Welcome to the Irish Culture & Customs newsletter which is published every week or so and sent out to going on 4100 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:
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Greetings to all,

Bridget O'Flynn, where have you been, Bridget O'Flynn?
Sure it's a fine time for you to be gettin' in.
You went to see the big parade, the big parade me eye.
There was never a parade in all this world took that long passin' by.

Unlike Bridget O'Flynn, it wasn't a big parade that kept us from writing sooner. It was simply a constant procession of unexpected events and distractions, beginning with each of us taking turns being under the weather. We're over that. But then came getting the house ready for the perceived eagle eyes of prospective buyers, visits from out of town relatives, computer glitches, and much more. But, here we are back again and, hopefully better late than never.

We also hope this edition finds you on the pig's back and fit as a fiddle! A warm welcome to everyone and a special hello to all of our new readers. Fingers crossed you will enjoy reading our musings and meanderings and if so, please feel free to share them with your family and friends.

Since last we wrote, we heard that Aideen, our resident Irish speaker has decided to move from the warm climes of the Mediterranean back to her home in Ireland. So, for the moment, we'll be without her invaluable contributions to our Irish lessons and and also for her help with translations. For example, we currently have a request for a translation and pronunciation of the phrase one in ten? Would anyone like to be Aideen for a while?

We also heard from Helen Dowd, the wife of our irish Kitchen columnist, Hartson. Three years ago. when Bridget became critically ill, Hartson did as well. And while Bridget made a miraculous recovery, Hartson continued to have serious problems with infections in his knee. This past week, a drastic decision was made to amputate his leg. The good news is that he is surprising all of his doctors with how quickly he is recovering from the surgery. he is already in therapy and God willing, he will be home from the hospital soon. Meanwhile, if you would like to send him a card and/or note of encouragement, here's his address:

Hart Dowd
c/o Fraser Valley Hospital
1275 7th Ave.
Hope, British Columbia,
Canada. V0X 1L4

We know he (and Helen) would be delighted to hear from you!

May? Imminent? How can that be? Will you be rolling naked in the May Morning Dew? Delivering May Baskets to your neighbours? Eating Nettle Soup to ward off the rheumatics for a year? For most of us, the celebrations of Beltane and the Celtic beginning of Summer won't commence until this weekend which is followed by a Bank Holiday on Monday. We hope and pray it will be a safe and happy time for all. In the meantime, Pinch Punch, first day of the month, White Rabbit!

Enough of the blather. On with the update!
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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

Antrim: Diamond couple come home to celebrate
Eileen and Norman Greenway, who were married at St Cedma's Parish Church in Larne sixty years ago, travelled from their home in Australia to celebrate their anniversary. And there to mark the occasion were their best man and bridesmaid, George Taylor and Margaret Estler, formerly Margaret Hyslop. Eileen and Norman met at a dance in Larne when Eileen was just fourteen years old and Norman proposed to her the same night. After their marriage four years later they spent some five years in England, where their children Kathleen and Wilf were born, before the family moved to Australia under the government's assisted passage scheme.

Derry: 60 years on the float
Helping his father deliver milk from a horse and cart using milk cans was the start of a sixty-year career for a Derry milkman. Bill Ferry from Park Avenue in the city, now aged seventy-four, is still delivering milk on a daily basis for Dale Farm, now being helped by his own sons, John and William. The three deliver two hundred crates of milk each week and Bill says he has no thought of retiring as the job is too much fun. In the early days Bill and his father would deliver the milk directly into the people's kitchens, but since the introduction of bottles in the late 1940s the doorstep has been the preferred delivery method.

Donegal: Glenmaquin joins the 21st century
For the first time in its history the village of Glenmaquin, only five miles from Letterkenny, will this week become part of a district group water scheme and will at long last have clean piped water. Residents of the village, lying close to the Tyrone border in an area known as the "Lagan desert", have been campaigning for such a facility for the past forty years.

Galway: Work on a 515 million euro road project between Galway city and Ballinasloe, which is the biggest single stretch of dual carriageway to be built in 'one piece' in this country, is to start within weeks.

Mayo: Annual bell-ringing in Lahardane
The church bell of St Patrick's in Lahardane was solemnly tolled for 25 minutes n the early hours of April 15 to commemorate the anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic. In particular the bell was rung to remember the fourteen people from the parish who traveled on the ill-fated liner, of whom only three survived, Annie Kate Kelly, Delia McDermott and Annie McGowan. This is the only time in the year that the bell is rung and the number of minutes represents two slow knells each for the eleven who lost their lives and three minutes of joyous ringing for the survivors.

Meath: Lime tree as tourism draw
A lime tree in the village of Duleek which was planted by local residents at the time of the Battle of the Boyne has been suggested as a focal point for tourists to the battle site. The lime tree, which is believed to be the oldest and largest specimen in the country, was planted on the village green and is said to represent the locally-favoured William III. At the time of its planting there was a significant French Huguenot population in the village. Known as King Billy, the lime tree is intertwined with a native Irish ash which is said to represent William III's wife, Queen Mary.

Monaghan: Emigrants are searching for their roots
Emigrants from the US and from Canada were back in the Castleblayney area in recent weeks searching for their roots. From Canada came Noel A. Martin who was looking for any Martins, Whites, Greers and Armstrongs around Mullyash. And coincidentally when he stopped to ask directions he knocked on the door of Margaret White, whose father Tommy was one of those on his list to locate. Meanwhile Nicholas Blayney from North Carolina was helped in his search, admittedly easier given his surname, by the church sexton, Michael Murphy, and by Janet Hill of the Church of Ireland Community Employment Project.

Tyrone: Nally Stand finds its new home in Carrickmore
The Nally Stand, which was once located beside Hill 16 at Croke Park, is now being reassembled in its new home at Carrickmore. The stand, named after nineteenth century promoter of athletics PW Nally, came to Carrickmore via the chairman of Naomh Colmcille's, Arthur McCallan, whose demolition firm was involved in the refurbishment work at Croke Park. The stand arrived in Carrickmore in hundreds of pieces and is now being reassembled, with members hoping to have it in place by August of this year. It is one of the only remaining parts of the old Croke Park.

Nova Scotia: Cst. John T. Kennedy, a member of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police has arrived in Co. Clare to promote a transatlantic literacy programme involving dozens of schools and libraries in Ireland and Canada. He is scheduled to meet with members of An Garda Síochána and some of the participants of 'The Reading Challenge'.

San Diego: Sligo: Sligo nun is an active centenarian
Sister Mary Mercedes, a member of the Sisters of Mercy who taught in Scoil Fatima, once the Line School, for thirty years, will soon celebrate her one hundredth birthday in San Diego, where she is now living. Sister Mary Mercedes entered the order in Sligo in 1926 and taught at the Pearse Road school until 1956, when she joined the diocesan mission to California. She is still very active, walking two circuits of the grounds of Nazareth House every day, visiting the sick and taking classes in music appreciation and social studies. The Galway native paid a return visit to Sligo three years ago.
SPONSOR: Help us keep this newsletter free by visiting our good friends at the Celtic Attic:
Mother's Day USA is just around the corner - May 13 - and so are First Communions, graduations and many other important events. Whatever the occasion, we can help make it memorable with our wide range of gifts and novelties. Come take a look. And remember - we offer Free Shipping on most orders over $75.00 (some restrictions apply). Also, act now and take an additional 25%, YES 25% off any SALES PAGE item in our Sales Section! And don't forget to enter the Monthly Free Giveaway.  This month we have combined our free giveaway so you only have to fill out one form. Happy shopping from all of us at the celtic Attic!

Kemberlee Shortland runs a travel agency in Cork and also a forum called All Ireland Travel. We received the following message the other day:

On 1 May, the Today Show from NY will be airing live from Dingle, Co. Kerry. They've interviewed several Irish who once lived in the US and returned to Ireland. One of the people they interviewed was my friend Mary Griffin who used to live in Boston and returned to Ireland a few years ago. She and her family opened the B&B overlooking Dingle Harbour called Tower View. It's a fabulous house just on the edge of town.
ED. NOTE: Thanks for the heads up Kemberlee.

It was lovely to hear from Fr. Denis McGowan in Japan who shared this story: During the Easter Vigil we had three men baptized, the youngest in his sixties. The oldest is ninety years old, and I baptized his wife fifty years ago, so that must be some kind of record. His wife died about thirty years ago and he remarried. His second wife is also Catholic.

David Emmans writes: Dear good people, I am learning Gaelic, but only slowly. Understanding the spoken word is really hard. If I could listen to films or TV programs on DVD's in my PC I could get used to the sounds a little better. Could anyone make a suggestion of where I could order such DVD's?

Jamie had asked about a Celtic design for a window or glass door insert. Eileen McTiernan writes: "Not sure if this is what Jamie is looking for, but I did a google search and came up with the following:

On the same topic, Segolene writes:
...a number of companies make bespoke window films using company logos etc; I assume they would be able to use any image that Jamie passed on to them (he could find one he likes on an Irish website). This is one example I have found but there are plenty of others: http://www.macrovitro.com/main_window_graphics_page.htm Hope this helps!

Beautiful Ireland
Gorgeous scenery, soothing music - the combination is magical!

Ireland's Entry for the Eurovision 2007 Song Contest
If you like Dervish, you will love their performance of our entry into this year's competition.

The Irish Page
The latest offering from Jack & Vivian is a poem in English and Irish by Raftery, one of Ireland's most famous poets.

Here comes the flushing bride?
Move over Hoey, McClintick and Wang - here's a delightful collection made entirely of toilet tissue.

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:

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:
Is there anything more expressive or colourful than an Irish curse? Here's a fine example:
Lord, confound this surly sister,
Blight her brow with blotch and blister,
Cramp her larynx, lung, and liver,
In her guts a galling give her
Let her live to earn her dinners
In Mountjoy with seedy sinners:
Lord, this judgement quickly bring,
And I'm Your servant, J. M. Synge.
Apparently, this was written to or for someone who disapproved of Synge's Playboy of the Western World.
Sign on an Irish gate:
The farmer allows walkers across the field for free, but the bull charges.

A Kerryman was on his way into work when he saw someone stealing the boss's car. He runs into the boss' office shouting, "Sir, Sir, I just saw someone after taking your car, The boss jumps up and says "The blaggard, did you get a good look at him?" No" says the Kerryman, "but I got his license!"
1. Bram Stoker's first novel was called The Primrose Path?
2. W. R. Jacob invented the Cream Cracker in 1885 at his premises on Bridge Street in Waterford City?
3. According to the Guinness Book of World Records, the fastest game of Operation took place in Ireland? The British Association of Urological Surgeons completed a game in one minute and two seconds on June 28, 2001, in Dublin.

But first the answers to our last quiz:
1. The Hill of Tara by  Eoin Colfer
2. The Kingship & Landscape of Tara edited by Dr Edel Bhreathnach
3. Tara: The Monuments on the Hill by Sean O'Riordain,

A round of pints and applause to our latest litrary sleuths:

Hartson Dowd
As many are aware, the Hill of Tara region is in imminent danger of being destroyed by the construction of a super highway. Here is a link to a web site where you can read a petition and sign it if you oppose this madness:

Helen Dowd
If you would like to read some good Easter stories, please visit click on this link:

Déirdre McKiernan Hetzler
 "Glorious Ireland" - May 24 - June 7, 2007 watch for this year's itinerary: http:www.tours2ireland.com

Patricia Edwards
This site is my all-time favourite but I have put it down so many times so here is another one of my favourites - lol!

ED. NOTE: Thank you, Patricia!

Want to see your name and favorite web site in our next newsletter?
Who wrote:

1. The Dramatist
2. Confessions of a Shanty irishman
3. The Beauty of the Moon
SPONSOR: Please help us keep the newsletter coming - visit our good friends at the Irish Lotto.
Wednesday's guaranteed jackpot will be € 2 Million Euro and it's always been our fantasy that one of our readers will be the big winner; but, as they say in Ireland, you can't win it if you're not in it. And here's the best part - you don't have to live in Ireland to play and your winnings are not subject to Irish taxes! Click here for more details or to buy a ticket:
To begin with, here's the answer to our last skull scrambler, which proved to be a bit more eggsasperating than we anticipated:
Q. What do you get if you pour hot water down a rabbit hole?
A. A hot cross bunny!
We had some very strange answers, but almost as soon as the letter went out we had a correct solution from Jessica Woodruff - well done! And now for our next mind mangler:
Q. What can be driven, but has no wheels. What can be sliced, and still remain whole?
1. Article: The Bright Flames of May
2. Article: How to prevent mayhem
3. Article: The Rosary & Al the Trimmings
4. Article: A Tribute to Jimmy Kennedy
5. Article: Landmarks commemorating the 1916 Rising
6. The Irish Kitchen - Syllabub
7. Basic Irish: Spring Cleaning
8. Kids' Ireland: Leary's New House
9. April Music Review: Van Morrison At The Movies
10. Circle of prayer - Our 1st Novena in this cycle began on April 26 and continues through May 4. We've already mentioned Hartson who just went through major life-changing surgery. Please keep him in your prayers or meditations. Also Eileen McTiernan's mother; David & Jenn's tiny daughter Maggie; Sr. Cindy who broke her ankle; our "Cat Lady" Pauline Dewberry; Bridget's cousin Louise in Galway, Alice Savage, Ellie, Josephine and her mother in Waterford, Patricia Edward's daughter Heather; Bob Kelly; Simon Shepherd.; baby Joseph; little Emma-Josephine, Mickey, Jane Fitz., Scott H and so many others, especially our men and women in the military serving their country all over the world God willing, they will all be home safe and sound soon.
11. Last day for the Trivia contest! A new one for May will be posted tomorrow. All entries must be in ny midnight on the last day of the month no matter what time zone you are in:

So that's the long and the short of it until next time. If you're celebrating a birthday, anniversary or other important event between now and then, we hope it's filled with joy. And you're planning a wedding or tied the knot this month, here's the old Irish verse:
Marry in May and rue the Day.
While that doesn't sound very positive, we know a great many happily married couples who married in May. If you're curious as to the origin of the verse, it comes from the tradition of May being the month of Mary, mother of Jesus. It was a time devoted to her and it was frowned upon to distract from that devotion with celebrations such as a wedding. But that didn't hold true for First Communions.

Until we write again, may the good Shepherd of us all enfold you and yours in His mantle of love and protection. 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!
Help keep the newsletter coming
Officially, our annual dollar drive is over but we are always happy to receive donations at any time of year. If you'd like to help us out you can send a little something through PayPal:
and to this account:

or by snail mail to:
Bridget & Russ Haggerty
5670 Meryton Place
Cincinnati, OH 45224.

Go raibh maith agat in advance for your generosity and kindness.
Please check with the Wild Geese - they have a huge listing of events and we don't want to duplicate their efforts:
If we receive a unique event not mentioned there we will be happy to list it here.

Dublin, Ireland, May 17th
Look West Expo. Look West will host an exhibition event in the Davenport Hotel, Merrion Square to highlight the advantages of living and working in the West.  A range of companies and agencies will be present, with the emphasis on employers and agencies currently offering jobs in the seven counties of Donegal, Leitrim, Sligo, Mayo, Roscommon, Galway and Clare.  More details to come.

Many thanks to our friend Audrey in California who sent us the following. It's not Irish but we thought is was so funny we had to share it with you:

Tom was in his early 50's, retired and started a second career. However, he just couldn't seem to get to work on time. Every day, 5, 10, 15 minutes late. But he was a good worker, real sharp, so the Boss was in a quandary about how to deal with it. Finally, one day he called him into the office for a talk. "Tom, I have to tell you, I like your work ethic, you do a bang-up job, but you're being late so often is quite bothersome.' "Yes, I know Boss, and I am working on it." "Well good, you are a team player. That's what I like to hear. It's odd though, you're coming in late. I know you're retired from the Air Force.  What did they say if you came in late there?" "They said, "Good morning, General."