"People will not look forward to posterity who never look backward to their ancestors."
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Today's Irish headlines
We comb the newspapers and web sites to find news to start your day with a positive spin. In this section you will also find links to stories from the past two weeks as well as links to the major Irish newspapers, the current time in Ireland and a link to the weather forecast.
And last, but not least, once a month, we gather bits and bobs from all 32 counties. The current edition of the Regional County News is for May 2013.
Trivia Think you're Irish? This is our monthly trivia contest which is designed to test your knowledge of Irish history, legends, superstitions, arts, politics and more.
The contest for May is posted! Spring is here (or, at least, not far away) Have fun!
Just want entertaining facts about Ireland?
Then click here for Did you Know?
The Book: Potion, Pope & Perfidy
by R. Eoghan Haggerty
All right, why is this on Irish Culture and Customs? It's not about Ireland and it's not about the Irish. Well, it is Irish-ish; there's an Irish detective visiting his Irish sister in Cincinnati, Ohio and there's an Irish monk and his Irish cat but in the monk's day he lived in Hibernia.
Then, it is a good story and anyone with even a little Irish blood loves a good story.
Beside all that, I wrote it and since I'm the webmaster for Irish Culture and Customs I think I should get some other benefits.
To read the beginning and buy the book, please click Amazon.
The Irish Soldiers in the American Civil War
by Bridget Haggerty
His cavalry is numerous but cant ride and his infantry, except the Irish, cant fight. Confederate Col. E. P. Alexander commenting on the Union forces.
It is estimated that approximately 360,000 Union soldiers died as a direct result of the war. The Confederacy lost 133,000 dead. Many more soldiers were wounded; some maimed for life. One source has said that one in nine who served were either Irish born, or of Irish descent. Based on these numbers, nearly 50,000 Irish soldiers gave their lives in battle, and countless others were injured.
About 190,000 Irishmen contributed to both sides of the cause. It is estimated that 150,000 served on the side of the Union and that about 40,000 served the Confederacy. After the conflict was over, more than 130 Irish soldiers had been awarded the Medal of Honor.
The Irish Soldiers in WWI
by Bridget Haggerty
My dad fought in Africa during WWI. I know very little of his experience as he preferred not to talk about it. What I do know is that he lied about his age in order to enlist, that his boots rotted off his feet in the trenches and that he contracted malaria - a condition which was to afflict him for the rest of his life.
It's possible that he was reluctant to discuss his role as an Irish soldier in the British army because he was from Galway and on his return home, he may have been treated as a traitor. In my own time, I remember how returning vets who fought in Vietnam were vilified by protesters. In any event, I'll never know how my father fared, but it's interesting to note that just a few years after the war, he left Ireland and never went back.
It's a long way to Tipperary
by Bridget Haggerty
The Daily Mail correspondent, George Curnock, first heard the tune in Boulogne in August, 1914 - "a company of the 2nd* Battalion Connaught Rangers passed us singing, with a note of strange pathos in their rich Irish voices, a song I had never heard before "
It's a long way to Tipperary,
It's a long way to go,
It's a long way to Tipperary,
To the sweetest girl I know!
Goodbye Piccadilly! Farewell Leicester Square!
It's a long, long way to Tipperary,
But my heart's right there!
Poetry of the Irish Guards
Edited and adapted by Bridget Haggerty
The Irish Guards were formed on 1st April 1900 by order of Queen Victoria to commemorate the bravery of the Irish people who fought in the Boer war.
On 21st April 1900, the first recruit, James O’Brien of Limerick, was enlisted and many followed as a free transfer was offered to all Irishmen serving not only in the Guards Brigade but also from the Line Regiments.
by Jaye Lewis
It was Veteran's Day, 1968.
My Dad, not an easy man to live with on a good day, had been restless and morose all day, toying with the piano, playing snatches of familiar tunes, and he'd finally settled on "Danny Boy". My Mom gave him a look, shrugging her shoulders.
Thinking to mollify him, I walked over to the piano, and I asked Dad if he would like me to sing along. "Only if you can sing it in the key it was written in," he said, "and you hit the notes strong and true." I nodded and I began to sing, with all my heart.
St. Kevin - founder of Glendalough
by Bridget Haggerty
As with St. Columba, Kevin's family were of the nobility - he was the son of Coemlog and Coemell of Leinster. At his birth in 498 at the Fort of the White Fountain, he was given the name of Coemgen, which meant "beautiful shining birth. He also came into the world without the usual pains of labour.
St. Kevins birth and early years figure prominently in traditional legends. An angel is said to have appeared as Kevin was about to be baptised and told his parents that the child should be called Kevin. The priest - Father ronan of Roscrea - who performed the ceremony said, This was surely an angel of the Lord and as he named the child so shall he be called. So Kevin received the name which in Latin means pulcher-genitus or the fair-begotten. He is the first person in history to carry the name and it is also said that he was the fulfillment of the prophecy of St. Patrick - that he was the one to come who would evangelize the region of Ireland just south of Dublin.
The Irish Kitchen: Aunt Hettie's War Cake
contributed by Hartson Dowd
To those from Northern Ireland - and Belfast in particular, a "War Cake" usually means one that doesn't have any eggs. Perhaps the hens got nervous and forgot to lay, or maybe the chicken farmers got nervous and dropped the eggs? No, of course the real reason was rationing during war time. "No matter", Auntie says, "it's fast, easy to make, and easy to double in the event of a larger war."
Basic Irish: Summertime
'Tis the season for fun in the sun! In this lesson, you'll find a slew of words and phrases related to everyone's favorite season - summertime!
Kids' Ireland: The White Trout
by Grainne Rowland
Long ago, in a place called Cong in County Mayo, there lived a young woman. She was promised in marriage to a king's son, whom she loved very much. But, one day, the king's son was killed by an enemy.
The lady pined away from sadness. Everyone in the village was sorry for her. They knew how much she had been in love. After a while, the beautiful lady disappeared. The villagers thought that the good people1 had taken her away.
Music Review: Mother: Songs Celebrating Mothers & Motherhood
by Bridget Haggerty
This recording is a collaboration of gifted Celtic singers and musicians. Drawing from their own experiences, they have created a tender tribute that chronicles the joys, as well as the heartaches, of being a mother.
In making the album, the artists described it as a journey they shared, but which meant different things to each of them. Their goal was to produce a work which is reflective of the wide range of experiences associated with motherhood. The liner notes are full of photos from the three women's childhoods (with their mothers), and the lyrics as well as the backgrounds of the pieces are included. They have also dedicated the recording to their own mothers, Mary Ryan, Honey Spielberg, and to the memory of Jeanne McKeown Ryan.
We receive many lovely letters from visitors to our web site and subscribers to our newsletter. As we’re fond of saying, your feedback helps to make all of the time and effort worth while. While we have a Readers Write Page where we post comments from time to time, we’ve decided to also select a Letter - one that, for whatever reason, tickled our fancy.
This past spring I went to Ireland with my son and his wife & her family. What a wonderful experience - way too short a time. I would have loved to sit and plan my days in a much more leisurely fashion but what we saw was all too wonderful This was my first time there - did a bit of checking on my grandmother's birth place: Roscommon. I would so love to return.
Thank you for this opportunity to be a part of your wonderful home page. Thank you, too, for "Irish Culture & Customs" - it gives us the chance to know more about Ireland and its people.
Photo Caption: This is Bonnie and her son Michael Hirschler at the Cliffs of Moher.
ED. NOTE: When we asked Bonnie to send us a photo, she very kindly sent us two. We choose the one of her and her son at the Cliffs of Moher because it is such an iconic image of Ireland and one that is immediately recognizable. Standing more than 500 feet at the highest point and ranging for for nerly five miles over the Atlantic Ocean, on a clear day one can see the Aran Islands, Galway Bay, as well as The Twelve Pins, the Maum Turk Mountains in Connemara and Loop Head to the South. The cliffs take their name from a ruined promontory fort “Mothar” which was demolished during the Napoleonic wars to make room for a signal tower
Live Music from Mayo
A link to the internet service from Midwest Radio out of Mayo. Broadcasting from their state of the art studios; Midwest Irish Radio plays nothing but the best Irish music. No matter where you are in the world, you are never too far from Ireland when you listen in.
Click here for: Irish Midwest radio.
Shop for the best of Irish products from the comfort of your home
We combed the internet to find reliable resources for the most popular Irish products: Aran Isle sweaters, Guinness glasses, Waterford Crystal, genuine blackthorn walking sticks, the flag of the Republic and more. Some of these shops have become friends; others we trust from their reputations and some offer products that are completely unique. We hope you enjoy browsing through what's on offer and we are confident you will find gifts for any occasion or person, all with an Irish flair.
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We try to send one out once or twice a month. If you aren't receiving it, something is wrong. Let us know and we'll try to solve the problem. Note: subscribers are automatically deleted from the data base if the newsletter bounces back multiple times. Full or disabled mailboxes will also cause a subscription to be cancelled. If you have any questions, please contact Bridget.
Founded in 545 AD by St Ciaran, Clonmacnoise monastery became between the 7th and 12th centuries a religious, literature and arts center for monks all over Europe. They came to study and pray in the Island of saints and scholars when the rest of Europe was still in the Dark Ages. Clonmacnoise was totally devastated by fire as well as successive raids but the site retains its stunning features. The view captured in this image has remained relatively unchanged for 1500 years. Clonmacnoise lay in decay until the Office of Public Works began the arduous task of turning this sacred place into one of Ireland's most famous visitors' centres. Interestingly - and we have yet to find out why - for centuries, courting couples have stood on each side of the arch whispering their words of love to each other.