Welcome to the Irish Culture & Customs newsletter which is published every week and sent out to going on 2200 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,

The warmest of welcomes and a special hello to our newest subscribers. Thank you for signing up and if you enjoy our musings and meanderings, please feel free to share them with your family and friends.

We hope everyone in the USA and Americans all over the world enjoyed a safe and happy Thanksgiving holiday. As for ourselves, it was a very special time of gratitude after what happened this past summer. It's hard to believe that it's been five months since Bridget had her stroke and heart failure. She has made what can only be described as a miraculous recovery and we attribute it to all the prayers that were said for her and our family. Prayers that are still being lifted up. Thank you again for continuing to think of us. We counted you in our champagne toast to friends and family - Bridget's first drink since June; we wondered how that might go down. Her cardiologist had said a glass of wine once in a while would be okay. And it was. Although, according to Bridget, it tasted "funny." Her favorite libation has become very dry gingerale with raspberry flavoring! She did have a teeny tiny liquer glass of a new Irish cream licqueur made by Bushmills. It's really good. Our friend Jane also brought the makings for a "Baby Guinness" - this is an after-drinner drink where you fill a shot glass with Kahlua and then top it off an Irish cream. Bridget did NOT try this one. However, those in the group who did gave it the thumbs up!

Overall it was a wonderful celebration. For the first time since they've been grown up, all three of our children were here and so were both of our grandchildren. The family was joined by a group of very special friends we've known for donkey's years and everyone pitched in with the food. including Jane's famous decadently buttery pecan tarts. Bridget also made Hartson's Cranberries in the Snow - whichwas so popular last year. So, between family, friends, food and football, it was fantastic.
But enough about us...
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In news from Ireland:
General -
MOST-LIVABLE LAND - A survey by The Economist magazine‚s Intelligence Unit has concluded that Ireland is easily the best place in the world to live. Ireland outpolled the other 110 countries surveyed because it enjoys wealth, liberty, stability and security, while simultaneously managing to maintain the best of tradition, with a strong community and a family-based society. Its positive factors "easily" offset Ireland's lower scores for a relatively poor health service, gender inequality and bad weather, giving it a total score of 8.33 out of 10, while the US, with a score of 7.62, came in 13th. Britain languished in 29th place.

Republic To Go Metric On Road Signs Next Year
Tens of thousands of new metric speed limit signs are to be erected across the Republic early next year, replacing what the AA yesterday described as the "perverse" existing system. At present, distances are measures in kilometres but speed limits as miles-per-hour, but from late January both will be metric.

The corncrake, an endangered and elusive calling bird, is making a comeback in Ireland. The birds are very secretive, spending most of their time hidden in tall grass or vegetation, betrayed only by their rasping call. The population had declined from tens of thousands in 1900, to about 4,000 singing males in the late 1960s, and to only 174 singing males recorded in 1993. The scheme offers cash incentives to farmers in the Shannon Callows, North Donegal and Co Mayo regions, who delay mowing meadows until late in the year after the nesting season. For more information, visit

Antrim - Abseiling pensioner does it again
At seventy-three years of age Maureen Gilmore from Ballymena this year became the oldest person to abseil down the side of Belfast's Europa Hotel; she has now added to her achievements by abseiling down the BT tower.

Belfast - the last hurrah for Churchill House:
Hundreds of people gathered to watch the 215ft-tall building spectacularly disappear from the Belfast skyline when a series of explosions were set off onSunday morning.
Clare New name for Shannon?
The members of the North Tipperary branch of Ogra Fianna Fáil have put forward a proposal that the name of Shannon Airport should be changed to honour one of the founders of the State. They believe that the airport should be known as De Valera Airport, and the motion has been supported by Killaloe councillor Cathal Crowe, who pointed out that both Paris and New York have airports named after prominent statesmen.

Down - Down: No peak too tough for Banjo
Newry man Terence Banjo Bannon, who last year reached the summit of Mount Everest, is hoping to become the first Irishman to conquer the world's second highest mountain, K2. The Himalayan peak, which is also believed to present the most dangerous climb in the world, will be tackled by Banjo next summer in an unguided and unsupported attempt.

Dublin -Final day for Bewley's cafes:
Bewley's two remaining cafes in Dublin will close their doors for good on Monday evening. There are moves afoot to preserve them as historic sites - we'll keep you posted.

Dublin - New park-and-ride facilities at the Quick Park site at Dublin Airport, with free city-wide Rambler tickets, are to be provided by Dublin Bus this Christmas.

Dublin - Site Fetches 86 Million Euro
An 11-acre site in Dublin has set a new record for a public land sale, fetching a massive 86 million euro. The land at `The Grange` on the Stillorgan Road has been bought by the Glenkerrin Group, headed by leading developer Ray Grehan. Planning permission has been given for 478 residential units, an
86-bed nursing home as well as a number of retail outlets.

Dublin - THE "Floozie in the Jacuzzi" - the Anna Livia fountain evicted from its O'Connell Street home in Dublin is on the move again. The statue's new home is to be in the Croppy memorial park near Heuston Station.

Dublin Liffey river taxi gearing up for launc
A river taxi may be running on the Liffey next summer if a plan submitted by the Dublin Docklands Development Authority (DDDA) is approved by Dublin City Council.

Galway - Works on the Eyre Square Enhancement Project outside the fenced-off area will stop for five weeks from Wednesday December 8 to Wednesday January 5 to allow for the Christmas shopping period.

From all over
USA - Ireland's my favourite place, says Bill Clinton Former US President Bill Clinton has said that he would rather live in Ireland than any other country in the world outside of his homeland.

Brussells - The Irish language has become the 21st official language of the EU, employing 110 translators at an annual cost of about 10 million. The move was welcomed by Ireland west MEP Seán Ó Neachtain, the only native Irish speaker in the European Parliament of 732 deputies.

California - The Irish Consulate in San Francisco has announced the planned development of an E-Institute of Irish Studies of the West. It will be an internet-based academic institute focusing on the contributions of those who have traveled between Ireland and the Western US. It will encompass language, literature, history, politics, economics, culture, technology and unparalleled access to a database of knowledge. Satellite institutions will have the benefits of all of the resources a physical institute would typically provide, but without the difficulty associated with travel to a remote location.

From the mailbag:

Debbi wants to know Idoes reland has a national bird?

Christina is still looking for Claddagh cookie cutters. We've had no luck so far.

We're still having problems finding a poem by Patrick Kavanagh called "The One" for Dorothy. We're beginning to think it may not be the title but a line? Anyone know?

"Kilcreest" sent us the lyrics to "Give Me Your Hand"- Thank you! We have forwarded them to Jack.

Erinwas hoping we could tell her how she can order water from the Church of the Lady of Knock, She wants touse the water when she has her daughter baptised. One of our sunscribers offered to send her some! Thank you Shiela - that was very sweet of you.

"JoBee" sent us what has to be the answer to the mystery of Irish purple and gold Cristmas decorations. Thank you! It isn't necessarily an Irish custom but a Roman Catholic tradition. Purple is worn by priests during Advent. Since Ireland is predominantly a Catholic country, it could be that house decor has assumed purple and perhaps gold on the Advent wreath? The wreath we set out, for example, features a purple candle we light on the first Sunday in Advent. The remaining three candles graduate from dark violet to plae pink. The Christ candle is always white. We embellish the wreath

Links of the week:
International Etiquette quiz - Thsanks Hartson!

A friend found this interesting website on the Celtic Languages:

Subscriber website spotlight
We are very pleased to welcome the FitzGeralds to our list. They own a beautiful B & & B in Painesville, Ohio whichwas voted the 15th most [popular in North America.
Beautiful - and so appropriate for this first Sunday of Advent (Thanks, Hartson!)

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 blatherin' - on with the update....

Quips, quotes, proverbs & toasts
A bit of the wit
Joke of The Week
Did You Know
Writer's Quiz
New This Week
The Week Ahead
We're continuing our series of toasts in anticipation of festive parties and fancy dindins:
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
To be clever enough to get a great deal of money, one must be stupid enough to want it. George Bernard Shaw
This one was sent to us by Bridget's brother, Terry O'Flaherty, who lives in London. Thanks, Tel!
Could this be the end of traditional Irish Dancing, as we know it?
Whilst demolishing a 15th-century building in Dublin recently the workmen came across a copy of a most interesting book hidden behind some oak panelling, leather bound and beautifully illustrated in the style of the ancient 'Book of Kells' unfortunately it had been written in an old Irish dialect with which none of them were conversant.

The foreman, knowing a little about these things, took the book along to a friend of his who was a Language professor at Trinity College; he agreed to have a go at translating it.

Weeks past and still no response came from the professor.

Then on the third Monday the foreman received a phone call from his very excited friend:" You're not going to believe this " breathlessly uttered the friend "but I think you have something monumental here that could change our view of Traditional Irish Dancing forever". "What is it?" replied the Foreman as breathless as the professor...

"The translation of the title of the book isTRADITIONAL IRISH DANCING VOLUME 2

Help us keep this newsletter free by visiting our good friends at The Irish Lottery. There Are 42 Shades of Green - All you need are 6 to hit the Irish Millions!
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, winnings are tax-free and checks are mailed within 48 hours. Do you have the luck of the Irish? Play the Irish lottery and find out! You can't win it if you're not in it. Please click here for full details:
In honour of the 50th anniversary of the famous Guinness book, here are three Irish records worthy of note:
1. Fastest time to pluck a turkey: Vincent Pilkington of Cootehill, Co Cavan, plucked a turkey in one minute and 30 seconds on RTÉ television in Dublin on November 17, 1980
2. Longest-serving altar boy: Tommy Kinsella of Bray in Co Wicklow began serving Mass in the Church of the Holy Redeemer, Bray, in April 1917 and continued in the same church for 81 years until his death in 1999
3. Longest hit in a hurling contest: The greatest distance for a 'lift and stroke' hit is 118m (129yds), credited to Tom Murphy of Three Castles, Kilkenny, in the 'long puck' contest held in 1906
Interested in adding the 50th edition to your library? Please click here:
and scroll down:
First off, the answers to our last quiz:

1. The Giants Causeway and the North Antrim Coast by Philip S Watson
2. Old Portrush, Bushnills and the Giant's Causeway by Alex F. Young
3. Finn Maccoul and His Fearless Wife: A Giant of a Tale from Ireland by Robert Byrd.

As one Irish wag once said, "clap your feet for..."

Patricia Edwards
I'm running out of sites to recommend and trust I haven't put this one in before ,(but, if so that it was too long ago for people to remember - lol.) You said it was one of your favourite sites for e-cards too!

Déirdre McKiernan Hetzler
"Glorious Ireland in May": May 25 - June 8, 2005 view this year's itinerary: http://www.tours2ireland.com
or http:

NOTE: We'd like to take this opportinity to welcome Déidre back to the USA after a three-month stint of minding her brother's house in East Clare. We missed hearing from you each week!

Hart and Helen Dowd
If you want a place to relax, with easy reading: stories, poetry, devotionals, etc., visit my website at:

Want to see your name on next week's list? Try finding the following:
1. The Essential Guide to Irish Flute & Tin Whistle
2. The Complete Irish Tin Whistle Tutor
3. An Irish Whistle Book
HINT: All three titles can be found here, and note that this is Bridget's "bible" - well worth adding to your library: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/redirect?tag=irishcultucus-20&path=tg/detail/-/1856350932/qid%3D1073257674/sr%3D1-3

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 - peferably 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!)
3. Click through on the Hint URL above, tell us the title and earn another entry into the Trivia drawing. NOTE: It would be very helpful if you would send your entries to: bhaggerty@irishcultureandcustoms.com ==================================================================
Please help us keep this newsletter free - visit our good friend, Molly's Irish Imports:
Bring joy and delight this Christmas season with a gift from your Irish heart. Avoid the long lines and hassles at department stores. Find truly unique and beautiful gifts with meaning at Molly's Irish Imports. "Lovely things from Celtic lands", including finely crafted jewelry, luxurious woolen capes and scarves, tweed caps, and a wide variety of gift items, from Irish dancer dolls and shamrock rosaries to tasty Irish treats. All items are personally selected for their artistry and authentic Celtic origin and each is guaranteed to bring delight or your money back; also, your credit card
purchases are absolutely secure. Shop with confidence and pleasure at Molly's Irish Imports, now offering free holiday gift wrap with handwritten note cards for all holiday gift orders through Dec. 20. Please click http://www.irishmollys.com
To begin with, the answer to last week's palindromic puzzler:
Listed below are the definitions of 10 such words, with the numbers of letters in each palindrome shown in brackets after the definition.
Q:How many of these commonplace palindromes do you recognize from their definitions?
A) a notable achievement - Deed
B) not sloping - Level
C) more blood-colored - Redder
D) 12 hours after midnight - Noon
E) males and females - Sexes
F) one who resuscitates another - Reviver
G) narratives of heroic deeds - Sagas
H) pertaining to public affairs - Civic
I) made wet with dew - Dewed
J) a mechanical part that causes rotation - Rotor
Well done to all of you who came up with the answers - what a brilliant group we are. However, kidos must go to Jim Turley of Indiana who was first in. We're also giving a special mention to Heather from California who was beaten by a whisker and also gave us another lovely palindorme to ponder: AIBOHPHOBIA the fear of palindromes and a palindrome itself.
And now for this week's head-banger:
Two brothers we are, great burdens we bear, all day we are bitterly pressed; Yet this I will say - we are full all the day, and empty when we take a rest.
Q. What are we?
1. Article: Time at this point of the year
2. Article: An Advent Memory
3. The Irish Kitchen - Homeland Irish Christmas Cake
4. The Irish Kitchen - Preparing the Puddings
5. Article: Irish Greeting Cards for a Worthy Cause
6. Basic Irish - The Big Dinner
7. Book Review - An Irish Christmas by John Keane
8. Music Review - Home for Christmas by the Irish Tenors
9. Articl;e - A Cold Day in Hell
10. Kids' Ireland - How The Causeway Came to Be
11. On-going - Circle of Prayer: Our second Novena in this cycle began on November 23 and ends on December 1. . Please join us in prayer or meditation on behalf of Margaret M who is in the hospital, Mollie's son Casey, Mary from NY, Pauline recovering from surgery, Michael Davitt in Houston, Hartson & Helen, Aideen, Graine, Barbara G's mom who just had a stroke, Cheryl, little Sebastian, ,Matt Maupin who has been held hpostage in Iraq more than 8 months, the sons of personal friends Paul and Ashley, who are serving in Iraq, and all military personnel stationed in Iraq, Afghanistan, and all over the world.
12. On-going - November Trivia Contest. Tim'es starting to run out and you can't win it if you're not in it. All entries must be in by midnight, November 30, whatever time zone you're in.

A new month heralds a new quiz and a new lesson and we've already begun ecycling some of our seasonal content which many of you may not have read yet. (To make it easier for readers to find our holiday offerings, Russ has listed them at the end of each Christmas-related article). In the meantime, we'll post a new blessing on Sunday and a new quote on Wednesday. As always we'll update the news daily - please click:
And we keep a week's worth of history here:

So there you have it for another week except for the "essential" goings-on in our crazy calendar - many of em' frivolous, but some serious. This feature will return soon. Primise!

Celebrating a birthday, anniversary or other special event between now and twhen we return? We hope it's a joyous occasion for you and your loved ones! And if you're tying the knot in Dcember or got married then, here's the Irish verse:
When December's showers fall fast, marry and true love will last.

Until next time, "pinch, punch, first day of the month, white rabbit" next Wednesday; may the Good Shepherd of us all bless you and keep you and yours safe 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
Are you a loyal reader of our newsletter? Your voluntary donation will help us keep sending it around the world each week. Please give whatever you can to Russ and Bridget, 5670 Meryton Place, Cincinnati, OH, 45224. Donations can also be made via PayPal at
Our email address there is bhaggerty@irishcultureandcustoms.com
FREE shamrock seeds for any donation over $25! Many thanks in advance for your kindness.
Events & Classifieds
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 enail 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 us 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.

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

Hollywood, Florida - Saturday, December 11
The Irish-American Caeli Club presents its annual Christmas Caeli
For full details, visit us online @

Philadelphia - January 9th
2nd Annual A.O.H./L.O.H. Division 51 Communion Breakfast
Holy Name of Jesus Chirch. For tickets or more information, please contact Jay & Cheryl McCarrie at 215-425-5810 or Phil and Marian Bowdren at 215-426-2772

Hollywood, Florida - January 15
The Irish-American Club presents a New Year's Celebration:
For full details, visit us online @

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. If you're interested in learning more about it and seeing a photo, please send us an email - bhaggerty@irishcultureandcustoms.com

Sent in by Hartson - we're still grinning ear to ear!

At New York's Kennedy airport today, an individual later discovered to be a public school teacher was arrested trying to board a flight while in possession of a ruler, a protractor, a set square, a slide rule, and a calculator.

At a morning press conference, Attorney general John Ashcroft said he believes the man is a member of the notorious Al-Gebra movement. He is being charged by the FBI with carrying weapons of math instruction.

"Al-gebra is a fearsome cult," Ashcroft said. "They desire average solutions by means and extremes, and sometimes go off on tangents in a search of absolute value. They use secret code names like 'x' and 'y' and refer to themselves as 'unknowns', but we have determined they belong to a common denominator of the axis of medieval with coordinates in every country. As the Greek philanderer
Isosceles used to say, 'there are 3 sides to every triangle'."

When asked to comment on the arrest, President Bush said, "If God had wanted us to have better weapons of math instruction, He would have given us more fingers and toes!
Send an email to: bhaggerty@irishcultureandcustoms.com
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