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Bridget's funeral service and a wake following took place on August 5th.
For those few who may not know me. I was Bridget’s personal assistant and sometime slave for 55 years.
Bridget was, what they call ‘a victim of arrested development’. She steadfastly refused to grow up. She was childlike and only occasionaly - childish.
I received a condolence that said “noone could be a stranger to Bridget for very long” I think the ‘long’ was about three minutes. She loved everything and everyone, even those who hurt her. I believe that forgiveness was built into her. She never had to ‘try’; to forgive anyone. It was automatic and without any effort.
She was an excellent writer and an excellent cook but her basic excellence was the joy and love she brought to everyone and everything that life presented to her.
Most of those who knew her, saw her as someone who loved a good time. She loved her wine and she loved dancing.
Since I spent more time with her than anyone else I knew other Bridget’s:
She leaves an enormous hole in my heart and I will love her and miss her for the rest of my life.
I want thank all of you who sent me their messages of sympathy. You may wonder why I didn't send out another newsletter. The answer is: I'm only allowed to send one newsletter per month. Otherwise my cost goes up and, as you may know, I'm squeezing my nickels right now.
It is with great sadness that I have to announce: Bridget Nancy Margaret O'FlahertyHaggerty, founder, and controller of Irish Culture and Customs (and me), passed away on Sunday June 4th. She was 70 years of age but that was just chronology; in her thoughts and everything she did she was still a teenager. Russ (that's me) will continue to maintain this site and perhaps even put out an occasional newsletter. Please be patient, right now I can't think at all.
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.
I thought this would be appropriate. Bridget's birthday was June 14th. She passed just ten days before.
Celebrating A Name Day in Old Ireland
by Bridget Haggerty
Yes, it's me. According to my mother, on the day I was born, my dad cradled me in his arms and said "My little Bridget." And so, that is the blessing - and the burden - I've carried all of my life.
The burden was being given a very different first name from what was popular in England during the late 1940s or early 1950s. Elizabeth or Margaret, after one of the princesses, would have been great. I think every school mate was one or the other. Mary might have been ordinary, but for a child, that wouldn't have been so terrible. The worst part was marrying the first name to the last - Bridget O'Flaherty. No matter what - I stuck out. And it was the last name that did it. My parents could have given me any first name they wanted to - but, joined with O'Flaherty, it wouldn't have mattered. I was Irish.
The Bees Who would not be Left Behind
by Bridget Haggerty
Before the establishment of the great Irish monasteries, there lived a young man named Modomnoc who was a descendant of the royal line of O'Neil. He wanted to be a priest and so he left Ireland and went to be educated under the great Saint David at Mynyw (Menevia, now Saint David's) Monastery in Wales. All those who resided in the community were expected to share in the manual work as well as the study and worship; Modomnoc was given charge of the bees and he loved it. He cared for them tenderly, keeping them in straw skeps in a special sheltered corner of the garden, where he planted the kinds of flowers the bees loved best.
Every time they swarmed, he captured the swarm very gently and lovingly and set up yet another hive. He talked to the bees as he worked among them and they buzzed around his head in clouds. It was as if they were responding to his soothing words.
Last call for Ireland's phone boxes?
by Mattie Lennon
The day of the familiar Irish phone box is drawing to a close. Earlier this year the powers-that-be decided to reduce the number of post boxes from 4,850 to 2,699. Since usage of the public phone has fallen by 80% in the past five years, how long before the total demise of the phone box?
The Kiosk, especially in rural areas, provided a valuable link with the outside world. But, in the words of Clinical Psychologist, Marie Murray, “ What of their psychological significance rather than their utilitarian worth? What role did they play in the lives of people? What privacy did they afford, away from the home telephone for those lucky enough to have a telephone in the house but unfortunate enough to have no privacy using that instrument at home?” Dr. Murray goes on to say that phone boxes , “will become but quaint memories of an older generation regaling their grandchildren with tales of trysts at the local telephone box or romance conducted through whispered confidences in that semi-private box in the middle of the village or at the end of the road . . . ”
Irish Linen - The Cloth of Kings
by Bridget Haggerty
Did you know that linen is the oldest fabric known to man and even pre-dates the invention of the wheel? But, while it was prehistoric man who created the first-ever fabric from the fibres of the flax plant, it was probably the Egyptians who, in recognizing it as a noble fabric, pioneered the industrial production of what was to become the cloth of kings.
Three thousand years before Christ was born, linen was the favored fabric of the Pharaohs and the Egyptian aristocracy in both life and death. Indeed, mass production of linen was essential because it would have taken approximately 1000 yards of linen to wrap around an Egyptian king, as part of the mummifying process.
It was to be several thousand years before linen made its way to Ireland. It is thought to have arrived in early Christian times and it is said that St. Patrick is buried in a shroud of Irish Linen.
The Annual Novena at Our Lady of Knock
by Bridget Haggerty
In the summer of 2003, Pope John Paul's prayers were answered at Knock. It rained buckets. Considering the Pope's role in making it one of the major Marian Shrines in the world, it was appropriate that, of all of them, it was at Knock that his plea on behalf of "the victims of this calamity" (Europe's heatwave) that all "ask the Lord fervently to grant the thirsty Earth the coolness of rain."
It's estimated that over the nine-day novena period - between August 14th and 22nd - as many as 100,000 people visited the shrine. The pilgrims are mainly Irish and come from all over the island but many are from overseas. Literature at the shrine is in Polish, Italian, German and Spanish, as well as English.
The annual novena was begun as recently as 1977, when the late Monsignor Horan was parish priest at Knock. It was felt that something should be done in August to focus attention on devotion to Mary, since the feast day of Our Lady of Knock is August 21st and the feast of the Assumption is on August 15.
A Taste of Ireland: Guinness - For Strength!
Authentic Irish clothing from Aran Sweaters Direct
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Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge, Co. Antrim
This unique span links the tiny island of Carrick-a-Rede with the dramatic Giant’s Causeway coast. The name means ‘the rock in the road’ and refers to the sea route salmon use to migrate to home waters. Hundreds of years ago, while there was plenty of fish to catch, casting a net from a boat was perilous due to rough seas and rocky shores. The solution was a simple rope bridge built by local fishermen. Once a single-railed bridge with wide gaps between the slats, it is now double-railed gapless. However, crossing the bridge is not for the faint-hearted. Downwards is an 80-foot panorama of sand, sea and surf. If you can’t walk, across, there’s a special platform which also affords spectacular views.
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March 4, 2011
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