Irish Blessings ….Irish Curses ….Irish Quotations ….Irish Proverbs
Irish Drinking Toasts
….Irish Wedding Prayer …. Irish Songs

An Irishman’s Philosophy of Life

“In life, there are only two things to worry about, either you are well, or you are sick. If you are well, there is nothing to worry about, but if you are sick, you have two things to worry about; either you will live, or you will die. If you live, there is nothing to worry about, if you die, you have two things to worry about; either you will go to heaven or to hell. If you go to heaven, there is nothing to worry about, but if you go to hell, you’ll be so busy shaking hands with your friends, you won’t have time to worry!”

19 Irish Blessings

May the road rise to meet you.
May the wind be always at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face.
And rains fall soft upon your fields.
And until we meet again,
May God hold you in the hollow of His hand.

May you live as long as you want,
And never want as long as you live.

Always remember to forget
The things that made you sad.
But never forget to remember
The things that made you glad.

Always remember to forget
The friends that proved untrue.
But never forget to remember
Those that have stuck by you.

Always remember to forget
The troubles that passed away.
But never forget to remember
The blessings that come each day.

May the saddest day of your future be no worse
Than the happiest day of your past.

May the roof above us never fall in.
And may the friends gathered below it never fall out.

May you have warm words on a cold evening,
A full moon on a dark night,
And the road downhill all the way to your door.

May there be a generation of children
On the children of your children.

May you live to be a hundred years,
With one extra year to repent!

May the Lord keep you in His hand
And never close His fist too tight.

May your neighbors respect you,
Trouble neglect you,
The angels protect you,
And heaven accept you.

May the Irish hills caress you.
May her lakes and rivers bless you.
May the luck of the Irish enfold you.
May the blessings of Saint Patrick behold you.

May your pockets be heavy and your heart be light,
May good luck pursue you each morning and night.

Walls for the wind,
And a roof for the rain,
And drinks beside the fire –
Laughter to cheer you
And those you love near you,
And all that your heart may desire!

May God be with you and bless you,
May you see your children’s children,
May you be poor in misfortune, rich in blessings.
May you know nothing but happiness
From this day forward.

May God grant you many years to live,
For sure He must be knowing
The earth has angels all too few
And heaven is overflowing.

May peace and plenty be the first
To lift the latch to your door,
And happiness be guided to your home
By the candle of Christmas.

May you always have work for your hands to do.
May your pockets hold always a coin or two.
May the sun shine bright on your windowpane.
May the rainbow be certain to follow each rain.
May the hand of a friend always be near you.
And may God fill your heart with gladness to cheer you.

5 Irish Curses

May those who love us love us.
And those that don’t love us,
May God turn their hearts.
And if He doesn’t turn their hearts,
May he turn their ankles,
So we’ll know them by their limping.

May the enemies of Ireland never meet a friend.

May the curse of Mary Malone and her nine blind illegitimate children chase you so far over the hills of Damnation that the Lord himself can’t find you with a telescope.

May you melt off the earth like snow off the ditch.

May his pipe never smoke, may his teapot be broke
And to add to the joke, may his kettle ne’er boil,
May he keep to the bed till the hour that he’s dead,
May he always be fed on hogwash and boiled oil,
May he swell with the gout, may his grinders fall out,
May he roll howl and shout with the horrid toothache,
May the temples wear horns, and the toes many corns,
Of the monster that murdered Nell Flaherty’s drake.

May his spade never dig may his sow never pig
May each hair on his wig be well thrashed with a flail
May his door have no latch, may his house have no thatch,
May his turkey not hatch, may the rats eat his meat
May every old fairy, from Cork to Dunleary,
Dip him snug and airy in river or lake,
Where the eel and the trout may feed on the snout
Of the monster that murdered Neill Falheerty’s drake

11 Irish Quotations

St. Patrick’s Day is an enchanted time — a day to begin transforming winter’s dreams into summer’s magic. – Adrienne Cook

This is one race of people for whom psychoanalysis is of no use whatsoever.
– Sigmund Freud (about the Irish)

Ireland is rich in literature that understands a soul’s yearnings, and dancing that understands a happy heart. – Margaret Jackson

The problem with Ireland is that it’s a country full of genius, but with absolutely no talent. – Hugh Leonard

Only Irish coffee provides in a single glass all four essential food groups: alcohol, caffeine, sugar, and fat. – Alex Levine

O Ireland isn’t it grand you look–
Like a bride in her rich adornin?
And with all the pent-up love of my heart
I bid you the top o’ the mornin!
– John Locke “The Exile’s Return”

Maybe it’s bred in the bone, but the sound of pipes is a little bit of heaven to some of us. – Nancy O’Keeefe

In Ireland the inevitable never happens and the unexpected constantly occurs.
– Sir John Pentland Mahaffy

I’m troubled, I’m dissatisfied. I’m Irish.
– Marianne Moore “Spenser’s Ireland”

On she went, and her maiden smile
In safety lighted her round the Green Isle;
And blest forever was she who relied
Upon Erin’s honor and Erin’s pride.
– Thomas Moore

There is no language like the Irish for soothing and quieting.
– John Millington Synge

144 Irish Proverbs

A proverb is a short statement of wisdom or advice that has passed into general use. More homely than aphorisms, proverbs generally refer to common experience and are often expressed in metaphor, alliteration, or rhyme, e.g., “A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush,” “When the cat’s away, the mice will play.” Proverbs abound in the Bible, in early Greek and Roman literature, and in the gnomic verse of the Anglo-Saxons. In medieval literature proverbs serve in homilies and exempla to drive home moral lessons or add a humorous note as in the case of most Irish proverbs.

  1. Absence increases sorrow. A drink precedes a story.
  2. A friend’s eye is a good mirror.
  3. Age is honorable and youth is noble.
  4. A good beginning is half the work.
  5. A heavy purse makes a light heart.
  6. A hen is heavy when carried far.
  7. A hound’s food is in its legs.
  8. A kind word never broke anyone’s mouth.
  9. A light heart lives long.
  10. A little dog can start a hare, but it takes a big one to catch it.
  11. A lock is better than suspicion.
  12. An old broom knows the dirty corners best.
  13. A silent mouth is melodious.
  14. A silent mouth never did any harm.
  15. As the big hound is, so will the pup be.
  16. A trade not properly learned is an enemy.
  17. A trout in the pot is better than a salmon in the sea.
  18. Beauty will not make the pot boil.
  19. Be neither intimate nor distant with the clergy.
  20. Better good manners than good looks.
  21. Better be sure than sorry.
  22. Both your friend and your enemy think you will never die.
  23. Burning embers are easily kindled.
  24. Constant company wears out its welcome.
  25. Do not show your teeth until you can bite.
  26. Eaten bread is forgotten.
  27. Even a small thorn causes festering.
  28. Every dog is brave on his own doorstep. Long churning makes bad butter.
  29. Every patient is a doctor after his cure
  30. Everyone is wise till he speaks.
  31. God is good, but never dance in a small boat.
  32. God’s help is nearer than the door.
  33. Good sense is as important as food.
  34. Good as drink is, it ends in thirst.
  35. He who comes with a story to you brings two away from you.
  36. He who gets a name for early rising can stay in bed until midday.
  37. He who pays the piper calls the tune.
  38. If the cap doesn’t fit, don’t wear it.
  39. If you do not sow in the spring you will not reap in the autumn.
  40. If you don’t know the way, walk slowly.
  41. If you lie down with dogs, you’ll rise with fleas.
  42. If you want to be criticized, marry.
  43. Instinct is stronger than upbringing.
  44. In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king.
  45. It is a bad hen that does not scratch herself.
  46. It is a long road that has no turning.
  47. It is better to exist unknown to the law.
  48. It is not a secret if it is known by three people.
  49. It is sweet to drink but bitter to pay for.
  50. It is the good horse that draws its own cart.
  51. It is the quiet pigs that eat the meal.
  52. It takes time to build castles. Rome wan not built in a day.
  53. It’s not a matter of upper and lower class but of being up a while and down a while.
  54. It’s often a man’s mouth broke his nose.
  55. It was not on one foot that St. Patrick came to Ireland.
  56. It takes time to build castles.
  57. It is better to be lucky than rich.
  58. It is better to be lucky than wise.
  59. It is better to be lucky than to be an early riser.
  60. It is not a secret if it is known by three people.
  61. It’s no use boiling your cabbage twice.
  62. Lack of resource has hanged many a person.
  63. Listen to the sound of the river and you will get a trout.
  64. Many hands make light work.
  65. May you have a bright future – as the chimney sweep said to his son.
  66. Men may meet, but mountains never greet.
  67. Mere words do not feed the friars.
  68. One man’s meat is another man’s poison.
  69. One swallow never made a summer.
  70. Nature breaks through the eyes of the cat.
  71. Need teaches a plan.
  72. Necessity knows no law.
  73. Necessity is the mother of invention.
  74. No forcing the sea.
  75. No one is ever poor who has the sight of his eyes and the use of his feet.
  76. Patience is poultice for all wounds.
  77. People live in each other’s shelter.
  78. Poverty parts good company.
  79. Proverbs cannot be contradicted.
  80. Put silk on a goat, and it’s still a goat.
  81. Quiet people are well able to look after themselves.
  82. Talk of the devil, and he will appear.
  83. The best way to keep loyalty in a man’s heart is to keep money in his purse.
  84. The day will come when the cow will have use for her tail.
  85. The heavier the purse, the lighter the heart.
  86. The hole is more honorable than the patch.
  87. The grace of God is found between the saddle and the ground.
  88. The light heart lives long.
  89. The man with the boots does not mind where he places his foot.
  90. The mills of God grind slowly but they grind finely.
  91. The old pipe gives the sweetest smoke.
  92. The poet who overcharges for a poem shall be stripped of half his rank in society
  93. The raggy colt often made a powerful horse.
  94. There are three kinds of men who fail to understand women: young men, old men and middle-aged men
  95. The smallest thing outlives the human being.
  96. The thief is no danger to the beggar.
  97. The wine is sweet, the paying bitter.
  98. The wearer best knows where the shoe pinches.
  99. Three candles that illuminate every darkness: truth, nature, knowledge
  100. The wearer best knows where the shoe pinches.
  101. The well fed does not understand the lean.
  102. The windy day is not the day for thatching.
  103. The work praises the man.
  104. The world would not make a racehorse of a donkey.
  105. There are as many good fish in the sea as ever came out of it.
  106. There is hope from the sea, but none from the grave.
  107. There is luck in sharing a thing.
  108. There is no fireside like your own fireside.
  109. There is no luck except where there is discipline.
  110. There is no need like the lack of a friend.
  111. There is no strength without unity.
  112. There is no tune without a penny.
  113. There never was an old slipper but there was an old stocking to match it.
  114. Thirst is the end of drinking and sorrow is the end of drunkenness.
  115. Three diseases without shame: Love, itch and thirst.
  116. Time and patience would bring the snail to Jerusalem.
  117. Time is a great story teller.
  118. Two shorten the road.
  119. Two thirds of the work is the semblance.
  120. Walk straight, my son – as the old crab said to the young crab.
  121. What butter and whiskey will not cure, there’s no cure for.
  122. What I’m afraid to hear I’d better say first myself.
  123. What will come from the briar but the berry.
  124. What’s in the marrow is hard to take out of the bone.
  125. When a twig grows hard it is difficult to twist it. Every beginning is weak.
  126. When fire is applied to a stone it cracks.
  127. When the apple is ripe it will fall.
  128. When the belly is full, the bones like to stretch.
  129. When the drop (drink) is inside, the sense is outside.
  130. When the liquor was gone the fun was gone.
  131. When your hand is in the dog’s mouth, withdraw it gently.
  132. When the sky falls we’ll catch larks.
  133. Wine divulges truth.
  134. Words will not feed the friars.
  135. You cannot make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear.
  136. You can’t build a barrel around a bung hole.
  137. You can take a man out of the bog, but you can’t take the bog out of the man.
  138. You’ll never plow a field by turning it over in your mind.
  139. Your feet will bring you to where your heart is.
  140. You must live with a person to know a person.
  141. You never miss the water till the well has run dry.
  142. Youth does not mind where it sets its foot.
  143. Youth sheds many a skin. The steed (horse) does not retain its speed forever.
  144. You’ve got to do your own growing, no matter how tall your grandfather was.

10 Irish Drinking Toasts

May you live as long as you want
and never want as long as you may live.

May the most you wish for be the least you get.
May the best times you’ve ever had
be the worst you’ll ever see.

Slainte! – Gaelic – “To your health!”
May your glass be ever full.
May the roof over your head be always strong.
And may you be in heaven
half an hour before the devil knows you’re dead.

Here’s to me, and here’s to you,
And here’s to love and laughter-
I’ll be true as long as you,
And not one moment after.

Here’s to you and yours
And to mine and ours.
And if mine and ours
Ever come across to you and yours,
I hope you and yours will do
As much for mine and ours
As mine and ours have done
For you and yours!

Health and life to you;
The mate of your choice to you;
Land without rent to you,
And death in Eirinn.

Here’s a toast to your enemies’ enemies!

When we drink, we get drunk.
When we get drunk, we fall asleep.
When we fall asleep, we commit no sin.
When we commit no sin, we go to heaven.
So, let’s all get drunk, and go to heaven!

Here’s to a long life and a merry one.
A quick death and an easy one.
A pretty girl and an honest one.
A cold beer—and another one!

Here’s to our wives and girlfriends:
May they never meet!

An Irish Wedding Prayer

By the power that Christ brought from heaven,
mayst thou love me.
As the sun follows its course,
mayst thou follow me.
As light to the eye,
as bread to the hungry,
as joy to the heart,
may thy presence be with me,
oh one that I love,
’til death comes to part us asunder.

Irish Songs

The Irish National Anthem – A Soldier’s Song

The text of The Soldier’s Song (Amhrán na bhFiann), consisting of three stanzas and a chorus, was written in 1907 by Peadar Kearney, an uncle of Brendan Behan,  who together with Patrick Heeney also composed the music. It was first published in the newspaper, Irish Freedom in 1912. The song was not widely known until it was sung during the Easter Rising of 1916 and later at various internment camps.  The chorus was formally adopted as the National Anthem in 1926, displacing the earlier Fenian anthem, God Save Ireland. A section of the National Anthem (consisting of the first four bars followed by the last five) is also the Presidential Salute.

We’ll sing a song, a soldier’s song,
With cheering rousing chorus,
As round our blazing fires we throng,
The starry heavens o’er us;
Impatient for the coming fight,
And as we wait the morning’s light,
Here in the silence of the night,
We’ll chant a soldier’s song.

Soldiers are we
whose lives are pledged to Ireland;
Some have come
from a land beyond the wave.
Sworn to be free,
No more our ancient sire land
Shall shelter the despot or the slave.
Tonight we man the gap of danger
In Erin’s cause, come woe or weal
‘Mid cannons’ roar and rifles peal,
We’ll chant a soldier’s song.

In valley green, on towering crag,
Our fathers fought before us,
And conquered ‘neath the same old flag
That’s proudly floating o’er us.
We’re children of a fighting race,
That never yet has known disgrace,
And as we march, the foe to face,
We’ll chant a soldier’s song.


Sons of the Gael! Men of the Pale!
The long watched day is breaking;
The serried ranks of Inisfail
Shall set the Tyrant quaking.
Our camp fires now are burning low;
See in the east a silv’ry glow,
Out yonder waits the Saxon foe,
So chant a soldier’s song.


Lady of Knock

There were people of all ages
gathered ‘round the gable wall
poor and humble men and women,
little children that you called
we are gathered here before you,
and our hearts are just the same
filled with joy at such a vision,
as we praise your name

Golden Rose, Queen of Ireland,
all my cares and troubles cease
as we kneel with love before you,
Lady of Knock, my Queen of Peace

Though your message was unspoken,
still the truth in silence lies
as we gaze upon your vision,
and the truth I try to find
here I stand with John the teacher,
and with Joseph at your side
and I see the Lamb of God,
on the Altar glorified

Oh Danny Boy

Oh Danny boy, the pipes, the pipes are calling
From glen to glen, and down the mountain side
The summer’s gone, and all the roses falling
‘Tis you, ’tis you must go, and I must bide.

But come you back when summer’s in the meadow
Or when the valley’s hushed and white with snow
‘Tis I’ll be there in sunshine or in shadow
Oh Danny boy, oh Danny boy, I love you so.

But if you come, and all the flowers are dying
And if I am dead, as dead I may well be
You’ll come and find the place where I am lying
And kneel and say an “Ave” there for me.

And I shall hear, tho’ soft you tread above me
And all my dreams shall warm and sweeter be
If you will bend and tell me that you love me Then I will sleep in peace until you come to me.