Welcome to the Irish Culture & Customs newsletter which is published every weekend and sent out to going on 1500 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
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Greetings and blessings to all,

We hope you and yours are enjoying a safe and happy holiday season. It's been a lovely week in the Haggerty household. The snail mail brought greetings from near and far, we were inundated with "have a merry" email messages, and, miracle of miracles, we managed to get everything prepared on time for the holiday feast. Many thanks to all of you who sent us cards; we enjoyed reading them all.

We awoke on Christmas Day to a light dusting of snow - just enough to make the outside look like a Currier & Ives card, yet not enough to give our guests any trouble on the roads. Since we don't open gifts until Epiphany, we both enjoyed a very relaxed morning and afternoon; then, the children started visiting. Scott and Ben were here for Thanksgiving dinner, so we knew they wouldn't be at our table for Christmas. But, they dropped by for an hour or so - and the big news is: Scott and Kristina are engaged! He gave her a beautiful Claddagh ring and we had to print out Bridget's article so Kristina could take it over to her parent's house and explain the significance. We are really happy for them both.

We also enjoyed a sweet visit with Fieval, our new grandson; now three months old, he's fascinated by everything, especially the lights. We wish you could have seen his outfit...reminded us of an infant Mr. Rogers - button-down shirt, bow-tie, cardigan and corduroy pants. Of course, we had to take a picture or two and Russ has posted a couple here:

All in all, it was a great Christmas Day - and dinner. Guests chipped in to cover the cost of the standing rib, Bridget managed to sneak a few Brussel sprouts by Russ, our friend Mickey made a heavenly chocolate trifle, Jane outdid herself with pecan and mincemeat tarts, and another friend, Mary, brought the crackers. So, with silly hats on our heads, and tummys way too full, we retired to the family room and spent the rest of the evening singing Christmas carols, watching a Child's Christmas in Wales (which to our minds, could easily be Ireland) and reminiscing about all the holidays we've shared together. But enough about us:

In news from Ireland:
An Irish bank has worked out the true cost of the carol Twelve Days of Christmas. Some items, like five gold rings, have actually fallen in price recently. And pear trees, for example, are down by 30%. But the price of skilled labour, like ladies dancing and drummers drumming, has gone up. The total cost for everything in the song is just under €53,000.

Driving-test applicants are waiting for more than a year.
The Minister for Transport, Mr Brennan, has admitted it will take at least a year for driving-test waiting times to be brought within "acceptable" levels after it emerged that test applicants are waiting for up to 54 weeks to be examined.

Dublin: Ireland's first ever live website to 'netcast' the Mass has just been activated at Westland Row parish in Dublin's city centre. The URL is:

Co. Mayo: This past week, a group of pilgrims walked a 10-mile stretch of the Tóchar Phádraig pilgrim path before climbing Croagh Patrick. The annual pilgrimage, led by the Ballintubber Abbey curate, Father Frank Fahey, includes 10 miles of the Tóchar Phádraig (Patrick's Causeway) which was built before the arrival of St Patrick. It is believed that the path, a national monument, was originally a major chariot route leading from the seat of the Kings of Connacht, at Cruachan, Co Roscommon, to Croagh Patrick, or Cruachan Aigli as it was known in pre-Christian times.

Co. Armagh: In the Museum of the Year Awards in Dublin, the Royal Irish Fusiliers Museum in the Sovereign's House on the Mall took first place in the Best Exhibition category.

Co. Kilkenny: Reunion for 1960s band . When the members of Fifth Degree, the band set up in Kilkenny city in 1965, decided to hold a reunion night the first person they called on was Maura Kennedy, widow of founder member Louis Kennedy who died ten years ago. Maura was enthusiastic about the proposed event and it took place last weekend at Langton's where more than one thousand people turned up to relive their youth or to introduce their children and grandchildren to the sounds of the sixties. Band members who took part included James Kelly, Willie Maher, Dave Prim, Andy Murray and John Travers.

In news from all over:
Dallas, Texas: The Coppell High School Band has been invited by the Lord Mayor of Dublin to play in the 2004 St. Patrick's Day Parade. Recently, hundreds of volunteers affiliated with the Coppell Band Boosters sponsored an Irish-themed festival to help the band close the gap on $75,000 needed for the trip. To learn more, you can visit their web site at:

Links of the week:
Rannia from Australia sent us:
All about Fermoy, Co. Cork, Ireland. 200 years of history, midis, and more.

Crossword puzzles in irish are a fun way to learn the language! Check out:

Hartson sent us:
We echo Hartson's note - how does he do that?

And last but definitely not least - our 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!

Enough of the blither and blather...on with the update:
Help us keep this newsletter free by visiting the The Irish Lottery:
Remember the Irish Hospital Sweepstakes? It was replaced by the Irish Lotto in 1988. Since then it has become one of the most trusted lotteries in the world. Drawings are held every Wednesday and Saturday. Best of all, you don't have to live in Ireland to play and all winnings are tax-free. Do you have the luck of the Irish? Play the Irish lottery and find out! Please click here for full details:
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
I never put off till tomorrow what I can do the day after.
Oscar Wilde
This is adapted from one sent in by Hartson (Thank you!)
A man and his wife are awakened at 3 o'clock in the morning by a loud pounding on the door. The man gets up and goes to the door; when he opens it, an obviously inebriated stranger is standing there in the pouring rain. The stranger asks for a push."Jam on your egg," says the husband, "it's three o'clock in the morning!" He slams the door and goes back to bed. "Who was that?" asked his wife."Just some fluthered eejit asking for a push," he answers. "Did you help him?" she asks. "No, I did not, it's three in the morning and it's lashing out there. "Well, you have a short memory," says his wife. "Remember about three months ago when we broke down and that nice couple helped us out? I think you should help him; you should be ashamed of yourself!" The man sighs, does as he is told, gets dressed, and goes out into the pouring rain. He calls out into the dark, "Hello, are you still there?" "Yes," comes back the answer. "Do you still need a push?" calls out the husband. "Yes, please!" comes the reply from the dark."Where are you?" asks the husband. "Over here, on the swing!"

*Irish slang: Jam on your egg - wishful thinking; will never happen. __________________________________________________________
1. The first pantomime in Ireland, "The Magic Rose", was staged at the Theatre Royal in Dublin in 1811?
2. December 27, the feast of St John, was believed to be a good day for farmers to borrow money in order to buy new seed for the coming season?
3. Shane MacGowan's classic "Fairytale of New York" is the most widely played song on Irish radio every Christmas?
An old, well-loved toast for the new year:
May your hand always be stretched out in friendship and never in want.
First off, the answers to last week's quiz:
1. Hot Toddies: Mulled Wine, Buttered Rum, Spiced Cider and other Soul-Warming Winter Drinks - William A. Nash (Author), Christopher O'hara (Author)
2. The Cold That Burns - Siobhan Campbell
3. Irish Stories for Christmas - John B. Keane

A round of applause and a pint or two for :

Ellen Parodi
Namely Gifts at http://namelygifts.com
Personalized Name Keepsakes and Gifts
Something for every name on your gift list!

Déirdre McKiernan Hetzler
"Glorious Ireland in May"
May 25 - June 8, 2004
See the itinerary for 2004: http://www.irishbook.com/tours.htm

Patrick Nolan
Take a virtual tour of Kennys book shop and art gallery

Chris McCarthy
Callans O' the Bridge, is the oldest pub in Carrickmacross, Co. Monaghan - and one of my favourites. Take a look:

Helen Dowd
I have a few New Year's postings in my website, and am posting more. If you would like to visit my website the URL is:

Hartson Dowd
This elegant personal site is rich in edifying sentiment and the Celtic section contains some refreshing, and surprising, information on Irish culture. The Scots, Welsh and Manx also get coverage and there is an excellent account of the origin and history of the harp.

Want to see your name and favorite site on our list? Try to find the following authors - we assure you, it's really easy! Who wrote:

1. Irish Weather Wisdom: Signs of Rain
2. New Weather
3. Weather Permitting
Hint: All three titles can be found 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!)
3. Click through on the Hint URL above, tell us the title and earn another entry into the Trivia drawing.
NOTE: It would be very helpful if you would send your entries to:
Please help us to keep this newsletter free - visit our good friends, LollySmith:
Welcome to our Irish Gift Shop where the countdown to St. Patrick's Day has begun! Here you will find what you need to look the part - and party! Caps, shirts, walking sticks, Guinness gear and glasses, lapel pins and more! Stock up now before the rush begins and enjoy great prices, quick shipping, and friendly, personalized service. And from all of us at LollySmith, Aithbhlian Faoi Mhaise - Happy New Year!
Judging by the number of correct entries, last week's poser wasn't difficult at all:
Q. What side do you get down off a horse?
A. You get down off a goose (or duck)
Congrats to Bill Wilson who was first with the answer.
Now for this week's challenge:
What is bought by the yard and worn by the foot?
It's become the routine to update the homepage every Monday:
1. Home Page - See what's new at a glance:
2. New - Article: Up and Comers, the Irish Mummers
This article will be published early this week.
3. New - Article: Winter Solstice at Newgrange
This article will be published early this week.
3. New - The Irish Kitchen: Irish Plum Pudding for 2004. If you didn't have time to make a Christmas pud this year, Hartson offers a recipe for one that gets better with age and will keep until the next Yuletide comes around
4. New - Basic Irish: Wrapping Up the Holidays. All the words and phrases we overlooked in the previous couple of lessons (at least, we hope so!)
5. Featured - Article: St. Stephen's Day to New Year's Eve
6. Featured - Article: New Year's Day to Epiphany
7. Featured - Article: Oi'che na Gaoithe Mo'ire...The Night of the Big Wind
8. Featured - Christmas Greetings from President Mary McAleese
9. Featured - Article: Many Years Ago; a condensed version of a lovely story by John B. Keane
10. Featured - The Irish Kitchen: Throwing a New Year's Eve Party? Starters for the Holiday Feast, including links to two other pages of appetizers could help with your preparations http://www.irishcultureandcustoms.com/2Kitch/1Home.html
11. On-going - Circle of Prayer: Our first Novena in a new cycle of nine began Christmas Day. There are so many who need our prayers and meditations and we hope you will take time out from your holiday celebrations to remember our military personnel, especially those stationed in Iraq; also, the earthquake victims in Iran. And please continue to remember Maggie's family and friends, Bob and Kathy in Utah, Eileen's brother Bob, her son Christopher, Debbie's friend Bertha, Rita, Lindsea, Dianne, Claire, C.J., baby Christopher, Sam, Steven & Margaret, and the Mulligan family. Whatever your spiritual leanings, we hope you will join us each day
12. On-going: December Trivia Quiz - time's running out. All entries must be received by December 31, no matter which time zone you live in.
13. On-going - Irish News: Headlines for the past week
14. On-going -This month in Irish History:

The blessing for the week is posted and a new quote will go up on Wednesday. Given that it's the beginning of a brand new month as well as a brand new year, we'll be busy preparing the January Trivia quiz and a new story for children. Since the culture corners have been up for just a couple of weeks, we've decided to update them mid-month from now on. That way, we won't have so much to do all at once.

Before we take our leave: from our wild and wacky calendar, we find that January is National Blood Donor Month, National Hobby Month, Hot Tea Month, National Oatmeal Month and National Soup Month. Kwanzaa began on December 26th and continues through the 31st. December 28th is the Feast of the Holy Innocents - and, according to Irish folklore, Sundays will be unlucky all 2004 (!) December 29th is St. Tropez Day, and December 30 is National Bicarbonate of Soda day. In addition to celebrating New Year's Eve all over the world, December 31st is Hogmanay in Scotland and First Nights in Canada. January 1st is Emancipation Day in the US, and January 5 is the celebration of La Befana in Italy. Are you celebrating a birthday, anniversary or other special event this week? If so, best wishes for a memorable day. Did you get married in January? Or planning to? The verse for the first month of the year is: Marry when the year is new, always loving, kind and true. And, because we will see the 1st before we write again, "pinch, punch, first of the month, white rabbit!"

As we look back over the past year, it has been remarkable. Last December, Bridget was fretting and worrying about increasing our membership to 1,000. Well, some things never change - now she's eagerly eyeing 2,000. Well over a thousand of you have joined us in 2003 and we'd like to take this opportunity to thank you for signing up - especially those who took time out to subscribe this past very busy holiday week. Go raibh maith agat! And if you're enjoying these musings and meanderings, please feel free to pass them along to family and friends.

So, there we are then. Christmas over and New Year's upon us. We found this lovely verse which says far better than we can what we hope for you and yours:

We wish you joy beyond compare, success in all you do.
We wish you goals within your reach, friendships true and strong.
We wish you gracious wisdom, forgiveness when you're wrong.
We wish you days of glorious peace, nights of wondrous rest.
We wish you strength and courage, persistence to be your best,
But most of all we wish for you, more love than most will find,
the grandest love in all the world, the everlasting kind.
© 1999 Terri McPherson Windsor, Ontario, Canada

Aithbhlian Faoi Mhaise d'ár Léitheoirí Uilig - Happy New Year to all our readers. Click here for a special message:

And, as they say in Ireland, mind yourself!

Bridget & Russ
Get down on your knees and thank God you're still on your feet
Did you enjoy reading this edition of our newsletter? Voluntary donations to help keep us going are always welcome and can be sent to us via http://www.paypal.com
Our email address there is bnhaggerty@cinci.rr.com. Many thanks in advance for your kindness!
Events & Classifieds
Note: To avoid duplication, we list only those events not mentioned in the comprehensive listing put together by The Wild Geese. To check their Events Page, please click: http://www.thewildgeese.com/pages/events.html
The Irish Heritage Newsletter also lists events - if you'd like to subscribe, just send a note to George at Steeler059@aol.com
And, if you're in Ireland, or lucky enough to be visiting, you can see what's on offer here:

The Very Short Story Competition
This is a new competition launched to celebrate the 10th Anniversary of the Fish Anthology, published by Fish Publishin in Co. Cork. The judge is GINA OCHSNER, the 2000 winner of the Flannery O'Connor Short Fiction Award and the winner of the 1999 Fish Short Story Prize, with her story "From the Bering Strait". For more details or to enter, please click

Cultural Holidays on Inis Mór
The new programme with the dates for 2004 is uploaded now on our homepage:
Book Now! You will get 5% off if you book before the end of January.

Dublin, Ireland - January 4
The 18th commemoration gig for the Thin Lizzy hero, Phil Lynott will be held on Vicar Street. Get all the details about this tribute to one of Ireland's greatest-ever rock stars here:

Broward, Florida - January 8
Broward Center for The Performing Arts - Opening night of Malachy & Frank McCourt's ' A Couple of Blaguards.
The Center is offering 2 for 1 tickets to the Irish community for the Opening Night performance. Call the Box Office at 954-462-0222
& reserve your seat. You must use the code word "IRISH" to receive the special offer!

Dublin, Ireland - January 8
Calling all Irish Elvis fans! Gala Rehab Charity event in honour of the late Elvis Presley on his birthday and the 50th anniversary of his song "That's All right Mama". St. Colmcilles G.A.A., Club, Swords. Live music. All are welcome. Admission 10 Euro. Tickets at the door. For more info' contact Maurice Colgan. at 01-8403685.

Houston - January 13
The Chieftains are coming January 13! Sponsored by the Society for
Performing Arts. Details to be announced.

Hollywood Broward, Florida - January 17
The Irish-American Ceili Club's 32nd Anniversary Dinner Dance will be held at the American Legion Hall - Post 92. Hollywood Broward's Oldest Steak House, Tropical Acres is preparing prime rib or salmon (your choice) Noel Kingston is on the band stand. Tickets @ $20 are selling like hotcakes! Don't wait a moment longer! Call Maureen at 954-432-8292 or Dorothy at 954-920-4583

Texas Dulcimer Cruise - February 5-9
Galveston to Cozumel on the Carnival Celebration. There will be workshops, jam sessions, talent show and more. These spots will go fast, so book early! Inside cabins are $430.80 pp, double occupancy and oceanview cabins are $480.80 pp, double occupancy. Ask for Marcy: 281-535-5703 or e-mail marcy@delesandri.com

Galveston, Texas - March 28,
Galveston 1894 Grand Opera House - James Galway, flautist. More details coming.

Calling all Gurteen past pupils for a reunion, May 2
Past pupils of Clonkeenkerrill, Shanballard, and Tample national schools are invited to recall their schooldays at a reunion taking place in Loughrea. Tickets for the event cost € 30, and can be purchased from Breda Noone at (090) 9675912; John Corbett at (090) 9677825; Oliver King at (087) 2975132; or any committee member. Tickets must be purchased before Sunday February 1.

Nova Scotia, Canada - May 26-29
Cais Conference/Reunion, Saint Mary's University, Halifax. The theme is "Mother Tongues: The Languages of Ireland." For details, please click

6th Int'l McManus Clan Association Gathering May 25th through May 31st
For full details please visit our website at:
or contact Phil McManus at Manus@aol.com

7th Clann McKenna Rally - June 25th through Sunday June 27th
For details, please write plunkettmckenna@eircom.net
or click on the following link:
Send an email to: bhaggerty@irishcultureandcustoms.com
OR click on this link: