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.
So...what are your plans for the day that’s in it? Years ago,  we used to throw caution to the budgetary wind and book ourselves into a favourite local hotel for a couple of days. There was an amazing steakhouse within the hotel complex and we just totally indulged ourselves. What lovely memories to look back on - and whatever your circumstances in 2014, we hope that God willing, you and yours might also have the pleasure of sweet recollections from past St. Valentine's celebrations that we do - and that you have the opportunity to make many more!
It's that time of year when we reluctantly ask for your financial support. But, if you love what we do and want to help us continue to promote Irish Culture and Customs, There are  several ways you can assist us: become a patron of our newsletter sponsors, buy products from our web site advertisers,  make a donation via PayPal, or send a contribution in the mail. No donation is too small - a euro, dollar, pound or whatever your currency  would be so welcome,  AND, to sweeten the pot, when we receive your contribution we will put your name in Russ’ old top hat for a chance to win the latest High Kings CD, a Best of Loreena McKennett CD, A Barleyjuice CD, a signed copy of Russ’ book, or whatever other incentive we can come up with it! Drawings will be held on St. Patrick’s Day...and 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:
Our account there is this address:
Or by snail mail to:
Bridget & Russ Haggerty
5814 Blue Spruce 
Ohio 45224
 Enough of the blitherin, on with the Valentine's Day special edition.
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Did You Know
Web Site Update
Leave Em Laughing
Dear St. Anne, send me a man, a good one if you can
The title of just one of many RTÉ videos devoted to romance in Ireland. We hope you are as thoroughly entertained as we were!
Irish St. Valentine's statue hears lovers’ wishes
Video clip filmed at the church in Dublin where the saint’s remains are kept
One of our all-time favourite Irish love songs, Bridget first heard it being played in the gift shop at Blarney Castle - and had to have it. What is that lovely song, she asked the young girl behind one of the counters. Oh, that’s Grace by Jim McCaan. Just go to the recordings department and ask for number 143. Bridget  replied, I just say 143 and they’ll know what I want? Oh yes, they’ll know. Our version is a solo - but this one with the Dubliners is mighty as they might say in Ireland!
Gra Mo Chroi - The Love of My Heart
Sung in Irish - but with subtitles. The photos of Ireland are breath-taking
Air - You're The One  Our daughter's bridesmaids walked down the aisle to this beautiful melody performed by the Chieftains. If it sounds familiar, it's from the movie Circle of Friends. In this clip, a tour of Dublin accompanies the music. Enjoy!
Are Irish People Romantic?
Lauren from Gaelic Girls TV asks the question of a  wide variety of Irish people
The Line: Do Irish men put in the effort?
It’s all about romance and in this video you’ll see and hear the answers to the question..
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 “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
For a young man contemplating marriage: That you might have nicer legs than your own under your table before the new spuds are up.
This one is a repeat, but so good, it's well worth reading again!
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."
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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: NEW! Mary's Valentine by guest writer Pat Watson
2. Article: The Irish Link to St. Valentine
3. Article: The Irish in Love
4. Article: The Irish in Love - Part II
5. Article: The Irish in Love - Part III
6. Article: The Legend of the Claddagh Ring  
 7. Article: Give Me Your Hand - Music for an Irish Wedding
8. Irish Kitchen: A Romantic Irish Menu for Valentine's Day
9. Basic Irish: The Language of Love - in Irish
10. Kids Ireland: The Nighingale & The Rose
11. Music Review: Celtic Love Songs by our resident reviewer William Ramoutar
12. Culture Corner for Kids: NEW! Valentine's Day in Ireland
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Celtic Collections is just what the name implies…a collection of beautiful Celtic themed giftware and delectable delights presented to you via their online catalog. . Items listed on line are in stock and usually ship within 24 hours. They ship anywhere within the USA and also offer free gift wrapping on any purchase.  A great resource for every gift giving occasion!
 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 thissweet old blessing:
 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 beannacht,
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.
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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."