Welcome to the Irish Culture & Customs newsletter which is published every week and sent out to going on 2700 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,

As always, it'slovely to be back even though we're a bit late; more about that later. We hope this edition finds you in fine fettle and on the pigs back. We'd also like to take this opportunity to say a special hello to all of our new subscribers. Thanks for signing up and please feel free to share our musings and meanderings with family and friends.

What a whirlwind of a week! And difficult to decide where to begin when you have good news - and not so good. Last Thursday, Russ' mother was admitted to the hospital and she's going through a barrage of tests to determine the reason for a host of symptoms. We're hoping and praying that it's simply a case of being over-medicated which is a common occurrence in elderly people. On top of that, our daughter Catherine was diagnosed with fibroids in the chest area. The diagnosis could have been a lot more dire, so we're thankful for that and praying her surgery this coming Thursday will go well.

And now for the good news. Many of you know that we have been talking about selling the house. The truth is, we've had a pretty tough time of it financially for the past few years - especially post 9/11. Exacerbating what was already a difficult situation was Bridget's almost fatal illness last year. To make a long story short, we have sold the house - to our youngest son Ben, God bless him! This means we can stay right where we are and we're in much better fiscal shape than we were. God does indeed work in mysterious ways because deep down neither one of us really wanted to leave our home or Cincinnati which is where all of our children and grandchildren reside. (Ask us again about the wisdom of this arrangement next winter!

Enough about us except to remind you that we'd appreciate it if you click through the google ads on the site; we make a few pennies every time you do so - and besides, many of those little ads look really interesting!

On with the update....
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News from Ireland

Upturn in tourism forecast
This is set to be a bumper year for tourism with 6.5m visitors flocking to Ireland, tourism chiefs predict. However, while more people are coming to Ireland, they are staying for shorter periods, and visitor growth is concentrated on the east coast But there is good news for the regions following a sharp downturn in business in the wake of the foot-and-mouth crisis. Failte Ireland reports that last year's increase in special interest activities, such as golf and hill walking, augurs well for tourism in all parts of the country.

General: It looks like US billionaire Malcolm Glazer has taken full control of Manchester United and droves of Irish fans are hopping mad. However, the former owners are grinning ear to ear.

Guinness will be marketing the 2005 All-Ireland hurling championship as The Stuff of Legend. While that could just as easily be referring to Guinness itself, the campaign is in fact inspired by hurling's place in Irish mythology, from the legends of Cu Chulainn, to stories about Fionn and Na Fianna.

Ancient Way Of Life On Lough Neagh Now Under Threat
The Lough Neagh fishery is the largest, as well as one of the last,
wild eel fisheries in Europe, but the supply of elvers continues to
decline. At dawn one day this past week, the eel fishermen of Lough Neagh began to pull in the lines they set the evening before, on the first day of the new season. Their catch has been described by poet Seamus Heaney
as: "The furling, slippy/Haul, a knot of black and pewter belly."
There is no known reason for the worldwide decline in elvers, though
global warming may be a factor. The eel is a mysterious creature.
Its mother spawns in the Sargasso Sea in the Gulf of Mexico and it takes three years for the elvers to drift down the Gulf Stream and make their way up into the River Bann."Heaney described this remarkable journey: "Against/ebb, current,
rock, rapids/a muscled icicle/that melts itself longer/and fatter."

Russia Honours Irishmen For Wartime Arctic Convoy Role
Six Irish ex-sailors or pilots from the second World War were
honoured by the Russian government for the part they played in the Arctic convoys during the early 1940s.At a ceremony in the Russian Embassy in Dublin, Ambassador Vladimir Rakhmanin presented medals to the six ex-servicemen "to express our gratitude to these heroes who participated in that struggle of epic proportions".

French honour role played by Irish Brigade at Fontenoy
Soldiers in 17th-century uniform, members of President Chirac's personal guard, took part in a special ceremony at the French embassy in Dublin to honour the role played by the Irish Brigade at the Battle of Fontenoy, which took place 260 years ago this past week.

Harp survives as Euro coins get a makeover
The Irish harp will not be affected, but the other side of the coin will be altered in newly-minted versions.

Commuters want work near home
Some 10 per cent of the 17,000 people who commute from Co Meath to work in Dublin every day say they want to work closer to home, and many are prepared to take a drop in salary for a better quality of life.

News from aground the counties

Belfast: Gavin set to celebrate birthday on Everest
Gavin Bate is climbing Mount Everest in a daring solo mission to raise funds for projects in Nepal and Kenya.The former Venture Scout leader, has spent weeks acclimatizing on the world's highest mountain. He hopes to reach the peak - alone and without an oxygen bottle - on his 37th birthday on May 21.

Carlow: Barges converge on the Barrow
Barges from all over the country have converged on the town park area of Carlow for the annual Heritage Boat Festival, the first time it has been held in the town. The activities are spanning a two-week period and this weekend will see the annual reunion of the Canal Boatmen's Association.

Donegal: Hope for Glenveagh's golden eagles
A pair of golden eagles, among a number released in Glenveagh National Park four years ago, have nested and laid an egg and, although the egg proved infertile, the event has been hailed as a major step forward in the breeding of native golden eagles.

Down: 'Banjo' set to reach new heights with K2 climb
An ambitious expedition to the summit of K2 led by Newry man Terence 'Banjo' Bannon has been launched.The intrepid team will attempt to conquer the daunting peak without assistance and without oxygen. If successful, they will be the first ever Irish climbers to make it to the top.

Down: Granite Trail opens in Newcastle
The new walking trail commemorates the industrial heritage of Newcastle. Beginning at the harbour, it follows the funicular railway line which opened in 1824 to enable granite to be transported from the mountain quarries to the harbour. Known as the 'bogie line', it fell into disuse and the metal was used for the World War II war effort.

Dublin: The Stag's Head off Dame Street , one of Dublin's best-loved pubs was sold this past week. Many of its regulars were relieved to learn that the new owners won't be making any changes.

Kerry: Old tradition maintained in Listowel parish
The tradition of praying at holy wells is still alive in North Kerry and last weekend a number of people from Ballydonoghue turned out for the annual visit to St Batt's Holy Well at Coolard.

Limerick: New centre for modern dance opens its doors
The 1.2m venue will be the new performance space for the Limerick-based Daghda Dance Company, and is located at the former Church of St John of the Cross, at John's Square in the heart of Limerick city.

Mayo: Children's film for Achill
A group of students from the School of Visual Art & Design at the Southern Adventist University in Texas will soon be arriving on Achill to begin shooting a film for children which will star Irish-born actor Patrick Bergin. The twenty-five students and their college professors will work with film crews from Ireland on "The Secret of the Cave", an adventure story which will take in the most famous aspects of the island including the Atlantic Drive and the Famine village.

Westmeath: Rare books on show at new library
A new civic centre and public library housing one of the country's largest collections of rare books has officially opened. The collection was donated by renowned book collector Aidan Heavey, who said the building in Athlone, Co Westmeath, was a fitting home for his collection. The library has been named after him.

Wicklow: €300m plan to create luxury marina, shops
An ambitious €300m plan to transform Greystones Harbour into a luxury marina and apartment and shop complex was announced this past week by the County Council.

News from all over
London: O'Conor makes €1.29m world record
A new world record was set for Roderic O'Conor at auction at Sotheby's Irish sale last Thursday when his pointillist painting La Lisière du Bois, signed and dated from 1890, made €1.29 million under the hammer.

Rome: Process to beatify Pope John Paul II is initiated
In a not unexpected move, Pope Benedict XVI has announced the initiation of the beatification cause of his predecessor, John Paul II.

From the Mailbag:
Mary writes: A good friend is being sent to Dublin for the summer. He won't be on an expense account so needs to watch his budget. He needs to know where the best places are to shop for groceries, a lending library, somewhere to get digital pictures printed, Catholic church and a specialty food store for a wider variety of spices and ingredients. He'll be living in an apartment in Malahide or Portmarnock.

Kris writes: A friend was just telling me about a "bird that holds up the sky" from Irish myth. The bird is supposedly an actual species that does exist, and then there are folk tales/mythology around it. Do you know of a story regarding this bird? And/or, do you know the species of the bird? I am in an art class and would like it as a subject. Many Thanks.

Links of the week - and Blogs, too!
One of the best Irish language web sites we've ever found:

Perhaps the closest we'll get to having a chat room? We signed up (it's free) and Bridget's nickname is haglet. May be we could get a discussion going? Take a look and tell us what you think.

Congrats to Midwest Radio in Mayo who had their official launch last Friday. Listen in when you can and also send a request:
(You'll also find the link at the end of our homepage on the web site)

A reminder: The Breast Cancer site is having trouble getting enough people to click on it daily to meet their quota of donating at least one free mammogram a day to an underprivileged woman. t takes just a minute and there's no cost involved:

Last but certainly not least - our on-going 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!

It only takes a second to feed hungry people, too:

Enough of the blather on with the update...
Quips, quotes, proverbs & toasts
A bit of the wit
Joke of The Week
Did You Know
Writer's Quiz
The Week That Was
The Week Ahead
"We may have bad weather in Ireland, but the sun shines in the hearts of the people and that keeps us all warm."
"Irish Alzheimer's: you forget everything except the grudges"
This was sent in by T. T. Haggerty (no relation). We had to edit it a bit at the end. We'll leave it up to you to figure out what the woman really said!
Subject: The Friendly Skies:
A guy sitting at a bar in an international airport noticed a very beautiful woman sitting next to him. He thought to himself, "Wow, she's so gorgeous she must be a flight attendant. But which airline does she work for? Hoping to pick her up, he leaned towards her and uttered the Delta slogan: "Love to fly and it shows?" She gave him a blank, confused stare and he immediately thought to himself, "Oh darn, she doesn't work for Delta". A moment later, another slogan popped into his head. He leaned towards her again, "Something special in the air?" She gave him the same confused look. He mentally kicked himself, and scratched Singapore Airlines off the list. Next he tried the Thai Airways slogan: "Smooth as Silk." This time the woman turned on him "What in God's name do you want?" The man smiled, then slumped back in his chair, and said, "Ahhhhh, Aer Lingus!"
Help keep our newsletter coming - please visit our good friends at Lollysmith:
Spring in Ireland is milder than in many European countries and is an excellent time to visit. The days are getting longer and the temperature is on average between 5 and 15 degrees Celsius (41 - 59 Fahrenheit). May can often be the warmest month of the year, signalling the beginning of the summer. However, if you can't get to Ireland this spring, we can bring a little Ireland to you. At Lollysmith, you will find a wide range of gifts imported directly from Ireland, including Jewelry, Shamrock Seed, Connemara Marble, Tin Whistles, rish Bodhráns, and much more. So please stop by when you get the chance and see what we've found. And while you are here, visit our Whistle page and enter Lolly's latest tin whistle contest:
1. If wells are bursting with water in May, the summer will be long and hot?
2. When the rooster goes crowing to bed, he will rise with a watery head?
3. If the bull leads the cows to pasture, expect rain; if the cows precede the bull, the weather will be uncertain?
To begin with, the answers to last week's quiz:
1. Never Throw Stones at Your Mother: Irish Insults and Curses by David Ross
2. My Mother Wore A Yellow Dress by Christine McKenna
3. Mother Ireland by Edna O'Brien

A tip of the hat to our growing list of literary sleuths:

Patricia Edwards

Déirdre McKiernan Hetzler
There are still spaces available - but act now for the chance to experience "Glorious Ireland in May" - May 25 - June 8, 2005. To view this year's itinerary: http://www.tours2ireland.com
or http://www.irishbook.com/tours.htm

I came across this site the other day when browsing, it may interest a few

Caryn Shiel
I don't have a web site. I have so many favorite Irish web sites that it's hard to choose, but, one of my favorites for looking into books written by Irish authors is: http://www.poolbeg.com/authors.asp

Hartson Dowd
Irish songs and traditional music

Helen Dowd
If you would like to read about my recently published book, "If You Only Knew", please visit

Beverly Mooren
I don't have a website and my favorite Irish website is
(You're making us blush, Beverly!)

Want to see your name on next week's list? Send us the names of the authors who wrote the following:
1. Wars of the Irish Kings
2. Irish Gangs & Stick Fighting
3. The Encyclopedia of Ireland
Hint: You will find all three titles 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 - preferably Irish. 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!)
NOTE: It would be very helpful if you would send your entries to: bhaggerty@irishcultureandcustoms.com

THIS WEEK'S RIDDLE: but before that, the solution to last week's pesky puzzle:
Q: What number comes next in this sequence: 1, 4, 3, 11, 15. 13 ?
True to form, the riddle people sent in a slew of answers and there's a hot debate as to whether or not the correct solution is B or C. Officially, the answer goes as follows:
A: C
Each of the numbers is the smallest number whose English name has n letters
n=3 one
n=4 four
n=5 three
n=6 eleven
We thought it was sixteen which has seven letters? So we're a bit confused on this one and can't say who was first in as we've had so many conflicting responses. Can one of our brilliant solvers clarify which solution is correct - and why?

In the meantime, perhaps our new riddle for the week won't be so pesky - or keep you up all night!
Find the English word that can be formed from all these
1. Article: The Child of Prague
2. Poem: The Noble Boy
3. Article: Bantry Bay in May
4. Article: St. Columcille of Iona
5. Article: A Little Bit o' Heaven - Part 1
6. Irish Kitchen: "Eat Nettle Soup three times in May,
And For a year keep rheumatics away."
7. Video Review: Northern Ireland
8. Culture Corner: The Islands (scroll to the end)
9. Circle of Prayer - Our 3rd Novena in this cycle began on May 15 and ends on May 23. Two additions to our prayer list - Russ' mom who is in the hospital; our daughter Catherine who is having surgery this Thursday. And please continue to remember the following people in your prayers or meditations: Mickey, Jen, Bertha, Stephanie, Ben, Delaney, Mollie's son Casey, Pauline, Hartson, and Graine. We also hope you will offer your spiritual support for our military personnel serving in Iraq, Afghanistan and all over the world. We ask that you especially remember a local young man, Matt Maupin, who was captured over a year ago, Paul and Ashley, the sons of friends and also the three grandsons of Mary Sigrist. We have personally experienced first-hand the power of prayer; we know that God listens and will answer.
10. May Trivia Contest. Haven't entered yet? You have to ge in to win! All entries must be in by midnight, May 31st, whichever time zone you live in. http://www.irishcultureandcustoms.com/TriviaContest.html

With everything that's been going on around here, we're not sure what we'll be doing! However, Bridget's toying with an article on Irish soldiers who fought on foreign soil - may be in time for Memorial Day. We also have a backlog of ideas for other topics. Certainly enough to keep her busy writing. As usual, we'll have a new blessing on Sunday (already posted), a new quotation on Wednesday, a new recipe toward the end of the week, plus the Culture Corner for the kids and a new story. And do visit every day as we update the headlines - whatever good news we can find) and Russ posts the history for that date. He's also updating the men's shopping page (hopefully in plenty of time for dad's and grads gift buying!)

So that's about the size of it for another week. If you'll be celebrating a birthday, anniversary or other special event between now and then, we hope it's a joyous occasion. In the meantime, we'll leave you with this lovely little rhyme:

"The Irish - Be they kings, or poets, or farmers,
They're a people of great worth,
They keep company with the angels,
And bring a bit of heaven to earth"

Slan agus beannacht and , as they say in Ireland, mind yourself.
Bridget & Russ
Get down on your knees and thank God you're still on your feet
We're still in dire need of your support, especially since our newsletter host has begun charging us for the service. Help us keep our newsletter and the web site free; please send whatever you can to Bridget or Russ Haggerty. Our snail mail address is 5670 Meryton Place, Cincinnati OH 45224. Of, you can send a donation via PayPal. The Url is:
and our email address is this one:
Many thanks in advance for your kindness.
To avoid duplication, we list only those events not already mentioned in the Irish Heritage Newsletter or on the Wild Geese website. In fact, the Irish Heritage email group and the Wild Geese have joined forces to bring you a massive listing of Irish events all over the world! To subscribe to the list, send your e-mail address to group moderator George Trainor, at george@thewildgeese.com. The group's postings go out every other Friday and Saturday, in five separate e-mails, covering Irish history, myths and legends, news, jokes, Irish (Gaeilge) lessons, recipes, and more. Organizations, please alert them about your upcoming events, e-mail events@thewildgeese.com, fax: 208-978-9998. Deadline: The third Wednesday of the month for the following month's edition. Also visit The Wild Geese at:

If you're in Ireland, or lucky enough to be visiting, you can see what's on offer here:

Hollywood, Florida - May 21
We have one more Ceili before summer recess, 7p-11p American Legion Hall - Post 92 211 North 21 Avenue; MUSIC: Noel Kingston. For full details, call 954-432-8292 / 954-522-4948 or email Patrick at irish32@aol.com

Covington, KY, now through June 26
The Endless Spiral: contemporary Celtic Paintings by Cynthia Matyi
Covington Cathedral Art Gallery, located next to the Cathedral Basilica of the Assumption, 1140 Madison Ave. Show Hours Daily 10am-4pm
For more details, contact the artist: matyi@fuse.net

Puebla Lucia, Fuengirola, Spain - now through June 3
Roger Cummiskey's 2nd exhibition at the Galeria LUCIA; presenting New Art Works, an exhibition of recent paintings by Roger Cummiskey and Bettina Eriksen. Roger is a generous sponsor of our monthly Trivia contests and we invite you to visit his site and learn more about this exhibit and others:

Halifax, Nova Scotia - June 2-4
Celtic Feis 2005
Combine Nova Scotia's rich Gaelic ancestry and culture with Halifax's contemporary, urban sensibility and you get the perfect ingredients to create a world-class Celtic celebration. The Halifax Celtic Feis celebrates our rich Irish and Scottish heritage and culture through music, dance, arts, language, and spirit of community. For more information on tickets, programming, events, and schedules please visit

Macroom, Co. Cork - July 16th & 17th
First ever Fleadh Cheoil, music festival - Macroom town center. For details, visit:

Aran Isles Celtic Spirit Tours
There is still time to book for two fascinating programmes:
Programme A: Traditional Echoes in Song and Dance, July 20 through July 29
Setdancing, Gaelic Singing, session and party with Islanders, guided walks,
boat trip around the Island, fishing and a lot of spelndid scenery.
In cooperation with Tony Ryan, dancing teacher, Treasa Ní Mhiolláin, singer
and many other Islanders.
Programme B: Walking the Ancient Celtic Way July29 through August 8
Celtic heritage: holy places, ancient rituals, early Celtic church, walks
and lectures with recognized scholars on Celtic heritage, myths and legends
with the well known storyteller Niall de Búrca.
For full details, please visit
or send an email to Elizabeth:
info@irish-culture.ch or call:


Know of a church in need of a vestments cabinet? Russ has totally restored one he rescued from a Cincinnati church that was being demolished. We've used it over the years to store posters other art work and flat files. (Ad agencies and architectural firms could also put it to similar use). If you're interested in learning more about it and seeing a photo, please send us an email - bhaggerty@irishcultureandcustoms.com

A true story from Piulpit Supply:

My daughter's third-grade teacher had assigned the children to write a story titled "My Biggest Surprise." Not until the end of the school year did we see Marina's work. It read: "I got up this morning and I ran into Mommyand Daddy's bed and hopped in. But it wasn't Mommy at all. It was Mrs. Del Campo!" What her essay neglected to say was that we had called Mrs. Del Campo late at night to stay with our children while I took my wife to the hospital to have our third child.