Welcome to the Irish Culture & Customs newsletter which is published every week and sent out to just about 3400 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,

Bridget was worrying herself silly about being late with the newsletter but then we both realized that a good many of our readers are glued to the tube watching the World Cup version of the march to the Sweet 16. We've caught a few of the matches and it truly is a spectacular event. "The beautiful game" indeed it is.

Besides the intensity of international dribbles and headers, this past week also saw the conclusion of the 2006 Leaving Certs. If you read our daily headlines, you might have caught the impressions and opinions of Stephen McFadden, a student of Colaiste Cholmcille, Ballyshannon in Co Donegal. It has been a fascinating read and we still have a fortnight's worth of Stephen's articles on our news page. Fair warning - they won't be there forever.

on top of all the sports and exam action, these past few days have had us on the edge of our seats with all the floods north of us in the Cleveland area and then in Maryland, DC and so many other places along the Eastern seaboard. We have many relatives and friends in these regions, but we're happy to report that so far, all are safe, and all seems well. We also truly appreciate those of you who wrote to ask if we are okay. This time around, the weather pattern over the USA has given us a dry sunny spell with more of the same to come. One state's storm is another state's sunshine? It would seem so.

In any event, here we are with this incredibly long intro and we still haven't said we hope this week's edition finds you and yours in good health, good spirits, and good company. We'd also like to extend the warmest of welcomes to all of our new subscribers. many thanks for joining us and we hope you will share our musings and meanderings with your family and friends.

Enough of the blather - on with the update:
SPONSOR: Please help us keep our newsletter coming to your mailbox and visit our good friends at Lollysmith:
They have an amazing variety of products and make it very easy to shop by theme and occasion. From Shamrock and Claddagh motifs to Irish Weddings, Blessings and inspirational items, you'll find a huge array throughout the shop. Visit today and tell them Russ and Bridget said hello!
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 was
The week that will be, God willing
Events & Classifieds
Leave 'em Laughing

Over the past two weeks, more than 100,000 students sat for their Leaving and Junior Certificate exams. University placements for the most popular courses go to those getting the highest points in the Leaving Cert. Want to learn more? Visit:

The difference in a decade:
Irish house prices have increased 270% since 1996 with prices increasing 30% in 1998 alone. The price gap between houses in Dublin and the rest of the country is now about $162,000 compared to about $12,500 in 1996. Of the 547,000 houses in the Republic of Ireland, 33% were built since 1996.

Antrim: All-embracing World Cup flag-waving in Belfast
Lavery's bar has the flags of each of the participating countries installed outside the premises. The aim is to attract more football fans for the duration of the competition. The Pavilion bar has gone the same route, but the flags will be flown inside.

Armagh: GAA project for the Cardinal Tomás Ó Fiaich Memorial Library and Archive.
GAA historians are recording the story of the games in Armagh, Derry, Down, Tyrone and Louth. The library, named in honour of the former Archbishop of Armagh, was established seven years ago and was based on the Cardinal's own collection.

Cavan: Ballyjamesduff hosts Rainbow Culture Festival
Events included pig racing, sheep shearing Little Miss Rainbow and Glamorous Granny competitions. Also appearing at the festival were the Jimmy Magee All-Stars, marking the fortieth anniversary of their first visit to the town.

Clare: Blue Jean Country Queen
This year's Blue Jean Country Queen, crowned in Athboy, Co. Meath, is Deirdre Maloney, representing Derg Macra na Feirme. The crowning was the culmination of a three-day festival, the nineteenth time it has been held.

Cork: Sisters of Mercy to move from the hill
After 150 years in Clonakilty, the sisters will be moving to a new residence in Scartagh. One of the nuns, eighty-six-year-old Sister Agnes, arrived at the convent in 1938 as Bridie Herlihy from Buttevant and it has been her home ever since.

Donegal: Gentle giants seen off Malin
The recent spell of good weather brought a large number of basking sharks to the waters around the Inishowen Peninsula, particularly in an area off Malin Head. The big fish have been spotted on a regular basis from Inishowen Head to Crummies Bay.

Down: 18th century shop to be restored
Known as Maxwell's, the shop has an unusual cobbled floor as well as four brick arch entrances to the back of the building. Kircubbin Regeneration Programme, which is masterminding the restoration work, plans to turn the building, which dates from the mid-eighteenth century, into artists' studios, offices and community rooms, to be known as Maxwell Court.

Kerry: "Dignified" end for pets
Kathleen and Eddie Griffin have established the country's first crematorium for pets. The Pets to Rest facility is at at Kilquane, Cordal. The Couple believes that it has become vital to provide such a service because so many people don't have a place to bury their pets.

Laois: Racecourse legend is star of Stradbally show
The recently retired Cheltenham winner Moscow Flyer was the star attraction at the festival organised by the Association of Irish Riding Clubs. He was there to publicise the work of the Irish Horse Welfare Trust, the only registered charity in Ireland devoted to horses. Its members focus on the retraining of retired racehorses, many of which go on to take part in showjumping and dressage events.

Offaly: Celebrity castle goes on the market
Kinnity Castle, which has been the setting for a number of celebrity weddings is to be auctioned in July. The twelfth century castle, also the venue for the Lunasa Festival, is at present owned by Con and Kathleen Ryan, who purchased it twelve years ago and turned it into a hotel.

Tyrone: Clogher Valley to be immortalised
The name of Clogher Valley will enter the realms of history this month when DUP MLA for Fermanagh and South Tyrone Maurice Morrow takes his seat in the House of Lords. When he heard that the might offered a peerage, Councillor Morrow discussed possible titles with his mother. Since she was a native of Clogher Valley she suggested he take the name as his title, and so at the end of this month he will formally become Lord Maurice Morrow of Clogher Valley.

Wexford: A loaf for the Taoiseach from Trinity
Mella Winters from Trinity, Taghmon had the pleasure of presenting Taoiseach Bertie Ahern with one of her brown loaves in Dublin recently. She had won first prize in the ICA's All-Ireland Brown Bread Making competition and her win prompted the Taoiseach to invite her to the Red Cow Inn in Dublin so that he could sample her winning entry. Mella, a retired farmer who was raised in Cleariestown where she learnt the skills of breadmaking from her mother Ellen, belongs to Taghmon ICA. She remembers a time when her father would take the corn to the mill at Duncormick for grinding before it was used for the family baking.

ED NOTE: Many of the above news items are from The Irish Emigrant. Space does not allow us to print them all. To read every item, please click

USA - New Ambassador to Ireland
President Bush is expected to nominate Connecticut businessman Thomas C. Foley to be the next US ambassador to Ireland. If confirmed, Foley takes over in November when present Ambassador James Kenny's term ends.

Moscow - Newspapers' President
Gavin O'Reilly was recently re-elected president of the World Association of Newspapers, the global organization that represents 18,000 publications. More than 1,700 publishers, editors and other senior newspaper executives from 110 countries attended the Association's annual general meeting in Moscow.
Help us keep our newsletter free by visiting our good friends at The Irish
NO WINNER ON SATURDAY NIGHT ! That means the jackpot for next Wednesday' s draw will be about € 4 Million Euro. But you have to be in it to win it. So enter now - 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! Please click her for full details:



Tóraíocht Taisce' - Treasure Hunt
This is a new entertainmnent series for TG4 which is to be be produced by ikandi productions and will be filmed in the summer throughout Ireland. The producers are looking for Irish speaking families to take part in the series, Interested? Contact:
Colleen Melarkey
ikandi productions
35 Donegall Street
T: 02890 231818

Eight hours in Cork
A reader asked us about how to spend 8 hours in Cork City. We have answers from a professional travel agent - our problem is that we have lost the reader's email address. Please write again and we'll give you the info.

Pub culture, street signs and more
Another reader had a slew of questions about these and many other topics. Our same travel acquaintance gave us answers to every question. We will send these directly to our reader. And to you, too, if you'd like. Just send us a request. In the meantime, we highly recommend that you visit:
This very helpful news group will be only too happy to help with your travel plans in Ireland - and all from personal experience!

Save the Irish Language
The IH sponsored raffle for the Belfast Irish school, Gaelscoil an Lonnain continues. Tickets are just $3.00 each. Please make your check out to the Irish Heritage E-mail Group. Send to
George Trainor
548 Locust Ave.
Manteca, CA.
95337 - 5412
Drawing is on September 2nd, 2006.
ED. NOTE: A new web page with details about the school and the raffle is under construction. Take a look:

Michael wrote: ...I think I heard Tommy Murphy mention the two of you this last week on his Shamrock radio. I met Tommy about three years ago in Ballina when I was visiting and Tommy had a jazz band that plays in BJ Duffy's (a pub in town). He is a nice guy and I enjoyed talking with him. Tommy likes jazz music a lot and sometimes goes down to Cork area to the jazz festival and he also has a program on weekends in Midwest Radio out of County Mayo.
Many thanks for letting us know about that, Michael - and many thanks as well to Tommy Murphy! Have you tuned in yet? His weekly hour long programme features Irish music, reviews, news from Mayo and email requests.

Amazon redefines the Convenient Store!
We are pleased to announce the introduction of Amazon Grocery - a brand new shop featuring more than 100,00 non-perishable items which will be shipped tight to your door just like any other amazon.com purchase. To read all about what's on offer, please click:

Dublin landmarks on webCAM
(with many thanks to Hartson who sent this one in)
What is billed as Ireland's first Live Streaming Webcam allows you to see Dublin landmarks such as the Ha'Penny Bridge, the Customs House, the River Liffey, O'Connell Bridge and Bachelors Walk. Visit

World Cup Survival Guide
Whether you love it or loathe it, iVillage provides a surefire guide to making the most of the international battle of the big thighs.

For serious soccer fans only
The World's Best-Organized and
Largest Collection of Football Site Links!
FootyMundo has thousands of football sites from around the world in all kinds of categories and all kinds of languages. It's where real fans come to explore the "futbol" world!

The Above Link is where we found "Spit of Him"
A fun page showing amazing look alikes from the world of football

Just for Irish Soccer fans
History, competitions, , international, news, even tickets. For example, it has been confirmed that Republic of Ireland senior competitive international fixtures will be held in Croke Park in 2007.  However, at the present time there are no finalised details on match tickets.

Chimney Corners - Seumas MacManus
The tales are, in a word, delightful. Read about the widow's daughter, who was quite lazy, and married a prince who intended to keep her that way. Or peruse the tale of the old hag of the forest, and her outwitting by a prince. And check out Neil a-Mughan's account of bein' "tuk." The stories are as entertaining for adults as they are for children. And it's certain Seumas MacManus would be proud to know that his tales live on thanks to the internet. (With many thanks to several readers who brought this link to our attention:
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:

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:

"It was really difficult for us playing in the midday sun with that three o'clock kick-off."
David Beckham interviewed on BBC1. (Johnny Cunningham, Ireland).

Celtic Park was broken into last night. The entire contents of the trophy room were stolen. Strathclyde police are believed to be looking for a man with a green carpet. Unattributed
David Beckham is celebrating; "43 days, 43 days!" he shouts happilly. Posh asks him why he's celebrating. He answers "Well Honey, I've done this jigsaw in only 43 days." "And that's good?" asks Posh.
"You bet Hon" says David." It says 3 to 6 years on the box."


1. Donegal native Packie Bonner made his football debut on his 21st birthday against Poland in 1981? Over the next 13 years, he became first choice for Ireland winning 80 caps - a record for an Ireland goalkeeper.

2. To this day, Dubliner Jackie Carey is considered one of the greatest ever players to represent Ireland? In a career that was interrupted by World War II, he won 29 caps, captaining both the FAI's and IFA's sides, as well as winning a host of honours.

3.   Frank "Stapo" Stapleton is one of the best headers of a ball Ireland ever had? He will be long remembered as one of the 'greats' with a total of 71 caps, and 20 international goals.
Source: FAI Ireland

(Or books on Irish-related topics?)
Who wrote:
1.Ireland: the Quest for the World Cup: A Complete Record
2. Football Captains: The All-Ireland Winners
3. Goal! World Cup 2002: The Essential Guide to Ireland's World Cup Campaign

Send in your answers and if you get two out of three correct, we'll list your name and web site (or your favorite Irish web site) in our next newsletter. In the meantime, here are the answers to our last quiz:

1. Golf on the Links of Ireland: Robert Kroeger
2. Changing Fathers? Kieran McKeown, Harry Ferguson, Dermot Rooney
3. My Father's Son: Frank O'Connor
A round of pints and applause to the following Irish literary mavens:

Déirdre McKiernan Hetzler
"Glorious Ireland"
June 28 - July 12, 2006
view this year's itinerary:

Hartson Dowd
Favorite Irish W e b s i t e this week:
If you ever wanted to play the irish Tin Whistle, you can now learn on-line:

Helen Dowd
Stop and taste the strawberries!
http://www.skywriting.net/ for a good read.
SPONSOR: Help us keep our newsletter coming; please visit our good friends at the Celtic Attic:
What better time than midsummer to give the house a Celtic twist, inside and out. Take a look at our wide range of chimes, sun-catchers, and other decorative items, including our newest novelty - a shamrock toilet seat cover! We are also offering FREE SHIPPING on orders over $75.00 and we are including a FREE GIFT with each order from now until the end of summer . Also, don't forget to enter our Monthly Giveaways. You could win a Summer's Day Basket or a delicate Celtic cross.

To start off, the answer to our last cranium cruncher
An Irish da insisted on the following names for his children : Donal, Regan, Milseán, Faolan, Sorcha and Labhras.
Q: What will he name his next child?
A: Tierney
Why: He is following the notes of the tonic musical scale: Do, Re, Mi, Fa, So, La, Ti , Do. This riddle seemed to prove difficult as we had very few correct answers. Honourable mention goes to Clara Byrne who thought it might be Radha. her explanation was that all the names have the letter A in them. She is correct. However, the solution we were looking for was sent in by Tomás Seosamh Pádraig O'Sabháin who shares his time with family and friends in Ireland and England. Well done, Tomás.
And now for our next mind-mangler:
What letter is next in this sequence?
Here's a clue: OTTFFSSENT
1. Article: Gregory Peck's Irish Connections
2. Article: John McCormick - An Irish Legend, Then and Now
3. Article: We Miss You Frank
4. Article: In Tribute to W. B. Yeats
5. Poetry Corner: Edward FitzGerald
6. St. John's Eve in Old Ireland
7. Book Review: Full on Irish
8. Kids' Ireland: The Children of Lir
9. The Jokes Department - seven pages worth!
10. The Irish Kitchen: Irish Potato Salad
11. Basic Irish - Happy Birthday
12. Circle of Prayer: Our third Novena in this cycle begins on June 24 and ends on July 2nd. This week, we ask that you remember Clara Byrne's husband who is in the hospital. We also ask that you include the following in your prayers or meditations: Pauline, Jane, Mieke, Barbara, Mickey, and Scott H. Whatever your spiritual leanings, count your blessings and please ask God to hear your prayers and intercessions for those less fortunate. And don't forget to ask Him to watch over our men and women serving in the military all over the world http://www.irishcultureandcustoms.com/Blessings/CirclePrayer.html
13. Trivia Contest: Just a few days left! All entries must be received by midnight. June 30, whichever time/date zone you are in.

A new month looms - and that means a new Trivia contest, Culture Corner, Irish lesson, Kids' story and more. We will also be looking at creating new articles which might increase traffic to the site. That said, we do have quite a bit on offer already - over 500 pages. When you have time, we invite you to take a look at our index:
Meanwhile, we'll be doing our usual daily update of the news and history; we'll have a new blessing on Sunday, a new quote on Wednesday, and a new recipe on Thursday.

So there's the long and the short of it. Until next time, pinch punch, first day of the month, white rabbit! Celebrating a birthday, anniversary or other special event? May it be a blessed and joyous occasion. Also if you are getting married in July or tied the knot this coming month here's the old Irish verse:
"They who in July do wed
must always labor for their bread. "

Safe journey, safe home in all your comings and goings and, may the Good Shepherd of us all keep you and yours from all harm, 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!
We are delighted to announce a nice donation from Colleen Dobbs who has been sending us her earnings from doing on-line surveys. Go raibh maith agat, Colleen! She says, "it isn't much" - but, we say, every penny counts. So please send whatever you can to Bridget or Russ Haggerty.
Our snail mail address is 5670 Meryton Place, Cincinnati OH 45224. Of, you can send a donation via PayPal. The URL is
and our email address is this one:
Many thanks in advance for your kindness.
Please check with the Wild Geese - they have a huge listing of events and we don't want to duplicate our efforts - or theirs.
If we receive a unique event not mentioned there we will be happy to list it here.


The 2006 Austin Celtic Festival will be held on November 4-5. If you would like to be considered for performing at the festival, please send a CD and press-kit to: ACF Music Panel
c/o Austin Celtic Association
P.O. Box 684163
Austin, TX 78768-4163
The recording must be representative of your current lineup. Most (if not all) of your performance repertoire for the ACF must be in a Celtic style. Submittals must be RECEIVED (not just postmarked) by June 30. This is a strict deadline. They hope to have the selection process completed by mid-July. Performer honorarium is $100 per person for the weekend, up to a maximum of $500 per group. Typically each performer plays once on Saturday and once on Sunday.
For more information contact panel@austincelts.org.

Euclid, Ohio June 30 - July 2
Summerfest Book Signing for Festival Legends. Written by John O'Brien, Jr. who has been Assistant Director of Cleveland's Irish Cultural Festival for more than twenty years, the book tells of the people, places, events and historic moments that shaped and inspired the performers, the music, and Irish and Irish-Americans throughout the world. For up to date signings/appearances/corrections, please visit,
http:// www.songsandstories.net

Marabella, Spain - From now until July 15
Gallery Van Gestel presents an Art Exhibition by the
Andalusian International Artists Group, Plaza de los Naranjos (Orange Square) 11, Marbella
18 artists from 9 countries including our very own generous Trivia Contest sponsor, Roger Cummiskey from Dublin, Ireland.
For more details, please click
Tel: 952 774 819

Dublin City, Co. Dublin, Ireland - June 13 & July 22,
Bewleys Café Theatre, Grafton Street Dublin
Tall Tales Theatre Company presents
MELODY: A theatrical lunchtime treat
Previews 12 June | 1.10pm
For more details, please visit

Farmleigh Gallery, Phoenix Park - June 16-July 9
Art from State Buildings: Ten Years in the making! For more details, please click

Dublin, Ireland - July 20
Focus Theatre presents the Irish Premiere of Two Rooms by Lee Blessing,
Andrews Lane Studio, Dublin. For more details, please visit

Michigan - August 3
Put on your dancing shoes and join the fun as world-renown Irish band Gaelic Storm performs their Michigan CD-release party as a benefit for Hospice of Michigan on Thursday, August 3, at The Ark, 316 S. Main Street in Ann Arbor, Tickets include a copy of the group's new CD "Bring Yer Wellies."  For more details, please visit

Dun Laoghaire, Ireland - August 25, 26, 27  
Festival of World Cultures
Anyone who still believes that Ireland is mono cultural needs look no farther than Dun Laoghaire at the end of summer to see how global the country has become. For those that cannot make it to Dun Laoghaire, highlights of the Festival will be broadcast on RTÉ Two sometime in September.The full programme will be announced in July 2006. For further information visit
http:// www.festivalofworldcultures.com

Cashel, Co. Tipperary, Ireland - September 8, 9, 10
Are you a fan of Fidelma? Ireland's international best selling fictional detective will be celebrated at a weekend convention in her "hometown." For complete details, please click

It's a well known fact that soccer fans are notorious for taking potshots at fans on opposing teams. Here are just a few. And if you don't like who is being put down, just change the name of the team!

You're trapped in a room with a Grizzly Bear, a deadly Rattlesnake, and a Shamrock Rovers fan. You have a gun with two bullets. What should you do? Shoot the Shamrock Rovers Fan. Twice.
Q: Why do Newcastle fans carry lighters round with them?
A: Because they lose all their matches!
Q: What have Shelbourne FC and a three pin plug have in common?
A: They're both absolutely useless in Europe.

Q: If you see a Limerick fan on a bike, why should you never swerve to hit him? It might be your bike.

Q: How many Man U fans does it take to pave up a driveway?
A: Depends how thin you slice them.

Q: Why can't you get a cup of tea at Old Trafford?
A: All the mugs are on the field and all the cups are at Highbury.

Q: What's the ideal weight for a Newcastle supporter?
A: 3 pounds...including the Urn.

Q. Do you know what Celtic really stands for?
A: Celtic Even Lost To Inverness Caley

Q: What is the difference between Coventry and the Bermuda triangle?
A: The bermuda triangle has three points.

Q: What's the difference between an Everton fan and a supermarket trolley?
A: The trolley has a mind of it's own.