April 2008 Newsletter
Dia Duit, Cairde (Good Day, Friends)

Before I get started, I would like to pay tribute to a wonderful person who is no longer with us. This issue of our newsletter is dedicated to the memory of Terry's brother, James F. Reynolds. Two months ago, we received the sad news that Jimmy had been diagnosed with an advanced form of cancer. He passed away at home on March 28th at the age of 66. Jimmy was a very special person and was a friend to everyone he met. Always happy and smiling, you would never hear him say an unkind word about anyone. Jimmy will be sadly missed by all who knew him.

James F. Reynolds

I hope that you all had a Happy St. Patrick's Day and Easter. Here, at LittleShamrocks.com, we have been very busy adding all kinds of new things to the web site. For your shopping pleasure, we have added several more affiliates to our store. We have published the first two issues of 'The Leitrim Connection' by Gerry Bohan, which consists of current events in and about County Leitrim. We have also added a page where you can contribute your own Ireland travel story to the web site. I have written a series of articles about Irish topics, including places of interest, Irish history, traditional Irish customs and even some legends from Irish mythology. I hope you will enjoy reading them as much as I did while researching.

The topic with the most interest has been about ancient Irish wedding customs. Some of the customs are still practiced today by many nationalities, even though they are believed to have origins in Ireland. For example, 'tying the knot' comes from the Irish tradition called 'handfasting'. Each party holds the hands of the other, right hand to right hand, left hand to left, with their wrists crossed. A ribbon is wound around the wrists, over the top of one and under and around the other, creating the infinity symbol.

'Honeymoon' is also derived from an Irish custom. The Irish translation for honeymoon is 'mi na meala' or 'the month of honey'. An old Irish custom was for the newlyweds to spend a month together drinking honey wine and, by the end of the month, the bride was usually expecting. Honey wine, known as mead, was consumed at weddings because it was thought that it promoted virility.

One last interesting note has to do with the last line of a little jingle for the bride that I'm sure you all have heard. I knew most of this jingle but had never heard the last line before: 'Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue, an Irish penny for her shoe'.

I will be creating some more new recipes in the near future and I will also be making a traditional Irish wedding cake. The top layer of this cake is a rich whiskey fruitcake which is saved to be eaten at the christening of the first child. The remainder of the cake is traditionally a white cake from which the couple keeps a slice to be eaten on their first anniversary. I have heard of this custom before but, to my knowledge, people no longer make a whiskey cake for the top layer.

Last, but not least, LittleShamrocks.com has grown immensely. Last month we had almost 30,000 individual visitors to the site, nearly 1,000 per day. This amazes me because, about 18 months ago, we only had 500 visitors per month. On behalf of everyone here, I would like to thank all of you for your unwavering interest in LittleShamrocks.com.

Until next time...


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