Greetings & Blessings to all
Happy St Valentine's Day!
 Beannachtaí na Fhéle Vailintín!
(Pronunciation: Ban-ochth-thee na Fay-leh val-in-theen)
Literally, Blessings of St. Valentine
Welcome to our St. Valentine’s Day special edition; we hope it finds you in good health, good company. and good spirits. If this is your first  newsletter from Irish Culture and Customs, many thanks for signing up and we hope you enjoy our musings and meanderings. And please feel free to share them with your family and friends.
In the interest of making sure there is a Valentine greeting from us in your mailbox, this is essentially a reprise of what we sent last year but there are differences including new links, no ads, and a generous offer from the author of All Things Irish, Michael Loynd. There are  omissions - but not to worry, they will all return. So,  if you haven’t tried your hand at our writer’s quiz or the riddle, now’s your chance. The most recent  newsletter is archived here:

Annual Appeal
As of this writing, we’ve had just seven donations.  Times are tough for many people and we do understand if you can’t afford to help us with even just a euro, dollar, pound or whatever your currency might be.  However, to sweeten the pot, we had a great suggestion from one of our most loyal readers and supporters, Mr. Bill Deegan last year, and we’re going to repeat it: : have another drawing for books, CDs or movies and for every five dollars, get 50 - yes,  FIFTY - entries into all the drawings we have year round. Double that five and get 100 entries - and so on!   Up for grabs this time around and thanks to the generosity of Michael Loynd, we have six copies of his popular book All things Irish to give away . Drawing  will be held on St. Patrick’s Day. We’ve always said that if every subscriber sent a dollar, we would far exceed what we need. So, if that’s all you can afford, please don’t be shy about sending it. And again many thanks in advance for your kindness.
Contributions can be made via PayPal at this address:
Or by snail mail to:
Bridget & Russ Haggerty
5814 Blue Spruce 
Ohio 45224
Enough of the blather... 
In this issue
Did You Know
Web Site Update
Leave 'em  Laughing
St Valentine hears  prayers and wishes 
A very short video of the church in Dublin where the relics of St. Valentine are kept.
The love story behind Kylemore Abbey
Did you know that it was originally called Kylemore Castle and was built as a private home for the family of Mitchell Henry, a wealthy doctor from London? We never knew the origins of this most photographed Irish icon until now. Hear the story of Dr. Henrys love for his wife Margaret here:
James Joyce sends a Valentine
Red is the Rose
Here is is performed by Mary Duff. What an amazing voice she has!  And  we were delighted to discover that YouTube has loads of her  songs - our faves though are the Irish ones, of course!
Hearts in Nature
Siúil a Rún - Walk My Love 
This is one of our favorite love songs and we think that the best version is by Orla Fallon. While she is  incredibly talented, she is also very down to earth and easy to talk with. We learned this when we had the pleasure of meeting her after a concert. Russ  is quite smitten and cherishes  the memory of a kiss he gave her! He’s always had a soft spot for Irish redheads.
Bothan Airigh am bragh Raithneach/A sheiling* on the Braes of Rannoch 
This romantic  Scots ballad  is sung in Gaelic by Julie Foulis:  
Translation is here: /tracks/jfwBABR.htm
I Will Love You
  A Beautiful Irish love song performed by The Fureys and very popular at Irish weddings - or so we are told! We’re not surprised.
Herself wants it played on our anniversary this year - and also the Voyage by Christy Moore - and here’s the link for that one as well...
The Voyage by Christy Moore
Are Irish People Romantic?
This one link carried over from 2012 - but well worth repeating.  Lauren from Gaelic Girls TV  asks the question of a  wide variety of Irish people
“If you send out goodness from yourself, or if you share that which is happy or good within you, it will all come back to you multiplied ten thousand times. In the kingdom of love there is no competition; there is no possessiveness or control. The more love you give away, the more love you will have.” 
John O'Donohue, Anam Cara: A Book of Celtic Wisdom
Here’s to your health, peace and prosperity. May the flowers of love never be nipped by the frost of disappointment nor shadow of grief fall on your family and friends. 
Mike wakes up at home with a huge hangover. He forces himself to open his eyes, and the first thing he sees are a couple of aspirins and a glass of water on the bedside table. He sits up in bed and sees his clothing in front of him, all clean and ironed. He looks around the room and sees that it is in perfect order, spotless. He takes the aspirins and sees a note on the table which says "Breakfast is on the stove, dear. I left early to go shopping. Love you!" He goes to the kitchen and sure enough, there's a hot breakfast waiting for him, and also the morning newspaper. His son is sitting at the table, eating. Really curious by now, Mike asks, "Son, what happened last night?" His son says, "Well, Mam said you came home after 3 a.m, you stumbled in the door, threw up in the hallway, and passed out half-way up the stairs. Confused, Mike asks, "So, why is everything in order and so clean, and breakfast is on the table waiting for me?" His son replies, "Oh, that! Mam dragged you to the bedroom, and when she tried to take your trousers off, you yelled "Leave me alone woman, I'm a married man"
1. The crocus, which flowers about this time in Ireland, is St Valentine's Flower?
2. W. B Yeats dedicated most of his love poetry to Maude Gonne?
3. According to irish custom, A man should always be the first to wish joy to a bride - never a woman?
1. Article: The Irish Link to St. Valentine
2. Article: The Irish in Love
3. Article: The Irish in Love - Part II
4.Article: The Irish in Love - Still Waters Run Deep
5. Article: Shrovetide - The Marrying Season
6. Article: What if you were still single by Ash Wednesday?
7. Irish Kitchen: A Romantic Irish Menu for Valentine’s Day
8.  Basic Irish: The Language of Love - in Irish
9. Kids Ireland: Sean & The Selkie
 So there you have it until we send out our regular February edition toward the end of the month. Meanwhile, the snowdrops are up, the countdown to St. Patrick’s Day has  begun, and even though  it’s snowing out our office window, we can feel this lovely anticipation  of spring in the wings. May that delightful  sensation be yours wherever you are! We’ll take our leave with this lovely blessing for the day that’s in it:
May the saint of romance
intercede on your behalf
and God grant you
the love and affection
of a true Irish heart.
And, as they say in Ireland, mind yourself. 
Slan agus beannachtái
Bridget & Russ
Get down on your knees and thank God you’re still on your feet. 
Téigh ar do ghlúine is bí buíoch le Dia go bhfuil tú fós ar do chosa.
ED. NOTE: We put the Irish back in per a request by Mary in New York - but we’re not sure it’s grammatically correct. We know we have several Irish speakers out there,  so please check it and let us know if we need to make any changes. Go raibh maith agat!
Hollywood, Florida - Befruary 16
IrishAmerican Ceili Club presents TOMMY & SHARON Ceili Band on Saturday, February 16, 2013, 7-11pm American Legion Hall 211 North 21 Avenue, Hollywood, Florida.  Admission: $10
For more details, call  954-921-4325 or 
Cincinnati, Ohio  - February 28
The February meeting of Celtic Women International's Cincinnati chapter will be held on Thursday, Feb 28  at 7pm at the Irish Heritage Center, 3905 Eastern Avenue, Cincinnati.  Our program will include the movie "St. Patrick the Irish Legend"  (about 90 minutes) and discussion to get you in the mood for St. Patrick's Day coming up.  This is open to the general public.  More details, please visit the Irish Heritage site  
This one came in from Penny R. Thanks, Penny!
Mrs. O'Reilly returned home from a vacation to France where she had taken a cooking class. She tells her husband Paddy she is going to prepare him a special meal for St. Valentine’s Day and he is to go down to Sean's Market and buy two dozen escargot, which she explains to Paddy are snails. Mrs. O'Reilly admonishes Paddy to come right home and no stops at the pub. Paddy buys the snails and is on his way home but alas, his route takes him right by his favorite pub. Just one he tells himself. Well, perhaps another he says after having the first pint. The company is good, the tales are tall, and Paddy finds himself having three or four. As Paddy heads home he realizes it has become dark and knows his lovely wife will be waiting and sharpening her tongue for him. As Paddy opens the gate to home the porch light comes on and he hears the door begin to open. Paddy empties the bag of escargot on the ground and says in a loud voice "Come on now lads! You're almost there."