Welcome to the Irish Culture & Customs newsletter which is published every fortnight or so and sent out to more than 4600 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.
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Compliments of the season to one and all,

A very belated Happy Christmas! We had hoped to send out the newsletter last week, but our modem met an untimely demise on the Monday before the big day and our cable company couldn't send out a technician until St. Stephen's Day. We're back on line, but as you might imagine, we have a huge backlog of emails to wade through - many of them lovely greetings. Go raibh maith agat to all of you who sent us cards - especially the ones which arrived via snailmail and included a small gift - always welcome and appreciated!

So...how are you enjoying your Yuletide this far? We know the weather played havoc with the plans of many who were traveling. God willing, you made it to your destination and were able to enjoy this holy and blessed season with your families.

On this end, it's been a roller coaster when it comes to temperatures. We've gone from bitterly cold to amazingly balmy. Last Friday for example, it was so warm, we saw a honey bee buzzing around an empty eggnog container in a recycling bin. We wondered just how buzzed that little bee might have been before finding its way home to the hive. And then, yesterday the grass was coated with such a heavy frost it looked like it had snowed. To compensate for feeling a wee bit shivery, a skein of about 40 Canada geese flew overhead as we strolled down an otherwise somewhat dull suburban street. Corny as it might sound, it warmed our hearts and ourselves for the rest of the walk.

Onwards. The last time we wrote it was before our annual Black Swap party.
Or, as our niece Maddie O'Flaherty misnamed it years ago - the Black swamp. She may actually be closer to a more accurate description of the event! Over the years, from the dark and forbidding depths of minds gone more than a little manic has arisen a procession of totally tasteless, tawdry and tacky objects crying out for validity as to their very existence - a Hulk Hogan wrestler doll which returned a year later dressed in drag; a horrific poodle head statue made out of shells; a meticulously crafted needlepoint of a man taking a bubble bath; an exterior neon sign proclaiming Merry Xmas. You get the picture. This year, one of our guests was both horrified and ecstatic to receive a small coin purse which extolled on the outside "Change for Jesus" and contained a tiny bar of soap for cleansing one's sins. For the Christian fundamentalists among us, this might actually be a lovely gift. For the heathens at the Haggertys, it was heaven to behold the recipient's reaction.

As always, the holidays at the Haggertys are a combination of merriment and mayhem! But we wouldn't have it any other way. And we haven't even gone into what happened on Christmas Day. A tale to be told next year?

Meanwhile, we hope this edition finds you in fine fettle and on the pig's back. if this is your first edition, we hope you will enjoy our musings and meanderings. And please feel free to share with your family and friends.

Enough of the blither and blather...on with it!
SPONSOR: We are delighted to welcome a new sponsor based in Dublin - Homeland Irish Art
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For complete details, please visit Homeland irish Art. And tell them Bridget & Russ 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 Is
Leave 'em Laughing
What follows are news clips from around the counties and elsewhere. Links for more news stories can be found on our web site where we post the latest headlines from Ireland every morning and we keep two week's of previous news: http://www.irishcultureandcustoms.com/01News/Home.html
And more county news can be found here:

Cavan: Turkey-plucker bows out on a high
Vincent Pilkington from Cootehill, who is the world's fastest turkey-plucker, has retired from the world of competitive plucking, having recently reached his sixtieth birthday. And Vincent finished his career by helping to raise funds for the town's senior citizens, and was able to take his time over it. Almost thirty years ago he set a world record when he stripped a turkey in only ninety seconds, and his record has never been beaten.

Cavan: A publican embraces the economic downturn
Public Joey Dunne from Cavan town has decided to accept the fact of the downturn in the economy and has renamed his premises. Once known simply as Dunne's Bar, on Upper Main Street, it has now been renamed the RESESHH Inn. He has also decided that the price of a pint of Guinness will be frozen for a year.

Clare: Botanist launches Burren trust
Recently, botanist Professor David Bellamy launched a new trust which will help to preserve the Burren. The Burrenbeo Trust, which he has founded with Dr Brendan Dunford, was launched in Ballyvaughan and will work with local communities to preserve the unique area. It has already received support from Nobel Laureate Seamus Heaney, Concern chief executive Tom Arnold and Bishop Willie Walsh of Killaloe.

Cork: Barry bust unveiled in Cork
Recently, Cathal McSwiney Brugha, the grandson of former lord mayor of Cork Terence McSwiney who died on hunger strike in Brixton Prison in 1921, unveiled a bust of General Tom Barry. The bust of the prominent War of Independence leader is located at Fitzgerald Park in the city, and is cast in bronze from a sculpture by Seamus Murphy. The location was chosen as it was where Barry used to walk his dog.

Cork: Researcher honoured in Dublin
A lecture hosted by the Royal Irish Academy, and delivered by broadcaster Leo Enright, paid tribute to Dr Vincent Barry from Sunday's Well in Cork, who discovered the cure for leprosy in the 1870s. Dr Barry, a former student of the North Monastery secondary school, carried out much of his research at Trinity College Dublin but trained as a chemist at University College Dublin. It was to the latter university that Ken Gibson of The Leprosy Mission presented a a portrait of Dr Barry by artist Sarah Tynan and it will go on permanent display in the college.

Donegal: Councillor calls for town to mark Monty link
Councillor Marian McDonald has said that the time is now right for the town of Moville in Inishowen to recognise its links with the British army field marshall, Viscount Montgomery of Alamein. New Park House, on the Greencastle Road, was home to the Montgomery family and it is there that the young Bernard Montgomery grew up. The family is also remembered in the naming of Montgomery Terrace, and they also gave the people of the town their green. The Field Marshall's father inherited New Park House and both he and his wife are buried in the local cemetery.

Donegal: Charlie solves mystery of village with three names
Charlie McCann has lived in the village of Shroove all his life, but for the past number of years he had never been sure whether he was living in Shroove, Shrove or Stroove. Now retired from his job as a Foyle pilot, Charlie decided to dig deeper to find out the correct name of the Inishowen village. And it seems the 't' was inserted by British officials carrying out the Ordnance Survey in the 1830s since, Charlie believes, they could not pronounce the correct Irish name. The Shrove variation actually appeared as early as the seventeenth century.

Fermanagh: A parade is a parade is a parade
Whether it's people or our feathered friends, apparently a parade is a parade and permission must be sought. Recently, to mark the one hundredth anniversary of the Irvinestown Fairs and Markets Trustees, a flock of turkeys, ducks, geese, a donkey, two goats and a man dressed in a chicken suit set off to march down Mill Street. However the menagerie was held up by members of the PSNI for a while before being allowed to continue on their way to the site of a Christmas Fair which was also taking place. The organisers have decided to make the event an annual affair.

Galway: Minister sees battle site as tourist attraction
Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs Eamon Ó Cuív has said it is strange that the site of the Battle of Aughrim in the east of the county has not received the same recognition as the Boyne site, when they are equally important in the history of the country. According to the Minister the site at Aughrim, where the Williamite forces had a decisive victory over the Jacobites on July 12 1691, could also be a focus for national reconciliation. He cited the possibility of involving unionists in the planning involved in its development, and also the possibilities for a major tourist attraction for the village.

Galway: Canadian group seeks Claregalway nun's relatives
A charity group in Newfoundland, which is to name a new shelter for women and children after a nun from Claregalway, is hoping to locate some of her relatives to attend the dedication ceremony. Margaret O'Shaughnessy, the daughter of James and Mary O'Shaughnessy, was born in the village in 1793. She subsequently went to Canada as a member of the Presentation Order as Sister Mary Magdalen Martha. She eventually became Mother Superior of the order in St John's, and died at the age of ninety-five. Stella Burry Community Services are hoping to have a representative of the O'Shaughnessy family at next year's ceremony.

Kerry: Reluctant falcon returns to eyrie
A Gyrfalcon which had taken refuge on a French fishing vessel has defied all attempts to return it to the wild. The bird, which is the largest of the falcon species, was handed over by the crew to marine biologist Kevin Flannery in Dingle after they had nursed it back to health. Kevin then handed the bird over to Dr Allan Mee, who is in charge of the reintroduction programme of the white-tailed eagle, and in front of a large group of bird watchers at Castlemaine harbour Dr Mee attempted to release the bird. It refused to fly, however, and is now being re-examined at the sea eagles' eyrie in the Macgillicuddy Reeks.

Kildare: President unveils plaque in Newbridge
President Mary McAleese was in Newbridge recently to mark the fiftieth anniversary of the founding of the Holy Family secondary school. The Holy Family order, founded by Pierre Bienvenu Noailles, had had a presence in Newbridge for almost one hundred years when they first opened the school, which now has approximately seven hundred students and forty-five teachers. While at the school the President also unveiled a commemorative plaque to mark both her visit and the fifty years of secondary education for girls provided by the Sisters.

Kilkenny: Mark wins Wellie Factor
A competition to find the Wellie Race Song took place during the official launch of the Castlecomer Wellie Race 2009 recently. Entering the competition were Miriam Dwyer with The Wellie Anthem; Eamon Brennan, who wrote Willie Joe You're the Man; Grace Rothwell singing The Wellie Race; Maurice Shortall with The Training is Over; Mark Rothwell with his own Wellie Race Song; and Callan pair Colm Mooney and Miriam Dewberry with Puddle on the Ground. The winner of the competition was Mark Rothwell.

Longford: Turkey production increasing in Kenagh
What started as a small sideline to their regular farming of cattle and sheep has rapidly expanded for one Kenagh couple, and now they are taking orders from all of the surrounding counties, as well as from closer to home. Kitty and Thomas Doyle, whose farm is on the outskirts of the village at The Island, ensure that their turkeys are let out every day unless it is very wet, and so the birds eat grass and herbs and have a particular liking for nettles. For the past three years the Doyles have been raising up to five hundred turkeys for the Christmas market.

Louth: Cannon fire marks opening of new exhibition
The firing of two replica cannon at Millmount Museum and Martello Tower in the centre of Drogheda marked the official opening of a new exhibition in the tower. The ceremony was attended by men dressed in army uniforms of the Napoleonic era and the exhibition also marks the two hundredth anniversary of the construction of the Martello tower. Also carried out recently was the launch of a new history of Millmount, the oldest surviving man-made structure in the town. "Tower of Strength: A History of the Millmount Complex" was launched by the author, Brendan Matthews, who is Archivist at the museum.

Roscommon: Further funding for Strokestown Museum
The Famine Museum at Strokestown has been granted Fáilte Ireland funding of €2.2m to develop an international centre for the interpretation of the Famine. Already twinned with Grosse Ile and the Irish Memorial National Historic Site in Quebec, the museum will use the funding to further the study of famines across the world.

Tipperary: Fr Reid honoured in his home town
Father Alec Reid, a pivotal figure in the Northern Ireland peace process, was honoured in his home town of Nenagh recently with a civic reception. His two sisters, Margaret and Maura, and his aunt Ita were present in the Nenagh Town Council chamber for the event, where the Belfast-based priest was welcomed by Mayor of Nenagh Virginia O'Dowd. Fr Reid lived with his family in Summerhill and attended St Joseph's Boys' National School, the CBS in John's Lane and the CBS secondary school. During the ceremony Councillor Séamie Morris read out a letter of tribute from Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams.
SPONSOR: Please help us keep your newsletter coming - visit our good
friends at Lollysmith:
Now that Christmas has come and gone, other special days on the Irish calendar are just around the corner - St. Brigid's Day and the feast of our patron saint. St. Patrick! At Lollysmith, they offer appropriate gifts, including St. Brigid's Crosses, and St. patrick rosaries. And for year round gift-giving, you'll find genuine Blackthorn Walking Sticks, Hanna Hats & Caps, Connemara blankets and much, much more more.

Pat writes: I have a question about a tradition that my family takes part in every year. We’ve been doing this since I was a small child and my mom taught it to me. I do believe her mom taught it to her so I don’t know how old this tradition is and I don’t know where it stems from.

At the stroke of midnight and after all the hugging and kissing is done my mom (now me) runs and opens the front door then goes to the back door and opens that as well. By the time she gets back to the front door the new year has breezed into the house pushing the old year out. She closes the front door then runs and closes the back door capturing the new year in our home.Does this sound like an Irish custom or tradition?
ED. NOTE: It's a new one on us. Anyone ever heard of this?

That said, there are many customs we have heard of and we're grateful to our good friend AG in California who sent in the following which mentions a good many of them:
First Footing:   The first person to enter your home after the stroke of
midnight will influence the year you're about to have.  Ideally, he should
be dark-haired, tall, and good-looking, and it would be even better if he
came bearing certain small gifts such as a lump of coal, a silver coin, a
bit of bread, a sprig of evergreen, and some salt. Blonde and redhead first
footers bring bad luck, and female first footers should be shooed away
before they bring disaster down on the household. Aim a gun at them if you
have to, but don't let them near your door before a man crosses the
The first footer (sometimes called the "Lucky Bird") should knock and be let in rather than unceremoniously use a key, even if he is one of the
householders. After greeting those in the house and dropping off whatever small tokens of luck he has brought with him, he should make his way through the house and leave by a different door than the one through which he entered. No one should leave the premises before the first footer arrives — the first traffic across the threshold must be headed in rather than striking out.
First footers must not be cross-eyed or have flat feet or eyebrows that meet in the middle.
Nothing prevents the cagey householder from stationing a dark-haired man outside the home just before midnight to ensure the speedy arrival of a suitable first footer as soon as the chimes sound. If one of the partygoers is recruited for this purpose, impress upon him the need to slip out quietly just prior to the witching hour.
Food: A tradition common to the southern states of the USA dictates that the eating of black-eyed peas on New Year's Day will attract both general good luck (financial in particular) to the one doing the dining. Some choose to add other Southern fare (such as ham hocks, collard greens, or cabbage) to this tradition, but the black-eyed peas are key.
Other "lucky" foods are lentil soup (because lentils supposedly look like coins), pork (because poultry scratches backwards, a cow stands still, but a pig roots forward, ergo those who dine upon pork will be moving forward in the new year), and sauerkraut (probably because it goes so well with pork).
Another oft-repeated belief holds that one must not eat chicken or turkey on the first day of the year lest, like the birds in question, diners fate themselves to scratch in the dirt all year for their dinner (that is, bring poverty upon themselves).


The Irish Page
The link this time around is a charming Christmas Carol from Co. Kerry. Jack & Vivian hope you had a wonderful celebration of Christ's birth!

Fiddle Tree
This one has been around for a while. If you haven't seen it, we're happy to report it's still available. Enjoy!
New Years Greeting for our readers
We went to our favorite place for e-cards, irish Corner - and came up with a greeting just for you and yours. Please be patient. At this time of year, they are very busy so it may a while to load:

Irish Blessing for The New Year
This was sent in by our dear friend Judith Flynn in Northern Ohio. We've seen it before, but it's well worth viewing - and listening to - again. Please click

Auld lang Syne - Andre Rieu
A wonderful version, complete with a bagpiper. And to all of our Scots readers, Happy Hogmanay!

U2 - New Year's Day
For those readers who like Irish rock as well as trad music, this is a live performance at Slane Castle. Bono wrapped in the irish Tricolour is something to see.

Sacred Night
A gorgeous slide show of our good friend Jim Crotty's photos accompanied by Good King Wencelas with an Irish arrangement. Enjoy!

The Snowman
This touching tale continues to be a seasonal favourite. See why here:
And to see a long clip from the film, ( the part where the snowman and the little boy fly all over the world) please click

Walking in The Air
The haunting theme from The Snowman in a beautiful vocal rendition by Chloe Agnew of Celtic Woman fame.

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:
ED. NOTE: Maria Eryaatz advises that free mammograms are also available in all states via the VNA (visiting nurses association).
Click on 'Find A VNA' for the your nearest location.

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:
SPONSOR: Please help us keep our newsletter coming - visit our friends at the Celtic Attic:
While winter weather makes it tough going, that's when the tough folks at this very special shop get going! As with most of our sponsors, the Celtic Attic isn't a huge department store - it's a small operation like ourselves. But that translates into VERY personal attention. So, they go the extra mile to be of service come whatever Mother Nature might throw at them. Visit them for their after Christmas blowout sale. All Christmas items are 10% off. Receive a $5.00 gift card with every order and a FREE GIFT with every order. So stock up for next year or buy early for St. Patrick's Day. Order on line or by phone - and tell them Bridget & Russ said hello!
Order by phone: Tel: 360-765-0186
Order on line:
A lovely toast for New year's Eve
May peace and plenty be the first to lift the latch on your door, and happiness be guided to your home by the candle of Christmas.  In the New Year, may your right hand always be stretched out in friendship but never in want.
Seamus MagAodh
Good resolutions are simply checks that men draw on a bank where they have no account. Oscar Wilde
This is a reprise of a classic which has become our favourite Yuletide joke. No matter how many times we read it, it still makes us laugh.

The teacher asked each of her students how they celebrated Christmas. She calls first on young Patrick O'Flaherty. "Tell me, Patrick, what do you do at Christmas time? Patrick addresses the class: "Me and my twelve brothers and sisters go to midnight Mass and we sing carols. Then we come home very late and we hang up our pillowcases at the foot of the bed. Then we go to bed and wait for Santy to come with all our toys." "Very nice, Patrick," the teacher says. "Now, Billy Murphy, what do you do at Christmas?" "Me and my sister go to church with Mum and Dad, and we also sing carols. When we get home, we put biscuits and milk by the chimney and hang up our stockings. We hardly sleep waiting for Father Christmas to bring our presents." "That's also very nice, Billy," she said. Realizing that there was a Jewish boy in the class and not wanting to leave him out of the discussion, she asked him the same question. "Now, Isaac, what do you do at Christmas?" "Well, we also sing a carol," Isaac responds. Surprised, the teacher questions further. "Tell us what you sing." "Well, it's the same thing every year. Dad comes home from the office. We all pile into the Lexus and drive to his toy factory. When we get inside, we look at all the empty shelves and sing, 'What a friend we have in Jesus.' Then we all go to the Bahamas."
1. On January 1st, 1892, Ellis Island became the reception center for new immigrants and the first immigrant through the gates was Annie Moore of Co. Cork?
2. The song title "Auld Lang Syne" translates into "old long since?" First published in 1796 by Robert Burns, the tradition of playing it on New Year's Eve was launched in 1929 by Guy Lombardo and His Royal Canadians dance band, who performed it in New York City.
3. Radio Éireann's television service began transmission on New Year's Eve, 1961?

First off, the answers to our last quiz:
1. All Silver and No Brass by Henry Glassie
2. Dublin Carol by Connor McPherson
3. The Fires of Yule by Montague Whitsel

A tip of the hat and a pat on the back to the following Irish bibliophiles:
Hartson Dowd
Welcome to Sligo Heritage Page
ED. NOTE: We concur - this is a great site owned by the very talented author and contributor to our own web site - Joe McGowan.

Helen Dowd
My favorite Irish site? What else but...
Thanks, Helen! We're also a fan of yours:

Jeannie Furlong
Jeannie didn't nominate a web site, but she did send us the following lovely comment:
It's been a while since spending time with your newsletter and it is absolutely lovely...like a warm fuzzy cuddly blanket cozing down in front of the fireplace. Thanks for all you do to keep this together and so very informative.
ED. NOTE: Thanks so much Jeannie - makes all the hard work worth the effort!

John C. Laney
If you enjoy reading good Irish literature while stuck in front of your monitor check out:

Laney O'Leary
Laney didn't nominate a site.
ED. NOTE: Curious coincidence on the above names? We thought so, too!

Déirdre McKiernan Hetzler
"Glorious Ireland" 21 May - 31,May 2009: view itinerary at
ED. NOTE: We took a look at the tour and it's something we would dearly love to do. God willing, we'll find a way!

Want to see your name and favorite web site in our next newsletter? Who wrote:
1. King Dan
2. Cré Na Cille
3. The Secret Scripture

Send your answers to Bridget:
Don't forget to nominate a favorite Irish site and it would be helpful if you put "Know Your Writers" in the subject line of your email. Thanks!
To start off, the answer to our previous Noggin' Nagger:

Q. What flies when it's born, lies when it alive, and runs when
it's dead?
A. A Snowflake

We had a veritable blizzard of correct answers, but Mike F was first in. He says he remembers it from 2nd grade! Well done, Mike!

And now for our next mind mangler:

Q.What's the sociable tree, and the dancing tree,
And the tree that is nearest the sea;
The most yielding tree, the busiest tree,
And the tree where ships may be?

ED. NOTE. This is just one section of The Tree Riddle - a multiple set of posers which dates from the 19th. century. To solve it completely, you are required to identify 65 names of trees. Our source doesn't know all the answers. Neither do we!
Please send your answers to:
It would be helpful if you put riddle answer in the subject line.
SPONSOR: Please help us keep your newsletter coming - visit our good
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In operation since 1988, it's one of the oldest online sites in the world. With subscribers in 89 countries it is also among the most reliable. Jackpots are never lower than US $1,500,000 and are frequently worth in excess of US$5,000,000 Here's the best part - you don't have to live in Ireland to play and all winnings are Tax Free! It's always been our fantasy that one of our readers will scoop the jackpot; but, as they say in Ireland, you can't win it if you're not in it. To play on line, please click

NEW SHOPPING SECTION NOW OPEN! Please come visit some of the best Irish and Celtic shops on the internet or anywhere else:

1. Article: Memories of Christmas Eve Past
2. Article: An irish Christmas - The Day Before
3. Article: An Irish Christmas Then and Now
4. Article: Rowing to Christmas Mass
5. Article: Burying the Baby Jesus
6. Article: White-Washed Walls
7. Article: Season's Greetingd in Irish
8. Article: Who was behind the doors of Dublin?
ED. NOTE: We continue to leave this article on the home page to draw your attention to a very generous offer by Bob Fearon, the man behind the original poster officially sanctioned by Bord Fáilte - Bob will donate 50% of all profits from the sales of the posters and puzzles to Irish Culture and Customs. We're about to receive another nice commission check from Bob - go raibh maith agat to him and to those of you who purchased either the poster or the puzzle.
9. Irish Kitchen: An Irish Christmas - Food for the Feast
10. Bonus Irish Kitchen: Spiced Beef
11. Basic Irish: Advent & Christmas
12. Kids' Ireland: Midnight Visitors
13. Music Review: The Chieftains Bells of Dublin
14. December Trivia Contest - Time is running out. All entries must be in by midnight December 31 no matter what time zone you live in.
November's winner: Congratulations to Sharron Newman USA who selected the Tin Whistle set generously provided by our sponsor Lollysmith.
15. Circle of Prayer: The sixth Novena in this cycle began on December 29 and will continue through January 6th. These continue to be very difficult times for so many people, especially families who have lost loved ones. Whatever your spiritual leanings, please keep all those in mourning in your prayers or meditations, especially the family of Keri Shryrock. Just 22 years old, Keri died in a tragic accident the week before Christmas while performing in the Christmas Pageant at Crossroads Church in Cincinnati. May she rest in peace and her family find comfort in their faith. Please also remember our dear friend Mickey who fractures his hip in a fall at our home on Christmas Day. His surgery is on Tuesday. Also the Mulvihills, the Dowd's missionary friends in India, Christy Banik, Joe Colum, Patricia's daughter Heather , the family and friends of the McTiernans, Pauline Dewberry, our daughter Catherine, Cyndi, Hartson, Laureena Blankenship, Sierra Mitchell, Michelle Lester, Katie Lacinak and so many others including all military personnel serving their countries all over the world. Dear Heavenly Father, please keep them safe and bring them home soon.


So there's the long and the short of it until we write again which will be a week or so into the new year. If you're celebrating a birthday, anniversary or other important event between now and then, we hope it's an occasion filled with joy and happiness. And if you were married in January or will tie the knot next month, here's your special verse:
Marry when the year is new
Always loving, kind and true.

We leave you with this lovely Yuletide blessing:
May the songs of the season rise to greet you.
May the winter wind be always at your back.
May the frost shimmer soft upon your fields.
And, until we meet again,
May the love of the Christ Child
shine warm upon your home.

As they say in Ireland, mind yourself...and
Athbhlian faoi mhaise! Happy New Year
pronounced Ah-vleen fwee wash-eh 
Slan agus beannacht!

Bridget & Russ
Get down on your knees and thank God you're still on your feet!
Celtic Blessing - sung by the St. Coca's Choir, from Kilcock, Co. Kildare

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.

Marbella, Spain - through January 6
Expo Arte Featuring Dublin artist Roger Cummiskey
The Gallery, 24, Calle Marquez,(between Picasso Square & Hotel Pirámides). For more details, please click

Winston-Salem, North Carolina - Through January 30
Reflection: Politics and Religion in Art - an invitational exhibit featuring works by 16 women artists including two of Amy Funderburk's paintings: Mother and Child and Well of the Creatrix
For more details, please visit:

Hollywood, Florida - Irish American Ceili Club
We meet monthly (September - May) at the American Legion Hall - Post 92, Hollywood, to enjoy the food, music, singing & dancing of Ireland. Every month, we offer good food & great Irish music & fun! To learn more, please visit us at

Los Alamitos, California -1st Tuesday of every month
Friends of Ireland of Southern California Monthly Breakfast. Events are held on the 1st Tuesday of the month. Please call in RSVP to one of the contacts below, one day in advance so we can accommodate you.
Barbara Walsh (714) 739-4195 Kathy Wisdom (714) 572-8277
Tom Kennedy (562) 425-2636 Jim O'Dea (626) 965-0307

Portland, oregon - 1st Friday of the month
Ceili of the Valley Society - First Friday of the month Céilís and on-going Tuesday night Céilí and Sean Nós dance classes. Our season runs from October through June and next season we may be moving the dances to Saturday rather than Friday nights. For more details, please click

Eastern Caribbean Irish Genealogy Seminar Cruise - January 09
The Irish Ancestral Research Association is organizing an Irish genealogy cruise in January 2009 on Royal Caribbean's Independence of the Seas. Speakers include our friends Eileen & Sean O'Duill from Dublin. For complete details, please click

This is from our good friend AG in California:

'Twas the week after Christmas, and all through the house
Nothing would fit me, not even a blouse.
The cookies I'd nibble, the eggnog I'd taste
All the holiday parties had gone to my waist.

When I got on the scales, there arose such a number!
When I walked to the store (less a walk than a lumber)
I remembered the marvelous meals I'd prepared;
The gravies and sauces and beef nicely rared...
The wine and the rumballs, the bread and the cheese
And the way I'd never said, "No thank you, please."

As I dressed myself in my husband's old shirt
And prepared once again to battle the dirt...
I said to myself, as I only can
"You can't spend a winter dressed like a man!"

So...away with the last of the sour cream dip,
Get rid of the fruit cake, every cracker and chip.
Every last bit of food that I like must be banished
'Till all the additional ounces have vanished.

I won't have a cookie, not even a lick,
I'll want only to chew on a long celery stick.
I won't have hot biscuits, or cornbread, or pie,
I'll munch on a carrot and quietly cry.

I'm hungry, I'm irritated, and life is a bore...
But isn't that what January is for?
Unable to giggle, no longer a riot
Happy New Year to All and to All a Good Diet!