Welcome to the Irish Culture & Customs newsletter which is published every fortnight or so and sent out to going on 5000 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 & Blessings to all,

Did you notice our absence? We'd like to tell you that we spent April in Paris - but we'd be lying through our hats. Truth is, Herself has not been herself for the past few weeks. Things are improving and we hope that bodes well for a return to one or more newsletters a month as opposed to no letter at all.


A very belated pinch, punch first day of the month, white rabbit! We hope this first week in the merry month of May finds you and yours in good spirits, good health and good company. We also hope that if you are in Ireland or the UK, you enjoyed a safe and happy bank holiday weekend.

Is this your first edition? Many thanks for joining us and if you like our musings and meanderings, please feel free to pass them along to your family and friends.

Meanwhile, it's Mother's Day in the US this coming weekend. Here's how to say Happy Mother's Day in the Irish:
Lá an Mháthair faoi shona dhuit
(Pronunciation: law ay-leh on waw-hirr fwee hun-ah gwitch).
A word of caution though. According to our native speaker Aideen, (RIP), the concept of saying "Happy Mother's Day" is a relatively contemporary custom in Ireland. So, what we have here is a literal translation which isn't in common usage among Irish speakers. That said, it's the thought that counts, so do make the effort because it's sure to please Irish mothers everywhere.

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
What follows are news clips from around the counties and elsewhere. Links for more news stories can be found on our web site where we post the latest headlines from Ireland every morning and we keep two week's of previous news: http://www.irishcultureandcustoms.com/01News/Home.html
And more county news can be found here:

Record year for cruise ships
A record 83 cruise ships carrying a total of more than 75,000 passengers are due to dock in Dublin Port this year. The arrival of the ships will generate up to €55m for the local economy. The first big liner - the $450m Grand Princess, which accommodates more than 2,500 passengers - reached the port this past week.

Is there a First Holy Communion coming up in the family?
Is your little one itching to have their big day on display to the nation? If so, you might want to give Mind The Gap films a shout. The Dublin-based production company is currently filming its new series, 'Modern Ireland', which aims to take five quintessentially Irish events and film them from three different perspectives over the course of a day. If you're interested, contact kate@mindthegapfilms.com or call 01 6624742.

Antrim: A gift from Brad in a Belfast garden
There is one unusual feature in the east Belfast garden of dialect coach Brendan Gunn, a fountain which was a gift from Brad Pitt. The Hollywood actor presented Brendan with the gift after a visit to Belfast to perfect a Northern accent for the film "The Devil's Own". Brendan's family has dubbed the garden feature the "Brad Pitt Memorial Fountain". Brendan has helped a number of actors perfect their accents, including Cate Blanchett for her role as Veronica Guerin, and Sacha Baron Cohen for his role as Signor Adolfo Pirelli in "Sweeney Todd".

Clare: Bats may be the answer to protesters' prayers
The people protesting against the locating of a quarry near the village of Ruan may well have a protected species of bat to thank for their deliverance. The Department of the Environment has informed the county council that a four-season survey will have to be carried out on a population of the Lesser Horseshoe Bat. Four of the bats' maternity roosts are located close to the proposed site of the quarry at Ardkearney, housing a total of six hundred breeding females each summer.

Cork: Choctaw member to speak at Skibbereen Famine memorial
The town of Skibbereen will host the country's first National Famine Memorial Day in mid-May, with one of the speakers being a representative of the Choctaw Nation. Gary White Deer will give a talk during the week-long commemorative programme; his ancestors donated the equivalent of almost €6,000 in 1847 to help the victims of the Famine. The week will include a wreath-laying ceremony at O'Donovan Rossa Park and a procession to Abbeystrewery graveyard, where some ten thousand victims of the Famine are buried. A similar event will be held in Canada.

Derry: Nobel Laureate unveils sculpture
Recently, Nobel Laureate Seamus Heaney returned to his home village of Bellaghy to unveil a bronze sculpture created in his honour. The work is entitled "Turfman" and is an interpretation of Heaney's poem "Digging". It is located on Castle Street in front of Bellaghy Bawn where a permanent exhibition of his work is housed. The statue of a man digging is by Scottish artist David Annand, who used turf to form the figure before casting it in bronze.

Derry: Ringsend residents pin their faith on newt
The people of Ringsend, near Coleraine, are hoping that the presence of a newt in their area will put paid to proposals to locate a landfill at a former quarry in the Cam forest. The smooth newt, the presence of which has already halted plans for a landfill at nearby Keady, could be the solution for those opposing the development. Gary McIntyre has seen one of the newts in his own yard and, since the site for the proposed dump is between his house and Keady, he believes the residents will win their battle. The smooth newt is a protected species in the North.

Down: Special restoration tours of Castle Ward
Recently. the National Trust organized a series of special tours of the mansion at Castle Ward near Strangford to allow members of the public to view restoration work being carried out. The item to be restored is a gothic piece of furniture known as a gentleman's wardrobe which dates from the 1840s. The wardrobe has shelving for clothes, a series of shallow drawers and a concealed writing desk. The mirrored doors are decorated with flower paintings and there is a belief that the paintings on the mirror panes were the work of the female members of the Ward family.

Down: Banbridge firm sparks world wide interest at the G20 summit in London
US President Barrack Obama is among the politicial leaders who received an Irish Linen tea towel made in Banbridge. The gift was picked to reflect the more austere economic times worldwide. So, the The next time President Obama does a bit of washing up in the White House kitchen, he could well be using a wee bit of Norn Irland linen!

Dublin: New work of art on Grafton Street
Recently, another piece of sculpture joined the temporary public art space programme organised by Solomon Fine Art. Entitled Patefaction, it is eighteen feet high and comprises four stainless steel units suspended on a stainless steel frame. Each of the panels is so designed that it swings in the wind; the sculpture will remain in position for twelve months. Patefaction is the work of British sculptor Angela Conner whose other work, "Irish Wave", stands at Park West and at one hundred and sixteen feet is one of the tallest sculptures in Europe.

Fermanagh: Lake walk restored at Castle Coole
It has taken two thousand tonnes of stones to bring about the re-opening of a lake walkway which closed to the public just over one hundred years ago. The Lake Walk at Castle Coole was first established in the eighteenth century and was part of the castle's Pleasure Grounds until 1908. Now it has been reconstructed by the National Trust and, according to property manager at the Castle, Jim Chestnutt, it is home to a wide range of wildlife in the woodlands and reed beds, including rare sightings of sika deer, pine marten and red squirrel.

Fermanagh: Newspaper closes the circle
The Irish News of May 1897 carried a report on the construction of the Church of the Immaculate Conception in Newtownbutler, funded by public appeal. Now one hundred and twelve years later the same newspaper has publicised a new fundraising campaign to carry out restoration work on the church, which has been badly damaged by damp.

Galway: Leenane linked once again
The temporary bridge at Leenane, put in place when the more than one hundred year old bridge was washed away in torrential rain two years ago, has been replaced by a brand new bridge. It was officially opened by Mayor of County Galway Peter Feeney. The original bridge was designed by Scottish engineer Alexander Nimmo and the new two-lane structure has retained the cut stone appearance of the Nimmo's bridge. The bridge is used by up to four thousand vehicles each day and, according to Ann Donald of the Leenane Development Association, is vital for the local tourist industry.

Galway: Race welcome to include two record attempts
When the boats of the Volvo Ocean Race arrive in Galway towards the end of thist month they will be greeted by thousands of people, a chain of bonfires along the coastline, and the sight of some fifteen thousand people trying to break a world record. They will be linking arms to perform the largest Irish set dance, and officials from the Guinness Book of Records will be on hand to record the event. In addition, in honour of the Chinese sponsors of the Irish vessel, the Green Dragon, a second attempt at a record will involve the largest Chinese Whispers chain.

Kerry: Killarney's 'ratman' develops his art
The artist responsible for a number of rats appearing on walls in Killarney has broadened his scope to include international figures, and has also added the signature Vanquo. Among the subjects depicted on approach roads to the town are Isaac Newton sitting under an apple tree; Queen Elizabeth plus shopping bag opposite the Lidl store; and Albert Einstein, in Hilliard's Lane, accompanied by the caption "Just Google it". It is believed that the works are all executed by one person, who has managed to evade detection by working in the early hours of the morning.

Kerry: Anyone want to swap five acres for a Bentley?
A South African who acquired a five-acre site at Castlecove near Sneem in exchange for an Aston Martin DB24 is now trying to do another deal, this time for a Bentley Continental GT. John Gould made the exchange over a drink in The Blind Piper but his plans to build on the land were blocked by the stipulation that only local people are allowed to build. Now settled in Mauritius with his wife, he is anxious to dispose of the site, which also includes a ruined cottage dating from the Famine. The value of the Bentley is approximately €75,000.

Kildare: Celbridge house becomes protected structure
Donaghcumper House and Demesne in Celbridge, which has historical links with both Castletown and St Wolstan's, has been added to the legal Record of Protected Structures. The house was bought by Thomas Connolly of Castletown House in 1801 as a means of extending the boundaries of his own estate. A total of thirty submissions were made following the proposal to list the building, all of them positive. Supporters included Desmond Guinness, and Mary Glennon of the Kildare Archaeological Society.

Kilkenny: Three accolades for Kilkenny restaurant
The latest edition of the Bridgestone 100 Best Restaurants in Ireland includes three mentions of the Campagne restaurant at Gashouse Lane in Kilkenny, which has only been open for six months. Proprietors Garrett Byrne and Breda Hannon head a team of twelve at the restaurant, which not only made the top one hundred, but was also included in the guide's Top Ten Places with Great Service. And to top it all, Garrett, who is also the chef, was named in the Top Ten Hot Chefs to Watch.

Laois: Laois genealogy site goes worldwide
The genealogy site for the county is now accessible worldwide and, to emphasise the point, one of its recent hits came from the South Pacific some miles off the Peruvian coast. The site, www.genealogylaois.com, was set up by Jack McDonald over a two-year period and includes the records of one hundred and fifty cemeteries within the county, some well known and others hidden away. And the beauty of the site is that access and all information is free of charge.

Laois: Pageant marks Brigidine anniversary
Three women dressed as Brigidine Sisters left the River Bridge in Mountrath last Sunday to travel to St Fintan's Church, where they were received by Dr James Moriarty, Bishop of Kildare and Leighlin who was chief celebrant at a concelebrated Mass. The women were taking part in a pageant to mark the bicentenary of the sisters' arrival in the county, when Margaret Kinsella and Catherine Doyle from Tullow and Mountrath woman Mary Fitzpatrick undertook an eight-hour journey from Tullow to Mountrath to establish the country's second Brigidine foundation.

Limerick: Limerick traders fight back
Recession-hit traders in Limerick have come up with a scheme, which they have called the "Buy up the City" campaign, to encourage people to continue shopping in the city centre. Some fifty local business people have come together to introduce a new parking scheme which will cost shoppers only ten cent an hour on Saturdays. In addition, shoppers will be given coupons when they make purchases and every three coupons received will entitle them to be entered into a draw for prizes worth €10,000. The project is being co-ordinated by Louise Fitzgerald in response to loss of business to outlying shopping centres that offer free parking.

Mayo: Ballinrobe to honour US marine
Ballinrobe is to honour one of its own who, as a member of the US naval forces, was awarded two Congressional Medals of Honour for his services to the American Navy. John King was born in the town in 1865 and emigrated to the US as a young man. His time in the US navy spanned twenty-six years, two of which were served during World War One, after his official discharge in 1916. Details of a full-size statue to John King were outlined at a meeting of the town's electoral area committee by Peter Costello, Gerry Delany and Ann Reid; Ms Reid is a grand niece of John King.

Meath: Nobber investigation reveals Bronze Age evidence
Archaeological investigations have been taking place at Bridge Park in Nobber as part of the expansion of the park, and evidence has been found of an early Bronze Age settlement. Included in the finds are boundary ditches, Fullacht Fias and a corn drying kiln. Evidence was also found of a late mediaeval settlement at the same site.

Monaghan: Traffic diverted for bands in Castleblayney
Traffic was diverted away from the centre of Castleblayney last Saturday when the Monaghan Pipe Band Championships were taking place. Hosted by St Macarten's Pipe Band from Lisnagrieve in conjunction with the local Chamber of Commerce, the event began with a parade of bands through the town to Glencarn Car Park; the championships were sponsored by The Glencarn Hotel. The parade of twelve bands from all over the country set off from the Monaghan Road through Main Street and on to Muckno Street, taking some forty minutes to reach the hotel grounds.

Tipperary: Reduced-price castle, but it's a ruin
An auctioneer in England is selling a Tipperary castle at a much reduced price but it does have a drawback in that it has been in ruins for nearly two hundred years. Ballyfinboy Castle, overlooking the river near Borrisokane, dates from the late fifteenth century and was a stronghold of the O'Kennedys. Although it has no planning permission attached, plans have been drawn up for its conversion into a four-bedroomed house; the price has dropped in the last three years from €250,000 to just €108,300. One unusual feature of the castle is a carved Sheila na Gig known locally as The Dancer.

Tyrone: Farmer's find is verified
A find by Gary Sproule on his farm at Ganvaghan, Castlegore last year had been verified by the Ulster Museum and Queen's University's Centre for Archaeological Fieldwork. While hand-clearing stones after ploughing a field in April last year Gary found a gold bracelet which has been confirmed as dating from the Bronze Age. The field, which slopes down to the River Derg, had not been ploughed for more than fifty years. The cup-ended bracelet, which is eighty per cent gold and has decoration near the cups, has been valued as priceless by retired Ulster Museum professor Richard Warner.

Wexford: Josephine presented with rare Pioneer award
Recently, Josephine Kinsella from Marshalstown was presented with a rare award from the Pioneer Total Abstinence Association in St Joseph's Church in Enniscorthy. At the age of ninety-two Josephine has been a member of the association for a full eighty years. The twelve-year-old Josephine Fitzpatrick was confirmed in the same church in 1928 and took the pledge during the ceremony. A the ceremony she was presented with the Fr. James Cullen Medal of Distinction and Diploma; she is believed to be the oldest holder of the award at present.

USA: Hope for illegal Irish in US
Irish-American immigration reform lobbyists were celebrating the news that President Obama is keen to implement reforms that could ultimately grant American citizenship to some 50,000 undocumented Irish living illegally in the USA. For more details, please click

USA: Michael Collins Irish Whiskey Wins Double Gold in San francisco
Michael Collins, which is distilled at Ireland's last independently owned distillery, Cooley, won a Double Gold Medal in the Single Malt Irish Whiskey category at the 2009 San Francisco World Spirits Competition.

USA: Guinness 250 anniversary brew launched
A maltier, fizzier, version of the world's best-selling stout which does not require two-part pouring process made its debut last week. in The limited-edition Guinness 250 Anniversary Stout celebrates Arthur Guinness' signing of a 9,000-year lease in 1759 at St. James's Gate Brewery in Dublin, still the company's flagship brewery.
ED. NOTE: Our son who owns a bar in Bellevue, KY was directed by his Guinness distributor NOT to serve the new stout until precisely 17:59 hours or one minute before 6:00 pm. The verdict: Himself - Russ didn't care for it saying it reminded him of an American beer - very bitter and yet pumped full of gas. He was very disappointed. Have you tried it? Tell us what you think. It's also being sold in Australia and Singapore - but as far as we know, not in Ireland. Hmmmm.
SPONSOR: Please help us keep your newsletter coming - visit our good friends at Lollysmith:
Genuine irish Dirt for sale! Yes - it's true! They are now stocking packets of the 0uld sod which you can buy separately or as a gorgeous gift package which includes a Belleek porcelain bowl, shamrock seeds and the Irish dirt to grow it in. And, just arrived - a brand new batch of authentic blackthorn walking sticks! They're all different and what makes the Lollysmith site even more enjoyable is the name and description they give each stick!

Peggy Vommaro writes: I finished Galway Bay. It was wonderful. A perfect blend of Irish heritage and history. Full of joy and sorrow. The tenacity of the Irish. (my mother always said Irish women have steel backbones). It brings out the pride in our Shamrock roots. I highly recommend this book Thank you again for sending it to me.
ED. NOTE: Peggy was one of the ten winners in our drawing for copies of the new novel Galway Bay by Mary Pat Kelly. Have you read it? If so, we'd like to hear from you and will weave your comments into a review. Bridget is reading it now - so far, it is definitely a page turner!                                                                       
Attention AOL subsscribers: Yet another reader with an AOL emil address has had her newsletters dumped into the trash by AOL.  To prevent irishcultureandcustoms.com emails and newsletters from getting swept up by an overzealous spam filter, please add our "From" address bhaggerty@irishcultureandcustoms.com to your address book. Fingers crossed that will take care of the problem.

Gina writes:
I don't know if you read these personally, but I wanted to tell you how much I enjoy these news letters. I have been receiving them for a couple years now, though this is the first time I have replied to a riddle. I hope this finds you both in good health and happiness! Thank you so much for writing this very special news letter. I look forward to reading each time!
ED. NOTE: Go raibh maith agat, Gina! Also, we do read every email that comes in and we try to answer them all as well - which means we are always behind with responses! Please have patience with us.

Audrey writes:
Growing up, it was known we were Irish but it was not fully celebrated to my liking. That brings me to my question. I heard something referencing Blood memory or memory blood. They said something about things being felt or a memory you couldn't explain going thru generations in families ? It would certainly explain a lot.
ED. NOTE: We have never heard of "Blood Memory" Can anyone enlighten us - and Audrey?

Susan Boyle - Cry Me a River
Did you know her dad's name was Patrick and her mother's was Bridget and her family roots can be traced back to Co. Mayo? She can also sing more than one song as evidenced by the following video. We wish her well in the next round of Britain's Got Talent!

Did you attend the St. Patrick's Festival 2009? in Dublin or Waterford?  
If so, you could be in with a chance to win a week on board one of Emerald Star's Elite cruisers (The Caprice, see www.emeraldstar.ie) from Portumna, Co. Galway on the RiverShannon! All you have to do is participate in a short on-line survey. You can start the survey by clicking on the following link

Go where Ireland takes you and follow the locals
Have patience with the sound and you'll be rewarded with a personal tour of hidden Ireland. This particular segment features Padraic who is your guide for Connemara.

Beware of Greeks doing Irish dancing
Our good friend Bill Crotty sent us this link to a Britain's got Talent segment. if you need a good laugh, don't miss this one - truly good-natured fun!

Man bites snake, bold Vatican girls and butterfly jam...
With the mood of many at an all-time low, here is a link to some quirky stories to put a smile back on your face

'Meet the Irish' at the Volvo Ocean Race Village, Fan Pier Boston, May 8th to 16th
If you live in Beantown, here's a great opportunity to to discover the excitement of the world’s premier yachting challenge, when the Volvo Ocean Race sails into Boston and sets the stage for an exciting waterfront festival, For complete details, please click

Belfast Titanic Festival
Una Reilly, the chairperson and founding member of the Belfast Titanic Society, is always quick to point out: “The Titanic herself wasn’t a disaster — what happened to her was.

The Irish Page
This time around, Vivian & Jack offer humorous story about a woman from a small town in the West of Ireland called to court. She was summoned to give testimony at a trial.  It was one of those very small towns where everyone knows everyone else.  Please click

Spring bluebells bloom in Portglenone
Portglenone Forest in County Antrim is showing the signs of spring as bluebells have begun to grow to the delight of visitors. BBC Northern Ireland's Rural Affairs Correspondent Martin Cassidy spoke to Liz O'Connor, a forest guide, about the bluebells.

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:

A man loves his sweetheart the most, his wife the best, but his mother the longest. ~Irish Proverb

God made a wonderful mother,
A mother who never grows old;
He made her smile of the sunshine,
And He moulded her heart of pure gold;
In her eyes He placed bright shining stars,
In her cheeks the fair roses you see;
God made a wonderful mother,
And He gave that dear mother to me.
Pat O'Reilly
I'm like old wine. They don't bring me out very often, but I'm well preserved.
Rose Kennedy
A re-run in sympathy for all of the long-suffering mothers of smart little boys and girls out there!
A mother was preparing pancakes for her sons, Kevin, 5, and Ryan, 3. The boys began to squabble over who would get the first pancake. Their mother saw the opportunity for a moral lesson. "If Jesus were sitting here, He would say, 'Let my brother have the first pancake, I can wait.'" Kevin turned to his younger brother and said, "Ryan, you be Jesus!"

1. Two signers of the American Declaration of Independence, William Whipple and John Hancock had Irish mothers?
2. William Barclay "Bat" Masterson - gunfighter, buffalo hunter, frontier lawman, and newspaperman - was the son of Catherine McGurk who was from Northern Ireland?
3. Oscar Wilde's mother, Lady Jane Francesca, wrote under the pen name "Speranza?"

To begin with, the answers to our previous quiz:
1. The men that God made mad: A novel of the Dublin Easter uprising by W. A. Ballinger
2. Agony at Easter: The 1916 Irish uprising byThomas M. Coffey
3. Easter 1916: The Irish Rebellion by Charles Townshend

A tip of the hat and a pat on the back to our literary Irish sleuths:

Helen Dowd
A favorite Irish site -The ONE, the ONLY - Irish site is:
ED. NOTE: Naturally, we have to reciprocate, but in this case, it's well worth the recommendation. If you're looking for a wonderful site filled with hope and inspiration, we encourage you to visit:

Patricia Edwards
This is a site I joined when trying to trace my ancestral line and they have been a great help with my research.

Rita T Roche
Baltimore, MD

Déirdre McKiernan Hetzler
There's still room on this year's tour! - "Glorious Ireland" 21 May - 31,May 2009: view itinerary at

Sandra Chelstrom
Sandra was very kind and nominated us as her favorite site. Slan agus beannacht, Sandra!

If you’d like to see your name in our Irish bibliophile’s list, tell us who wrote the following:
1. Never Throw Stones at Your Mother: Irish Insults and Curses
2. Mothers and Sons
3. Mother Ireland - A Memoir

Please send your answers to Bridget:
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!
SPONSOR: Please help us keep our newsletter coming - visit our friends at the Celtic Attic:

To honor all the dear Mother's out there, get 10% off ALL orders over $60.00. Take a look attheir great selection of Mum's Day gifts here:
Order on line or by phone - and tell them Bridget & Russ said hello!
Order by phone: Tel: 360-765-0186
Order on line:

And don't forget to enter their monthly give-away - they always have wonderful prizes! Enter here:
Last - but certainly not least: Celtic Attic is pleased to announce its New Tours to Ireland program. For more details visit to have details forwarded to you
First off, the answer to our previous headbanger:

Since many of us have been crunching numbers in anticipation of filing taxes, here's what we hope is an appropriate poser:

Q. Five hundred begins it, five hundred ends it,
Five in the middle is seen;
First of all figures, the first of all letters,
Take up their stations between.
Join all together, and then you will bring
Before you the name of an eminent king.
Posing no difficulty at all for our Riddle People, we were swamped with correct solutions, but first in was Marilyne. Well done! And now for our next Thinker Stinker:

Q. What does man love more than life
Fear more than death or mortal strife
What the poor have, the rich require,
and what contented men desire,
What the miser spends and the spendthrift saves
And all men carry to their graves?

Please send your answer to:
It would be helpful if you put riddle answer in the subject line.

1. SHOPPING SECTION: Mother's Day in the US, First Communions, Graduations, Weddings - It's that time of year when the gift-giving is almost as busy as Christmas! Find something perfect whatever the occasion in our shopping section where you'll discover a selection of the best Irish and Celtic shops on the internet or anywhere else:
ED. NOTE: Every purchase through our shop links, helps support our efforts. Many thanks in advance1

2. Article: May - the month of mirth and merriment!

3. Article: The May Day Dew - Should you roll naked in it?

4. Article: How to prevent Mayhem...

5. Article: Beltane Bonfires and Nettle Soup

6. Article: The Bright Flames of May

7. Article: Marry in May & Rue the Day

8. Basic Irish: Mothering Sunday/Mother's Day

9.Irish Kitchen: Nettle soup - to keep the rheumatics away!

10. Kids' Ireland: The Bewitched Kerry Cow

11. Music Review: Our resident reviewer William Ramoutar reviews Tommy Sand's latest CD ‘Let the Circle be Wide."

12. May Trivia Contest. Sorry we're so late. The new contest will be posted today. All entries must be in by midnight may 31st no matter what time zone you are in.

13. Culture Corners - Irish Furze ( Home Page) & making May Baskets (Kids' Ireland)

4. Circle of Prayer: The second Novena in this cycle began on May 4 and continues through May 12. Since last we wrote, our dear friend Hartson has been confined to bed and while he is in a lot of pain, he never complains. Please keep him on your prayers or meditations. We also heard that James Leahy, the 7yr old son of Dan Leahy who owns Irish Shop in Dublin is bravely battling neuroblastoma; Dan is now looking to sell the shop so the family can finance going to the US for treatment. Apparently, all options in Ireland have been exhausted. Whatever your spiritual leanings, please remember this little boy and his family as well as so many others, including the missionary friend of Burnett McManus who underwent surgery for lung cancer this past week; also little Corey, Christy Banik, Joe Colum, Patricia's daughter Heather, the family and friends of the McTiernans, Pauline Dewberry, Laureena Blankenship, Sierra Mitchell, Michelle Lester, Katie Lacinak and so many others Throughout the world, we are also continuing to feel the pain of the economic downturn. Thus, we ask that you remember those who are suffering severe financial hardship. And please don't forget 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.

So there you have it until we write again. If you are celebrating a birthday, anniversary or other special occasion between now and then, we hope it's an occasion filled with joy and happiness. And if you were married in May or plan to tie the knot this coming month, here's the special Irish verse:
Marry in May and rue the day!
Not very encouraging, is it? But never mind - we know of many couples who were married in May and are very happy! Supposedly, this verse came about because in the old days, May was the month reserved for honouring Our lady and it was considered bad luck and/or bad form to shift the focus away from her as might happen with a wedding celebration.

Meanwhile, we'll take our leave with this lovely blessing Burnett "Mac" McManus included in a letter to us - he attributes it to Moses and says he thinks Moses may have been a little bit Irish. We agree!

The Lord bless and keep you,
The Lord make His face to shine upon you
The Lord lift up His countenance upon you,
And give you peace.

And, as they say in Ireland, mind yourself - and your mother!

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: bhaggerty@irishcultureandcustoms.com
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:
If we receive a unique event not mentioned there, we will be happy to list it here.

Dublin Ireland - Fringefest 2009
The 15th Dublin Fringe Festival invites submissions for its annually anticipated, culture jamming line-up of contemporary arts this September. As in previous years, the call for applications has been heard around the world, as the Fringe continues its search for new, exciting and challenging work through all arts communities. Closing Deadline for applications is: Friday 3 April. For more details, please click

Hollywood, Florida - May 17
Mass at Little Flower for Irish Famine victims followed by a wake at The Field irish Pub. For more details, please call Patrick at

Cincinnati, Ohio - May 29 and 30
"Siralia" - a ballet based on the book "Little Town of Spirals" by renowned artist and musician Cynthia Matyi will be presented by Claudia Rudolf Barrett's ballet tech ohio at the Aronoff Center and Cyndy's group Silver Arm will be part of the performance as the band in the story. For more details, please click 
Copies of Cyndy's book can be ordered on line from Cyndy's website http://www.matyiart.com    
You can download a children's coloring page from "Little Town of Spirals" at:

Raleigh, NC May 16 through June 6
Artspace Summer Arts Program Instructor Exhibition featuring the works of Amy Funderburk - Gallery 2, Artspace, 201 East Davie Street, Raleigh, NC 27601 
For more details, please click
To view Amy’s whimsical paintings including Manifestation of Rabbit, depicting a Standing Stone in Cnoc Áine,
Knockainy, Co. Limerick,, please click

Zurich - June 27
Storytelling Night and Workshop with Niall de Búrca from Galway. For complete details, please write to Elizabeth Zollinger:
Also, be sure to visit the Celtic Spirit web site for for details about cultural holidays on the Aran Isle of Inis Mor:

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 on-going 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

Inishmore, Aran Isles - 2009
House to rent. Because of my “time out” I won’t spend so much time in my house this year. So there are more dates available for renting, also in the summer. Available weeks in March, May and from end of July 09 on. Rent: 280-430 Euro/week. More Information on my website: www.irish-culture.ch/
Or ph.: 0041 (0)44 2520918
Or email:


Well, not really laughing. But perhaps smiling a wee bit. The following was sent to us by our dear friend Patricia Edwards. With Mother's Day in the USA right around the corner, we thought it would be appropriate.


Real Mothers don't eat quiche; 
they don't have time to make it.

Real Mothers know that their kitchen utensils 
are probably in the sandbox.

Real Mothers often have sticky floors, 
filthy ovens and happy kids.

Real Mothers know that dried play dough 
doesn't come out of carpets.

Real Mothers don't want to know what 
the vacuum just sucked up.

Real Mothers sometimes ask 'Why me?' 
and get their answer when a little
voice says, 'Because I love you best..'

Real Mothers know that a child's growth 
is not measured by height or years or grade... 
It is marked by the progression of Mummy to Mum to Mother.

The Images of Mother

4 YEARS OF AGE - My Mummy can do anything!

8 YEARS OF AGE - My Mum knows a lot! A whole lot!

12 YEARS OF AGE - My Mother doesn't really know quite everything.

14 YEARS OF AGE - Naturally, Mother doesn't know that, either.

16 YEARS OF AGE - Mother? She's hopelessly old-fashioned.

18 YEARS OF AGE - That old woman? She's way out of date!

25 YEARS OF AGE - Well, she might know a little bit about it!

35 YEARS OF AGE - Before we decide, let's get Mum's opinion.

45 YEARS OF AGE - Wonder what Mum would think about it?

65 YEARS OF AGE - Wish I could talk it over with Mum.

The beauty of a woman is not in the clothes she wears, the figure that she carries, or the way she combs her hair.

The beauty of a woman must be seen in her eyes, 
because that is the doorway to her heart, 
the place where love resides. 
The beauty of a woman is not in a facial mole, 
but true beauty in a woman is reflected in her soul. 

It is the caring that she lovingly gives, the passion that she
shows, and the beauty of a woman with passing years only grows!

Please send this to 5 Mums today.
If you don't, nothing bad will happen, but if you do, something goodwill - You will boost a Mother's spirits.