Welcome to the Irish Culture & Customs newsletter which is published every week or so and sent out to going on 4100 readers all over the world. You are receiving this newsletter because you signed up for it - God Bless you! If you'd like to read past issues, they are archived at:
If, for any reason, you wish to unsubscribe, instructions are at the very end - but we do hope you'll stay with us. And if you need to update your info' or change your email address, you can do that at the end, too.

Greetings and blessings to all,

A belated pinch, punch, first day of the month, white rabbit! And a belated Happy Canada Day to all of our friends way up north! And if you are getting married this month or tied the knot in July. here's your special verse:
They who in July do wed
must always labour for their bread.
This somewhat somber couplet might hearken back to a time of year in old Ireland when the larder was looking a bit lean, hence also the term Hungry July.

Onwards. It's been a long time since we've written. We hope this edition finds you and yours on the pig's back and fit as a fiddle. As for ourselves, Bridget took a bad turn - another heart failure episode. While not as catastrophic as three years ago, it was still serious enough to warrant a trip to the emergency room in the wee hours of a Sunday morning followed by a couple of days in ICU , a few days more in the step down unit and then a series of definitive tests to determine possible causes. The good news is that while she has a couple of leaky valves, the condition doesn't require surgery. And it looks as if what we thought was severe bronchitis brought on by allergies and pollution wasn't! The bottom line is that when one has shortness of breath that gets progressively worse, don't wait - call the doctor!

We're now trying to catch up. We have finally updated the home page - please go take a look! And if you sent us a message and we haven't answered, we will do our best to respond as soon as we can. We also had to pass on a Trivia contest for June, but we hope to have one posted for July by the time you receive this.

In the meantime, it's been lovely to see so many new subscribers sign up. Thank you so much for joining us and please feel free to share our musings and meanderings with your friends and family. So - a special hello to you and yours and a warm welcome back to everyone. God willing, we can get over all of the unexpected interruptions to our Irish Culture and Customs schedule and spend our time doing what we like to do best - learning as much as we can about Ireland and the Irish - and and sharing it all with you.

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 the world. Links for major news stories can be found on our web site here

National minimum wage goes up to €8.65 an hour! That translates to about $11.00 per hour which isnt very much if you live in pricey Dublin where the cost of a cup of coffee is more than NYC or London!

11,000 fewer vehicles in Dublin city rush hour
Dublin city centre traffic has eased significantly over the past 10 years according to figures from Dublin City Council, which show a drop of almost one sixth in the number of cars entering the city during morning rush hour. That might generate a loud harumph from commuters who must often wonder why they ever bought a car when shank's pony would probably be faster!

Carlow: Centenarians call halt to golf course development
Plans to extend the golf course in Borris have had to be halted due the discovery of pearl mussels, believed to be one hundred years old, in one of the two mountain streams flowing through the site.

Cork: The Cork School of Music has taken delivery of the world's largest order of Steinway baby grand pianos, worth €2.5 million.

Donegal: Pettigo trail, literary and actual
A book entitled "The Pettigo History Trail", which features a number of local personalities from a historical perspective, has been complemented by the trail of plaques which pinpoint the location associated with each one. Both the book and the trail are the work of the Pettigo Men's Group, while the book is edited by local historian John B. Cunningham. Among the thirty-one people included in the book is Dean Acheson, US Secretary of State in 1949, who was a descendant of the Achesons of Grouse Lodge. The composer of the Australian anthem, "Waltzing Matilda", also features; Andrew Barton "Banjo" Patterson was also a jockey and a soldier in his time.

Donegal: One legend salutes another
The eight surviving members of the legendary Lisbon Lions, the first team from Britain to win the European Cup, were in Ramelton recently to pay homage to another soccer legend, Patsy Gallagher. The Ramelton man, known as "The Mighty Atom", played for Glasgow Celtic from 1911 to 1926 and a plaque was unveiled on the house next door to the cottage where he spent his early years; his own home place having been demolished.

Fermanagh: A new landmark for Roslea
A stone chair, one of a series of twenty-seven, was unveiled last week at Carn Rock near Roslea by Rural Development Minister Michelle Gildernew. The project is being co-ordinated by the Clones/Erne East Partnership and is aimed at raising awareness of the area as a whole and to promote the area for both residents and tourists. Inside each of the chairs is a time capsule to which children from local schools and local residents have contributed; these are due to be opened in fifty years' time. The selection of Carn Rock as the location for the main unveiling of the stone chairs is apt since it is said that all nine counties of Ulster can be seen from the spot.

Galway: Record numbers for Cong race
Although the waters of Lough Corrib might not be the best for drinking, they were certainly ideal for the annual Cong to Galway sailing event last weekend. Taking place for the past one hundred and twenty-five years, the race over the twenty-six mile course attracted record numbers of sailors and spectators, and was won by Johnny Murphy.

Kerry: Age-old tradition maintained on the Lakes
Boatmen were kept busy last Friday evening taking pilgrims to Innisfallen Island on Lough Leane in Killarney for the annual open air Mass on the island. This year the ceremonies were led by Father James Nduka, a visitor to the town from Nigeria, who was assisted by Father Nicholas Flynn, curate in Killarney. The pilgrims gathered at the ruins of the old Franciscan Church for the Mass. Innisfallen was home to Europe's first university and it was also the location for the writing of the Annals of Innisfallen. This is now housed in Oxford University although repeated efforts have been made to have the volume returned to Killarney for exhibition.

Kildare: "Bijoux" or "Minute" property for sale
A property in Ballymore Eustace could be described as "bijoux" by estate agents but a more realistic description would be minuscule. The fourteen-foot by twenty-three-foot building was once the local forge and when it was in the ownership of James Smyth, was the venue for the construction of the shoes of a winning racehorse; the farrier made the shoes for The Workman, the winner of the Aintree Grand National in 1939.

Kilkenny: New Castlecomer centre opens
This weekend saw the official opening of "Footprints in Coal", the Castlecomer Discovery Park's new Interpretative Centre. The eighty acres of natural woodland have recently been improved and two man-made lakes have been reinstalled where visitors can fish for rainbow trout. The new centre will relate the story of three hundred years of coal mining in the Castlecomer area, and is the culmination of years of hard work from a group of local residents.

Limerick: International ambassadors for the city
The summer street ambassadors appointed in Limerick city this year include a number of guides from overseas. The programme, which was inaugurated last year, was so successful that the idea has been taken up in Dublin this year. Among Limerick's twelve Street Ambassadors are a student from California, a Peruvian who was a guide on the Inca Trail, and a newspaper correspondent from Poland. Their duties will be co-ordinated by Jean Ryan, who was a team leader last year, and all the guides have learnt a number of key phrases in German, Spanish, Italian and French.

Longford: Granard landmark sold to private buyer
The historic motte in the town, has been purchased by a builder from the north of the county for around €300,000. Dating from the end of the twelfth century it is said by some to conceal a castle within the mound. There are also stories of buried treasure within the structure. No development is allowed on the eight-acre site, though it could be handed over for excavation.

Meath: Trim street opens to traffic
The street in Trim which might have ended up being named after the North's First Minister was opened to traffic last week. It had been suggested by local historian Noel French that the street, which links Castle Street and Emmet Street, be named after Dr Ian Paisley to mark the power-sharing agreement in the North. However his suggestion was not taken up by the council, who agreed to name the street after Trim's much-loved character, the late Jimmy Finnegan. Now known as Finnegan's Way, the street commemorates the man known as "The Weatherman" who was a store of knowledge of local history and genealogy. Members of his family will travel from England for the official opening of the street.

Monaghan: Stony grey soil to be developed?
Plans by developers to build fifty-eight houses on the former GAA football pitch in Patrick Kavanagh's home place of Inniskeen have led to objections from local residents. The pitch, known as Grattan's Field, is featured in the poet's "Tarry Flynn".

Tipperary: Clonmel to have its own golf resort
Marlfield House near Clonmel is to be developed by its owners, the Kent family, into a golf resort comprising a championship golf course, a seventy-bedroom hotel and twenty houses, the latter to be located in the former orchard. Set on four hundred acres, Marlfield House was built in the eighteenth century for the Bagwell family. The new complex will be known as the Marlbrook Hotel and Golf Resort and the course is to be designed by Padraig Harrington.

Westmeath: End of an era in Mullingar
There were mixed emotions in Mullingar last week when the old Horizon Ballroom, owned by former Taoiseach Albert Reynolds and his brother Jim, was demolished. Some were sorry to see disappear the venue of many famous bands and a place frequented by large numbers of Mullingar people. Others, however, while acknowledging that the building had its heyday, expressed pleasure that a building which had fallen into disrepair over the past twenty years and had become an eyesore, was now gone. Councillor Ken Glynn would like to see a plaque put in place to remind people of the good times in the Horizon.

Wicklow: Funds needed for oldest bells
A committee has been formed to finance the repair of the bellframe housing the oldest surviving set of church bells in the country, in St Mary's Church of Ireland in Blessington. Chaired by bellringer Sandra Dorann, the committee has already raised €5,000 through a craft fair and a Garda Band concert, but a further €22,000 is needed to complete the work. Among the bellringers at the church is Sandra's son, David, who is the only person ever to have submitted bellringing for the practical part of his Junior Certificate music exam.

Wicklow: Public art works for Baltinglass
Artist Catherine Delaney is taking inspiration from past industries in the area in a series of works which will be located around the town. After consulting with local people Catherine will use images from the carpet industry which flourished in Stratford on Slaney two hundred years ago, as well as on a lace pattern. A local woman has lent her a piece of lace which she will use as a stencil to leave a pattern on the ground which will fade away gradually. Further inspiration will come from the architecture of Baltinglass Abbey and Catherine intends to project one of her creations onto the side of a building, possibly the library.

Wicklow: Powers to leave Tinakilly
William and Bee Power, who have been at the helm of Tinakilly House in Rathnew for the past twenty-five years, will shortly be leaving after having sold the hotel to a developer for €10m. The house, built early in the nineteenth century by Robert Halpin and paid for the British government to recognise his services to communication, is to be refurbished by the developers, who already own two hundred acres around the hotel. Tinakilly was bought by the Powers in 1982 and they opened it up as a hotel in order to finance renovations.

London, England: Tipp man immortalised on Underground map
A man from Borrisokane will become instantly recognisable to thousands, if not millions of people when the next edition of the London Underground map is published. A portrait of John Hough from Sopwell by artist Jeremy Deller was commissioned for the art programme, Platform for Art, and five million copies of the map with the portrait on the front cover are due to be published. John emigrated in 1962 and began work for London Transport as a bus driver. Retiring this week, he is the longest-serving transport worker in London, having been with the company for over forty-five years.
SPONSOR: Help us keep your newsletter coming. Visit our good friends at Lollysmith:
Do you have a special event coming up? Whatever the occasion, from graduations to weddings. we have the perfect gift! And to make it as convenient as possible, we've combined gifts with holiday themes from throughout our shop on to one page. So come browse around a bit and check out our inspirational Rosary beads of genuine Connemara marble, Bewley's tea sets, marvelous "dear to my heart" mugs many other great gift ideas.

Last time, Jaryd asked if anyone could recommend an English/Irish dictionary that contains the phonetic pronunciations along with the Irish definitions:
Bill Ashe responds... the best one I have found is a company called Transparent Language Inc. It also has a software called' Before You know it.' There is a free version so you can check it out. The full version is top of the line with audio on the sound of the words in Irish. Check out the free version it maybe just enough for your needs. The free version has Gaeilge speakers to go over the words. Here is the net address;
http:// www.byki.com

Marybeth asks: I've been searching everywhere to find even a snippet of info re "burying a potato in the backyard of a new home"for luck or prosperity?  I know I saw a poem or reference to it somewhere, and cannot locate it.  Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Laurie writes:   A friend swears that the following is attributed to Wilde, not Yeats.  Do you know the actual source for this quote, or when it was made or something to prove who really said it? "Being Irish, I have an abiding sense of tragedy which sustains me through temporary periods of joy."
ED. NOTE: We know it was written by Yeats. What we don't know is where in his writing one would find this quotation.

Sheila writes: My dear mother passed away in April, 2 months shy of her 95th birthday. She loved babies, and I often heard her use 2 terms that seemed to be terms of endearment when talking to babies. I finally thought to ask her the meaning of the words about 5 years before she passed. She said that she did not actually know the meaning and that she was just saying words that she had heard her own mother use. And, of course, she had no idea of how to spell them. Now, her mother -- my grandmother -- was of 100% Irish blood, although she was born here in the US, and she knew some Irish, and even said her prayers in Irish. Her father was a Gannon from County Mayo, I believe. The words phonetically are "bouzie" and "zoubbin. Bbouzie"  sounds like oo in the word wood + z + ee as in eat.  Zubbins" sounds like zoo + bins

Hello to all from Julie Crum in Newville Pa USA
I want you to know I love your newsletter so much. My grandparents came from Derry in Ireland. They and my Mother died when I was very young but I remember many things about them and I have Irish in my soul. I enjoy learning about Ireland and I can't tell you what it means to me to be able to be in touch with Ireland through your newsletters. I would like to ask if anyone can help me find ancesters in Derry. My grandfathers name was Tommas Ewing and my grandmother was Agnes Scott. I have dates of the greatparents and beyond but would love to know if anyone of the family is still living in Ireland. All my life I dreamed of coming over and next year I plan to make the trip, God willing. Thank you so much an;d God Bless Julie Crum

Christina writes: I've heard that there is an Irish lucky number, and was wondering what that would be. Thank you,
ED. NOTE: So are we!

A lovely offer from author Harold
Here's what he said: I just wanted to personally thank you again for all the effort you put into the newsletter, and if there is anything I can do to help in the distribution etc. let me know.  Financially I am pretty much tied, but anything else I am able to do I will. To help promote support for the newsletter, all members who receive the newsletter will receive 10%-15% off any of my published E-books.  All they have to do is let me know they receive the newsletter through contacting me through my author website
While presently, there is one book there, I am planning many more to follow.  But, this will be a standing offer.  The hope is, what they save on the book they will donate to the newsletter (for any overseas orders this will also help ease the cost of country to country shipping).  I will also see if I can get other authors to do the same (can't promise they will do it or not, but there is a chance). Hope this helps..
ED. NOTE: We are always taken aback by such generosity and we hope you will visit Harold's site to check out his book.

Learning Irish? Link to basic lesson videos
Cindy Thompson, author of the xcellent book Brigid of Ireland,sent us this link and we like what we've seen so far.
ED. NOTE: If you'd like to learn more about Cindy's highly acclaimed book, please click

Toronto Irish Famine Memorial
Ireland Park honours the Irish immigrants who fled during the Famine of 1847 and the 38,000 who arrived in Toronto that summer when the City's population was a mere 20,000. Ireland Park is a bridge that will link two nations and two cities. It is the story of a destitute people overcoming unimaginable hardship and suffering, and speaks to the kindness and generosity of Canadians, which is as consistent today as it was in 1847
With many thanks to Kate who sent us the link:

Irish Places that became Words
Our dear friend Audrey in California sent us this fascinating link. Enjoy!

English Gentry buying up Ireland's country homes
We saw this headline in the Irish Independent and noted who the real estate agent is. We found their site - and a long list of magnificent Irish estates on offer. Take a look:

The Irish Page
This time around, Jack & Vivian offer an Irish version of the famous song Wild Bunch of Thyme. Turn your sound up to hear the tune. There are also pop-up phonetics on this one. When you place your mouse arrow over an Irish word, the translation and the pronunciation will pop up. Just click on the link below.

Irish Wolfhound Society of Ireland
This organization is for breeders and owners of Irish Wolfhounds and has recently started to be very active throughout the country and elsewhere. Here you will find many photos and stories about the breed and their activities. Many thanks to Laurence for bringing this link to our attention which we will also be posting on our web site

Amazing Grace - everything you could ever want to know
Did you know that in the the US Library of Congress there are recorded performances of the hymn "Amazing Grace" by more than 3000 different individual musicians or musical ensembles? With thanks to "Mama" for this link:

Free Mammograms!
Do you know of a woman who can't afford a mammogram? Here's how you can help. Go to the Breast Cancer site and click on their free mammogram link; if they get enough clicks , they'll be able to donate at least one free mammogram a day to underprivileged women. It takes just a minute and there's no cost involved:

Free Pet Food!
Last but certainly not least - our ongoing gift to AG in California and all friends to animals, please click this link today and everyday. It only takes a second to feed an animal. Thanks!

Free People Food!
It only takes a second to feed hungry people, too:
In honour of America's Independence Day:
Liberty is the breath of life to nations. ~George Bernard Shaw
I gave my talent to my work and saved my genius for my life.

Oscar Wilde
Mike and Moira had been married for more than 40 years. One day, a friend asked to what they attributed their long marriage. Mike said that they went out twice a week for dinner. Moira nodded her head smiling and said he goes out on Tuesday and I go out on Friday.
1. Joshua Pim from Bray, Co. Wicklow won the Wimbledon men's singles title two years in a row, in 1893 and 1894?
2. At the first modern Olympics held in Athens in 1896, John Pius Boland from Dublin won the lawn tennis gold medals, singles and doubles?
3. When lawn tennis first arrived in Ireland in 1877, it was played on croquet lawns?
To start off, the answers to our last quiz
1. The Dramatist by Ken Bruen
2. Confessions of a Shanty irishman by Michael Corrigan
3. The Beauty of the Moon by by Anne M. Haverty

A round of pints and applause for our latest iterary sleuths:

Margaret Kilbain
Whatever you might be looking for in the way of irish sites, you should be able to find it here:

Helen Dowd
For a variety of reading, I invite you to visit my site:

Rita Roche
Baltimore MD

Mike Moore
Fact-filled site about the island of Ireland

Helen Boyle
If you're interested in the Irish spelling of your last name and what it means, this is a very interesting page:

Roger S. Weist
Beyond the Pale
WRUW/FM 91.1
Cleveland, Ohio
Sunday 4:00 to 6:00 p.m.

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

1. Redemption Falls
2. The Bird Woman
3. The Gathering
Clue: They are all recent works of fiction.

SPONSOR: Please help us keep the newsletter coming - visit our good friends at the Irish Lotto.
No one won on Saturday which mean's Wednesday's jackpot is estimated to be nearly five million euro! It's' always been our fantasy that one of our readers will win; but, as they say in Ireland, you can't win it if you're not in it. And here's the best part - you don't have to live in Ireland to play and your winnings are not subject to Irish taxes! Click here for more details or to buy a ticket:
First off, here's the answer to our last head-banger:
Pronounced as one letter,
And written with three,
Two letters there are,
And two only in me.
I'm double, I'm single,
I'm black, blue, and gray,
I'm read from both ends,
And the same either way.
Q: What am I?
A: Eye

As always, we had an avalanche of correct answers from the Riddle People. But first in from this brilliant group was Mary Donnelly somewhere in South Africa. Well done Mary!

And now for what we think is a particularly challenging poser which we received from Barbra Goins of the Celtic Shamrock Irish Shop. Thanks Barbra!

Q. What do the following words have in common?

1. Article - Lords of the Curragh Ring
2. Article - From Our Front Porch
3. Article - A Dandy of an Irish Yankee
4. Article: Two Charming ladies of an Unceertain Age Take on Irish Highways and Byways
5. Article - Spakes from Wicklow
6. Article - What the Twelfth Means to Me
7. Irish Kitchen - Ballymaloe Salad with Shanagarry Dressing
8. Basic irish - Going on Holiday
9. Kids' Ireland - How The Causeway Came To Be
10. Music R eview - Irish Ways
11. Circle of prayer - Novena #8 in this cycle began on June 28 and continues through July 6. Recently, we heard about Margaret's baby girl who was diagnosed with a cancerous tumor on her kidney and just underwent surgery. The prognosis is good - but she still needs our spiritual support as does Liadan, the sister of Bridget's publisher Ethna MkKiernan, who suffered an aneurism about the same time Bridget went in the hospital. Her prognosis also looks positive. Please also remember our dear friend Penny; who had surgery for an ovarian cyst and they found cancer cells; the good news is that it's very, very early stages. And please don't forget Hartson, Pauline, Heather and so many others who need our prayers or meditations - , especially our men and women in the military serving their country all over the world. Please God, they will all be home safe and sound soon.
12. Trivia Contest: We were very sorry we had to skip the one for June. The good news is that we just published one for July! Check it out:

So there you have it until we write again. Between now and then, if you're celebrating a birthday, anniversary or other important event we hope it's an occasion filled with joy. We also wish all of our readers in the USA a Happy and safe July 4th.

We leave you with this lovely prayer attributed to St. Columcille:
"Alone with none but Thee, my God,I journey on my way;
What need I fear when Thou art near, Oh King of night and day?
More safe am I within Thy hand than if a host did round me stand."

And as they say in Ireland, mind yourself!

Slan agus beannacht!

Bridget & Russ
Get down on your knees and thank God you're still on your feet!
Help keep the newsletter coming
Officially, our annual dollar drive is over but we are always happy to receive donations at any time of year. If you'd like to help us out you can send a little something through PayPal:
and to this account:

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

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

Dublin, Ireland now through August 18
Tall Tales Theatre Company celebrates its tenth birthday in collaboration with Bewleys Café Theatre by presenting a season of new Irish plays by women. All performances s daily at 1.00pm [includes light lunch]. For more details, please click

Ireland - June 19 - August 11
Fair City Stars tread the boards this summer in Ray Cooney's hilarious farce Caught in The Net . For nationwide tour details, please click

Ireland - June 6 through July 14
Nationwide tour of Mushroom presented by the Story Tellers Theatre Company. For places and dates, please click

Cincinnati, OH - July 6 & 7
Silver Arm, one of the region's most popular Celtic groups will be playing at the following locations:
Friday, July 6  -  Molly Malone's, 6111 Montgomery Rd in Pleasant Ridge.  
Saturday, July 7 - The Dilly Deli,  Mariemont   7:30-10:30pm
For more details about the band and uocoming events, please click

Galway - July 10 through July 15
Galway Film Fleadh celebrates 19 years of screening the very best in new and classic Irish and World Cinema. For more information, please click

Galway - July 16 through July 29
Galway Arts Festival 2007 features over 400 writers, artists, performers and musicians from all over the world. For complete details, please click



This one was sent in by our dear friend Eileen McTiernan. We think the ladies will love it - but we're not so sure about the lads!

The Seamstress - A Parable

One day, when a seamstress was sewing while sitting close to a river,
her thimble fell into the river. When she cried out, God appeared and
asked, "My dear child, why are you crying?" The seamstress replied that her thimble had fallen into the water and that she needed it to help her husband in making a living for their family. God reached into the water and pulled up a golden thimble set with pearls. "Is this your thimble?" God asked The seamstress replied, "No." God again reached into the river, and then held out a silver thimble ringed with sapphires.
"Is this your thimble?" God asked Again, the seamstress replied, "No."
God reached down again and came up with a leather thimble. "Is his your thimble?" God asked. The seamstress replied, "Yes." God was pleased with the woman's honesty and gave her all three thimbles to keep, and the seamstress went home happy.

Some years later, the seamstress was walking with her husband along the riverbank, and her husband fell into the river and disappeared under the water. When she cried out, God again appeared and asked her, "Why are you crying?" "Oh God, my husband has fallen into the river!" God went down into the water and came up with George Clooney. "Is this your husband?" God asked. "Yes!" cried the seamstress. God was furious. "You lied! That is an untruth!" The seamstress replied, "Oh, forgive me, it is a misunderstanding. You see, if I had said 'no' to George Clooney, you would have come up with Brad Pitt.  Then if I said 'no' to him, you would have come up with my husband. Had I then said 'yes,' you would have given me all three. I'm not in the best of health and would not be able to take care of all three husbands, so THAT'S why I said 'yes' to George Clooney. And so God let her keep him.

The moral of this story is: Whenever a woman lies, it's for a good and
honorable reason, and in the best interest of others.