Welcome to the Irish Culture & Customs newsletter which is published every week and sent out to well over 2700 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
If, for any reason, you wish to unsubscribe, instructions are at the end - but we do hope you'll stay with us.

Greetings and blessings to all,

We're sorry we're late but the good news is that we're able to say thanks be to God for blessing Irish-American astronaut/pilot Eileen Collins with an outstanding command performance and a safe landing of the shuttle this morning.

In other news, we are so saddened by the passing of Peter Jennings. RIP. He was our favorite and most trusted news broadcaster and we shall miss him very much.

It was also a very sad week in Ohio as five of the fourteen marines killed last week in Iraq were from our immediate area. Please keep them and all of our troops in your prayers.

On a lighter note - or perhaps not! - the massive move to the third floor continues - which is one of the reasons we're tardy. Trying to consolidate 30 or more years of accumulated stuff into less than 1/3 the space is nigh on impossible. But we're getting there.

In other news, we regret to report that one of our favorite Irish shops, Celtic Links, is no longer in business. The same goes for Molly's Irish Imports; however, Molly wrote to let us know that her web site will remain active until the end of August . This is your chance to get some great bargains! Molly also mentioned that she may be back in the future. We do hope so and wish her and her family the best of luck. Ditto Celtic Links. To visit Molly's shop on line, please click

Time to get on with it, but before we do, we hope this edition finds you on the pig's back and fit as a fiddle! And if this is your first newsletter, thanks for signing up and please feel free to share our musings and meanderings with friends and family.
On with the update!
Help support our efforts - please visit our good friends at the Celtic Attic:
According to the Celtic calendar, summer is over and the day of the long night nears. Get a head start on your holiday shopping - we have just added over 200 new products including Christmas items. Plus, we will be offering a FREE GIFT with every order through the whole month of August. So get all your Christmas shopping done early and get a FREE GiFT.
News from Ireland

General: Holy cow! There's not one left to be milked by hand
A summer festival, specialising in celebrating traditional Irish crafts, was forced to abandon its annual demonstration of the art of milking a cow by hand last week when a suitable cow was nowhere to be found.

Max to sing for Limerick millionaire 'Lolly Dolly'
Veteran entertainer Max Bygraves is writing a song about Euro Lottery winner Dolores McNamara. And he hopes he'll be able to serenade her at his Sing- along-War-Years show at the Waterfront Hall in Belfast this week.

Children 'don't know how to make sign of the cross'
Irish society is becoming 'gradually unchurched' with Mass attendance down to just 1pc in some areas, while many young children do not know how to make the sign of the cross, the Archbishop of Dublin has warned.

From around the counties
Cavan: Remembrance of first Mass
The first Mass of modern times at the Mass Rock in Shannow Wood took place in May 1975. Fr. Felim McGovern was then the curate and the main organiser of the event. Recently Fr. Felim returned to Shannow Wood to concelebrate a commemorative Mass with the present curate, Father Pat McHugh. The large congregation walked to the Mass Rock from Killoughter Cross to honour their ancestors who attended Mass in the wood during the Penal laws.

Cork: Timothy O'Keeffe remembered in Kinsale
A plaque honouring the life of the distinguished editor and publisher Timothy O'Keeffe was recently unveiled at his birthplace in Kinsale. O'Keeffe, whose writers included Brendan Behan, Edna O'Brien and James Plunkett, was born in Ard na Lir, Scilly, Kinsale in 1926. He is perhaps best remembered for his decision to reissue "At Swim Two Birds" by Flann O'Brien in the 1950s, thus bringing the book to renewed prominence.

Donegal: Friary Is Saved From Closure
The Franciscan Friary at Rossnowlagh, has been given a reprieve and is to increase its number of clerics. The U-turn on Rossnowlagh was prompted by arguments highlighting its vital cross-Border role. Thousands of people from the North attend the friary and its peace and reconciliation centre.

Fermanagh: Local Author hopes for success
David McCann of Enniskillen is waiting to see if bookstores in Ireland will start selling his first book "Garda Gaby". McCann said that the book is already a big hit with children in the US and he hopes it will be the first in a series about Garda Gaby and her adventures in the fictional village of Inniskeene.

Fermanagh: Lough Erne hosts ancient rite
An ancient Irish rite not seen since the 13th century was performed on an island in Co Fermanagh this past weekend. From all over the world, the Cassidy clan converged on the crumbling ruins of Devenish Island to crown their new chieftain.

Galway: Galway footballer honoured by new CD
The Ballygar Carnival is always one of the highlights of the year but this year was extra special. During the carnival a new CD was launched to honour the life of Mattie McDonagh, one of the area's greatest Gaelic football stars. The CD, entitled 'A song for Ballygar' in honour of the late Mattie McDonagh", was recorded by a group of local musicians and singers.

Kerry: Kenmare hotel among world leading accommodations
The Sheen Falls Lodge Hotel in Kenmare is among the top one hundred places to stay in the world, according to the Travel and Leisure magazine. The Kerry hotel was ranked sixty-third, competing among exotic destinations such as Bangkok or Chiang Mai. The five-star accommodation is also at number seventeen among Europe's top fifty and received the highest rating within Ireland.

Kerry: Literary expo a celebration of diversity
Literary devotees from all over the world gathered in north Kerry last week to hear poet Brendan Kennelly give a recital in the village school of his native village of Ballylongford.

Limerick: Limerick honours famous poet
This year marks the bicentenary of the death of poet Brian Merriman's life, most noted for his poem "Cúírt an Mheán Oíche", (The Midnight Court) and the occasion was celebrated in Limerick last week.

Louth: A storyteller's tale
Louth County Archive Service has undertaken a new project, "For the people, by the people", which is encouraging anyone from Louth to keep the oral tradition alive by recounting their memories and stories. Although the events may not be in the too distant past, the Archive Service believes that it is important to preserve personal memories of such events as the county winning the Sam Maguire in 1957, the floods of twenty years later and the first Heinkel cars being manufactured. Anyone who would like to contribute to the project can do so by contacting oralhistory@louthcoco.ie

Offaly: Gathering of the tribe
The Tullamore Dew heritage centre was the venue recently for the launch of the O'Molloy Clan Association and the announcement of the Clan Rally which will take place from October 14-16. The O'Molloys were originally rulers of the Firceall lands which ran south west from Durrow to Clonbeale near Birr for twenty-five miles.

Tyrone: Football's coming home
A fan's dedication is taken to new heights in the Strabane home of Mary McAleer. Passers-by, whether local or not, cannot but see the bright coloured house decorated with the Tyrone football team's emblems. The first brushstrokes were applied during the All Ireland year of 2003 and from that time on the walls of the Bridge Street home have become a landmark. The garden path also has a red and white covering and each player and each member of the management team even has his individually named teddy bear. Mary says her one ambition in life now is to meet the Tyrone team.

Westmeath: Portlick castle spooks ghost chasers
A group of American ghost hunters recently visited Portlick Castle in Glasson as part of a paranormal tour of Ireland. Organised and led by Brise d'Espirit, the group of nine ghost lovers claimed to have seen several spectres while staying at the more than eight hundred year old castle. One member of the group said they saw the legs and arms of a man going up the back stairs. Other members witnessed a shadowy man pacing back in forth on the balcony of the great room. The group also experienced ghostly sounds including rustling, furniture moving and voices that said, ""Whatever you want" and "Hello." Despite all the spirits, paranormal expert Ellen Kay said she didn't know what was scarier, the ghosts or driving on Ireland's narrow roads.

From around the world:
Milwaukee, Wisconsin: Not be missed at this year's Irish Fest:
President of Ireland Mary McAleese will make a public address to fest-goers 3 p.m. Saturday, August 20 at the Aer Lingus Stage. She is expected to speak about Ireland's strong ties with the United States, the Irish-American community and the influence and popularity of Irish culture throughout the world.

A couple who have devoted their lives to teaching and to setting up a secondary school on the Dingle peninsula have been conferred a knighthood, by order of Pope Benedict XVI. Bishop of Kerry Dr Bill Murphy presented the order on behalf of the Pope to Aodan and Sile O'Maolchatha St Brendan's Church Cloghane, in the parish of Castlegregory at the foot of Mount Brandon. From now on the new Knight of the Order of St Sylvester and his Dame will be able to take Holy Communion on horseback, as one of the privileges of papal orders is the knight does not have to dismount.

From the mailbag:
Siobhan writes: I would like to learn more about the Siege of Ennis. Not how it is a dance but how it actually came about and why? How long did it last etc. I would be very grateful if you could be of some help.

Carolyn writes:
I have a waterford decanter (Kildare Pattern) and the top has been lost or misplaced. Can you locate one for me? Anyone have any ideas?

In response to Irish translations we had recently, John Cody writes:
Two minor 'As Gaeilge' items. Uachtar indeed means upper, but hardly southern (or lower), unless perhaps that church is far south of the southernmost Gaeltacht. Also, since eirigh means both rise and succeed, in translating it, the native speakers just chose the most poetic English possibility. Thus early on, they were showing their skill at this 'new' language, a skill that has served the Irish well, even 'til the present day.

Links of the week
If you're a fan of Celtic, this site is a gold mine of radio stations all over the world - quite a few of them on-line:

Sequel to A Proper Cup of Tea
Great News! Mary Pat Tuxbury has just finished her second book in her series of three. Her first book, A Proper Cup of Tea received rave reviews. Bridget can attest to that! Now, the saga continues with Riley's Legacy. To learn more, please visit

Are you a struggling author?
Writers are flocking to a new website that publishes their work on demand, and free of charge. To read the story, visit

Or go straight to the website:

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
"There was no sex in Ireland before television" - Oliver J Flanagan, TD.
The "Irish Bulls" we shared with you last week prompted several requests for more. These aren't necessarily "bulls", but they're funny and/or witty all the same.
Hope you find them as amusing as we do"
-Said of a pregnant bride: "They went before the whistle, but isn't it grand to have had so much done?"
-Said of a careless man: Careless? He would leave a squirrel minding nuts!"
-Said of a woman with big feet: "She would be grand if there wasn't so much of her on the ground."
-" -"Said of a mean person: "They would make the tea when you go home."
And our favorite of this group:
A timber merchant displays a beam of the finest mahogany to a customer and says: "You won't find the likes of that growing on trees."
A great guffaw sent in by Hartson. Go raibh maith agat.
An elderly looking gentleman, (mid nineties) very well dressed, hair well groomed, great looking suit, flower in his lapel, smelling slightly of a good after shave, presenting a well-looked-after image, walks into an upscale cocktail lounge in Dublin. Seated at the bar is an elderly looking lady, (mid eighties). The gentleman walks over, sits along side of her, orders a drink, takes a sip, turns to her and says, "So tell me, do I come here often?"
Please help keep our newsletter coming to your mailbox every week - visit our good friends at the Irish Lottery:
The Irish Lotto It's one of the most trusted lotteries in the world and all you need are 6 numbers to hit the Irish Millions. 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! If you want to win it, you've got to be in it, so visit their totally revamped web site! Please click here for full details - and best of luck to you!


Some interesting Irish tidbits from the Guinness Book of Records:
1. Longest distance flight by a model aircraft: Maynard Hill, Barrett Foster and David Brown flew a piston-engined radio-controlled model called The Spirit of Butts' Farm a distance of 1,882.7 miles) from Cape Spear, Newfoundland, Canada, to Mannin Beach, Ireland, without refuelling or landing on August 11, 2003.

2. Most veteran tractors ploughing simultaneously: The greatest number of veteran tractors to plough the same field simultaneously is 1,833, at the Working 1800 event at Cooley, Co Louth, on August 4, 2002.

3. Largest attendance for a hurling match: The largest crowd ever to attend a hurling match was 84,865 for the All-Ireland final between Cork and Wexford at Croke Park, Dublin, in 1954.

To begin with, the answers to our last quiz:
1. Dancing at Lughnasa by Brian Friel
2. The Festival of Lughnasa by Máire MacNeill
3. Puck Fair History & Traditions by Michael Houlihan

Clap your feet for this week's Irish bibliophiles:

Hartson Dowd
Puck Fair - One of Ireland's oldest festivals, a traditional horse fair, which includes open air concerts, parades and fireworks.

Déirdre McKiernan Hetzler
(did you ask Ethna?about #3, Déirdre?)
"Glorious Ireland in May"
May 25 - June 8, 2005
view this year's itinerary:

Liezl Maartens from So. Africa

Helen Dowd:
Here is a wonderful story about the faith of a ten-year old orphan girl--in my Missionary section: "Please God! It Will Be No Good Tomorrow!"

Patricia Edwards
Here's a good site to keep you on your toes (so to speak)

Giovanna Kranenberg

Want to see your name in our next newsletter? Send us the names of the authors who wrote the following: Hint - all books are in our library:

1. Dyke Duffy and the Dog Days of Killarmon
2. The Islandman
3. Handy Andy - A Tale of Irish Life

ED. NOTE: Many books have the same title; please keep in mind that we are looking for Irish authors or Irish-related books.
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!)
NOTE: It would be very helpful if you would send your entries to: bhaggerty@irishcultureandcustoms.com
First off, the answer to last week's skull-duggery:
Q. If seven people meet each other and each shakes hands only once
with each of the others, how many handshakes will there have
A. Twenty one. Most people would think there were 42 handshakes, but when A shakes hands with B, B has already shaken hands with A and need not do it again.
The Riddle People were in their usual top form and we had a crock of correct answers. Well done to all of you - but first in accolades go to lovely Leslie from Lively. Good job!
And now for this weeks nasty noggin' nagger:
There was a green house.
Inside the green house there was a white house
Inside the white house there was a red house.
Inside the red house there were lots of babies.
Q. What is it?
Help us keep your newsletter free. Please visit our good friends at Lollysmith:
We've recently combined all of our reader's contributions on to one page. The Perfect Pot of Tea, Pour the Perfect Pint, Growing Shamrocks, etc. We invite you to submit your own story relating to Ireland (humorous, factual or imaginative), reminiscence or fond memory. We are always looking for traditional poems, toasts, proverbs, blessings, or song lyrics. Family recipes and traditions are also appreciated. Thank you to all who have contributed to our page over the years!
In the meantime, we hope you are enjoying the Summer so far. We also hope you'll stop by and see what's new, including a smart new design of the Guinness Pint Glasses as well as two types of Irish Wildflower Seed direct from Dingle, Co. Kerry. Please click:

1. Article - Lughnasa: Celebrating the Harvest
2. Poetry Corner - Francis Ledwidge
3. Article - The best movie of all time? This still proving to be a popular topic. Have you sent your vote in yet? The Secret of Roan Inish heads our poll at the moment. What's your favorite?
4. Basic Irish - watch for a new lesson coming this week!
5. Kids' Ireland - A Wolf Story
6. The Irish Kitchen - Fraughann Fool
7. Letter of the Month - a new selection for July - scroll down to the bottom of the home page.
8. Circle of Prayer - Our 3rd Novena in this cycle began on August 4 and will continue through August 12. For your convenience, we have posted the starting and end dates for all nine Novenas on the Circle of Prayer page.
In addition to those we have listed recently, please include the names of Sr.Eithne O'Casaide, Phil Connelly, and also the families of those who lost loved ones in Iraq. Whatever your spiritual leanings, we ask that you join with us in prayer or meditation for all who need our spiritual support. We know first-hand the power of prayer - it does work!
9. August Trivia Contest. As they say in Ireland, you can't win it if you're not in it. All entries must be received by midnight, August 31st , no matter which time zone you live in. We have not heard from the winner of the July contest. We'll keep you posted (or have another drawing!)
10. If you have students heading off to college or university and they need to buy text-books, please think of us and click through any amazon link on our site; you can then go from there to any other product on amazon and we earn a small commission on any thing you buy. Thanks in advance - every little bit helps support our efforts. Go raibh maith agat!

Lughnasa continues until August 15 and we'll be re-publishing more articles on harvest time in old Ireland. Our new lesson for the month will be on measurements - should be interesting! We also received permission to publish an article about the history of the Showbands. If you grew up in that era, this is certain to evoke many a fond memory. As usual, we've posted a new blessing, we'll have a new quotation on Wednesday and hartson has sent us some delicious sounding recipes - look for one of those around Thursday or so. Each day we update the headlines - generally, you won't find these news stories in our weekly tome; so do visit our site every day and check out what's happening on the oul' sod! We also post the history for the day. it's a bit in short supply for the month of August. We plan on looking for more entries.

So there you have it for another week. Until we write again, may God hold you in the palm of His hand but not close his fist too tight upon you. And if you'll be celebrating a birthday, anniversary or other special event in the coming days, we hope it's a joyous occasion.

Slan agus beannacht - and , as they say in Ireland, mind yourself.

Bridget & Russ
Get down on your knees and thank God you're still on your feet
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:

If you're in Ireland, or lucky enough to be visiting, you can see what's on offer here:

Los Angeles An Claidheamh Soluis/The Celtic Arts Center
For tickets or more information, please visit
http:// www.celticartscenter.com.

July/August 2005 - Dublin Ohio
Aisling: An Artist's Vision of Ireland. A solo show by Amy Funderburk. For more details, please click

Cincinnati, Ohio - August 26-28
Celtic Retreat - Sisters of Charity Motherhouse, 5900 Delhi Road, Mt. St. Joseph.
For more information, please call 513-347-5449 or visit the website: http://www.srcharitycinti.org/spirit.htm

Dun Laoghaire 26, 27, 28 August 2005 - Festival of World Cultures
Now in its 5th year the Festival, a Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council event, carves a special groove on the global world music circuit and is Ireland's foremost intercultural event. With more than 160 events in 40 venues and featuring artists from 50 countries the Festival entertains audiences in excess of 160,000 with its diverse and expanding programme of music, circus, theatre, dance, club nights, markets,
exhibitions, workshops and activities for children.

Ireland - September 4-15
Workshop: Dear Artists and Art Supporters: We have had a spot open up for the upcoming workshop to Ireland, so it's not too late for artists or art supporters to take advantage of this rare and exciting opportunity! For further information and photographs, go to
http:// www.AmyFunderburkArtist.com
and follow the link.

Los Angeles - September 4
An Claidheamh Soluis/The Celtic Arts Center Celebrating 20 Years in Greater Los Angelesproudly presents GAELIC STORM in a special one-night-only concert at the Ford Amphitheatre. local musicians Ken O'Malley & Dan Conroy, and Ciúnas open.For details, please click

Washington State - August & September
The "International Joyce" exhibition on the life and times of James Joyce, is on display during August and September at the University of Washington's Suzzallo Library (Kane Hall end). The UW exhibition, organized by the Irish Heritage Club and the Seattle-Galway Association, will be accompanied by a display of the UW Library's Joyce Holdings.

Washington State - September
Basic and Intermediate classes in the Irish language will start in September at 12600 NE 85th Street, Kirkland, Washington. For details, call Aidan Maher at 425-823-1553 or email thepaycock@juno.com.

Houston, Texas - Sept 12 - St, Paddy's Irish Open
Cost is $125 per person and $500 per foursome, which includes lunch, dinner, and green fees. For information, call Sean Kearns at 832-978-4192 or Email Irishmkk@aol.com

Houston, Texas -October 29th And October 30th
Learn Irish Folk Songs In Their Original Language. Taught By Award-Winning Vocalist, Jonquele Jones. Contact Pat At 713-271-0784 or patpmcmahon@aol.com
If you enjoy our newsletter and the website, please give us a hand and help keep them free. Imagine if 2700 people each sent us a dollar? Please send what you can to Bridget or Russ Haggerty, 5670 Meryton Place, Cincinnati OH 45224. Or you can send a donation via PayPal. The URL is:
and our email address is this one:
Many thanks in advance for your kindness.
We have to wonder sometimes if we'd have a newsletter worth reading if it weren't for the contributions made by Hartson. Again, thanks so much!

1. Eventually you will reach a point when you stop lying about your age and start bragging about it.

2. Don't let anyone tell you you're getting old. Squash their toes with your rocker.

3. The older we get, the fewer things seem worth waiting in line for.

4. Some people try to turn back their odometers. Not me. I want people to know why I look this way. I've traveled a long way and some of the roads weren't paved.

5. Maturity means being emotionally and mentally healthy. It is that time when you know when to say yes and when to say no, and when to say WHOOPPEE!

6. How old would you be if you didn't know how old you are?

7. When you are dissatisfied and would like to go back to youth, just think of Algebra.

8. You know you are getting old when everything either dries up or leaks.

9. I don't know how I got over the hill without getting to the top.

10. The golden years are really just metallic years: gold in the tooth, silver in your hair, and lead in the rear.

11. Life would be infinitely happier if we could only be born at the age of 80 and gradually approach 18.

12. One of the many things no one tells you about aging is that it is such a nice change from being young.

13. Age seldom arrives smoothly or quickly. It is more often a succession of jerks.

14. Yeah, being young is beautiful, but being old is comfortable.

15. Old age is when former classmates are so gray and wrinkled and blind that they don't recognize you.

16. If you don't learn to laugh at trouble, you won't have anything to laugh at when you are old.

Remember - A smile is the first step to peace.