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by Margaret Johnson

Several foods are traditionally eaten on All Hallow's Eve, especially colcannon and barmbrack.  Bracks (from the Irish breac, meaning "speckled") are cakes studded with dried fruits and raisins which create a speckled effect when sliced. Those that are made with yeast are called "barmbracks," and those that use baking powder and fruit soaked in tea or cider are called "tea bracks" or "cider bracks."According to tradition, hidden in the Halloween barmbrack were tokens to foretell the future--a ring for the bride-to-be, a thimble for the one who would never marry, a coin for the one who would be wealthy, and a small piece of cloth indicating the one who would be poor. Fortune-telling aside, barmbrack is delicious anytime of the year, and is best when served warm with butter.

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Winner of Sean Kelly RaceKit
William O'Hare is the lucky winner of a signed RaceKit by pro cycling legend Sean Kelly.  Sean a former Irish professional road bicycle racer and one of the most successful road cyclists of the 1980s and one of the finest classic riders of all time.  From turning professional in 1977 until his retirement in 1994, he won nine monument classics, and 193 professional races in total. 
Find out more about Spice Roads Tours

Move over Farmers - here come the Doctors
Genuine doctors and medical students have manned up, stripped down to the waist and
posed for The Irish Doctor Calendar 2015, which helps support Epilepsy Ireland.

Some Irish people taste American snacks for the first time
Americans grew up on classic snacks such as Twinkies, Twizzlers, Kool Aid, Fruit Loops, Tootsie Roll, and Jolly rangers. Some Irish people decided to test the Irish palate with these beloved American treats.

Prime Beef: 2015 Irish Farmer Calendar out now
The crops are in and the shirts are off - Irish farmers go topless once again for the Irish charity Bothar ( in the Irish Farmer Calendar 2015.

Video of Northern Irish toddler scolding her mom goes viral
In less than a month, this funny video of a two year old Nothern Irish girl scolding her mom for laughing while she is trying to sing a song from the Disney film Frozen has gone viral.

Tell Your Story
All you have to do is login to IrishAbroad (remember it's free), go to and click the 'Add a new Post' link in the left hand menu.

Please remember that Blogs are for writing stories, features, articles, recipes or diaries. They should not be used for posting questions or discussions.

Register your Irish Family name or Surname >>
or share information if your name is already listed
This family register is where people can find and share information about their family name or ancestors.

Some surnames added/requested this week:
Toolan, Conn

Let us know if you've added a query or need your name added and we'll list it here. Email

Irish Citizenship by Descent
Did you know that if one of your grandparents was born in Ireland, you may be able to obtain Irish citizenship? The Republic of Ireland does grant citizenship to applicants who can prove their descent from a grandparent born in Ireland.

Making a Research Trip To Ireland
If you plan to visit Ireland, I would encourage you to consider making a genealogical odyssey part of your experience of this beautiful and historical island.

More expert Irish Genealogy Advice

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Thank you Tony Locke for your wonderful Irish folklore & mythological stories.
We dare you not to feel a shiver down your spine when you read some of these stories.

A Druids Ghost.
There is a passage tomb somewhere in the west of Ireland where druids buried their dead in stone containers, is it possible that one of their number protects their sleep?

The Arney Woman.
Here in Ireland we have an old saying-“A man who dies owing money or a woman who leaves a newbornbaby will never lie quiet in the grave” Talk about making people feel guilty when they are at their most vulnerable?

The House of Mystery.
In the year 1975 a good, gentle man called John Murphy killed his entire family and then in desperation killed himself. Was it murder-suicide or was there some other darker force at work?

The Death Coach.
In Irish Folklore the Death Coach is known as Cóiste Bodhar (Koe-shta-bower), meaning death or silent coach and if you see or even hear it then either you or a close relative will die in the very near future. The belief is that once the coach has come to the land of the living it cannot return empty. Once death has come to collect there is nothing on earth you can do to prevent it.

Alexander Colville. The Devil Doctor.
Little is known regarding his actual history but his name has become a legend in the district and is still a byword for evil and witchcraft and he was considered to be an extremely cruel and tyrannical landlord.
The most famous tale, one that is still repeated today, is that he sold his soul to the devil.

Moll Anthony: The witch of the red hills.
Celtic society had a very strong impression of female power, indeed, many Celtic deities were female and women played a central role in Celtic society.

The Sluagh
The Sluagh are dead sinners that return as evil spirits that hunt for souls. They come from the west, flying in groups like flocks of crows and attempt to enter the dwelling of someone who is close to death in order to steal their soul.

The Wild Hunt.
On these cold evenings it seems an easy thing to sit by the fire with the lights out. Shapes and shadows flicker in the darkness, and it is within these shadows that you will find The Sluagh who forms part of The Wild Hunt

Gaoithe sidhe. Fairy wind.
This is a sudden gust of wind or a whirlwind that was thought to have been caused by the faeries.

The Changeling.
It appears that fairy women all over Ireland find birth a difficult experience. Many fairy children die before birth and those that do survive are often stunted or deformed creatures.

Winner of the June-December 2013 Aer Lingus FlyAway competition
Lisa Flanagan, flanagan, has won the FlyAway competition for 2 round-trip flights to Ireland from select cities.

ENTER NOW for your chance to win


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