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Greetings and Blessings to all,

Feeling tinselled - or tousled? Frazzled or dazzled? Whether in the mood for mirth or murder, might we suggest that you put on the kettle for a nice cup of tea or pour yourself a wee drop of something stronger and relax with us for just a few minutes. Fingers crossed you'll feel better for it.

So here we are then with the big day right around the corner. Hard to imagine that after all the hype, this time next week we'll be getting ready to ring in 2007 So. what was it you were worried about this time last year? Most of us will be blessed with not being able to remember!

It's been a busy week as always - and we're a bit off schedule as Bridget was feeling a little under the weather - but not to worry, she's much better! We certainly hope the same can be said of readers in the north west US and British Columbia who were subjected to a series of severe storms earlier in the week. We've heard from several of you, including Kristin at the Celtic Attic and despite power outages, fallen trees and other damage, everyone seems to be okay, TG. We pray that can be said for all of our readers and, as always, God willing, this edition finds you in good spirits, good health and good company. If it's your first issue, we also hope you enjoy our musings and meanderings and please feel free to share them with family and friends.

Enough of of the blitherin' - on with the update....
You can help keep our newsletter coming for free by visiting our good friends at Lollysmith:
Nollaig Shona and a very happy new year to all! Many thanks for shopping with us in 2006 and we look forward to serving you again in 2007. With Christmas just about wrapped up, it's time to turn our attention to Valentine's Day and St. Patrick's Day. Come browse our pages for a wide variety of gifts imported directly from Ireland, including Jewelry, Shamrock & Wildflower Seeds, Connemara Marble, Tin Whistles, Bodhráns, Hanna Hats of Donegal and much more. Please click
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/was
Leave 'em Laughing
Enya nominated for two Grammies
The star, who last month picked up her sixth World Music Award, has been nominated for Best Pop Instrumental Performance for the track 'Drifting' and Best New-Age Album 'Amarantine'. To date, Enya has sold over 70 million albums.

Clare: Clare County Council, joined by a number of other leading agencies and community organisations, has established a comprehensive new Irish language forum. Fóram Ghaeilge an Chláir will examine ways of achieving a strategic, integrated approach to the promotion of the Irish language in all sectors of society in the County.

Clare: New priest for country's first priestless parish
The parish of Killanena-Flagmount in the north-east of the county has been allocated a priest once more. Fr. Michael Hogan, who already ministers in the neighbouring parish of Feakle, is to take on the pastoral care of the parish, which became Ireland's first parish without a priest in 1998 due to a shortage of priests in the diocese.

Cork: Kinsale farmer caters for changing tastes
Brian O'Regan who, with his wife Siobhán runs a turkey farm in Kinsale, has recently increased his stock of bronze turkeys to meet demand. Although he is still rearing eighteen hundred of the traditional white turkey, Brian also has some two hundred bronze turkeys, the species featuring at the first Thanksgiving dinner of the Pilgrim Fathers in America.

Fermanagh: Goodbye to a familiar face
A man who has long been associated with the weekly marts in Enniskillen retired at the end of last month after some forty-eight years of service. Tom Palmer grew up in Corporation Street and began working as a 'mart boy' at a young age, minding cattle on fair days for a number of dealers including Paddy and Terney McManus and Jimmy Woods. At the age of seventeen he became a full-time mart worker when it was held at the Fairgreen before moving to Lackaboy on the Tempo Road.

Kerry: Christmas tree shines extra bright in memory of victims
One of the brightest and largest Christmas trees in Ireland was officially illuminated recently at the door of the Pugin-designed St Mary's Cathedral in Killarney. The giant Californian Redwood, planted during penal times as a symbol of hope, will carry over 2,000 white light bulbs for the Christmas period. The Tree of Light, as it is known, was last illuminated during the Millennium in memory of the victims of violence in Northern Ireland. This time, passers-by are being asked to remember those who have died or were injured on Irish roads.

Kildare: New look for old business
One of the oldest businesses in Kilcullen has recently been refurbished and extended. Nolan's Butchers on Main Street was established one hundred and twenty years ago and four generations of the Nolan family have been involved in the business which now includes a deli counter, a fruit and vegetable area and a coffee corner.

Kilkenny: Book on Clara parish launched
The information contained in "A Social History of the People and Places in the Parish of Clara" was collected over a period of time and looks at both farming practices and industries of past days. Sports are also featured, with cricket once predominating in the parish before GAA games took precedence.

Longford: Ardagh school to close next year
St Brigid's College in Ardagh, owned by the Sisters of Mercy, is to close its doors in June of next year. The order has said that it has not yet taken any decision as to the future of the property but speculation is rife as to its fate. The college stands on two hundred acres of good land and the building itself has been subject to a major refurbishment in the not too distant past.

Louth: Boxer unveils life size statue
At the Westcourt Hotel in Drogheda recently, Tony "Socks" Byrne unveiled a life size statue of himself which is to be on permanent exhibition at Scotch Hall. Boxer Tony won a bronze medal in the lightweight division at the 1956 Olympics in Melbourne, an event for which the people of Drogheda raised money for his fare. Now living in Edmonton, Canada with his wife Honor, Tony thanked the people of the town for making him the first boxer in Ireland to have a statue dedicated to him.

Mayo: It's goodbye to Murphys and the mobile shop
In order to spend more time with their young family, Mattie and Mary Murphy have decided to close the family business in Ballinrobe which was founded almost eighty years ago by Mattie's grandfather, Paddy Burke. Mattie's father took it over in 1954 but when both he and his wife became ill Mattie took over the business at the tender age of fifteen. In addition to the shop he also operated a mobile shop which became a lifeline to many of those living in rural areas around the town, and Mattie did the last run for this service last month.

Mayo: The county's first apparition
It is not generally known that two hundred years before the apparition at Knock, another was reported close to the grounds of Rosserk Abbey, a Franciscan friary near Killala dating from the fifteenth century. A holy well, Tobar Mhuire, has a small structure built over it and is the site of an annual pattern day on August 15. The path to the well was overgrown until last year when local man Tom Bourke, with the help of a restoration committee chaired by Dymphna Mangan and including Oliver McNamara, Tony Mullen and Henry Lawlor, decided to make the way safe for pilgrims.

Tipperary: Loreto nuns celebrate Clonmel presence
During a week-long series of events at the Loreto school in Clonmel to mark the one hundred and twenty-fifth anniversary of the arrival of the order in the town, the members of the local council held a civic reception in their honour. Mayor of Clonmel Phil Prendergast and the members of the borough council welcomed to the council chamber Sister Bridie Mullins, principal of the school, where she said she was accepting the honour on behalf of all Loreto going back to the six sisters who came to the town in 1881 and set up the school on Suir Island.

Tyrone: The lights are on in Clanabogan
For the seventh year in succession the Christmas lights have been switched on at the house of John and Marian Hutchinson at Clanbogan, three miles from Omagh. The spectacle had humble beginners, when John decided to string lights on a swinging seat and a porch at the front of the house. Since then it has grown so that now it includes a Santa House, and a walkthrough crib, and since 1999 some 35,000 people have come to see the spectacle. After the death of a close friend, Sean McMullen, John and Marian decide to accept donations for charity and to date they have collected a total of $54,000 which they hope will reach £60,000 this year, the final year of the display.

USA: Mother's email generates hundreds of gifts for US Troops
Arlene O'Neil has been working hard to ensure that the holidays are a bit brighter for American troops stationed overseas. Her son Tanner is currently stationed north of Baghdad on his third deployment. But his unit will be showered with gifts thanks to his mom. You can read all the details here:

Free Directory Assistance
Eileen McTiernan sent us this very valuable tip. if you live in the USA, it costs a dollar or more when you call 411 to find a phone number. Well, you can now get this info' for free from your home phone or your cell/mobile. Eileen even checked it out at Snopes (Urban Legend/Myth page) and it's for real. Click here for all of the details:

Happy Birthday from Santa Baby!
Coincidentally, Eileen's husband Koe McTiernan aka "Santa baby by family & Friends, wrote to us to suprise Eileen with a Happy Birthday wish for January 1st. So here you are Eileen, Happy Birthday with love from Joe. He says that after 40 years together, you're getting very difficult to surprise. We hope this mention in the newsletter will truly take you off-guard!

Meet Super PetNanny!
Claire Hegarty, one of our subscribers is becoming something of a celebrity having appeared on an RTE children's show and was also interviewed on internet radio. Take a look or listen:

Sacred Heart
Marge Rafferty had asked about the custom of having a picture of the Sacred Heart displayed in the house. Several readers were very helpful with sending in links and other info which we have passed along to Marge. She'd like to thank everyone who took the time to write.

Several readers also sent in sources for Donegal tweed trousers for David Wood. Many thanks to all of you who were kind enough to do a search and send us the info.
Unfortunately, So far, no-one has shed any light on finding a straight razor from Ireland for Patrick Hennessy. We're still hoping someone might have an answer.
SPONSOR: Help us keep your  newsletter free when you visit our our good friends at the Celtic Attic:
We want to wish each and every Customer, Visitor and Newsletter Subscriber a Happy Holiday season and most Happiest Christmas!  We also want to thankeach of you for your patronage in 2006. You have helped make Celtic Attic twice as successful as last year!  Also, There's still time for last minute Shoppers to order something via Express Mail shipping. Or you can now order a Celtic Attic Gift Card and Gift Certificate.  This is a redeemable card that you put any amount you wish onto and we send it with a Gift Certificate to your recipient.  We can send them an eMail Gift Certificate as well if you wish and they can redeem using the numbers provided on the Certificate.  So it is never too late, even up until Christmas Eve for the Email Gift Certificate! And stay tuned for our AFTER CHRISTMAS SALE.  Starts December 28th this year! Tons of stuff marked down to clear out and make room for new products and St. Patrick's Day gifts! Please click

Silent Night Meditative Movie
This was sent to us by Leo Byrne and it is just lovely:
ED: There are also other inspirational movies to watch here as well.

Jingle Bells sung in Irish by children
A lovely Christmas card for you to forward to family and friends from Gailge.ie. This will put you in the spirit!

Silent Night sung by Eyna
This is from Jack & Vivian of the Irish Page:
Also, put your mouse arrow over the Irish words and our new feature popup phonetics and translation will show.

Christmas Special Request Program - Sydney Irish Radio
Michael is presenting a special request program on Christmas Eve. Send your requests now and they will be read out live on air and transmitted overseas through the internet or if you would like to do it live on air yourself please let Michael know and it will be arranged.
All details to : mj_lyons@yahoo.com

Fiddle Tree
One of our all-time favorite greetings - and joy, oh joy, it's still available:

Ashland University Greeting card
Our friend Judith Flynn and several others brought this stunning card to our attention:

Play Santa Paws!
Animal neglect is widespread, and Ireland is sadly no different from other countries. The following shelters are in desperate need of help:
Dublin: http://www.dogsaid.ie Limerick http://www.limerickanimalwelfare.com/law/fundraising.htm

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:
A long time away in a strange land and home is warm at Christmas and the lights are never so welcome as when you see them from a long time, long way off.
From the Age-Old Message by Pat Ingoldsby
Having lots of family over for turkey and all the trimmings?
After a good dinner one can forgive anybody, even one's own relations.
Oscar Wilde
This one is from Pete McDonald's PetePourri newsletter.

Maggie Kelly was off to Dublin to do her Christmas shopping. "Be careful," says Mary McGee. "Those Dublin shops charge far more than you'd pay here in Sligo. They always double the price. So when you get there only offer them half." "I will", says Maggie, and indeed she does. "The green dress in the window," she says, "It's priced at £40. That's much too dear!" "Madam", says the clerk, "believe me it is a very reasonable price." "Get on with ye" says Maggie loudly. "Everyone knows that in Dublin you pay twice as much. I'll give you £20 and not a penny more." "Madam", says the clerk 'I don't want a scene. If you calm down, I'll let you have the dress for £20." "In that case," retorts Maggie "I'll give you £10 for it." "Madam, please!" begs the clerk, "I don't want to sully our reputation. If it'll make you go away you can have it for £10." "In that case I'll give you £5", says Maggie. At her wits end, the clerk says, "Madam, just to get rid of you, please take the dress for nothing." In that case', says Maggie triumphantly, "I'll be wanting two."

ED. NOTE: Peter McDonald is a popular Irish balladeer in the New Jersey, Philadelphia and New York areas. For his performance schedule or to subscribe to his newsletter, please click
1. It was considered unlucky to bake or brew between December 20th and Christmas morning? This meant that preparations for the year's greatest feast had to be completed before the dawn of Christmas Day.
2. Handel's famous oratorio "The Messiah" received it's world premier in Fishamble Street in Dublin in 1742? And it was performed not around Christmas, but in April?
3. Shane MacGowan's classic "Fairytale of New York" is the most widely played song on Irish radio every Christmas?
To begin with, the answers to our last quiz:
1. An Irish Night Before Christmas by Sarah Kirwan Blazek
2. Irish Christmas Stories by John B. Keane
3. A Simply Delicious irish Christmas by Darina Allen

A round of pints and applause for our latest list of Irish literary sleuths:

Hartson Dowd
Hartson gave us a slew of links to Irish libraries - too many to fit here. We'll try to publish more in future issues; here's just one for now:
The National Library of Ireland

Déirdre McKiernan Hetzler
"Glorious Ireland"
May 24 - June 7, 2007 watch for this year's itinerary: http://www.tours2ireland.com

Helen Dowd
Please visit my site at
ED. NOTE: And, if you enjoy your visit, which we are certain you will, please vote for Helen's site She is less than 9,000 votes away from being #2 on the Best Christian sites list. Go raibh maith agat!

And now for our next quiz. Who wrote:
1. Irish Tales of Mystery & Magic
2. Christmas Tales of Galway
3. Islandman
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.
Help us keep this newsletter free by visiting our good good friends at The Irish Lottery:
Here are the resultsfor Wednesday, 20th December 2006:
27,30,35,39,42,45 Bonus Number 44.
There was NO winner in Wednesday's drawing. That means the estimated Jackpot for Saturday, December 23 will be 5.5 Million Euro. That would help a wee bit with Christmas, wouldn't it? Our fantasy is that one of our readers will win the big one, but you can't win it if you're not in 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 here for full details including a compilation of stats based on previous draws which could improve your chances of winning!
First off, the answer to our last brain bruiser:
Q: Three-fourths of a cross and a circle complete,
Two semi-circles with a pependicular meet.
Then add a triangle that stands on 2 feet,
Two semi-cicles and a circle complete.
What am I?
A: Tobacco

Well done to dozens of brilliant riddle people who sent in the correct answer, but caps off to Steve Hultgren from CT who was first in. So now for our next hair-puller which is in several different parts:
Why does Santa like to go down chimneys?
2. But isn't he afraid he'll get stuck?
3. Won't all that soot make him sick?
4. what if there's a fire in the fireplace?
Hint: Ask the kids if you need help.

1. Article: Time at this Point of the Year
2. . Article: Many Years Ago

3. Article: White-washed Walls

4. Article: An East Cork Christmas

5. Poetry Corner: Padraic Colum

6. Article: An Advent Memory
http://www.irishcultureandcustoms.com/ACalend/Advent.html Article:

7. Kids' Ireland: Midnight Visitors

8. Irish Kitchen: Mulled Wine

9. Basic Irish: Advent & Christmas

10. Circle of prayer - Our fifth Novena begins on December 21 and continues through December 28. This past week, we heard from the Murphy family who just lost their dad quite suddenly, RIP. We are very sorry for their loss and we ask that you keep them in your prayers and meditions. We also heard that a Mrs. Driscoll needs your spiritual support as well as Emma Josephine, FionaMary's mother, our dear Hartson Dowd, Pauline (home from the hospital - bald, but better!); Heather, baby Joseph. Jane Fitz., Scott H, and so many others facing both health and financial hurdles. We also ask that you keep in mind our service men and women in the military serving their country all over the world. God willing, they will all be home safe and sound soon.
ED. NOTE: Our friend Audrey sent us a great link to a page where you can send a note of thanks and a holiday greeting to American troops:
11.Trivia Contest. Just a week or so left! All entries must be in by midnight on December 31st, no matter which time zone you are in.
12. Christmas Shopping. We feature many great gift ideas on our Shopping pages - especially the Christmas one which even has Taytos on offer! Take a look:

So there you have it until next time. If you're celebrating a birthday, anniversary or other special occasion, between now and then, we hope it's a joyous event. meanwhile, we'll leave you with this lovely old Irish blessing especially for Christmas Eve:

A cup of milk and a wheaten cake,
And a spark of fire for the Travellers' sake.
A door on the latch, a light on the pane,
Lest the Traveller's pass in the wind and rain.
Food for the fire and candlelight
The Travellers' Blessing
On us this night.
By Ruth and Celia Duffin from Escape, 1929

Be safe, be happy, be filled with the peace and joy that is the true meaning of Christmas. 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 thankful for whatever you can send; whether it's a penny, a dime or a dollar, every penny does make a difference. Our snail mail address is
Bridget & Russ Haggerty
5670 Meryton Place,
Cincinnati OH 45224.
Or you can send a donation via PayPal. The URL is
and our email address is:
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 their efforts:
If we receive a unique event not mentioned there we will be happy to list it here.

USA - Grainne Hambly Tour Now through December 31st
Her dad Michael is a lovely man who runs the Out of Mayo web site which many of you probably know about. His daughter Grainne is an incredibly accomplished traditional harpist. She is now touring the USA and fingers crossed, she may be playing at a venue near you! For tour details, please click

Dublin, Ireland - December 30 through January 6
A Picture of Me Presented by The Ark, A Cultural Centre for Children in association with Solstice Arts Centre. For more details or bookings, please click

Donegal, Ireland - December 27-Jan 2
The Frankie Kennedy Winter School takes place in Gaoth Dobhair . Classes will be held in flute, fiddle, uilleann pipes, tin whistle, bodhrán, button accordion, sean-nós singing, house dancing and accompaniment (guitar/bouzouki). For details, please click

Philadelphia, January 7
Ancient Order of Hibernians Division 51 - Fishtown and the Ladies Ancient Order of Hibernians Division 51 - Cumann na mBan are pleased to announce the 4th annual Communion Breakfast after the 10:30 am Mass at the Holy Name of Jesus Church, Gaul & Berks Streets
For more details or tickets, please contact
F Jay & Cheryl McCarrie
215-425-5810 / jmccarrie@verizon.net
Phil & Marian Bowdren
215-426-2772 / philbowdren.aoh51@verizon.net

Limerick, Ireland - January 11
For more details and/pre bookings, please click

Monaghan - January 14
Vol. Feargal O'Hanlon 50th Anniversary Commemoration.
Anyone wishing to attend are asked to assemble at St Macartan's Cathedral, Monaghan at 2pm for parade to the graveside in
Latlurcan cemetery. All are Welcome. For more details, please visit:
This one came in from our good friend Audrey. It's been around before, but it's so good, it's worth repeating:

Twas the night before Christmas at Rock-Away Rest,
And all of us seniors were looking our best.
Our glasses, how sparkly, our wrinkles, how merry;
Our punch bowl held prune juice plus three drops of sherry.

A bedsock was taped to each walker, in hope
That Santa would bring us soft candy and soap.
We surely were lucky to be there with friends,
Secure in this residence and in our Depends.

Our grandkids had sent us some Christmassy crafts,
Like angels in snowsuits and penguins on rafts.
The dental assistant had borrowed our teeth,
And from them she'd crafted a holiday wreath.

The bed pans, so shiny, all stood in a row,
Reflecting our candle's magnificent glow.
Our supper so festive -- the joy wouldn't stop --
Was creamy warm oatmeal with sprinkles on top.

Our salad was Jell-O, so jiggly and great,
Then puree of fruitcake was spooned on each plate.
The social director then had us play games,
Like "Where Are You Living?" And "What Are Your Names?"

Old Grandfather Looper was feeling his oats,
Proclaiming that reindeer were nothing but goats.
Our resident wand'rer was tied to her chair,
In hopes that at bedtime she still would be there.

Security lights on the new fallen snow
Made outdoors seem noon to the old folks below.
Then out on the porch there arose quite a clatter
(But we are so deaf that it just didn't matter).

A strange little fellow flew in through the door,
Then tripped on the sill and fell flat on the floor.
'Twas just our director, all togged out in red.
He jiggled and chuckled and patted each head.

We knew from the way that he strutted and jived,
Our social-security checks had arrived.
We sang -- how we sang -- in our monotone croak,
Till the clock tinkled out its soft eight-p.m. stroke.

And soon we were snuggling deep in our beds.
While nurses distributed nocturnal meds.
And so ends our Christmas at Rock-Away Rest.
'fore long you'll be with us, We wish you the best.