Welcome to the Irish Culture & Customs newsletter which is published every weekend and sent out to nearly 2000 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
If, for any reason, you wish to unsubscribe, instructions are at the end - but we do hope you'll stay with us.

Greetings and blessings to all,

A warm welcome back and a special hello to our new subscribers. Many thanks for signing up and if you enjoy our meanderings and musings, please feel free to pass them along to your family and friends.

We're sending out another abbreviated edition which is also very, very late; as much as she'd like to have things back the way they were, it's becoming increasingly more apparent that it's going to take a long time before Bridget has the strength and stamina to write the usual tome on time - but we also feel that it's important to stay in touch, so we hope you won't mind this reduced version.

We agree with the Irish Times reporter who wrote Let the Games begin - please! Day one in Athens dragged on way too long with the most bizarre drugs story in Olympic history and an opening ceremony that tested the limits of both theatrics and human endurance. We faded long before they lit the torch. If you'd like to see how our Irish athletes are doing, please click:

If you live in the path of Hurricane Charlie, we hope and pray you and your loved ones are safe. Russ' mom lives on the east coast near Melbourne, and luckily, all they had to put up with was drenching rains. We also hope that if you live in south-west England, you and yours survived the devastating flash floods.
As for the Ohio Valley, it was another week of lower than normal temperatures and hardly any humidity; wish every summer here was like this one has been!
Please help us to keep this newsletter free - visit our good friends, LollySmith:
Come take a look at our wide range of authentic Irish gifts - from great-looking Guinness gear to genuine blackthorn walking sticks. Explore what we have on offer, browse to your heart's content, and remember, when you buy from Lollysmith, you'll always enjoy great prices, quick shipping, and friendly, personalized service.

In news from Ireland:
Irish Restaurant Guide Launched - A Value for Money menu guide to Irish restaurants was launched this past week by Minister for Tourism John O'Donoghue.The guide outlines food and wine menus to suit a variety of budgets in hundreds of restaurants and hotels across Ireland.

The Irish Government will apply to have Irish declared an official working language of the EU. There has been considerable public pressure for the move with over 80,000 people signing an international petition. Over 5,000 also marched to the Dáil (Irish Parliament) in April calling for official recognition of the language.

Belfast - The gourmet coffee chain, Starbucks has opened its first Belfast. store in Castle Place in Belfast city centre Guests at the opening of the new store were treated to a lesson on how to properly taste coffee.

Clare - The Bunratty winery which manufactures the mead for medieval banquets in local castles is now exporting its products to Japan.The company also exports to the US and UK.

Cork - Rome Challenged On St Christopher Demotion
An Irish academic has uncovered compelling new evidence that challenges the Vatican's controversial downgrading of St Christopher from his once sanctified status. The Irish Independent reports that though still revered by travellers, church reforms removed St Christopher from the Universal Calendar in 1969. It said that the Vatican had been troubled by the fact that many stories of his life may have been merely "legendary" and his beatification was the result of a number of different "legends" being cobbled together. But now, Professor of Ancient Classics at University College Cork David Woods believes that new information based on an examination of ancient texts by scholars has strengthened the case for St Christopher. The professor suggests that the saint we know as St Christopher was in fact St Menas, an early Egyptian martyr.

Dublin - Castle History Remembered In Sand
A set of four sand sculptures depicting stories from the history of Dublin Castle has opened in the castle grounds. The sculptures are part of events leading to the 800th anniversary of the castle, which will be celebrated on August 30.

Kilkenny - Festival time in the Marble City. Kilkenny Arts Festival kicked off last Friday in the grounds of Kilkenny Castle with butterflies and dancers on giant stilts marking ten days of entertainment with over seventy-five performances scheduled across the city and county. The Woodstock Festival, which started on Saturday proved itself to be one of the festival's highlights, with a line-up of some of Ireland's best known singers and songwriters entertaining the crowd on Sunday night, including the Hothouse Flowers and Jerry Fish and the Mudbug club. During the ten-day run, festival-goers will have the opportunity to sample all kinds of world music, international film and book-readings.

Mayo - Large crowds gathered at Knock over the weekend at the beginning of an eight-day novena, with some walking up to 20 miles to attend the annual ceremonies.

Mayo - Ceremony Pays Tribute To Bravery Of Soldier
Sergeant Major Cornelius Coughlan was hailed an Irish hero this past week as a headstone was dedicated to his memory. Defence Minister Michael Smith said he should be remembered with the respect given to every Irish soldier who has died fighting for peace. For 89 years he has lain in an unmarked grave at the Aughvale Cemetery in Westport, Co Mayo. But the unveiling of his headstone, complete with full military ceremony, was heralded a magnanimous gesture which represented changed attitudes between Britain and Ireland. Sgt Maj Coughlan was awarded the Victoria Cross for bringing a severely wounded soldier to safety under fire. He led his men in attack during the siege of Delhi, resulting in victory when the Kabul Gate was taken. A monument was later erected above the gate bearing Sgt Maj Coughlan's name, and Queen Victoria wrote to the soldier personally, complimenting his bravery. Sgt Maj Coughlan was born in East Galway. After serving with the British army for more than 21 years, he returned to Westport, where he lived for 40 years until his death, aged 87.

Mayo - Hundreds of pilgrims sailed in a flotilla of boats across Clew Bay to the holy island of Caher for the annual pilgrimage that was once part of the ancient Croagh Patrick penitent circuit. Barely one mile in length and situated six miles to the south-west of Clare Island and three miles east of Inishturk, the island holds strong associations with St Patrick. According to lore, the Tochar Phádraig pilgrim path, originally a pagan chariot route, led to this holy island through a tunnel under the sea. Caher is among the significant holy islands strewn around the coastline which contain important early Christian monastic and hermitage settlements and cross-slabs dating from the 5th-8th centuries. Nowadays it is used by the farmers of Inishturk for grazing sheep. In recent years the pilgrimage has been renewed, largely through the commitment of the Inishturk islanders."The annual event had almost ceased but interest in the pilgrimage has grown again in recent years and has become a major tourist attraction which benefits the B&B business on Turk during this weekend," said islander Mr Bernard Heanue.

Meath - Annual Threshing Event draws huge Crowds
One of the largest steam crop threshing events in Ireland took place this past week in Moynalty, four miles outside Kells. On the programme was the harvesting of oats by horse-drawn reaper and binder while the sheaves are brought to the mills for threshing. Butter-making and bread-baking displays were also on the agenda, as well as an extensive exhibition of steam engines vintage displays and dancing.

Waterford - New festival for the south-east
A new festival is to be inaugurated next year to celebrate and promote the links between Waterford and Wexford with Newfoundland and Labrador. The Waterford Estuary-Newfoundland Festival of the Sea is scheduled to take place next May and it is proposed that it become a biennial event, taking place alternately in Ireland and Canada. During the ten days in May the festival will include regattas, seminars, exhibitions, tourism projects and workshops, but the organising committee also propose to run some events during the visit of the Tall Ships to Waterford in July of next year.

News from all over:
Louisiana - The Ulster project, established as part of the peace-building exchange programme in 1994, has brought together two former participants, Andrew Watt from Castlederg and Louisiana native Elizabeth Crawford, who were recently married in New Orleans. They met as part of the Ulster programme, which allows teenagers from Northern Ireland to travel to the US to learn about living together peacefully and subsequently Andrew found himself working just an hour away from where Elizabeth was studying at Liverpool University, and they renewed their summertime romance. The newlyweds arrived at Andrew's home for their Irish reception last Saturday.

Hong Kong - An Irish pub in Hong Kong has taken the quest for authenticity a stage further by introducing a voluntary smoking ban to the premises, making it the territory's first smoke-free tavern.

From the mailbag:
In our Circle of Prayer, we had been praying for C.J. and Bob. During our absence, God relieved these two brave souls of their suffering. Our deepest condolences go out to their families and friends.
On a happier note, our resident recipe collector, Hartson Dowd has been transferred to his local hospital where he will begin physical therapy. Please keep him and his wife Helen in your prayers.

George of the Irish Heritage group wrote to announce that the winners of the Holy Cross Raffle have been drawn. To view the winners and their prizes go to

Links of the week:
Funny Bush quotes (to be fair, we'll try to find a similar list for Kerry)

A new song from Jack & Vivian of The Irish Page:

Last, but definitely 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!

Enough of the blitherin' - on with the update:

Joke of The Week
New This Week
The Week Ahead
At every tea-break, Sean, the hod-carrier was always boasting to his older work-mate, Mike the brick- layer, that he was the better worker because he was stronger, faster, and younger. Mike stoically put up with the bragging until one day, he couldn't take it any more. "Well, Sean", he said, I'll bet a week's wages I can haul something in a wheelbarrow over to that building that you won't be able to wheel back." Sean laughed derisively and agreed to the bet. With that, Mike grabbed the handles of the wheelbarrow and told Sean to get in.
1. The first Irish-born winner of an Olympic gold medal was John Pius Boland, a native of Dublin, who won the Tennis Singles at Athens in 1896?
2. The oldest athlete to win an Olympic title was Irish-born Patrick Joseph "Babe" McDonald? He was 42-years and 26-days old when he won the 56-lb (25.4-kg) weight throw at Antwerp, Belgium, on August 21, 1920. McDonald was representing the USA.
3.Bob Tisdall won a gold medal for Ireland (and beat the world record) in the 400-metres hurdles at the 1932 Los Angeles Olympics - an event for which he prepared by retiring to bed for much of the previous week? "I was afraid of getting stale," he explained. His training programme had ended with two weeks' running on Ballybunion Strand in County Kerry, alternating with spells on a nearby greyhound track, in competition with the electric hare.
Help us keep this newsletter free by visiting our good friends at The Irish Lottery. Did you know that 34 Millionaires were created by the Irish lottery in 2003? You could be next! 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:
Before we get to this week's head banger, here's the answer to last week's cranium-crusher:
Q: There are 16 books of the Bible in the following paragraph. Can you find them?:
I once made a remark about the hidden books of the Bible. It was a lulu; kept people looking so hard for facts and for others it was a revelation. Some were in a jam especially since the names of the books were not capitalized, but the truth finally struck home to numbers of readers. To others, it was a real job. We want it to be a most fascinating few moments for you. Yes there will be some really easy ones to spot. Others may require judges to help them. I will quickly admit it usually takes a minister to find one of them, and there will be loud lamentations when it is found. A little lady says she brews a cup of tea so she can concentrate better. See how well you can compete. Relax now for there really are sixteen names of the books in the Bible in this story:

A: Mark, Luke, Revelations, James, Numbers, Job, Amos, Judges, Lamentations, Hebrews, Acts , Kings, Peter, Esther, Ruth,
Well done to all of you who sent in the correct answer and congrats to Bill Smith who was first. Ready for a new challenge?

A puppy is one, but a dog is not.
A kitten is one, but a cat is not.
A cookie is one, but a cracker is not.
What is it?
Help us keep this newsletter free by visiting our good friends at the The Irish Lottery:
Did you know that 34 Millionaires were created by the Irish lottery in 2003? You could be next! 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:

We have begun re-vamping the home page and we're looking forward to a major re-launch at the beginning of September - new Irish lesson, Culture Corner, kid's story and so on.

Celebrating a birthday, anniversary or other special event this week? We hope it's a joyous occasion for you and your loved ones! Want to find out what wild and wacky holidays are on tap for August? Check out:

So there you have it for another week or so. Bridget's off to Maine on Thursday to enjoy an all-expense paid four days of R & R with two very close friends Fingers crossed the sea and surf will help with the rehab! Until we write again, may the Good Shepherd of us all shower you and yours with an abundance of blessings and keep you from all harm. 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
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Our email address there is haggertyr@primax.com
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Events & Classifieds
To avoid duplication, we list only those events not already mentioned in the Irish Heritage Newsletter - 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:

ReJoyce Dublin 2004
Celebrating the centenary of Bloomsday, the day on which James Joyce's masterpiece "Ulysses" is set. Ireland is planning a world-class, five-month festival lasting until 31 August 2004. For more details, click

New York City - 8th Annual Irish Day at Shea Stadium
Before the Mets take on the Dodgers, enjoy a special performance by Black 47, Irish dancers, pipers and more. For details, call 718-559-3043

Co. Sligo, Ireland - September
The Sligo Heritage and Genealogy centre is hosting a 4 day international conference on Irish genealogy, heritage and culture. Even if you come from another county, this conference will be of interest as experts in various fields of study from all over Ireland will be speaking on a wide range of topics. Preliminary details of the conference are available at:
Send an email to: bhaggerty@irishcultureandcustoms.com
OR click on this link: