Welcome to the Irish Culture & Customs newsletter which was voted the #1 non-fiction ezine for 2002 in the Preditors/Editors Readers Poll. It is published every Saturday and sent out to nearly 1,000 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 unsubcribe, instructions are at the end - but we do hope you'll stay with us.

Greetings & Blessings to Everyone,

The warmest of welcomes to all, and a special hello to our new subscribers. Thank you so much for signing up. We're now a cat's whisker away from 1000 and by this time next week we're hoping to surpass it. So, please spread the word.

Two words sum up the weather today - no snow! In fact, it's almost 70 and the kids are out skateboarding on our street in their shirt-sleeves. Bridget's mother would not approve. When Bridget was a child, the old saying was, "don't cast a clout until May is out." Of course, that was in dreary, rainy London during the 1950s - and long before it became a smokeless zone. In any event, we can really feel and smell spring in the air - and, despite the fact that more of the white stuff is predicted for Monday, we think the back of winter is broken; let's hope so.

God willing this week's edition finds you all healthy, happy and in the best of spirits. Especially since we have St. Patrick's Day coming up in just a week or so. Are you ready? We'll be attending the O'Flaherty annual Blarney Bash next Saturday - and staying over. We'll be sure to have the newsletter out long before we leave. But, we'll most likely be late with updating the site on Sunday.

As for ourselves - it's been both hectic and frantic the past week. Between work that pays the bills and trying to keep up with the site, there isn't much time to relax around Toad Hall (our pet name for this old tomb we live in). But, we still managed to have fun - especially when checking the daily stats. We're thrilled to report that we had close to 2,000 visitors to the site on Shrove Tuesday - a record! Many thanks to all of you who visit - and especially those who take the time to send in comments about the various articles. Always makes the effort even more rewarding.

For the most part, the week was upbeat and positive, except for a feeling of real sadness when we heard that Fred Rogers had passed away. For our readers in countries other than the USA, Mr. Rogers was a daily children's show on public television. It was a daily fixture in our house from when it first aired back in the late sixties; our oldest was about 5. He always began the program with a song called "A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood." Most certainly, without him, the neighborhood won't be nearly as beautiful.

As usual, we received quite a few emails and we're still trying to catch up with responses. If you live in the city of Santa Clarita, California, we received the following invitation to pass along:

City of Santa Clarita Cowboy Poetry and Music Festival
"Celts to Cowboys" - Thursday, March 27, 8:00 p.m., Wells Fargo Theater.
General admission is $25. But, if you mention that you're a subscriber to Irish Culture and Customs, you'll get in for $20. For reservations call (661) 286-4079.

One last bit of the blather. For those of us in the US dreading April 15th - tax day - thought you might like to know that it was on March 8th, in 1913 that the "infernal revenue" began collecting income taxes!

Armed with that useless bit of information, you're all set for more, right? So, on we go...
Help us keep this newsletter free - please visit the following sponsor:
There's still time to get the Irish Party Pack - everything you need for an authentic Irish hooley - hats, scarf, tie, CD of party songs and more! Other great St. Patrick's Day items available, too. All orders can be sent up to the 11th of March with Express Mail and should still be delivered for St. Patrick's Day. Please click:
A Bit of The Wit
Joke of The Week
Did You Know?
Quotes & Quips
Know Your Irish Writers & Books?
New This Week
The Week Ahead
Curran said to Father O'Leary, the wittiest priest of his day, "I wish you were St. Peter." "Why?" asked O'Leary. "Because," said Curran, "you would have the keys of heaven, and could let me in." "It would be better for you," said O'Leary, "that I had the keys of the other place, for then I could let you out." From W.R. LeFanu's "70 Years of Irish Life," 1896
Another gem edited and adapted from one sent in by HD. Many thanks!
Sean is walking through the park and notices an old lady sitting on a bench sobbing her eyes out. He stops and asks her what is wrong. She says, "I have a 22-year old husband at home. He kisses and cuddles me every morning and then gets up and makes me eggs, bacon, black pudding, toast and tea." Well then," Sean says, "Why are you crying?" She says, "He makes me homemade soup for lunch and then kisses and cuddles me for half the afternoon." Perplexed, Sean says, "So, why are you crying?" She says, "For supper, he always makes me my favourite meal and then kisses and cuddles me until 2:00 a.m. Astonished by now, Sean says, "Why in the world would you be crying, then?" Says she, "I can't remember where I live!"
1. St Patrick's Church of Ireland Cathedral in Armagh stands on a bit of land called the ridge of the willow tree? According to legend, this land was given to St. Patrick by Irish chief Daire, after St Patrick brought him and his horse back to life.
2. When St. Patrick died, his followers argued about where to bury him? To settle the dispute, they harnessed two untamed oxen to a cart carrying St Patrick's earthly remains. Wherever the oxen stopped was where the saint would be buried. According to the legend, the oxen stopped at Dun-lethglaisse, which today is known as DownPatrick.
3. The jawbone of St.Patrick was preserved in a silver shrine and was often requested in times of childbirth, epileptic fits and as a preservative against the evil eye?
Some people were laughing at an Irishman who won a race for saying, "Well, I'm first at last." "You needn't laugh," said he; "Sure, wasn't I behind before?" Also from W.R. Fanu's Book "70 Years of Irish History" 1896
The answers to last week's quiz:

1. The Works of St. Patrick - Ludwig Bieler, Ph. D.
2. Patrick, The Pilgrim Apostle of Ireland - Maire B. DePaor
3. St. Patrick and Irish Christianity - Tom Corfe

A drumroll please, for this week's Irish bibliophiles:

Judy Skapik

Ellen Parodi
Namely Gifts at http://namelygifts.com
Personalized Name Keepsakes and Gifts
Featuring St. Patrick's Day items at http://namelygifts.com/St.%20Patricks%20Day.htm
And as always - Our Everyday Heroes http://namelygifts.com/OtherIdeas%20Heroes.htm

Hartson Dowd
Irish Aires - Houston's only 100% Irish Music and News show broadcast every Sunday evening on KPFT-FM (90.1FM) between 6:00 and 7:00 PM Central
US Time and midnight in Ireland

Helen Dowd
I would like to encourage children to contribute to the Children's section of my website. You will notice some poems and articles FOR children BY children. Please check out: http://occupytillicome.online-ministries.com/children/
If you have a short story or poem, please send it to me at Helen Dowd@occupytillicome.online-ministries.com. I will look at it, and if I use it I will send you the link to your very own special page.

Stormy - Host International
Hosting: Irish Culture, The Craic, The British Pub, and The British
Everyone smiles in the same language

Deirdre McKiernan-Hetzler
Who has the longest continuously running tour from the States to Ireland? According to Terry Flynn Tours of Ireland it's the McKiernans of Irish Books &

This week's quiz - who wrote:
1. St. Patrick's Letters
2. Ireland Before St. Patrick
3. St. Patrick's Day - Lord Help Us!

Hint: all three titles can be found on amazon - please click here:
Send us the correct answers to two out of three and the rewards are:
1. If you have a web site, send us your URL plus a short description and we'll publish it in the next newsletter. If you don't have a web site, please nominate a favorite. 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!)
1. What if you were still single by Ash Wednesday?
2. Ash Wednesday and the Lenten Season in old Ireland
3. I, Patrick, the Sinner
4. The Irish Kitchen: A recipe for Lent - Fried Herring
5. Basic Irish: We added some very basic phrases we overlooked.
6. Kids' Ireland: Over the weekend, we'll be posting a new story about St. Patrick, and a word game. We're also republishing the story from last year, as well as an easy craft and a delightful "new custom" you might want to adopt for your own children
7. Corner Culture: From time to time, we'll be up-dating the top right-hand corner
with interesting tidbits that might not be long enough for a full article, but should be shared, all the same. This week, we posted facts about Clonmacnoise Monastery
8. Circle of Prayer: Our fourth Novena in this cycle continues through March 11 and the fifth one begins on March 13. Without doubt, there could be no more urgent time than the present to pray for peaceful resolutions to the conflicts we now face. If you would like to join us in daily prayer or meditation, please click:
9. Think You're Irish? Try our Trivia Contest!
All entries must be in by midnight, EST on March 31.
The winner of the February quiz was Diane Dubay, USA! Congratulations, Diane - we've contacted Celtic Brands and your prize of smoked salmon should be on its way soon.

We hope to finally finish St. Patrick's Around The World, 2003 over the weekend. In the run-up to St. Patrick's Day, Bridget is researching a brand new article in honour of our patron saint. We will also republish our Real Irish Feast for the big day, as well as Hartson's menu and recipes. Always with the creative juices ever flowing, Hartson has also sent us a slew of St. Pat's party ideas. As usual, we will update the news and history each day, post a new blessing on Sunday and a new quote on Wednesday. As for submissions, we now have quite a few in the queue to consider - thank you! So, please hold up on sending us any more- just for the time being. By this time next month, we'll be begging for more!

Do you think we've rambled on long enough? Ah well, may be you're right. Until next time, please know that you are all in our daily thoughts and prayers, especially our readers in uniform, or those of you who have relatives and friends in the service. May God keep you and yours safe in the palm of His hand and may He shower you with a rainbow of blessings in the coming week.

And, as they say say in Ireland, mind yourself.

All the best

Bridget & Russ
Get down on your knees and thank God you're still on your feet
Help us keep this newsletter free. Please visit the following sponsor:
Lolly Smith (don't you love the name?!) We're really enthusiastic about their Irish products, including a great selection of clutch pins. With St. Patrick's Day falling on a Monday this year, many of us will be required to wear the usual work attire - but, you can still acknowledge your Irish roots with a small pin on the lapel, tie or blouse collar.
Please click here to see what Lolly has on offer:
Send an email to: bhaggerty@irishcultureandcustoms.com
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