Welcome to the Irish Culture & Customs newsletter which is published every week and sent out to well over 2300 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
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Greetings and blessings to all,

Surprise, surprise - it's only Monday and we're back. How did that happen? Put it down to being bound and determined to get back to our weekend schedule because we know how many of you like to read at your leisure on a Saturday or Sunday. It will happen.

It's lovely to be writing to you again and we hope this edition finds you in good health, good spirits and good company - especially the latter on this Valentine's Day 2005. And, before we go another syllable:
Happy St. Valentine's Day!
Beannachtaí na Fhéle Vailintín
(Pronunciation: Ban-ochth-thee na Fay-leh val-in-theen)
Literally, Blessings of St. Valentine!

In years past, we've been unashamedly self-indulgent and spent a romantic weekend away; but the budget has too many holes in it to do that these day;s there's another reason, too - you know you're a grandparent when you'd rather watch Fievel than go out to dinner (we're always disappointed in restaurant food anyway!)
Enough about us....
Please help support our efforts and visit our sponsor - our good friends at The Celtic Attic.
St. Patrick's Day is just a few weeks away! Come see all of the great items and ideas to give your home the look and the luck of the Irish! And don't forget to enter our February Giveaway - We will be giving away a heart-shaped basket filled with Coffee Cup, Teas and other heart-warming goodies. Value of this Gift is $30.00. Please click: https://secure26.prohosting.com/a0018922/merchant/merchant.mvc?Screen=SFNT&Store_Code=CA&Affiliate=Bridget
News from Ireland:

Is the honeymoon over for unsuitable wedding music?
The Dublin Diocesan Liturgical Resource Centre has compiled an album of 26 tracks to help couples to identify what it sees as "appropriate" music for a church ceremony. It hopes it will help avoid some of the more embarrassing choices people have made in the past. As in: Waterloo, Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow or Help Me Make It Through The Night. We are not making these up. Among other unsuitable choices on the list are: God Give Me Strength, Crazy, and The End of The World As We know It.

From Around the Counties :
Armagh - First salmon of the season for Lurgan man
With high water causing problems for anglers on the River Drowse in Co. Leitrim this year it was almost the end of January before the first salmon was landed in the county, and it was a fisherman from Armagh who made the catch. Colin Gardner from Lurgan has been fishing the Drowse for a number of years but this is the first time that he has landed the first salmon of the season.

Cavan: Glór Bhréifne national winners
Glór Bhréifne, group which is active in the development of the Irish language in the country, has been named as a national award winner for 2004 by Glór na nGael, the second year that the group has taken such an award. Its members organise Irish language courses, a conversation group and a number of social events each year, encouraging Irish speakers and those who have an interest in the language to use it as much as possible.

Dublin - Blessing of the Rings.
Did you know that the relics of St. Valentine are in the Carmelite Church on Whitefriars Street? The Shrine is visited throughout the year by couples who come to pray to Valentine and to ask him to watch over them in their lives together. As might be expected, February 14 is a very popular day and many couples come to the Eucharistic celebrations which also includes a Blessing of Rings for those about to be married.

Dublin - The new owners of Mr Charles Haughey's Abbeville estate in north Dublin are seeking planning permission for a hotel, golf and residential development on the 230-acre site at Kinsealy.

Kerry - Ballybunion residents walk for hotel
Last weekend hundreds of residents of Ballybunion joined a march in the town to support the development of a hotel on the seafront. The multi-million euro hotel has been proposed by a former mayor of San Jose in California, Tom McEnery, who intends to construct the four-story facility on the site of the former Castle Hotel which he has owned since the mid-1990s.

Kilkenny: The Friars depart
A special chapter in the history of Callan came to a close last week at the Friary buildings on Mill Street in Callan when the Augustinian Friars handed over their properties to the people of Callan and the Friary Trust.

Laois: The Burns family bows out
After one hundred and five years of service to the people of Mountmellick the Burns family will no longer be associated with the local post office. In 1905 Hueston Burn, a Cavan man, was appointed postmaster and six years later his son Jack took over the business. The family tradition carried on in 1955 with Jack's daughter, Hilda becoming postmistress until she, too, handed over the reins to the latest postmistress, Eithne Burns. Now that Eithne is retiring, the business on the corner of O'Connell Square will have new owners, as the position of postmaster or postmistress has been advertised.

Limerick: President sends greetings to centenarian
President McAleese sent her birthday wishes to one-hundred-year-old Willie Kearney of Foynes, whose great day was celebrated at a party in the local community centre. Willie also received a cheque for €2,540 and both card and cheque were presented by the chairman of the Foynes community council. His son, Pat, says that Willie spoke to almost all of the fifteen hundred people who attended the party, talking and telling stories for some four hours. Born in Foynes and having lived all his life there, he worked for Foynes Airways and as a lorry driver. The morning of his birthday his first words to his daughter Catherine were, "I made it".

Longford: Longford loymen demonstrate art
A busload of loy diggers from Longford, members of the county Ploughing Association, recently travelled to Abbeydorney in Kerry to give a demonstration of their art. There are just a few people left in the Abbeydorney area who are familiar with the loy and the Longford men, among them Bernard Casey from Ohill and Miceál McNally from Clonback, explained to them the new rules adopted four years ago by Loy na hÉireann. The visit was organised by the secretary of the Longford Ploughing Association, Eamon Egan. Now it is hoped that a team from Abbeydorney will be taking part in the All-Ireland Championships in the autumn.
ED Note: Loy is not a typo for log. But we're too urbanized to know what a loy is. Who can tell us?

Roscommon: St Patrick's Day for Ballaghaderreen
The people of Ballaghaderreen will be having their Patrick's Day Parade this year, thanks to the offer of stewards by the Ballaghaderreen Community Park Committee and offers from other interested parties. The parade will take place on the afternoon of St Patrick's Day, with floats assembling on the Sligo Road.

From all over:
South Wales, GB - Last Of 'Skins' Dies At 105
George Hardy, The last surviving former member of the 6th Inniskilling Dragoons has passed away RIP. A soldier from the Royal Dragoon Guards played Last Post at his funeral, while a 5th Royal Inniskillings Dragoon guards plaque was placed on his coffin.

Rome - It was wonderful to see the Holy father appear for the Angelus on Sunday. Please keep him in your prayers.

NYC, NY - Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show
The show starts on Valentine's Day and we send love and good luck to all the irish breeds!

Hollywood CA - The Minister for Arts, Sports and Tourism, will propose the appointment of a film ambassador to Hollywood, following a series of meetings with executives of major studios to promote Ireland as a location for US movies.

Portland Oregon, US Clonmacnoise High Cross to be recreated
Donegal sculptor Brendan McGloin has undertaken the daunting task of recreating an ancient high cross which was carved on the banks of the River Shannon 1,100 years ago. The sculpture, weighing five tonnes and measuring 13 feet high, is to be shipped from Donegal to the west coast of the United States. McGloin sourced his sandstone locally in a Donegal quarry. He started work in November and believes the job could take a year. It is hoped it will be installed at the Mount Calvary cemetery in the city by St Patrick's Day 2006.

From the Mailbag:
We hadn't heard from Hartson or Helen Dowd in a long while and we were getting very worried about them. Helen sent us an update. Hart has had another flare-up with his knee, his computer is broken and there are a host of other problems going on - but fortunately, while it's all been a a major pain (literally!) and very aggravating, things are starting to improve. Please keep them in your prayers.

Our friend Déidre is babysitting her brother's house in Clare; she writes that the daffodils are blooming and the furze is coming out! Wish we were there!

In response to Eric who asked about the sign "Sure, and it's still 12 miles to Dublin Town" that he saw on a Looney toon "Wearing of the Grin" with Porky in Ireland, Karin writes:
The subject quote obviously means something to a Dubliner. I saw it on a motorbike forum and a Dubliner responded to an email and at the end wrote "And it's still 12 miles from Dublin". Now I am curious. I will ask my Dublin friends. I am sure someone on the list will have the answer off the top of their head. Good question. Love it.
And Mary Sigrist wrote:
...there was a popular children's rhyme that went
Chip, chip, my little horse,
Chip, chip again, Sir,
How many miles to Dublin town?
Four score and ten, Sir.
Will I be there by candlelight?
There and back again, Sir.

Bridget remembers this rhyme as well - but with slightly different words. Any more takers on this question?

Poetry query: Eoin would like the words to Thoughts at The Trysting Stile by Francis Ledwidge. If you know. please send them in - thanks!

Website Spotlight:
This week, we put the focus on Stu Fralick, co-host of The Irish Show. If you live in the Binghamton, New York area, no doubt you're already tuned in on Sundays; we wish we lived closer so we could listen, too!

Links of the week:
St. Patrick postmark
Want to send cards from the only town named St. Patrick in the world - one with a post office, that is? It's in Missouri, USA and you can find out all about it here:

Marilyn sent us a link to one of her favorite Irish musicians. We took a look and Donal O'Shaughnessy's site is well worth a visit:

Carol sent us a very moving tribute to those in the military

Jane sent us the following - Einstein is amazing!

Jack & Vivian of the irish page sent us the following:
Today's release is the song about a little Irish boy named Jimmy. (Seamas in Irish)
His mother is looking for him. She last saw him going down the road with no shoes on his feet and he was off to school. He's her darling little boy.

Want to test your IQ? Sure you do! Patricia sent us:http://www.risingstarkaraoke.com/monday_test.html

A reminder: The Breast Cancer site is having trouble getting enough people to click on it daily to meet their quota of donating at least one free mammogram a day to an underprivileged woman. It takes just a minute and there's no cost involved:

Last but certainly not least - our on-going 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!

It only takes a second to feed hungry people, too:

Enough of the blitherin' - on with the update....

Quips, quotes, proverbs & toasts
A bit of the wit
Joke of The Week
Did You Know
Writer's Quiz
The Week That Was
The Week Ahead
The old pipe gives the sweetest smoke.
Marriages are all happy; it's having breakfast together that causes all the trouble.
One morning at the bargaining table, the company's chief negotiator held aloft the morning edition of the Cork Examiner. "This man," he announced, "Called in sick yesterday!" There on the sports page was a photo of the supposedly ill employee, who had just won a local golf tournament with an excellent score. The silence in the room was broken by a union negotiator."Jaysus," he said. "Think of the score he could have had if he hadn't been sick!"
Please help us to keep this newsletter free - visit our good friends, LollySmith:
There you will find a wide range of Irish and Celtic gifts imported directly from Ireland, including Irish jewelry, Shamrock seeds, Connemara marble, tin whistles and bodhráns; they also offer Irish and Celtic themed gifts from American companies such as Russ Berrie and SilverMoon. And don't overlook their new Irish Coffee, Teas and Gourmet Fare as well as Guinness Gourmet Mustards made in Co. Tipperary, Ireland, Oh Ryan's Irish Potatoes, Soda Bread, Scone Mix, Mileeven Preserves and other delicious foods and beverages. Known worldwide for their quality gifts, great prices, quick shipping, and friendly personalized service, the friendly folk at Lollysmith are just a click away: http://store.yahoo.com/cgi-bin/clink?lollysmith+wSpfhS+index.html
1. It was considered unlucky to break a glass or cup on the wedding day?
2. It was also unlucky if a bride and groom washed their hands in the same sink?
3. A traditional irish proposal was "Would You like to be buried with my people?"
Source: The Traditional Irish Wedding by .....herself, Bridget Haggerty (she wouldn't put this in for the blushes)
Signed, inscribed copies still available!
Because last week's edition was so late, we're giving you a bit more time to enter our most recent quiz. Want to see your name on next week's list? Try finding the following - we assure you, it's really easy! Who wrote:
1. Irish Puddings, Tarts, Crumbles & Fools
2. Trolleys and Squibs: A Golfer's Guide to Irish Links
3. Prayer Against Famine and Other Irish Poems Hint: You'll find all of the above titles and a favorite in our library 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 - preferably Irish. 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

The pesky puzzle has continued to thwart even our most zealous solvers and we're certain there will be howls of protest when the solution(s) are revealed. We will be asking Jim T. if it's okay to direct all complaints to him and not us! Herewith, the recap:
Q It seems that Ross was going to boil a nice 20lb ham for St Patrick's Day dinner. The recipe calls for using exactly 2 1/2 gallons of water in which to boil it. The only pots Ross has are 5 gallons, 2 1/4 gallons and 3 1/4 gallons. Using only these pots, how can Ross measure out the 2 1/2 gallons of water that he needs?
And here are the two solutions Jim decreed as acceptable:
A. The 2 1/2 gallon and 3 3/4 gallon pots are just a diversion. No
doubt many answers will involve pouring great quantities of water from pot to pot in order to arrive at the 2 1/2 gallons. All Ross needs to do is tip the 5 gallon pot at an angle to where the water level is just at the bottom edge and the top edge of the pot. This will be exactly 1/2 the capacity of the 5 gallon pot - 2 1/2 gallons.

If you subscribe to the rule of thumb that "a pint's a pound the world
around", then a 20lb ham would be the equivalent of 20 pints. As it turns out, 20 pints equals 10 quarts equals 2 1/2 gallons, so all one would need to do is put the ham in the 5 gallon pot and fill it up with water. You would have 2 1/2 "gallons" of ham and 2 1/2 gallons of water!

In deference to all of you who tore your hair out trying to solve Ross' dilemma, we've found what we hope is a much easier poser:

Q. What's the difference between a penniless man and a feather bed?

And before we move on, a bit of a giggle. Bridget was busy typing away and Russ asked who are you writing to? She replied the riddle people. Russ thought she said the little people and almost fell out of his chair thinking that she'd finally lost it altogether. She was, of course, regretfully letting all of you hard-working puzzlers know that you didn't have the correct solution. And Russ should have known better - one should never call the Sidhe by that name - they dislike it intensely. ==================================================================
Help us keep this newsletter free by visiting our good friends at The Irish Lottery. Will this be the year you become a millionaire? There Are 42 Shades of Green - All you need are 6 to hit the Irish Millions! 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, winnings are tax-free and checks are mailed within 48 hours. Do you have the luck of the Irish? Play the Irish lottery and find out! You can't win it if you're not in it, so come visit our totally revamped web site! Please click here for full details:
1. Basic Irish Lesson - The language of love
2. Article - Anam Cara
3. Kids' Ireland - The Selfish Giant by Oscar Wilde. Did you know Oscar wrote stories for children? This one is particularly worth reading:
4. Kids' ireland - Culture Corner: Dogs of Ireland - The Kerry Blue
5. Culture Corner - Home Page: Trysting Stones:
6. Article - Ash Wednesday and the Lenten Season in Old Ireland
7. Article - What if you were still single by Ash Wednesday?
8. Article - The Irish Link to St. Valentine
9. Article - The Irish in Love
10. Article - The irish in Love Part 2
11. Article - The Irish in Love: Still Waters Run Deep
12 The irish Kitchen - A Romantic Irish Menu for St. Valentine's Day
13. Russ has posted bios of and selected poems by John Montague, Paul Durcan and Pat Ingoldsby:
14/ Circle of Prayer - Our first Novena in this cycle ends on February 13 and the second one begins on Valentine's Day. Please join us in prayer or meditation for His Holiness, Pope Paul II. the victims of the Tsunami, Mollie's son Casey, Pauline, Hartson, and Graine. We also hope you will offer your spiritual support for our military personnel serving in Iraq, Afghanistan and all over the world. We ask that you especially remember a local young man, Matt Maupin, who was captured nearly a year ago, Paul and Ashley, the sons of friends. Also the three grandsons of Mary Sigrist. We have personally experienced first-hand the power of prayer and we know that God listens and will answer.
15. Trivia Contest. The new contest for February has been posted and we're pleased to announce that Celtic Attic is again sponsoring a lovely prize. Along with our other generous sponsor, Roger Cummiskey, famed Dublin Artist, we'd be hard-pressed to choose between the prizes if we won. Check them out here: http://www.irishcultureandcustoms.com/TriviaContest.html
By the way, the winner of our January contest was Paula from Florida. Congratulations! Next time, it could be you

Because St. Valentine's Day falls on a Monday, we won't be changing the home page until 2/15. With just over a month until St. Patrick's Day, we'll begin posting all of our related articles and hopefully some new ones. Also, we'll be posting our Mothering Sunday article - It's on March 6 in Ireland and the UK this year - just a couple of weeks away! We also received a couple of great CDs to review - Celtic Woman and The Chieftains Live From Dublin (a tribute to Derek Bell). As always, we'll have a new blessing on Sunday (posted) a new quote on Wednesday and we'll bring back the recipes for Spring next Thursday. In the meantime, to encourage you to visit every day, we update our news - please click:
And we keep a week's worth of history here:

So there you have it until we write again, except to say that if you're celebrating a birthday, anniversary, or other important event between now and then, we hope it's a joyous occasion! We also hope the Good Shepherd of us all will clasp you and yours in the palm of His hand, but not close his fist too tight on you. And, as they say in Ireland, mind yourself!

Slan agus beannacht!

Bridget & Russ
Get down on your knees and thank God you're still on your feet
Nobody needs to give a lot, but a lot of people need to give...
We're still in dire need of your support, especially since our newsletter host has begun charging us for the service. Help us keep our newsletter and the web site free; please send whatever you can to Bridget or Russ. Our snail mail address is 5670 Meryton Place, Cincinnati OH 45224. Of, you can send a donation via PayPal. The Url is:
http://www.paypal.com and our email address is this one:
Many thanks in advance for your kindness.
To avoid duplication, we list only those events not already mentioned in the Irish Heritage Newsletter or on the Wild Geese website. In fact, the Irish Heritage email group and the Wild Geese have joined forces to bring you a massive listing of Irish events all over the world! To subscribe to the list, send your e-mail address to group moderator George Trainor, at george@thewildgeese.com. The group's postings go out every other Friday and Saturday, in five separate e-mails, covering Irish history, myths and legends, news, jokes, Irish (Gaeilge) lessons, recipes, and more. Organizations, please alert them about your upcoming events, e-mail events@thewildgeese.com, fax: 208-978-9998. Deadline: The third Wednesday of the month for the following month's edition. Also visit The Wild Geese at:

and the site itself at www.thewildgeese.com.
If you're in Ireland, or lucky enough to be visiting, you can see what's on offer here:

Winston Salem - Now until March 3
Aisling: An Artist's Vision of ireland
Irish landscapes in oil, pastel, black and white photography by Amy Funderburk; Spine Gallery, Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center

Dublin - Now until mid-March
"Toy Stories", An Exhibition of Toys, Dolls & Games from the Past is on display at the National Museum of Ireland

Atlanta, Georgia - February 18
John Hume, Nobel Laureate and MP for Foyle, will speak on the current political impasse in Northern Ireland at the following venues:
Georgia State University at 1:30 pm
Emory University at 4:00 pm
For more details, please contact Jim Gaffey:
Tel: 770.448.0685
email: jfgaffey@bellsouth.net

Hollywood, Florida - February 19
IRISH-AMERICAN CEILI CLUB Shepherds Pie dinner & dancing to Paddy Noonan
7p-11p Members $8; Guests $11
For more info call 954-432-8292 or visit our web site:

Houston Texas - February 24-27
UST Hosts The American Conference for Irish Studies
Southern Regional Conference. The first major event in 2005 for the Center for Irish Studies. The conference features nearly 100 presentations by Irish Studies scholars, students, and interested persons from Ireland, Northern Ireland, Canada and throughout the United States on Irish Studies topics, including literature, history, politics, art, culture music, and immigration. For more information or to register, please visit

Houston, Texas - February 27
McTeggart Irish Dancers 3rd Annual - St. Patrick's Day Celebration and Fundraiser
3-7PM At the newest of Molly's Irish Pubs~ Olde City Pub 14124 Steubner Airline. For more details, please click

Galway City - March 5
The sixth NUI Galway Gala Banquet http://www.nuigalway.ie/news/main_press.php?p_id=190 , to be held in the Radisson SAS Hotel in Galway, will have as its theme the university's mission in international education. At the banquet the annual Alumni Awards will be presented, the winners to be announced in the next issue of Alumni Links.

Los Angeles, California - March 12-13

Washington DC - March 9-12
First stop of the Bogside Artists Speaking Tour
Artists Kelly and Kevin Hasson will speak about their murals, 30 years of conflict in Ireland and the story of the bogside. For complete details, please visit:

Tallahassee, Fl March 12
St. Patrick's Day Brunch and Roast (to be held at Legion Post 13, Lake Ella) followed by the traditional St. Patrick's Day Parade around Lake Ella. The Brunch and Roast will begin 11:00am and end at 1:00pm. The Parade begins at 3:00pm. Sponsored by the Tallahassee Emerald Isle Society and The Tallahassee Sligo Sister City Program. For more information, you can call (850) 385-7469

Macroom, Co. Cork - July 16th & 17th
F irst ever Fleadh Cheoil, music festival - Macroom town center
Forhttp://www.all-ireland.com/misc/contactus.htm more info, click

There are still some periods available up to 9 July, if you would like to spend your holiday in my cosy house on the beautiful Isle of Inishmore.
or 0041-1-2520918

Know of a church in need of a vestments cabinet? Russ has totally restored one he rescued from a Cincinnati church that was being demolished. We've used it over the years to store posters other art work and flat files. (Ad agencies and architectural firms could also put it to similar use). If you're interested in learning more about it and seeing a photo, please send us an email - bhaggerty@irishcultureandcustoms.com


Theology, kid's style...

1. Dear God, please put another holiday between Christmas and Easter.There
is nothing good in there now. Amanda

2. Dear God, Thank you for the baby brother but what I asked for was a
puppy. I never asked for anything before. You can look it up. Joyce

3. Dear Mr. God, I wish you would not make it so easy for people to come
apart. I had to have 3 stitches and a shot. Janet

4. God, I read the bible. What does beget mean? Nobody will tell me.

5. Dear God, how did you know you were God? Who told you? Charlene

6. Dear God, is it true my father won't get in Heaven if he uses his golf
words in the house? Anita

7. Dear God, I bet it's very hard for you to love all of everybody in the
whole world. There are only 4 people in our family and I can never do it.
-- Nancy

8. Dear God, I like the story about Noah the best of all of them. You
really made up some good ones. I like walking on water, too. Glenn

9. Dear God, my Grandpa says you were around when he was a little boy. How
far back do you go? Love, Dennis

10. Dear God, do you draw the lines around the countries? If you don't, who
does? Nathan

11. Dear God, did you mean for giraffes to look like that or was it an accident?

12. Dear God, in bible times, did they really talk that fancy? Jennifer

13. Dear God, how come you did all those miracles in the old days and
don't do any now? Billy

14. Dear God, please send Dennis Clark to a different summer camp this year.

15. Dear God, maybe Cain and Abel would not kill each other so much if they
each had their own rooms. It works out OK with me and my brother. Larry

16. Dear God, I keep waiting for spring, but it never did come yet. What's
up? Don't forget. Mark

17. Dear God, my brother told me about how you are born but it just
doesn't sound right. What do you say? Marsha

18. Dear God, if you watch in Church on Sunday I will show you my new shoes.

19. Dear God, is Reverend Coe a friend of yours, or do you just know him
through the business? Donny

20. Dear God, I do not think anybody could be a better God than you. Well, I
just want you to know that. I am not just saying that because you are already God.

21. Dear God, it is great the way you always get the stars in the right place. Why
can't you do that with the moon? Jeff

22. Dear God, I am doing the best I can. Really. Frank

And, saving the best for last ...

23. Dear God, I didn't think orange went with purple until I saw the sunset
you made on Tuesday night. That was really cool. Thomas