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50 Wholesome Irish Sayings You Should Learn Today

by Joan Newsome
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For as long as I can remember, I have held a great liking toward Irish people. The main reason for that is their freedom-loving spirit and confidence. These Celtic descendants have seen their fair share of hardship and suffering through history, and yet they remain cheerful and positive. The brash and lively nature of Irish people is most prominent in traditional Irish sayings, or seanfhocal, as they call them.

Ireland is one of the countries with a well-developed tradition of narration-based folklore. That is how the Irish have kept the old Gaelic language alive and, with it, their culture as well. In fact, storytelling was the main form of entertainment for Irish people, long before the advent of literacy, pen and paper, and modern media.

As a result, the Irish became naturally skilled with words, so it’s no wonder that some of the world’s best writers were Irish. James Joyce and Samuel Beckett are the two most famous examples.

Interestingly, Irish people created a whole lexicon of phrases, sayings, and proverbs that you can use in everyday situations. Thanks to thousands of years of continued folklore, the Irish have a perfect saying for any circumstance.

Of course, a few of them do sound quaint and plain nonsensical. However, I always found it astonishing that, even though they are centuries-old, some of these sayings still ring true. To illustrate that, in the following paragraphs, I’ll present you with a selection of the best Irish sayings to elevate your mood. Enjoy!

50 Irish Sayings That You Should Learn Today

Irish Sayings About Family

1. “A family of Irish birth will argue and fight, but let a shout come from without and see them all unite.”

2. “Praise the child, and you praise the mother.”

3. “You’ve got to do your own growing, no matter how tall your father was.”

4. “A man loves his sweetheart the most, his wife the best, but his mother the longest.”

5. “A son is a son till he takes him a wife. A daughter is a daughter all of her life.”

6. “Marry a mountain girl, and you marry the whole mountain.”

7. “Bricks and mortar make a house, but the laughter of children makes a home.”

8. “Having somewhere to go is home, having someone to love is family, having both is a blessing.”

9. “May the sons of your daughters smile up in your face.”

Irish Sayings About Friendship

10. “A friend’s eye is a good mirror.”

11. “May God bring good health to your enemies’ enemies.”

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

13. “May your home always be too small to hold all your friends.”

14. “There are good ships, and there are wood ships, the ships that sail the sea. But the best ships are friendships, and may they always be.”

15. “Two shorten the road.”

16. “Who keeps his tongue keeps his friends.”

17. “If you are looking for a friend without a fault, you will be without a friend forever.”

Irish Sayings About Luck

18. “If you’re lucky to be Irish… You’re lucky enough!”

19. “May all the giant hearts be tall as day, may all your winter nights be warm as may.”

20. “May the wind at your back always be your own.”

21. “May your troubles be as few and as far apart as my Grandmother’s teeth.”

22. “May the grass grow long on the road to hell for want of use.”

23. “May the Lord keep you in His hand and never close His fist too tight.”

Irish Sayings About Life

24. “Your feet will bring you where your heart is.”

25. “A toast to your coffin. May it be made of a 100-year-old oak. And may we plant the tree together, tomorrow.”

26. “The future is not ours to know, and it may never be — so let us live and give our best, and give it lavishly!”

27. “May the dust of your carriage blind the eyes of your foe!”

28. “May you live as long as you want and never want as long as you live.”

29. “May you live to be a hundred years, with one extra year to repent.”

30. “Life is like a cup of tea, it’s all in how you make it.”

31. “May neighbors respect you, trouble neglect you, angels protect you, and Heavens accept you.”

32. “A good laugh and a long sleep are the two best cures.”

33. “Experience is the comb that life gives a bald man.”

Profound Irish Sayings That Seemingly Make No Sense

34. “It’s difficult to choose between two blind goats.”

35. “A whistling woman and a crowing hen will bring no luck to the house they are in.”

36. “Don’t be breaking your shin on a stool that’s not in your way.“

37. “When the sky falls, we’ll all catch larks.”

38. “If the knitter is weary, the baby will have no bonnet.”

39. “It’s for her own good that the cat purrs.”

40. “Don’t tell your secret even to a fence.”

41. “There never was an old slipper, but there was an old stocking to match it.”

42. “A buckle is a great addition to an old shoe.”

43. “In winter, the milk goes to the cow’s horns.”

44. “Snuff at a wake is fine if there’s nobody sneezing over the snuff box.”

45. “A turkey never voted for an early Christmas.”

46. “A nod is as good as a wink to a blind horse.”

47. “Never scald your lips with another man’s porridge.”

48. “God is good, but never dance in a small boat.”

49. “If a cat had a dowry, she would often be kissed.”

50. “Never bolt the door with a boiled carrot.”

To Conclude

These sayings show what Irish people are all about — family, companionship, gratitude, and fun. The fragments of ancient wisdom have served as a guide to generations of Irish people, and they will continue to do so.

I can only be thankful for having an insight into the collective mindset of the Irish. No matter where you come from, you can always discover enlightenment in these Irish sayings.

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