well as painting, textiles, sculpture and glasswork. Michael, who runs a forge in Riverstown, has given lessons in forge work at the Westport Arts Festival and has also demonstrated his craft at the Bloom festival in Dublin and on the Late Late Show. In the last year he has had exhibitions in Dublin and Leitrim as well as at the Cat and the Moon gallery in Sligo. He will have a month to wait to learn if he has won the award, with the winner being announced at the Royal Hibernian Academy in Dublin early next month.

Tyrone: Was it a cuckoo in Castlederg?
Although it is generally accepted that the cuckoo makes its first appearance in this country at the end of March or the beginning of April, at least two people claim to have heard the bird already. A woman living in Castlederg said she heard the cuckoo’s call on the morning of January 26 and became convinced she had identified the bird correctly when she heard it again a few days later. Similarly, a man walking with his brother-in-law in Roghan also claims to have heard it, a claim confirmed by his companion on the walk. The early arrival of the cuckoo is believed to presage a good summer.

Waterford: Ballinroad athlete makes sporting history
Last week athlete Kate Veale from Ballinroad made history by becoming the first person in the seventeen-year history of the award to win the Pat Noctor Young Sport Star of the Year for two years in succession. Kate, who competes in walking and cross-country running, is a student of St Augustine’s College and a member of West Waterford Athletic Club.

Wexford: Natural graveyard planned for the county
A company from Co. Donegal, The Green Graveyard Company, has applied for planning permission for the country’s first natural graveyard to be located at a site at the foot of the Blackstairs Mountains. The proposed graveyard will differ from the conventional ones in accepting willow or banana leaf caskets, with graves being identified by small wooden or flat stone markings. For those who eschew even these green alternatives, microchips will be inserted that will emit GPS coordinates of the individual graves. Colin McAteer of the Donegal undertakers says they have already received almost a hundred enquiries and hope to hold their first burial by the end of April.

Wicklow: Wicklow company wins international title
With votes being cast by more than one million customers of, West Wicklow Tours has been selected as the No.1 Tour Worldwide for 2009. Four hundred guests from around the world attended the award ceremony in Dublin last weekend at which tour company owners Denis and Angela O’Reilly accepted the award. Now running for twelve years, Wild Wicklow tours has daily coach tours from Dublin to Wicklow and in addition to their main tour of Avoca, Glendalough and the Sally Gap, they also offer private tours to Malahide Castle and Powerscourt House and Gardens.

Wicklow: Celine hopes for top chocolate prize
Celine Mitchell from Rathnew was a graphic designer before she gave up work to become a full-time mother, but she has now put her skills to good use by entering a design competition and being among five people shortlisted. Celine, who is expecting her second child in June, designed a wrapper for a bar of Cadbury’s chocolate and is now dependent on a public vote if she is to be the overall winner and take home the prize of €10,000. Celine’s wrapper features shamrocks and horseshoes woven into the background with the tagline “...& the chocolate is mighty”.

Canada: Irish athletes at the winter Olympics
It’s confirmed that the women’s bobsled team will compete. Keep up with all the latest developments here:

USA: Award for reference book on Irish people
The Dictionary of Irish Biography, a collaboration between the Royal Irish Academy and Cambridge University Press, was given the award for professional and scholarly excellence as a multi-volume reference work in the humanities and social sciences by The Association of American Publishers.
SPONSOR: Please help us keep your newsletter coming - visit our good friends at Lollysmith:
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They also have a great selection of gifts for your Valentine - it’s never too late to say I love you!.Take a look:


In response to patty’s request, we had several people send in the translation for the phrase "domhan is fearr seanmhathair". It means “World’s best Grandmother.”

Gregg was also seeking a translation of ONLY GOD CAN JUDGE ME , Dave responded: 'Ní féidir ach le Dia breith a thabhairt orm.' The literal translation is: 'It is not possible but for God to render a judgment on me.' I repeat that I am not a native speaker. If he is going to get a tattoo he should double or triple check... I am pretty sure that it is correct. There are a number of Irish translation sites and this phrase has come up at a few of them.

ED. Thanks so much to all of you who take the time and trouble to help us with reader requests, especially: Dave, Mary Ann, Florida Lizzie, Donal and Virginia.

Pamela writes:
Has any of your readers heard of death knocks on a window or door before a death? My friend died on December 11th 2009 but on the Thursday morning I was trying to sleep as I had just come off night duty and at 10.45am there were three knocks on my bed-room window. My bed-room is upstairs just above my back yard. (no one could get in without me hearing them) I got out of bed and looked out the window but there was no one there. I got back into bed and snuggled up hoping to get some sleep, then it happened again. I then got an urge to go and see this little man who I looked after and by the time I got to his it was about 12.00 noon. He was in bed which was unlike him as he would always be in the pub by this time. (he was an alcoholic) He looked so sad and lonely that I gave him a hug and sat on the bed with him for a minute. He asked me to get him 4 cans of beer which I did and a breakfast from the local cafe. The next time I called to see him he was dead in bed.
I never told anyone about this (thinking people would think I was crazy) till the day of his funeral and a woman whose brother died recently told me that the night before her brother died she heard three knocks on her window. A neighbour at home in Ireland was supposed to hear knocks on her window the night my father died in 1959 but I never believed it till now. I am very sceptical of stories like this but I definitely heard knocking on my window that day.
Has anyone else experienced this?
ED. NOTE: If you would like to get in touch with Pamela about this experience, her email

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!

Grace sung by Jim McCaan
One of our all-time favourite Irish love songs, Bridget first heard it being played in the gift shop at Blarney Castle - and had to have it. What is that lovely song, she asked the young girl behind one of the counters. Oh, that’s Grace by Jim McCaan. Just go to the recordings department and ask for number 143. I replied, I just say 143 and they’ll know what I want? Oh yes, they’ll know. Our version is a solo - but this one with the Dubliners is mighty as they might say in Ireland!

History of St. Valentine’s Day
This link to a video on the history channel was sent to us by our dear friend William Crotty. Thanks, Bill!. In addition to the history of St. Valentine, there are several other timely videos to watch - with your loved one of course!

The Irish Page
In recognition of Ash Wedneday this coming week, Jack & Vivian offering an article entitled the Creation of Adam. It features, among other illustrations, a very large picture of the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel suitable for framing. Part of this ceiling fresco is the story of God creating Adam. The story of creation taken from both the Irish and the English bible is cited. This ceiling fresco is the best known ceiling fresco on the planet. They think that it sets a good tone for it:

Google Irish Translator
Mary Ann McKay is one of the readers who is kind enough to send us translations. She told us she uses Google (as well as her Irish dictionary!) Take a look and try it out - but we can’t guarantee its accuracy!

British Pathe in Ireland
When we heard that they were going to publish all of their film clips free of charge, we immediately went looking for the Eucharistic Congress, But it wasn’t there. What is there are twenty two clips that make for fascinating viewing.

Absent Friends by Daniel O’Donnell
Lee Patterson in Australia sent us this link to Daniel singing a song that is a favourite with many who have lost loved ones. It is accompanied by a slide show of celebrities we lost at a very young age.

See any street, any address
Many thanks to Joe McTiernan who sent us this link. When you enter an address you will see a picture of that place. There's a little map with a little man on it - you can move the little man up and down the block if you need to. We’ve tried several places from our past; sometimes it’s sad to see that they aren’t there anymore. But, then you get a lift when you see a place you remember and it’s still the way you left it!

Just for laughs - dreadful headlines
We found these in the Belfast Telegraph and they are priceless!
Here’s a sample: "One armed man applauds the kindness of strangers" (Fair warning - Not for the prudish)

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:
But all husbands are geese, though our pride it may shock,
From the first 'twas ordained so by Nature, I fear;
Ould Adam himself was the first of the flock,
And Eve, with her apple sauce, cook'd him, my dear."
From the poem Dermott O'Dowd by Samuel Glover
Me darlin' was sweet, me darlin' was chaste
Faith, an' more's the pity.
For though she was sweet an'though she was chaste,
She was chased all the way through the city.
Anonymous Irish verse, circa 1790
Brendan from Kerry loved his job in Dublin but the jokes at the expense of Kerrymen were starting to get to him. He announces to his co-workers that when he goes home, he will memorise all the capitals of Europe. Yer on, they said. The next day, the workers gather around and one says to Brendan, “Alright then, what’s the capital of France?
F says Brendan.
1. The Republic of Ireland is among just a few countries that celebrates Valentine''s Day? The others are the U.S., Canada, Mexico, France, Australia and the U.K.
2. The crocus, which starts to bloom in February, is called Valentine's Flower?
3. The relics of St. Valentine are enshrined at the Carmelite Church on Whitefriars St. in Dublin?

First off, the answers to our last quiz:

1. Brigid's Cloak: An Ancient Irish Story by Bryce Milligan.

2. The Rites of Brigid: Goddess & Saint by Sean O Duinn

3. Brigid of Ireland: A Historical Novel by Cindy Thomson

A tip of the hat and a pat on the back to the following irish bibliophiles:

Hartson Dowd
Featured Irish Site for me at the moment is: The Definitive Guide to Irish Pubs Worldwide.

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!

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

Pauline Dewberry
I noticed many people ask for translations or the meanings of sayings, I wondered if this website would help:
ED. NOTE: Thanks Pauline. And if readers would like help with their kitties, Pauline has a great web site:

Nora Lush

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. Modern Irish Love Stories
2. The Darling of My Heart - 2000 Years of Irish Love Writing
3. Of Irish Women - Medieval Irish Love Poetry
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 email. Thanks!
First off, the answer to our last head-banger:
A car's odometer shows 72927 miles, a palindromic number.
Q. What are the minimum miles you would need to travel to form another?

A. 110 miles (The odometer would read 73037)

We thought this one would be difficult - but Our Riddle people didn’t think so! We had a barrage of correct answers but Hartson and George tied for being first in. Well done.
ED. NOTE: Our apologies to Tom Haggerty (no relation) who tied for first in a previous puzzle. Somehow, we omitted him. Hope this makes up for it Tom!

And now for our next 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?
Hint: It's a popular Irish edible.
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: The Irish Link to St. Valentine

4. Article: The Irish in Love

5. Article: The Irish in Love - Part 2

6. Article: The Irish in Love - Still Waters Run Deep

7. Article: The Legend of the Claddagh Ring

8. Article: Give Me Your Hand - Music for an Irish Wedding

9. Irish Kitchen: A Romantic Irish Menu

10. Basic Irish: The Language of Love - in Irish

11. Kids’ Ireland: The Nightingale and the Rose

12. Music Review: Celtic Love Songs

13. Book Review: Celtic Wisdom - Cathi Hassan reviews the latest offering from Cindy Thomson

14. Trivia Contest: The new contest for February is posted. All entries must be in by midnight, February 28 no matter what time zone you live in.
Winner for January: Congratulations to Thomas McGuire USA who selected the James Joyce print by Roger Cummiskey
Well done Thomas!

15. Circle of Prayer: The sixth Novena in this cycle began on February 9 and continues through February 17. Since last we wrote, we heard that James Leahy, the son of our good friend Dan Leahy of Irish Shop is again very ill. Whatever your spiritual leanings we ask that you keep James in your ptrayers and meditionas 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.
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So there you have it until we write again at 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.

In the meantime, Gong Hoy Fat Choy - Happy Chinese New Year and a safe and happy President’s Day holiday weekend to all of our friends in the USA. We also hope everyone enjoys their pancakes or their feast before the fasting on Shrove Tuesday and Mardi Gras.

We’ll take our leave with this blessing with a last nod toward St. Valentine’s Day:
May the saint of romance
intercede on your behalf
and God grant you and yours
the love and affection
of a true Irish heart.

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:
IrishAmericanTheaterCo@fuse.netOr take a look at their new web site - it’s awesome!

Crosshaven, Co. Cork - Now through February 2010
Martha Cashman Sculpture Exhibition, Mad Fish Restaurant at Cronin’s Pub. To view examples of Martha’s work, please click

Cincinnati OF - Feb 26 / Feb
Irish-American Theatre presents John B Kean’s “Moll” at the Irish Heritage Center. For more details, please click

Stay up to day with all the upcoming events and clickhere: http:://
Or call 754-281-7202 / 954-432-8292

Florence, KY - March 6
Irish Day at Turfway . Turfway Race Track in Florence, KY. In addition to the races, vendors, and entertainment, we will also have a “Kid’s Corner” with activities for children. For more details, please write Michael Simonton

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

Our friend Barbara Goins sent us this one. Thanks, Barbara!

The Swede's wife stepped up to the first tee, and as she bent over to place her ball, a gust of wind blew up and revealed her lack of underwear. "Good God, woman! Why aren't you wearing any skivvies?" Sven demanded. "Well you don't give me enough; housekeeping money to afford any," she
replied. The Swede immediately reached into his pocket and said "For the sake of decency, here's $50. Go buy yourself some underwear."

Next the Irishman's wife got to the first tee, and as she bent over to place her ball, a gust of wind blew up and revealed that she too was not wearing any undies. Jesus, "Mary, and Joseph! You've got no knickers. Why not?" She replied, " I can't afford any on the little money that you give me." The Irishman reached into his pocket and said, "For the sake of decency, here's $20, Go out and buy yourself some underwear."

Lastly, the Scotsman's wife bent over. The wind blew her skirt over her head to reveal she was also starkers "Och, Aggie lass! Where the hell are yer drawers?" She too explained, "You dinna give me enough money ta affarrd any." The Scotsman reached into his pocket and said,"Well, fer the love o' decency, here's a comb. Tidy yerself up a bit."

If you took the time to read this very long missive here is a small reward for your tenacity - a lovely card brought to our attention by Helen and Hartson Dowd. It sums up our feelings about you and all of our readers. God Bless.