Irish Proverbs

The Irish (Irish: Muintir na hÉireann or Na hÉireannaigh) are a nation and ethnic group native to the island of Ireland, who share a common Irish ancestry, identity and culture. Ireland has been inhabited for about 12,500 years according to archaeological studies. For most of Ireland’s recorded history, the Irish have been primarily a Gaelic people.

The Irish have their own customs, language, music, dance, sports, cuisine and mythology. Although Irish (Gaeilge) was their main language in the past, today most Irish people speak English as their first language. Historically, the Irish nation was made up of kin groups or clans, and the Irish also had their own religion, law code, alphabet and style of dress.

A collection of Irish Proverbs to inspire you. Wise Irish Sayings in the form of proverbs that have been passed down for generations.

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Irish Proverbs

A bad wife takes advice from everyone but her husband. – Irish Proverb

A barrel that contains the wine will retain the drop in its staves. – Irish Proverb

A beetle buries himself in dung. – Irish Proverb

A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush. – Irish Proverb

A blind man can see his mouth. – Irish Proverb

A blind man is no judge of colours. – Irish Proverb

A boys best friend is his mother and there’s no spancel stronger than her apron string. – Irish Proverb

A buckle is a great addition to an old shoe. – Irish Proverb

A burnt child fears [or: dreads] the fire. – Irish Proverb

A cabin with plenty of food is better than a hungry castle. – Irish Proverb

A cart-horse could never win the derby. – Irish Proverb

A cat can look at a King. – Irish Proverb

A Christmas wish — may you never forget what is worth remembering, or remember what is best forgotten. – Irish Proverb

A closed hand catches no hawk. – Irish Proverb

A closed mouth–a wise head. – Irish Proverb

A constant drop wears a hole in the stone. – Irish Proverb

A constant guest is never welcome. – Irish Proverb

A country without a language, a country without a soul. – Irish Proverb

A craftsman’s son may grow up in ignorance of his father’s skills. – Irish Proverb

A dear good article is better than a cheap bad article. – Irish Proverb

A debt is still unpaid, even if forgotten. – Irish Proverb

A demon is not entitled to forgiveness. – Irish Proverb

A dimple in the chin; a devil within. – Irish Proverb

A diplomat must always think twice before he says nothing. – Irish Proverb

A disease known is half cured. – Irish Proverb

A dishonest woman can’t be kept in and an honest woman won’t. – Irish Proverb

A dog owns nothing, yet is seldom dissatisfied. – Irish Proverb

A dog with two homes is never any good. – Irish Proverb

A drink precedes a story. – Irish Proverb

A drop before a shower. (I.e. a portent of greater things to come. – Irish Proverb

A dumb priest does not get a livelihood. – Irish Proverb

A dumb priest never got a parish. – Irish Proverb

A face without freckles is like a sky without stars. – Irish Proverb

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

A fast is better than a bad meal. – Irish Proverb

A fool and his money are easily parted. – Irish Proverb

A foolish woman knows a foolish man’s faults. – Irish Proverb

A fool’s money is not long in his pocket. – Irish Proverb

A foster-child is as he is brought up. – Irish Proverb

A friend’s eye is a good mirror. – Irish Proverb

A full pig in the sty doesn’t find the hungry one going by. – Irish Proverb

A generous man, they say, has never gone to hell. [Not so, tells Buddha] – Irish Proverb

A glutton lives to eat; a wise man eats to live. – Irish Proverb

A golden ring can tie a man as tight as any chain. – Irish Proverb

A good beginning is half the work. – Irish Proverb

A good denial, the best point in law. – Irish Proverb

A good dress often hides a deceiver. – Irish Proverb

A good farmer is know by his crops. – Irish Proverb

A good heart never went to hell. – Irish Proverb

A good laugh and a long sleep are the best cures in the doctor’s book. – Irish Proverb

A good laugh and a long sleep are the two best cures in the doctor’s book. – Irish Proverb

A good laugh and a long sleep are the two best cures. – Irish Proverb

A good man is a wise man. – Irish Proverb

A good retreat is better than a bad stand. – Irish Proverb

A good retreat is better than a poor fight. – Irish Proverb

A good servant makes a good master. – Irish Proverb

A good thing is bettered by being increased. – Irish Proverb

A good word does not destroy a tooth. – Irish Proverb

A good word never broke a tooth. – Irish Proverb

A goose never voted for an early Christmas. – Irish Proverb

A greyhound finds food in its feet. – Irish Proverb

A greyhound finds its food by using its feet. – Irish Proverb

A guest should be blind in another man’s house. – Irish Proverb

A hair on the head is worth two on the brush. – Irish Proverb

A handful of skill is better than a bagful of gold. – Irish Proverb

A handstaff of holly, a buailtin of hazel,a single sheaf and a clean floor. – Irish Proverb

A heavy heart seldom combs a gray beard. – Irish Proverb

A heavy purse makes a light heart. – Irish Proverb

A hen carried far is heavy. – Irish Proverb

A hen is heavy when carried far. – Irish Proverb

A hint is sufficient for the wise. – Irish Proverb

A hook [is] well lost to catch a salmon. – Irish Proverb

A hound’s food is in its legs. – Irish Proverb

A house divided will soon fall. – Irish Proverb

A hungry ass keeps her kicking end down. – Irish Proverb

A hut is a palace to the poor man. – Irish Proverb

A Kerry shower is of twenty-four hours. – Irish Proverb

A kick against a boor. – Irish Proverb

A kind word never broke anyone’s mouth. – Irish Proverb

A king’s son is not nobler than his food. – Irish Proverb

A lamb when carried far becomes as burdensome as a sheep. – Irish Proverb

A lie travels farther than the truth. – Irish Proverb

A light heart lives long. – Irish Proverb

A light heart lives longest. – Irish Proverb

A list full of gain and a village full of shame. – Irish Proverb

A little dog can start a hare, but it takes a big one to catch it. – Irish Proverb

A little fire that warms is better than a big fire that burns. – Irish Proverb

A little kinship is better than a lot of charity. – Irish Proverb

A little of anything isn’t worth a pin; but a wee bit of sense is worth a lot. – Irish Proverb

A little pleases a poor man. – Irish Proverb

A live dog is better than a dead lion. – Irish Proverb

A loan long continued usually confers ownership. – Irish Proverb

A lock is better than suspicion. – Irish Proverb

A loud voice can make even the truth sound foolish. – Irish Proverb

A man has often cut a rod to beat himself. – Irish Proverb

A man is no more encumbered by his soul than the steed by his bridle or the lake by the swan. – Irish Proverb

A man is often a bad adviser to himself and a good adviser to another. – Irish Proverb

A man is shy in another man’s corner. – Irish Proverb

A man lives long in his native place. – Irish Proverb

A man loves his sweetheart the most, his wife the best, but his mother the longest. – Irish Proverb

A man may be his own ruin. – Irish Proverb

A man may live after losing his life but not after losing his honour. – Irish Proverb

A man of learning understands half a word. – Irish Proverb

A man of one cow – a man of no cow. – Irish Proverb

A man who holds good cards would never say if they were dealt wrong. – Irish Proverb

A man with a loud laugh makes truth itself seem folly, Truth is great and will win out. – Irish Proverb

A man without a blackthorn stick is a man without an expedient. – Irish Proverb

A meeting in sunlight is lucky, and a burying in the rain. – Irish Proverb

A misty winter brings a pleasant spring, a pleasant winter a misty spring. – Irish Proverb

A narrow neck keeps the bottle from being emptied in one swig. – Irish Proverb

A new broom sweeps clean, but the old brush knows all the corners. – Irish Proverb

A nod is as good as a wink to a blind donkey. – Irish Proverb

A nod is as good as a wink to a blind horse. – Irish Proverb

A nod’s as good as a wink to a blind horse. – Irish Proverb

A penny gets another penny. – Irish Proverb

A penny in a poor man’s pocket is better than two pennies in a rich man’s pocket. – Irish Proverb

A person born to be a flower pot will not go beyond the porch. – Irish Proverb

A person does not get his learning cheaply. – Irish Proverb

A person that is made a pet of, and a pig that is made a pet of, are the two worst pets at all. – Irish Proverb

A person’s heart is in his feet. – Irish Proverb

A poem ought to be well made at first, for there is many a one to spoil it afterwards. – Irish Proverb

A poet should be honoured. – Irish Proverb

A poor person is often worthy. – Irish Proverb

A postponement till morning A postponement for ever. – Irish Proverb

A priest that’s made a pet of and a pig that’s made a pet of are the two worst pets of all. However, all priests are different. And in our times some pigs are kept as pets. – Irish Proverb

A promise is a debt. – Irish Proverb
Scottish: He who promises must pay. Welsh: Everyone’s promise is a debt to him.

A quarrel is like buttermilk: once it’s out of the churn, the more you shake it, the more sour it grows. – Irish Proverb

A questioning man is halfway to being wise. – Irish Proverb

A quiet tongue shows a wise head. – Irish Proverb

A ragged colt may make a good horse. – Irish Proverb

A rainy day is not a day for children. – Irish Proverb

A ring on a good woman’s finger is no good without a blouse on her back. – Irish Proverb

A rolling stone does not gather moss. – Irish Proverb

A rolling stone gathers no moss, but it gets a great shine. – Irish Proverb

A sabbath well-spent brings a week of content. – Irish Proverb

A scholars ink lasts longer than a martyr’s blood. – Irish Proverb

A secret is a weapon and a friend. – Irish Proverb

A shamefaced man seldom acquires wealth. – Irish Proverb

A shelter from the shower (used to denote ease and comfort.) – Irish Proverb

A ship is lost with all on board on account of one man. – Irish Proverb

A ship is often lost because of one man. – Irish Proverb

A ship often sank beside the harbour. – Irish Proverb

A short visit is best and that not too often. – Irish Proverb

A shrew gets her wish but suffers in the getting. – Irish Proverb

A silent mouth is melodious. – Irish Proverb

A silent mouth is musical. – Irish Proverb

A silent mouth is sweet to hear. – Irish Proverb

A silent mouth never did any harm. – Irish Proverb

A single scabby sheep will infect a flock. – Irish Proverb

A sly rogue is often in good dress. – Irish Proverb

A small army is a door to death. – Irish Proverb

A small benefit obtained is better than a great one in expectation. – Irish Proverb

A small debt makes a man your debtor, a large one your enemy. – Irish Proverb

A smokey cabin, a handful of spuds and a flea-filled bed. – Irish Proverb

A soft answer turns away anger. – Irish Proverb

A soft dropping April brings milk to cows and sheep. – Irish Proverb

A solitary man makes not an army. – Irish Proverb

A son is a son till he takes him a wife. A daughter is a daughter all of her life. – Irish Proverb

A sound man is a king. – Irish Proverb

A spender gets the property of the hoarder. – Irish Proverb

A stirring foot always gets something, even if it’s only a thorn. – Irish Proverb

A stitch in time saves two stitches. – Irish Proverb

A story without an author is not worth listening to. – Irish Proverb

A swan would die with pride only for its black feet. – Irish Proverb

A sword, a spade and a thought should never be allowed to rust. – Irish Proverb

A thorn, a hound’s tooth, a fool’s word: these are the three sharpest things. – Irish Proverb

A trade not (properly) learned is an enemy. – Irish Proverb

A trade not properly learned is an enemy. – Irish Proverb

A trade that is not practised is an enemy,’ i.e. it does more harm than good. – Irish Proverb

A trout in the pot is better than a salmon in the pool. – Irish Proverb

A trout in the pot is better than a salmon in the sea. – Irish Proverb

A true friend laughs at your stories even when they’re not so good, and sympathizes with your troubles even when they’re not so bad. – Irish Proverb

A tune is more lasting than the song of the birds,
And a word more lasting than the wealth of the world. – Irish Proverb

A turkey never voted for an early Christmas. – Irish Proverb

A Tyrone woman will never buy a rabbit without a head for fear it’s a cat. – Irish Proverb

A vessel holds only its fill (Cf. One cannot take more out of a sack than the full of it). – Irish Proverb

A wall against the onrush of the flood-tide. – Irish Proverb

A watched kettle never boils. – Irish Proverb

A wedge from itself splits the oak tree. – Irish Proverb

A welcome is a debtor’s face. – Irish Proverb

A wet and windy May fills the barn with corn and hay. – Irish Proverb

A whistling woman and a crowing hen will bring no luck to the house they are in. – Irish Proverb

A wild goose never reared a tame gosling. – Irish Proverb

A windy day is not a day for thatching. – Irish Proverb

A windy day is not the day for thatching. – Irish Proverb

A windy day is the wrong one for thatching. – Irish Proverb

A wise head keeps a shut mouth. – Irish Proverb

A wise head makes a closed mouth. – Irish Proverb

A wisp in place of a broom. (I.e. a poor substitute.) – Irish Proverb

A woman can beat the devil. – Irish Proverb

A woman like a goat, a woman of rushing visits. – Irish Proverb

A woman like a goose, a sharp pecking woman. – Irish Proverb

A woman like a lamb, a quiet friendly woman. – Irish Proverb

A woman like a pig, a sleepy-headed woman. – Irish Proverb

A woman like a sheep, an affable friendly woman. – Irish Proverb

A woman like a sickle, a strong stubborn woman. – Irish Proverb

A woman told me that a woman told her. – Irish Proverb

A woman without is she who has neither pipe nor child. – Irish Proverb

A word is more enduring than worldly wealth. – Irish Proverb

A wren in the hand is better than a crane to be caught. – Irish Proverb

About evening a man is known. – Irish Proverb

About the foot of the tree the foliage falls. – Irish Proverb

Absence increases sorrow. – Irish Proverb

After the gathering comes the scattering. – Irish Proverb

Age is honorable and youth is noble. – Irish Proverb

All are not saints that go to church. – Irish Proverb

All happy endings are beginnings as well. – Irish Proverb

All sins cast long shadows. – Irish Proverb

Although sense is a small thing, a person needs it much. – Irish Proverb

Although you broke the bone, you did not suck out the marrow. – Irish Proverb
(Referring to bones that are split to extract the marrow)

Always remember that hindsight is the best insight to foresight. – Irish Proverb

Always remember to forget the things that made you sad. But never forget to remember the things that made you glad. – Irish Proverb

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

An act is to be believed before (mere) talk and writing. – Irish Proverb
English: “Actions speak louder than words.”

An early riser gets through his business, but not by means of early rising [alone]. – Irish Proverb

An empty house is better than a bad tenant. – Irish Proverb

An empty sack does not stand. – Irish Proverb

An excuse is nearer to a woman than her apron. – Irish Proverb

An experienced rider doesn’t change his horse in midstream. – Irish Proverb

An eye is blind in another man’s corner. – Irish Proverb

An inch is a great deal on a nose. – Irish Proverb

An Irishman is never at his best except when fighting. – Irish Proverb

An Irishman is never at peace except when he’s fighting. – Irish Proverb

An Irishman is never drunk as long as he can hold onto one blade of grass and not fall off the face of the earth. – Irish Proverb

An old broom knows the dirty corners best. – Irish Proverb

Any fool carries an umbrella on a wet day, but the wise man carries it every day. – Irish Proverb

Any man can lose his hat in a fairy – wind. – Irish Proverb

Any man who owns a cow can always find a woman to milk her. – Irish Proverb

Anything is better than a bad marriage. – Irish Proverb

Anything will fit a naked man. – Irish Proverb

Apelles was not a master painter the first day. – Irish Proverb

As honest as a cat when the meat is out of reach. – Irish Proverb

As sluttish and slatternly as an Irishwoman bred in France . – Irish Proverb

As the big hound is, so will the pup be. – Irish Proverb

As the old cock crows so the young cock learns. – Irish Proverb

As the old cock crows, the young cock learns. – Irish Proverb

As to every cow belongs her calf, so to every book belongs its transcript. – Irish Proverb

As well whistle jigs to a milestone as tell troubles to you. – Irish Proverb

As you have made your bed, so you must lie on it (Solve troubles of your own making, unaided if you can.). – Irish Proverb

As you have spent the candle, spend the inch. – Irish Proverb

As you live yourself, you judge your neighbor. – Irish Proverb

As you make your bed lie on it. – Irish Proverb

As you ramble through life, whatever be your goal;
Keep your eye upon the doughnut, and not upon the hole. – Irish proverb

As you see yourself, I once saw myself; as you see me now, you will be seen. – Irish Proverb

As you slide down the banister of life, may the splinters never point the wrong way. – Irish Proverb

Attend the luck when you get it. – Irish Proverb

Autumn days come quickly like the running of a hound on the moor. – Irish Proverb

Bad as I like ye, it’s worse without ye. – Irish Proverb

Bad encouragement is neither help nor assistance. – Irish Proverb

Baptise your own child first. (I.e. Attend to your own affairs first, before troubling about other people’s). – Irish Proverb

Be kind to those that meet you as you rise, you may pass them again as you fall. – Irish Proverb

Be neither intimate nor distant with the clergy. – Irish Proverb

Be neither intimate nor distant with the clergy. – Irish Proverb

Be on your guard against taking sides. – Irish Proverb

Be there with the day and be gone with the day. – Irish Proverb

Beating an oak with one’s fists. – Irish Proverb

Beauty and money – they will go; learning and good manners – they never decay. – Irish Proverb

Beauty is only skin deep, ugliness goes to the bone. – Irish Proverb

Beauty never boiled the pot and ugliness never thickened it. – Irish Proverb

Beauty will not make the pot boil. – Irish Proverb

Beef to the heels like a Mullingar heifer. – Irish Proverb

Beginning with a cough, and ending with a coffin. (This is the history of the thousands that have died of consumption every year.) – Irish Proverb

Being Irish is very much a part of who I am. I take it everywhere with me. – Colin Farrell

Being Irish, he had an abiding sense of tragedy, which sustained him through temporary periods of joy. – William Butler Yeats

Bend with the tree that will bend with you. – Irish Proverb

Best is a conference from which comes peace. – Irish Proverb

Better “it is so” than “it may be so”. – Irish Proverb

Better a little relationship than much acquaintance. – Irish Proverb

Better an idle house than a bad tenant. – Irish Proverb

Better April showers than the breadth of the ocean in gold. – Irish Proverb

Better be quarreling than lonesome. – Irish Proverb

Better be safe than sorry. – Irish Proverb

Better be sparing at first than at last. – Irish Proverb

Better be sure than sorry. – Irish Proverb

Better fifty enemies outside the house than one within. – Irish Proverb

Better for a man to have even a dog welcome him than a dog bark at him. – Irish Proverb

Better good manners than good looks. – Irish Proverb

Better is a small house with plenty in it than a big house with a scarcity of food. – Irish Proverb

Better is an ass that carries you than a horse that throws you. – Irish Proverb

Better is the trouble that follows death than the trouble that follows shame. – Irish Proverb

Better know the thing than be taken by surprise. – Irish Proverb

Better late than too late. – Irish Proverb

Better one good thing that is, rather than two good things that were, or three good things that might never come to pass. – Irish Proverb

Better one house spoiled than two. – Irish Proverb

Better own a trifle than want a great deal. – Irish Proverb

Better sit beside him than in his place. – Irish Proverb

Better the certainty of the straddle than the mere loan of a saddle. – Irish Proverb

Better the coldness of a friend than the sweetness of an enemy. – Irish Proverb

Better the trouble that follows death than the trouble that follows shame. – Irish Proverb

Better to be a man of character than a man of means. – Irish Proverb

Better to be fortunate than rich. – Irish Proverb

Better to be fortunate than to be rich. – Irish Proverb

Better to do a good deed and boast about it than not to do it and not boast about it. – Irish Proverb

Better to have a dog fawn on you than bark at you. – Irish Proverb

Between the two stools he came to the ground. – Irish Proverb

Beware of people who dislike cats. – Irish Proverb

Beware of the anger of a patient man. – Irish Proverb

Beware of the bribed man. – Irish Proverb

Big bellies were never generous. – Irish Proverb

Big men are not the only kind that can reap a harvest. – Irish Proverb

Birds of one feather are often together. – Irish Proverb

Black as is the raven, he thinks his chick fair. – Irish Proverb

Both your friend and your enemy think that you will never die. – Irish Proverb

Both your friend and your enemy think you will never die. – Irish Proverb

Bricks and mortar make a house, but the laughter of children make a home. – Irish Proverb

Broken Irish is better than clever English. – Irish Proverb

Burning embers are easily kindled. – Irish Proverb
Cf. It is easy to kindle a live coal. (Old feuds are easily revived – It is easy to renew an old quarrel).

By degrees the castles are built. – Irish Proverb

By their tongues people are caught, and by their horns, cattle. – Irish Proverb

Calm and noiseless are the full pools. – Irish Proverb

Cast not out the auld water till the new come in. – Irish Proverb

Castles were built a stone at a time. – Irish Proverb

Character is better than wealth. – Irish Proverb

Charity begins at home. – Irish Proverb

Choose your company before you go drinking. – Irish Proverb

Choose your company before you sit down [e.g., to drink together]. – Irish Proverb

Cleaning the house will not pay the rent. – Irish Proverb

Cleanliness is a great comfort. – Irish Proverb

Cleanliness is part of glory. – Irish Proverb

Come seldom, come welcome. – Irish Proverb

Comfort is not known if poverty does not come before it. – Irish Proverb

Coming out is a different thing from going in. – Irish Proverb
(e.g., Going into the king’s house (or the town) is one thing, getting out is another.)

Constant begging only meets with constant refusal. – Irish Proverb

Constant company wears out its welcome. – Irish Proverb

Continual cheerfulness is a sign of wisdom. – Irish Proverb

Crafty advice is often got from a fool. – Irish Proverb

Culture and (the world’s) respect are seldom found together. – Irish Proverb

Cunning is better than strength. – Irish Proverb

Dance as if no one were watching. Sing as if no one were listening. And live every day as if it were your last. – Irish Proverb

Dance as if no one’s watching, sing as if no one’s listening, and live everyday as if it were your last. – Irish Proverb

Dancing was first started by a madman. – Irish Proverb

Danger without fear. (I.e. foolish confidence in the face of danger. – Irish Proverb

Dead with tea and dead without it. – Irish Proverb

Death and marriages make changes. – Irish Proverb

Death does not come without a cause. – Irish Proverb

Death is in front of the old person and at the back of the young person. – Irish Proverb

Death is the poor man’s best physician. – Irish Proverb

Death is the poor man’s doctor. – Irish Proverb

Death leaves a heartache no one can heal,
Love leaves a memory no one can steal. – From a headstone in Ireland

Discord is less painful than loneliness. – Irish Proverb

Distant hills look green. – Irish Proverb

Do it as if there was fire in your skin. – Irish Proverb

Do not be talkative in an alehouse. – Irish Proverb

Do not bless the fish till it gets to the land. – Irish Proverb

Do not build the sty before the litter comes. – Irish Proverb

Don’t build the sty before (you get) the pigs. (Lest you might never get them.) – Irish Proverb

Do not entertain extravagant hopes. – Do not expect too much. – Irish Proverb

Do not keep your tongue under your belt. – Irish Proverb

Do not let your eye go beyond what is your own property; do not covet what is not yours.. – Irish Proverb

Do not mistake a goats beard for a fine stallion’s tail. – Irish Proverb

Do not resent growing old. Many are denied the privilege. – Irish Proverb

Do not show your teeth until you can bite. – Irish Proverb

Do not take the thatch from your own roof to buy slates for another man’s house. – Irish Proverb

Don’t be breaking your shin on a stool that’s not in your way – don’t make trouble for yourself unnecessarily. – Irish Proverb

Don’t be breaking your shin on a stool that’s not in your way. – Irish Proverb

Don’t tell your secret even to a fence. – Irish Proverb

Don’t be ever in court or a castle without a woman to make your excuse. – Irish Proverb

Don’t be hard and don’t be soft and don’t desert your friend for your own share. – Irish Proverb

Don’t be too friendly with the clergy and don’t fall out with them. – Irish Proverb

Don’t begin to reap your neighbour’s corn till he asks you. – Irish Proverb

Don’t bid the devil good day till you meet him. – Irish Proverb

Don’t bless the fish till it gets to the land. – Irish Proverb

Don’t blow on dead embers. – Irish Proverb
(i.e. Do not attempt a hopeless or impossible task.

Don’t bother the beggar’s son and the beggar’s son won’t bother you. – Irish Proverb

Don’t break your laidhricín on a stool that isn’t in your way. – Irish Proverb

Don’t break your shin on a stool that isn’t in your way. – Irish Proverb
(Don’t go out of your way to get into trouble.)

Don’t break your shin on a stool that is not in your way. – Irish Proverb

Don’t bring all your eggs to one market. – Irish Proverb

Don’t build the sty until the litter comes. – Irish Proverb

Don’t count your chickens before they are hatched. – Irish Proverb

Don’t crow till you’re out of the woods. – Irish Proverb

Don’t cut your cactus in a neighbor’s garden. – Irish Proverb

Don’t demand your rights until you have the power. – Irish Proverb

Don’t expect a cherry tree from an acorn. – Irish Proverb

Don’t expect to be long in this world, but try to be good while you are in it, for death is certain. – Irish Proverb

Don’t give cherries to a pig; don’t give advice to a fool. – Irish Proverb

Don’t give judgment on the first story till you hear the other side. – Irish Proverb

Don’t go early or late to the well. – Irish Proverb

Don’t go putting wool on a sheep’s back. – Irish Proverb

Don’t go through the world without seeing anything.

Don’t go to law with the devil in the court of hell. – Irish Proverb

Don’t let your tongue cut your throat. – Irish Proverb

Don’t lift me till I fall. (Wait till I go wrong before you begin to correct me.) – Irish Proverb

Don’t make little of your dish for it may be an ignorant fellow who judges it. – Irish Proverb

Don’t make little of your dish, for it may be an ignorant person who judges it. – Irish Proverb

Don’t marry a wife on account of cattle. – Irish Proverb

Don’t meddle with a briar and the briar will not meddle with you. – Irish Proverb

Don’t mention him and a decent man in the one day. – Irish Proverb

Don’t neglect your betterment: repentance is not (yet) late. – Irish Proverb

Don’t outstay your welcome like a neighbor’s goat. – Irish Proverb

Don’t postpone the good deed. – Irish Proverb

Don’t postpone your betterment. – Irish Proverb

Don’t praise or dispraise yourself. – Irish Proverb

Don’t put ease before exertion. – Irish Proverb

Don’t put in your spoon where there is no porridge. – Irish Proverb

Don’t rest your eyes beyond what is your own. – Irish Proverb

Don’t say everything you want to say lest you hear something you would not like to hear. – Irish Proverb

Don’t see all you see and don’t hear all you hear. – Irish Proverb

Don’t show your teeth where you cannot bite. – Irish Proverb

Don’t take a slate off your own house to put on your neighbor’s. – Irish Proverb

Don’t talk about a rope in the house of someone whose father was hung. – Irish Proverb

Don’t tell secrets to the children of your relatives. – Irish Proverb

Don’t tell your complaint to one who has no pity. – Irish Proverb

Don’t tell your secret even to a fence. – Irish Proverb

Don’t throw out even dirty water until you have the clean water in. – Irish Proverb

Don’t throw out the dirty water till you bring in the clean. – Irish Proverb

Don’t throw out the dirty water until you have the clean water in. – Irish Proverb

Drink is the curse of the land. It makes you fight with your neighbour. It makes you shoot at your landlord – and it makes you miss him. – Irish Proverb

Drink is the curse of the land. It makes you fight with your neighbor. It makes you shoot at your landlord, and it makes you miss him. – Irish Proverb

Drink is the curse of the land. It makes you fight with your neighbour. It makes you shoot at your landlord and it makes you miss him. – Irish Proverb

Drunkenness and anger speak truthfully. – Irish Proverb

Drunkenness and anger, ’tis said tell the truth. – Irish Proverb

Early sow, early mow. – Irish Proverb

Eaten bread is forgotten. – Irish Proverb

Eight hours for the man, and nine for the woman (i.e., sleep). – Irish Proverb

Eight lives for the men and nine for the women. – Irish Proverb

Enough and no waste is as good as a feast. – Irish Proverb

Enough is a feast. – Irish Proverb

Enquiry is the beginning of knowledge. – Irish Proverb

Knowledge is bettered by [sound] enquiry [and inspection]. – Irish Proverb

Even a fool has luck. – Irish Proverb

Even a good horse can’t keep running. – Irish Proverb

Even a small thorn causes festering. – Irish Proverb

Even a tin knocker shines on a dirty door. – Irish Proverb

Even a tin knocker will shine on a dirty floor. – Irish Proverb

Even a trifling thing pleases a poor man. – Irish Proverb

Even a worm will turn. – Irish Proverb

Even black hens lay white eggs. – Irish Proverb

Even gold can be bought too dearly. – Irish Proverb

Even if love is not around the corner there’s hardly a fight or you would have heard it. – Irish Proverb

Even the longest day has its end. – Irish Proverb

Even the truth may be bitter. – Irish Proverb

Even truth may be bitter. – Irish Proverb

Every bird as it is reared and the lark for the bog. – Irish Proverb

Every cock can crow on his own dunghill. – Irish Proverb

Every dog is brave on his own doorstep. – Irish Proverb

Every eye forms its own fancy. – Irish Proverb

Every finger has not the same length, nor every son the same disposition. – Irish Proverb

Every flatterer is not a friend. – Irish Proverb

Every invalid is a doctor. – Irish Proverb

Every invalid is a physician. – Irish Proverb

Every Jack has his Jill. – Irish Proverb

Every little frog is great in his own bog. – Irish Proverb

Every man has his own little bad luck awaiting on him. – Irish Proverb

Every man is sociable until a cow invades his garden. – Irish Proverb

‘Every man to his fancy, and me to my own fancy,’ said the old woman when she kissed her cow. – Irish Proverb

Every patient is a doctor after his cure. – Irish Proverb

Every terrier is bold in the doorway of its own house. – Irish Proverb

Every tide has an ebb save the tide of graces. – Irish Proverb

Everyone is nice till the cow gets into the garden. – Irish Proverb

Everyone is nice until the cow gets into the garden. – Irish Proverb

Everyone is wise till he speaks. – Irish Proverb

Everyone is wise until he speaks. – Irish Proverb

Everyone lays a burden on the willing horse. – Irish Proverb

Everyone praises his native land. – Irish Proverb

Everyone praises his own land. – Irish Proverb

Everything dear is a woman’s fancy. – Irish Proverb

Everything is (sooner or later) consumed. – Irish Proverb

Everything is revealed by time. – Irish Proverb

Everything troubles you and the cat breaks your heart. – Irish Proverb

F air words never fed a friar. – Irish Proverb

Face the sun, but turn your back to the storm. – Irish Proverb

Falling is easier than rising. – Irish Proverb

Fame lasts longer than riches. – Irish Proverb

Fame lives on after death. – Irish Proverb

Fat is not to be had without labour. – Irish Proverb

Fear is a fine spur, so is rage. – Irish Proverb

Fear is a fine spur; so is rage. – Irish Proverb

Fences have ears. – Irish Proverb

Fencing a field after the plunder has been committed. – Irish Proverb
(i.e. “locking the stable-door when the steed has been stolen.”)

Fight manly if you must fight, but avoid it if you can. – Irish Proverb

Fine feathers make fine birds. – Irish Proverb
Compare: Clothes make the lad, but food makes the fine lad (Scottish).

Firelight will not let you read fine stories, but it’s warm and won’t let you see the dust on the floor. – Irish Proverb

Firelight will not let you read fine stories, but it’s warm, and you won’t see the dust on the floor. – Irish Proverb

Firelight will not let you to read fine stories but it will warm you and you won’t see the dust on the floor. – Irish Proverb

Food is a good workhorse. – Irish Proverb

Food is no more important than wisdom, The beginning of wisdom is the fear of God. – Irish Proverb

Foolish love is blind. – Irish Proverb

For a young man contemplating marriage: That you might have nicer legs than your own under your table before the new spuds are up. – Irish Proverb

For his learning and manners you may praise a man. – Irish Proverb

For what cannot be cured patience is the best remedy. – Irish Proverb
English: “What cannot be cured must be endured.”

For what cannot be cured, patience is best. – Irish Proverb

Foresight [sometimes: patience] conquers destiny. – Irish Proverb

Forgetting a debt does not pay it. – Irish Proverb

Forgetting a debt doesn’t mean it’s paid. – Irish Proverb

Four things which an Irishman ought not to trust: A cow’s horn, a horse’s hoof, a dog’s snarl, and an Englishman’s laugh. – Irish Proverb

Friends are like fiddle-strings and they must not be screwed too tightly. – Irish Proverb

From education comes conduct. – Irish Proverb

From the day you marry your heart will be in your mouth and your hand in your pocket. – Irish Proverb

From the king to the beggar, they all depend on the farm. – Irish Proverb

G od is good, but never dance in a small boat. – Irish Proverb

Generosity which is dilatory is worth going to meet. – Irish Proverb

Gentleness is better than violent anger. – Irish Proverb

Get down on your knees and thank God you’re still on your feet. – Irish Proverb

Give away all you like, but keep your bills and your temper. – Irish Proverb

Giving a warning to one who is doomed (i.e. a futile task.) – Irish Proverb

Go to a man who is in difficulty and you’ll get a bargain. – Irish Proverb

God fits the back for the burden. – Irish Proverb

God is good, but never dance in a small boat. – Irish Proverb

God likes help when helping people. – Irish Proverb

God made time, but man made haste. – Irish Proverb

God often pays debts without money. – Irish Proverb

God’s help is nearer than the door. – Irish Proverb

God’s mill grinds very finely. – Irish Proverb

Going in is not the same as going out. – Irish Proverb

Gold is light with a fool. – Irish Proverb

Good as drink is, it ends in thirst. – Irish Proverb

Good care takes the head off (i.e., destroys) the evil or accident. – Irish Proverb

Good care takes the head off bad luck. – Irish Proverb

Good humor comes from the kitchen. – Irish Proverb

Good luck beats early rising. – Irish Proverb

Good luck comes in slender currents, misfortune in a rolling tides. – Irish Proverb

Good sense is as important as food. – Irish Proverb

Good sense is as important as good food.- Irish Proverb

Good sense is no less important than food. – Irish Proverb

Goods are consumed by being used in small quantities. – Irish Proverb

Great hate follows great love. – Irish Proverb

Great mansions have slippery doors. – Irish Proverb

Great talk and little action. – Irish Proverb

Greatness knows modesty. – Irish Proverb

Half a leap falls into the ditch. – Irish Proverb

Half a loaf is better than no bread. – Irish Proverb

Half is better than a complete refusal. – Irish Proverb

Half the work is a good beginning. – Irish Proverb

Handfuls make a load. – Irish Proverb

Handfuls make up a load. – Irish Proverb

Handle the pudding while it’s hot. – Irish Proverb

Harvest is green. – Irish Proverb

Have a mouth of ivy and a heart of holly. – Irish Proverb

Have it yourself, or else do without it. – Irish Proverb

He couldn’t drag a herring off the coals. – Irish Proverb

He dotes on his midden and thinks it the moon. – Irish Proverb

He got it from nature as the pig got the rooting in the ground. – Irish Proverb

He is a good horse that never stumbles. – Irish Proverb

He is a sorry wretch who fails to keep his bonds. – Irish Proverb

He is a wise man who can tell what is going to happen tomorrow. – Irish Proverb

He is a wise man who takes care of himself. – Irish Proverb

He is bad that will not take advice, but he is a thousand times worse that takes every advice. – Irish Proverb

He is scant of news that speaks ill of his mother. – Irish Proverb

He knows how many grains to a bushel of wheat. – Irish Proverb

He knows the price of everything and the value of nothing. – Irish Proverb

He may die of wind but he’ll never die of wisdom. – Irish Proverb

He thinks that he himself is the very stone that was hurled at the castle. – Irish Proverb

He was never good since the time a yard made a coat for him. – Irish Proverb

He who can follow his own will is a king. – Irish Proverb

He who comes with a story to you brings two away from you – Irish Proverb

He who doesn’t look ahead remains behind.. – Irish Proverb

He who falls today. may rise tomorrow. – Irish Proverb

He who gets a name for early rising can stay in bed until midday. – Irish Proverb

He who has a good neighbor has a good friend. – Irish Proverb

He who has cattle on the hill will not sleep easy. – Irish Proverb

He who has water and peat on his own farm has the world his own way. – Irish Proverb

He who is bad at giving a lodging is good at show the road. – Irish Proverb

He who is beaten in the head is timid. – Irish Proverb
(“Beaten in the head” means mentally oppressed or subdued.)

He who is best for me is he who shall get the best share. – Irish Proverb

He who is lazy in spring is envious at harvest-time. – Irish Proverb

He who lies down with dogs shall rise with fleas. – Irish Proverb

He who lives with hope dies happy. – Irish Proverb

He who loses money, loses much; he who loses a friend, loses more; he who loses faith, loses all. – Irish Proverb

He who only drinks water does not get drunk. – Irish Proverb

He who pays the piper calls the tune. – Irish Proverb

He who spies is the one who kills. – Irish Proverb

Health and long life to you.
Land without rent to you.
A child every year to you.
And if you can’t go to heaven,
May you at least die in Ireland. – Irish Proverb

He’d offer you an egg if you promised not to break the shell. – Irish Proverb

Help is always welcome, except at the table. – Irish Proverb

Here’s health to your enemies’ enemies! – Irish Proverb

Here’s to eyes in your heads and none in your spuds. – Irish Proverb

Here’s to Hell! May the stay there be as fun as the way there! – Irish Proverb

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. – Irish Proverb

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 pint and another one! – Irish Proverb

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. – Irish Proverb

Here’s to women’s kisses, and to whiskey, amber clear. Not as sweet as a woman’s kiss, but a darn sight more sincere! – Irish Proverb

He’s more to be pitied than laughed at. – Irish Proverb

Hills far away are green but they often have sour bottoms. – Irish Proverb

His eyes are like two burnt holes in a blanket. – Irish Proverb

His face would hang him. – Irish Proverb

His own wound is what everyone feels soonest. – Irish Proverb

Hold on to the bone and the dog will follow you. – Irish Proverb

Honey is sweet, but don’t lick it off a briar. – Irish Proverb

Hope is the physician of each misery. – Irish Proverb

Hoping to recoup ruins the gambler. – Irish Proverb

how ever long the day the evening will come. – Irish Proverb

How small a thing outlives a man. Cf. the Scottish: It is a small thing that does not outlive a man. – Irish Proverb

However long the day, the evening will come. – Irish Proverb

Humor to a man is like a feather pillow. It is filled with what is easy to get but gives great comfort. – Irish Proverb

Humor to a man is like a feather pillow.
It is filled with what is easy to get
but gives great comfort. – Irish proverb

Humour, to a man, is like a feather pillow. It is filled with what is easy to get but gives great comfort. – Irish Proverb

I complained that I had no shoes until I met a man who had no feet. – Irish Proverb

I don’t like a man who is bribed. In Gaelic: Níhail liom fear breibe. – Irish Proverb

‘i see,’ said the blind man when he was directed on his way. – Irish Proverb

I would rather have a clever woman than a rich one. – Irish Proverb

Idle dogs worry sheep. – Irish Proverb

Idleness is a fool’s desire. – Irish Proverb

If a cat had a dowry, she would often be kissed. – Irish Proverb

If a man fools me once, shame on him; if he fools me twice, shame on me. – Irish Proverb

If a person wants to catch a trout he must do more than merely listen to the flood. – Irish Proverb

If a rogue deceives me once, shame on him. If he deceives me twice, shame on me. – Irish Proverb

If Candlemas is wet or foul, half the winter has gone at Yule. If Candlemas is fine and fair, half the winter is to come and more. – Irish Proverb

If God sends you down a stony path, may he give you strong shoes. – Irish Proverb

If God shuts one door, He opens another. – Irish Proverb

If he went to a wedding, he’d wait for the christening. (Said of a man who overstays his welcome) – Irish Proverb

If he’s not fishing, he’s mending his nets (To be said of someone who is very organized) . – Irish Proverb

If it’s drowning you’re after, don’t torment yourself with shallow water. – Irish Proverb

If it’s a secret, it’s binding. – Irish Proverb

If it’s drowning you’re after, don’t torment yourself with shallow water. – Irish Proverb

If it’s got badly, it’ll go badly. – Irish Proverb

If one sheep puts his head through the gap the rest will follow. – Irish Proverb

If that man went to a wedding, he’d stay for the christening (To be said of someone who outstays their welcome). – Irish Proverb

If the cap doesn’t fit, don’t wear it. – Irish Proverb

If the cat sits long enough at the hole, she will catch the mouse. – Irish Proverb

If the knitter is weary, the baby will have no new bonnet. – Irish Proverb

If the potato misses, Ireland’s beaten. – Irish Proverb

If there is a way into the wood there is also a way out of it. – Irish Proverb

If two neighbors want to fight, they will find a quarrel in a straw. – Irish Proverb

If you are enough lucky to be Irish, you are lucky enough! – Irish Proverb

If you are inquisitive be knowledgeable. – Irish Proverb

If you are wise, take advice. – Irish Proverb

If you buy what you don’t need you might have to sell what you do. – Irish Proverb

If you buy what you don’t need, you might have to sell what you do. – Irish Proverb

If you cannot bite, never show your teeth. – Irish Proverb

If you catch a pig, catch it by the leg. – Irish Proverb

If you come up in this world, be sure not to go down in the next. – Irish Proverb

If you dig a grave for others you may fall into it yourself. – Irish Proverb

If you dig a grave for others, you might fall into it yourself. – Irish Proverb

If you do not sow in the spring you will not reap in the autumn. – Irish Proverb

If you do not sow in the spring, you will not reap in the autumn. – Irish Proverb

If you don’t know the way, walk slowly. – Irish Proverb

If you don’t want flour on your shoes, don’t go into the mill. – Irish Proverb

If you don’t want flour, do not get into the mill. – Irish Proverb

If you get a reputation as an early riser, you can sleep till noon. – Irish Proverb

If you give the loan of your breeches, don’t cut off the buttons. – Irish Proverb

If you give the loan of your britches, don’t cut off the buttons. – Irish Proverb

If you go to court leave your soul at home. – Irish Proverb

If you have a roving eye, it’s no use having the other one fixed on Heaven. – Irish Proverb

If you have one pair of good soles it is better than two pairs of good uppers. – Irish Proverb

If you have to swallow a frog, try not to think about it. If you have to swallow two frogs, don’t swallow the smaller one first. – Irish Proverb

If you keep bad company, you are sure to suffer. – Irish Proverb

If you lend your coat, don’t cut off the buttons. – Irish Proverb

If you lie down with dogs you’ll rise with fleas. – Irish Proverb

If you lie down with dogs, you’ll rise with fleas. – Irish Proverb

If you live in my heart, you live rent free. – Irish Proverb

If you meet a red-haired woman, you’ll meet a crowd. – Irish Proverb

If you must be in rags, let your rags be tidy. – Irish Proverb

If you put a silk dress on a goat, he is a goat still. – Irish Proverb

If you put a silk suit on a goat it is still a goat. – Irish Proverb

If you think little of the meadow don’t buy the grass. – Irish Proverb

If you want an audience start a fight. – Irish Proverb

If you want praise, die. If you want blame, marry. – Irish Proverb

If you want to be criticized, marry. – Irish Proverb

If you want to know what God thinks of money, just look at who He gives it to! – Irish Proverb

If you’re enough lucky to be Irish… You’re lucky enough! – Irish Proverb

If your messenger is slow, go to meet him. – Irish Proverb

I’ll go there tonight for evening is speedier than morning. – Irish Proverb

In every land, hardness is in the north of it, softness in the south, industry in the east, and fire and inspiration in the west. – Irish Proverb

In the beginning of the disease the cure is best. – Irish Proverb

In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king. – Irish Proverb

In winter the milk goes to the cow’s horns. – Irish Proverb

Instinct is stronger than upbringing. – Irish Proverb

Intelligence is better than strength. – Irish Proverb

Irishwomen have a dispensation from the pope to wear the thick ends of their legs downwards. – Irish Proverb

It destroys the craft not to learn it. – Irish Proverb

It is “time enough” [that] lost the race. – Irish Proverb

It is a bad hen can’t scrape for herself. – Irish Proverb

It is a bad hen that does not scratch herself. – Irish Proverb

It is a good horse that you cannot make stumble. – Irish Proverb
(He is a great person who never makes a mistake.)

It is a good story that fills the stomach. – Irish Proverb

It is a good thing to be economical in order to guard against want; but I do not recommend you to be mean or niggardly. – Irish Proverb

It is a hard task to comfort the proud. – Irish Proverb

It is a lonely washing that has no man’s shirt in it. – Irish Proverb

It is a lonesome washing without a man’s shirt in it. – Irish Proverb

It is a long road that has no turn in it. – Irish Proverb

It is a long road that has no turning. – Irish Proverb

It is a poor village that has neither smoke nor fire. – Irish Proverb

It is a sign of nobility to listen to art (i.e. patronise art).- Irish Proverb

It is a wedge from itself that splits the oak. – Irish Proverb
(A small group of seceders from a party can do the latter more harm than all the forces of the enemy.)

It is afterwards events are understood. – Irish Proverb

It is bad not to take advice, but it is far worse to take every advice. – Irish Proverb

It is better to be a coward for a minute than dead for the rest of your life. – Irish Proverb

It is better to be a coward for a minute than dead the rest of your life. – Irish Proverb

It is better to be alone than in bad company. – Irish Proverb

It is better to be born lucky than rich. – Irish Proverb

It is better to be engaged in putting knots on a straw than to be completely idle. – Irish Proverb

It is better to be lucky than an early riser. – Irish Proverb

It is better to be lucky than rich. – Irish Proverb

It is better to be lucky than to be an early riser. – Irish Proverb

It is better to be lucky than wise. – Irish Proverb

It is better to exist unknown to the law. – Irish Proverb

It is better to have part of a man than no man at all. – Irish Proverb

It is better to spend money like there’s no tomorrow than to spend tonight like there’s no money! – Irish Proverb

It is difficult to soothe the proud. – Irish Proverb

It is easier to demolish a house than to build one. – Irish Proverb

It is easier to fall than to rise. – Irish Proverb

It is easier to get counsel than help. – Irish Proverb

It is easy to comb a little horse. – Irish Proverb
(Small enterprises are easily accomplished.)

It is easy to drive with your own whip and another’s horse. – Irish Proverb

It is easy to halve the potato where there is love. – Irish Proverb

It is easy to knead when meal is at hand. – Irish Proverb
(i.e. Work is easily done when one has all the appliances for doing it.)

It is easy to put up with the misfortunes of others. – Irish Proverb

It is foolish not to enjoy, with due moderation, the good things you have. – Irish Proverb

It is good news to have no bad news. – Irish Proverb

It is hard for an empty bag to stand itself alone. – Irish Proverb

It is hard to drive a hare out of a bush in which he is not. – Irish Proverb

It is hard to hunt the hare out of the bush it is not in. – Irish Proverb

It is hard to take stockings off a bare foot. – Irish Proverb

It is hard to take wool off a goat. – Irish Proverb
[Note: It would depend on which sort of goat it is. Cashmere goats and angora goats have wool of great value, and angora goats are calm and trusty too.]

It is in the shelter of each other that the people live. – Irish Proverb

It is more difficult to maintain honor than to become prosperous.

It is no secret that is known to three. – Irish Proverb

It is no shame to tell the truth. – Irish Proverb

It is no time to go for the doctor when the patient is dead. – Irish Proverb

It is not a feast till the roast, and there are no galling trials till marriage. – Irish Proverb

It is not a fish until it is on the bank. – Irish Proverb

It is not a matter of upper and lower class but of ups and downs. – Irish Proverb

It is not a secret if it is known by three people. – Irish Proverb

It is not a sin to sell dear, but it is to make ill measure. – Irish Proverb

It is not easy to steal where the landlord is a thief. – Irish Proverb

It is not enough for a man to know how to ride; he must know how to fall. – Irish Proverb

It is not every day daddy kills a deer (i.e., ‘It is rarely we have an occasion like this.’) – Irish Proverb

It is not fish until it is on the bank. – Irish Proverb

It is not he who eats most that lives longest. – Irish Proverb

It is not the big farmers who reap all the harvest. – Irish Proverb

It is not the most beautiful woman who has the most sense. – Irish Proverb

It is not the time to go for the doctor when the patient is dead. – Irish Proverb

It is not usual to have smoke without fire; nor fire without people. – Irish Proverb

It is often that a cow does not take after its breed. – Irish Proverb

It is often that a person’s mouth broke his nose. – Irish Proverb

It is one’s self knows best where the boot is pressing on the foot. – Irish Proverb

It is right to put something by for the sore foot (i.e., misfortune). – Irish Proverb

It is sweet to drink but bitter to pay for. – Irish Proverb

It is the (early) bird of the morning that gets the worm. – Irish Proverb

It is the deaf people that create the lies. – Irish Proverb

It is the good horse that draws its own cart. – Irish Proverb

It is the multitude of hands that makes the work light. – Irish Proverb

It is the quiet pigs that eat the meal. – Irish Proverb

It is the smooth water that runs deepest. – Irish Proverb

It is then that friends are known, when one is in danger. – Irish Proverb

It is to please herself that the cat purrs. – Irish Proverb

It takes time to build castles. – Irish Proverb

It takes time to build castles. Rome wan not built in a day. – Irish Proverb

It was not on one foot that St. Patrick came to Ireland. – Irish Proverb

It’s a lonely washing that has no man’s shirt in it. – Irish Proverb

It’s difficult to choose between two blind goats. – Irish Proverb

It’s easy to halve the potato where there’s love. – Irish Proverb

It’s for her own good that the cat purrs. – Irish Proverb

It’s not a matter of upper and lower class but of being up a while and down a while.

It’s a bad hen that won’t scratch herself. – Irish Proverb

It’s a bad hound that’s not worth the whistling. – Irish Proverb

It’s a small thing that outlives a man. – Irish Proverb

It’s as hard to see a woman crying as it is to see a barefooted duck. – Irish Proverb

It’s bad manners to talk about ropes in the house of a man whose father was hanged. – Irish Proverb

It’s better than it’s want. – Irish Proverb

It’s better than the loan you couldn’t get. – Irish Proverb

It’s better to be sorry and stay, than to be sorry and go away. – Irish Proverb

It’s better to return from the centre of the ford than drown in the flood. – Irish Proverb

It’s difficult to choose between two blind goats. – Irish Proverb

It’s difficult to trust a woman. – Irish Proverb

It’s easy to halve the potato where there’s love. – Irish Proverb

It’s easy to knead when meal is at hand. – Irish Proverb

It’s for her own good that the cat purrs. – Irish Proverb

It’s gradually that castles are built. – Irish Proverb

It’s hard to kill a bad thing. – Irish Proverb

It’s hard to make a choice between two blind dogs. – Irish Proverb

It’s hard to take britches off bare hips. – Irish Proverb

It’s hard to teach an old dog to dance. – Irish Proverb

It’s just a wisp in place of a brush. – Irish Proverb

It’s natural for ducks to go barefoot. – Irish Proverb

It’s no delay to stop to edge the tool. – Irish Proverb

It’s no secret that’s know to three. – Irish Proverb

It’s no use boiling your cabbage twice. – Irish Proverb

It’s no use carrying an umbrella if your shoes are leaking. – Irish Proverb

Its no use going to the goat’s house to look for wool. – Irish Proverb

It’s no use locking the stable door after the horse has bolted. – Irish Proverb

It’s not a matter of upper and lower class but of being up a while and down a while. – Irish Proverb

It’s not enough to know how to ride, you must also know how to fall. – Irish Proverb

It’s not the fault of the mouse, but of the one who offers him the cheese. – Irish Proverb

It’s not worth a cuckoo-spit. – Irish Proverb

It’s often a man’s mouth broke his nose. – Irish Proverb

It’s often a person’s mouth broke their nose. – Irish Proverb

Its outward display is greater than its value. – Irish Proverb

It’s sweet to drink but bitter to pay for it. – Irish Proverb

It’s the deaf people that create the lies. – Irish Proverb

It’s the last suitor that wins the maid. – Irish Proverb

It’s the quiet pigs that eat the grain. – Irish Proverb

It’s why women marry – the creatures, God bless them, are too shy to say no. – Irish Proverb

Keep a thing for seven years and you’ll find a use for it. – Irish Proverb

Keep a thing seven years and you’ll always find a use for it. – Irish Proverb

Keep the bone and the dog will follow. – Irish Proverb

Keep the trickster on your side. – Irish Proverb

Keep your house and your house will keep you. – Irish Proverb

Keep your tongue in your jaw and your tow in your pump. – Irish Proverb

Knowledge comes through practice. – Irish Proverb

Lack of resource has hanged many a person. – Irish Proverb

Law is costly; shake hands and be friends. – Irish Proverb

Lay up in time. – Irish Proverb

Laziness is a heavy burden. – Irish Proverb

Laziness is a load. In Gaelic: Trom an rud an leisge. – Irish Proverb

Learning is no burden to a person. – Irish Proverb

Learning is the desire of the wise. – Irish Proverb

Least said soonest mended. – Irish Proverb

Leave the bad tale where you found it. – Irish Proverb

Let him who will not have advice have conflict. – Irish Proverb
(i.e. such a man will create trouble for himself.)

Let him who will not take advice have conflict. – Irish Proverb

Let not your tongue cut your throat. (A fool’s tongue is long enough to cut his own throat.) – Irish Proverb

Let your anger set with the sun and not rise again. – Irish Proverb

Let your bargain suit your purpose. – Irish Proverb

Lie down with dogs and you’ll rise with fleas. – Irish Proverb

Life is like a cup of tea,
it’s all in how you make it. – Irish proverb

Life is precious, as the tailor said when running from the gander. – Irish Proverb

Life’s too short not to be Irish! – Irish Proverb

Like an Irish wolf she barks at her own shadow. – Irish Proverb

Limerick was, Dublin is, and Cork shall be the finest city of the three. – Irish Proverb

Lions believe that everyone shares their state of mind. – Irish Proverb

Listen to the sound of the river and you will catch a trout. – Irish Proverb

Listen to the sound of the river and you will get a trout. – Irish Proverb

Little by little, the bird builds her nest. – Irish Proverb

Little profit comes from constant drunkenness. – Irish Proverb

Little talk is easy to cure. – Irish Proverb

Live in my heart and pay no rent. – Irish Proverb

Long churning makes bad butter. – Irish Proverb

Long loneliness is better than bad company. – Irish Proverb

Long out of sight, far out of mind. – Irish Proverb

Long sleep makes a bare back. – Irish Proverb

Look before you leap. – Irish Proverb

Look before you speak. (Think before you speak.) – Irish Proverb

Lose an hour in the morning and you’ll be looking for it all day. – Irish Proverb

Love all men — except lawyers. – Irish Proverb

Love conceals ugliness, and hate sees many faults. – Irish Proverb

Love is blind to blemishes and faults. – Irish Proverb

Love is blind. – Irish Proverb

Love pursues profit. (I.e. Self-interest comes first, often love afterwards, in marriages for money.) – Irish Proverb

Luck and laziness go hand in hand. – Irish Proverb

Make hay while the sun shines. – Irish Proverb

Make the fence or you will pay the plundering. – Irish Proverb

make your hay before the fine weather leaves you. – Irish Proverb

Making the beginning is one third of the work. – Irish Proverb

Man is incomplete until he marries. After that, he is finished. – Irish Proverb

Man to the hills, woman to the shore. – Irish Proverb

Many a defect is seen in the poor man. – Irish Proverb

Many a good parent had a bad child. – Irish Proverb

Many a happy colt makes a fine horse. – Irish Proverb

Many a rose-cheeked apple is rotten at the core. – Irish Proverb

Many a sudden change takes place on a spring day. – Irish Proverb

Many a thing happens that is never expected. – Irish Proverb

Many a white collar covers a dirty neck. – Irish Proverb

Many an honest heart beats under a ragged coat. – Irish Proverb

Many an Irish property was increased by the lace of a daughter’s petticoat. – Irish Proverb

Many hands make light work. – Irish Proverb

Many quips a strong man will make – Irish Proverb

Marriages are all happy — it’s having breakfast together that causes all the trouble. – Irish Proverb

Marriages are all happy its having breakfast together that causes all the trouble. – Irish Proverb

Marriages are all happy. It’s having breakfast together that causes all the trouble. – Irish Proverb

Marriages are all happy; its having breakfast together that causes all the trouble. – Irish Proverb

Marry a mountain girl and you marry the whole mountain. – Irish Proverb

Marry a mountain girl
and you marry the whole mountain. – Irish proverb

Marry a mountain woman and you will marry the mountain. – Irish Proverb

Marry a woman from Truagh and you marry all Truagh. – Irish Proverb

Marry in haste and repent at leisure. – Irish Proverb

May the hinges of our friendship never grow rusty. – Irish Proverb

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. – Irish Proverb

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

May the saddest day of your future be no worse than the happiest day of your past. – Irish Proverb

May the smile of God light you to glory. – Irish Proverb

May you get all your wishes but one, so that you will always have something to strive for! – Irish Proverb

May you have a bright future – as the chimney sweep said to his son. – Irish Proverb

May you live as long as you want and never want as long as you live. – Irish Proverb

May you live to be 100 years, with one extra year to repent. – Irish Proverb

May you live to be a hundred — and decide then rest for yourself. – Irish Proverb

May you never forget what is worth remembering, or remember what is best forgotten. – Irish Proverb

May your anger set with the sun and not rise again with it. – Irish Proverb

May your joys be as deep as the valley. Your troubles as light as its foam. And may you find sweet peace of mind. Wherever you may roam. – Irish Proverb

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

Men are like bagpipes – no sound comes from them until they are full. – Irish Proverb

Men are like bagpipes, no sound comes from them until they are full. – Irish Proverb

Men are like bagpipes: no sound comes from them till they’re full. – Irish Proverb

Men are more prone to revenge injuries than to requite kindnesses. – Irish Proverb

Men may meet, but mountains never greet. – Irish Proverb

Mere words do not feed the friars. – Irish Proverb

Mere words will not feed the friars. – Irish Proverb

Fair words butter no parsnips. – Irish Proverb

The belly is not filled with fair words. – Irish Proverb

Words will not feed the friars. – Irish Proverb

Mice won’t stay long in an empty house. – Irish Proverb

Might is two-thirds of right. – Irish Proverb

Money is like muck – no good till spread. – Irish Proverb

Money makes the horse gallop whether he has shoes or not. – Irish Proverb

Money swore an oath that nobody that did not love it should ever have it. – Irish Proverb

More grows in a tilled field than is sown in it. – Irish Proverb

More hair than tit, like a mountain heifer. – Irish Proverb

Mothers hold their children’s hands for just a little while…
And their hearts forever. – Irish proverb

Mr has a maid and yet Mr has to beg. – Irish Proverb

Much evil comes from talk that does not come from silence. – Irish Proverb

Musicians are craftsmen. – Irish Proverb

Musicians are brothers. – Irish Proverb

‘My belly thinks my throat is cut,’ as the hungry man said. – Irish Proverb

My little cottage, ever in disorder, one advantage you have – no matter how early or late I come, it is in you I can most easily stretch my legs. “Be it ever so humble, there is no place like home.” – Irish Proverb

Nature breaks through the eyes of the cat. – Irish Proverb

Nature shines through the cat’s eyes. – Irish Proverb

Nature will come through the claws, and the hound will follow the hare. – Irish Proverb

Necessity is the mother of invention. – Irish Proverb

Necessity knows no law. – Irish Proverb

Need teaches a plan. – Irish Proverb

Need teaches things unlawful. – Irish Proverb

Neighbours bring comfort in adversity but only envy in success. – Irish Proverb

Neither break a law nor make one. – Irish Proverb

Neither give cherries to pigs nor advice to a fool. – Irish Proverb

Neither gives cherries to pigs nor advice to a fool. – Irish Proverb

Never ask a fox to mind the hens. – Irish Proverb

Never ask God to give you anything; ask Him to put you where. – Irish Proverb

Never bolt your door with a boiled carrot. – Irish Proverb

Never burn a penny candle looking for a halfpenny. – Irish Proverb

Never burn your fingers to snuff another man’s candle. – Irish Proverb

Never buy bread from a butcher. – Irish Proverb

Never buy through your ears but through your eyes. – Irish Proverb

Never call a Kerry man a fool until you’re sure he’s not a rogue. – Irish Proverb

Never cast a clout till May be out. – Irish Proverb

Never dread the winter till the snow is on the blanket. – Irish Proverb
(There’s no need to worry about the cold as long as you have a roof over your head.)

Never give cherries to pigs or advice to a fool. – Irish Proverb

Never give cherries to pigs or advice to fools. – Irish Proverb

Never lie on the ground whilst a feather bed is beside you. – Irish Proverb

Never praise a ford till you go over. – Irish Proverb

Never praise your son-in-law until the year is out. – Irish Proverb

Never put off tomorrow what you can do today. – Irish Proverb

Never rub your eye with anything but your elbow. – Irish Proverb

Never scald your lips with another man’s porridge. – Irish Proverb

Never sleep with a stranger or borrow from a neighbour. – Irish Proverb

Never speak to the feet while the head is alive. – Irish Proverb

Never trust a spiteful man. – Irish Proverb

Nice teaching (= culture), the nicest thing in a person. – Irish Proverb

Ninety percent I’ll spend on good times, women and Irish Whiskey. The other ten percent I’ll probably waste. – Tug McGraw

No dealing with a revengeful man. – Irish Proverb

No forcing the sea. – Irish Proverb

No good is got by wasting, but a good name is got by alms-giving. (I.e. One ought not to waste, but -). – Irish Proverb

No man ever wore a cravat as nice, as his own child’s arm around his neck. – Irish Proverb

No man ever wore a scarf as warm as his daughter’s arm around his neck. – Irish Proverb

No man is wise at all times. – Irish Proverb

No man will another in the oven seek except that himself have been there before (Heywood). – Irish Proverb

No matter how often a pitcher goes to the water it is broken in the end. – Irish Proverb

No matter how tall your grandfather was, you have to do your own growing. – Irish Proverb

No matter who comes off well, the peacemaker is sure to come off ill. – Irish Proverb

No matter who dances, the piper will (= must) be paid. – Irish Proverb

No matter who succeeds or fails, the peacemaker will always suffer. – Irish Proverb

No merriment in the seat of justice. – Irish Proverb

No one is ever poor who has the sight of his eyes and the use of his feet. – Irish Proverb

No rearing, no manners. – Irish Proverb

No stopping the force of a going wheel by hand. – Irish Proverb

No time for health today, no health for your time tomorrow. – Irish Proverb

No time for your health today, no health for your time tomorrow. – Irish Proverb

No time for your health today, will result in no health for your time tomorrow. – Irish Proverb

No tree but has rotten wood enough to burn it. – Irish Proverb

No war is more bitter than the war of friends, but it does not last long. – Irish Proverb

Nobility listens to (or patronises) art. – Irish Proverb

Nobody ever bought peace but the man who hadn’t got it. – Irish Proverb

Nobody is wise till something goes against him. – Irish Proverb

Nodding the head does not row the boat. – Irish Proverb

Noiseless is the approach of the avenging deities. – Irish Proverb

No-one is ever poor who has the sight of his eyes and the use of his feet. – Irish Proverb

Not even an angel can fulfill two missions at once. – Irish Proverb

Not every flatterer is a friend. – Irish Proverb

Nothing comes into a closed hand. – Irish Proverb

Nothing is preferable to reconciliation. (I.e. It is best to settle disputes amicably.) – Irish Proverb

Now sweetly lies old Ireland
Emerald green beyond the foam,
Awakening sweet memories,
Calling the heart back home. – Irish proverb

Of small account is a fly till it gets into the eye. – Irish Proverb

Often a cow does not take after its breed. – Irish Proverb

Often a cow does not take after its breed. – Irish Proverb

Often has a man cut a rod to beat himself. – Irish Proverb

Often has a ship been lost close to the harbour. – Irish Proverb

Often has a tattered colt grown to be a splendid horse. A ragged colt may make a good horse. – Irish Proverb

Often has the likely failed and the unlikely prospered. – Irish Proverb

Often have the likely failed and the unlikely prospered. – Irish Proverb

One beetle recognizes another. – Irish Proverb

One cannot draw blood from a turnip. – Irish Proverb

One eye in the corner is sharper than two about the house. – Irish Proverb

One good man is better than many worthless ones. – Irish Proverb

One look ahead is better than two looks behind. – Irish Proverb

One look before is better than two behind. – Irish Proverb

One man’s meat is another man’s poison. – Irish Proverb

One may live without one’s friends but not without one’s pipe. – Irish Proverb

One pair of good soles is worth two pairs of upper leathers. – Irish Proverb

One swallow never made a summer. – Irish Proverb

One who is waiting thinks the time long. – Irish Proverb

One woman understands another. – Irish Proverb

Only a fool would prefer food to a woman. – Irish Proverb

Only the rich can afford compassion. – Irish Proverb

Only those who were born to hang are not afraid of the water. – Irish Proverb

Pains and patience would take a snail to america. – Irish Proverb

Patience and forbearance make a bishop of his reverence. – Irish Proverb

Patience can conquer destiny. – Irish Proverb

Patience conquers destiny. – Irish Proverb

Patience cures many an old complaint. – Irish Proverb

Patience is a plaster for all sores. – Irish Proverb

Patience is a poultice for all wounds. – Irish Proverb

Patience is a virtue that causes no shame. – Irish Proverb

Patience is poultice for all wounds. – Irish Proverb

Peace is worth buying. – Irish Proverb

People live in each other’s shelter. – Irish Proverb

Perseverance is the mother of good luck. – Irish Proverb

Pity him who makes an opinion a certainty. – Irish Proverb

Pity him who makes his opinions a certainty. – Irish Proverb

Pity him who would burn his thiompán for you.’ – Irish Proverb

Pity the man drowned in the storm; for after the rain comes the sunshine. – Irish Proverb

Pity the man who does wrong and is poor as well. – Irish Proverb

Pity the man who has a stranger’s spancel on him. – Irish Proverb

Pity the man who is drowned during the tempest, for after rain comes sunshine. – Irish Proverb

Pleasant on the outside, dark and gloomy on the inside. – Irish Proverb

Poor is the church without music. – Irish Proverb

Poor men take to the sea, rich to the mountain. – Irish Proverb

Poor men take to the sea; the rich to the mountains. – Irish Proverb

Possession is nine-tenths of the law. – Irish Proverb

Possession satisfies. – Irish Proverb

Postpone not a good action. – Irish Proverb

Postpone not a good action. In Gaelic: Ná cuir an mhaith ar cáirde. – Irish Proverb

Poverty creates sadness. – Irish Proverb

Poverty destroys companionship. – Irish Proverb

Poverty is no shame. – Irish Proverb

Poverty parts good company. – Irish Proverb

Praise the child and you praise the mother. – Irish Proverb

Praise the ford when you have crossed it. – Irish Proverb

Praise the ripe field, not the green corn. – Irish Proverb

Praise the sea but keep near land. – Irish Proverb

Praise the young and they will blossom. – Irish Proverb

Praise the young and they will make progress. – Irish Proverb

Praise the youth and they will come. – Irish Proverb

Praise undeserved is satire in disguise. – Irish Proverb

Praise without profit puts little in the pocket. – Irish Proverb

Praise youth and it will prosper. – Irish Proverb

Pride comes before a fall. – Irish Proverb

Pride feels no pain. – Irish Proverb

Prosperity comes to the lucky man without effort on his part, while he merely waits for it. – Irish Proverb

Prove a friend before poverty. – Irish Proverb

Proverbs cannot be contradicted. – Irish Proverb

Provision for heaven – weighing and being strictly honest. – Irish Proverb

Pulling the devil by the leg is a bad grip. – Irish Proverb

Put a beggar on horseback and he’ll ride to hell. – Irish Proverb

Put a coward to his metal an’ he’ll fight the de’il. – Irish Proverb

Put it on your shoulder and say it is not a burden. – Irish Proverb

Put silk on a goat, and it’s still a goat. – Irish Proverb

Put the priest in the middle of the parish. – Irish Proverb

Put the saddle on the right horse. (Blame the right person.) – Irish Proverb

Putting a withe around sand. Compare the English “a rope of sand.” – Irish Proverb

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

Putting one’s hand into an adder’s nest. – Irish Proverb

Putting the fox to mind the geese. – Irish Proverb

Questioning is the door of (i.e. the way to acquire) knowledge. – Irish Proverb

Questioning is the door of knowledge. – Irish Proverb

Quiet people are well able to look after themselves. – Irish Proverb

Rarely is a fight continued when the chief has fallen. – Irish Proverb

Red sky at night is a shepherds delight, red sky in the morning is a shepherds warning. – Irish Proverb

Remember even if you loose all, keep your good name for if you loose that you are worthless. – Irish Proverb

Reputations last longer than lives. – Irish Proverb

Reverence ceases once blood is split. – Irish Proverb

Riding on a goat is better than the very best walking. – Irish Proverb

Sailing against the wind. – Irish Proverb

Satire wounds a great character. – Irish Proverb

Say a little and say it well. – Irish Proverb

Say but little, and say it well. – Irish Proverb

Say little, but say it well. – Irish Proverb

Scattering is easier than gathering. – Irish Proverb

Scratch me and I’ll scratch you. – Irish Proverb

See not what you see and hear not what you hear. – Irish Proverb

Seeing is believing, but feeling is the God’s own truth. – Irish Proverb

Seldom is there a slaughter from which no one escapes. Cf. English: ‘Tis a hard battle where none escapes. – Irish Proverb

Seldom is there champion who does not meet with some reverse. – Irish Proverb

Sending the goose on a message to the fox’s den. – Irish Proverb

Sense doesn’t come before age. – Irish Proverb

Sense is bettered by counsel. – A youth is the better for being instructed. – A wise man accepts advice. – It is bad not to take advice, but it is far worse to take every advice. – Irish Proverb

Shame is ever a part of poverty. – Irish Proverb

She is always in the field when luck is on the road (To be said of an unfortunate friend) . – Irish Proverb

She wipes the plate with the cat’s tail. – Irish Proverb

She would drink the cream and say the cat she had was an old rogue. – Irish Proverb

She’s fit to mind mice at a crossroads (To be said of someone who is unhelpful). – Irish Proverb

Show the fatted calf but not the thing that fattened him. – Irish Proverb

Show the fatted calf, but not the thing that fattened him. – Irish Proverb

Shun danger and it will shun you. – Irish Proverb

Shun evil company. – Irish Proverb

Shun the friendship of a lying man. Should you contract a friendship with him, be on your guard. – Irish Proverb

Sleep is better than medicine. – Irish Proverb

Slow is every foot on an unknown path. – Irish Proverb

Snuff at a wake is fine if there’s nobody sneezing over the snuffbox. – Irish Proverb

Snuff at a wake is fine if there’s nobody sneezing over the snuff box. – Irish Proverb

‘so near and yet so far,’ said the man when the bird lit on his gun. – Irish Proverb

Soft words butter no parsnips but they won’t harden the heart of a cabbage either. – Irish Proverb

Soft words butter no parsnips, but they won’t harden the heart of the cabbage either. – Irish Proverb

Soft words butter no turnips. – Irish Proverb

Some prefer carrot while others like cabbage. – Irish Proverb

Sorrow will pay no debt. – Irish Proverb

Sow early and mow early. – Irish Proverb

Speak neither well nor ill of yourself. – Irish Proverb

Speak to the devil and you’ll hear the clatter of his hooves. – Irish Proverb

Speed and accuracy do not agree. – Irish Proverb

Speed and precision seldom agree. “Good and quickly seldom meet.” – Irish Proverb

Spread your cloth only as you can draw it. – Irish Proverb

Spread your mantle only as you can draw it. – Irish Proverb
(i.e. Do not attempt more than you are able for. Var. Cut your coat according to your cloth.) 

Still waters run deep. – Irish Proverb

Story-telling [may become] a complicated affair. – Irish Proverb

Strength is not enduring. – Irish Proverb

Strife is better than loneliness. – Irish Proverb

Striking one’s head against a rock. Knocking one’s head against a stone wall. – Irish Proverb

Sweet is the voice of the man who has wealth. – Irish Proverb

Sweet is the wine but sour is the payment. – Irish Proverb

Take gifts with a sigh because most men give in order to be paid. – Irish Proverb

Take gifts with a sigh; most men give to be paid. – Irish Proverb

Take heed is a good reed. – Irish Proverb

Take stock of the river before you plunge into the current. – Irish Proverb

Take the world nice and easy, and the world will take you the same. – Irish Proverb

Talk does not fill the stomach. – Irish Proverb

Talk doesn’t fill the stomach. – Irish Proverb

Talk of the devil, and he will appear. – Irish Proverb

Tell it to Mary in a whisper, and Mary will tell it to the parish. – Irish Proverb

Tell me your company and I’ll tell you who you are. – Irish Proverb

Tell the truth and shame the devil. – Irish Proverb

That which is nearest a woman’s heart is the first to come out. – Irish Proverb

That’s a spoon ye’ll sup sorrow with yet. – Irish Proverb

The apple falls on the head that’s under it. – Irish Proverb

The bad deed turns on its doer. – Irish Proverb

The bark of a hound in a green glen. – Irish Proverb

The beginning and end of one’s life is to draw closer to the fire. – Irish Proverb

The beginning of health is sleep. – Irish Proverb

The best horse doesn’t always win the race. – Irish Proverb

The best looking-glass is the eyes of a friend. – Irish Proverb

The best way to keep loyalty in a man’s heart is to keep money in his purse. – Irish Proverb

The bird that can sing and won’t sing should be made to sing. – Irish Proverb

The bird that deserts its own brood has little affection. – Irish Proverb

The blacksmith’s horse and the cobbler’s wife are always the last to have shoes. – Irish Proverb

The borrowed horse has hard hoofs. – Irish Proverb

The calf belongs to the owner of the cow. – Irish Proverb

The cat has leave to look at the king. – Irish Proverb

The cat has leave to look at the queen and the queen has leave to shoot it. – Irish Proverb

The cat is always dignified, until the dog comes by. – Irish Proverb

The cat is his own best adviser. – Irish Proverb

The clothes are (= make) the man (i.e. his outward appearance). – Irish Proverb

The clown searches for the mare and he sitting on her. – Irish Proverb

The covetous person is always in want. – Irish Proverb

The cow is milked from her head. – Irish Proverb

It is from her head the cow is milked. (First feed her, that is.) – Irish Proverb

The day of the storm is not the time for thatching your roof. – Irish Proverb

The day will come when the cow will have use for her tail. – Irish Proverb

The devil never grants long leases. – Irish Proverb

The dog that’s always on the go, is better than the one that’s always curled up. – Irish Proverb

The doorstep of a great house is slippery. – Irish Proverb

The early bird catches the worm. – Irish Proverb

The early riser gets through his business but not through early rising. – Irish Proverb

The eating of it is the proof of the pudding. – Irish Proverb

The proof of the pudding is in the eating of it. – Irish Proverb

The proof of the pudding lies in the eating of it. – Irish Proverb

The end of a feast is better than the beginning of a fight. – Irish Proverb

The end of feast is better than the beginning of a quarrel. – Irish Proverb

The English always credit the rest of us with the qualities they don’t need themselves. – Irish Proverb

The expectation of recouping himself is what beggars the gambler. – Irish Proverb

The hope of winning proves the gambler’s undoing. – Irish Proverb

The eye should be blind in the home of another. – Irish Proverb

The fewer donkeys, the more corncobs. – Irish Proverb

The fox never found a better messenger than himself. – Irish Proverb

The fox never found a surer messenger than himself. – Irish Proverb

The friend is proved when the need is greatest. – Irish Proverb

The friend that can be bought is not worth buying. – Irish Proverb

The full man does not understand the wants of the hungry. – Irish Proverb

The full person can not understand the needs of the hungry. – Irish Proverb

The full person does not understand the needs of the hungry. – Irish Proverb

The full stomach does not understand the empty one. – Irish Proverb

The future is not set, there is no fate but what we make for ourselves. – Irish Proverb

The grace of God is found between the saddle and the ground. – Irish Proverb

The greater the strait the more valuable is the help. – Irish Proverb

The hand goes only where the leg goes. – Irish Proverb

The heavier the purse, the lighter the heart. – Irish Proverb

The heaviest ear of corn is the one that lowliest hangs its head. – Irish Proverb
(This expresses the humility of the truly great, and it implies that the grandest characters are not always to be found among those of most elevated rank.)

The heaviest ear of grain bends its head the lowest. – Irish Proverb

The herb that can’t be got is the one that heals. – Irish Proverb

The historian’s food is truth. – Irish Proverb

The hole is more honorable than the patch. – Irish Proverb

The hope of winning proves the gambler’s undoing. – Irish Proverb

The horse with the most scars is the one that highest kicks his rear. – Irish Proverb

The Irish forgive their great men when they are safely buried. – Irish Proverb

The Irishman is an impatient fellow. – Irish Proverb

The lake is not encumbered by the swan, and the body is not encumbered by good sense. – Irish Proverb

The last place is meet for the best beloved. – Irish Proverb

The law of borrowing is to break the borrower. – Irish Proverb

The light heart lives long. – Irish Proverb

The longest road has an end and the straightest road has an end. – Irish Proverb

The longest road out is the shortest road home. – Irish Proverb

The longest road out is the shortest road home. Irish Proverb

The longest way around is the shortest way home. – Irish Proverb

The losing horse blames the saddle. – Irish Proverb

The lucky man waits for prosperity. – Irish Proverb
(i.e. Prosperity comes to him without effort on his part.)

The magic of Christmas lingers on
Though childhood days have passed
Upon the common round of life
A Holy Spell is cast – Old Celtic verse

The man at sea may return but not the man in the churchyard. – Irish Proverb

The man of courage never lost it. – Irish Proverb

The man of the boots doesn’t care where he puts his foot. – Irish Proverb

The man who has luck in the morning has luck in the afternoon. – Irish Proverb

The man who was dividing Ireland didn’t leave himself last. – Irish Proverb

The man with the boots does not mind where he places his foot. – Irish Proverb

The mason who strikes often is better than the one who strikes too hard. – Irish Proverb

The mill cannot grind with the water that is past. – Irish Proverb

The miller’s pigs are fat but God knows whose meal they ate. – Irish Proverb

The miller’s pigs are fat but it wasn’t all mouter they ate. – Irish Proverb

The mills of God grind slowly but they grind finely. – Irish Proverb

The mills of the gods grind slowly but they grind finely. – Irish Proverb

The money-maker is never tired. – Irish Proverb

The morning of the race is not the morning to feed your horse. – Irish Proverb

The mother would never seek her daughter in the oven had not herself been there first (Clarke). – Irish Proverb

The mountain is a good mustard. – Irish Proverb
(i.e. Work or exercise on the mountain is a good appetiser.)

The mouth that speaks not is sweet to hear. – Irish Proverb

The nearer the church, the further from god. – Irish Proverb

The nest is enough for a wren. – Irish Proverb

The new broom sweeps the house best. – Irish Proverb

The old boot gets the old stocking. (Said when an old couple marries.) – Irish Proverb

 The old person is a child twice. – Irish Proverb

The old pipe gives the sweetest smoke. – Irish Proverb

The old woman is the better of being warmed, but she is the worse of being burned. – Irish Proverb

The older the fiddle the sweeter the tune. – Irish Proverb

The older the fiddle, the sweeter the tune. – Irish Proverb

The one who waits the fine day, will get the fine day. – Irish Proverb

The only cure for love is marriage. – Irish Proverb

The ox’s part in milking-time. (I.e. the role of an idle spectator.) – Irish Proverb

The person of the greatest talk is the person of the least work. – Irish Proverb

The person who brings a story to you will take away two from you. – Irish Proverb

The person who doesn’t scatter the morning dew will not comb gray hairs. – Irish Proverb

The person who is rich is none the worse for being dull in accomplishments and in understanding, for being stammering in speech, or for having but one foot or one hand. – Irish Proverb

The pig in the sty doesn’t know the pig going along the road. – Irish Proverb

The pleasantry of children is nice. – Irish Proverb

The Power fellow will have another day. – Irish Proverb

The pride of women and the pride of priests. – Irish Proverb

The priest’s pig gets the most porridge. – Irish Proverb

The proverb cannot be bettered. – Irish Proverb

The quiet pigs eat all the draff. – Irish Proverb

The rabbit gets fat on what the hare misses. – Irish Proverb

The raggy colt often made a powerful horse. – Irish Proverb

The raven thinks her own bird the prettiest in the wood.

The reason the Irish are always fighting each other is they have no other worthy opponents. – Irish Proverb

The right time to dine is: for the rich man, when he is hungry; and for the poor, when he has something to eat. – Irish Proverb

The road to Heaven is well signposted, but it is badly lit at night. – Irish Proverb

The road to hell is paved with good intentions. – Irish Proverb

The seagull thinks it is an act of kindness to give the fish a lift in the air. – Irish Proverb

The secret of an old woman scolding. – Irish Proverb

The seeking for one thing will find another. – Irish Proverb

The shoemaker’s wife and the blacksmith’s horse often go unshod. – Irish Proverb

The short chat is the best.

The shortcut to food but the long way to work. – Irish Proverb

The silent are often guilty. – Irish Proverb

The silent mouth is golden. – Irish Proverb

The slow horse reaches the mill. – Irish Proverb

The slow hound often has good qualities. – Irish Proverb

The smaller the cabin the wider the door. – Irish Proverb

The smallest thing outlives the human being.

The smallest thing outlives the human being. – Irish Proverb

The stars make no noise. – Irish Proverb

The steed does not retain its speed forever. – Irish Proverb

The sty before the litter. – Irish Proverb

The sweat of one’s brow is what burns everyone. – Irish Proverb

The thief is no danger to the beggar. – Irish Proverb

The thief is sorry he is to be hanged, not that he is a thief. – Irish Proverb

The thing that often occurs is not much appreciated. – Irish Proverb

The three faults of drinking are: a sorrowful morning, a dirty coat, and an empty pocket. – Irish Proverb

The three most beautiful sights: a potato garden in bloom, a ship under sail, and a woman after the birth of a child. – Irish Proverb

The three sharpest things in the world: a thorn in the mud, a hemp rope, a fool’s word. – Irish Proverb

The tiredness leaves but the profit remains. – Irish Proverb

The tongue ties knots that the teeth cannot loosen. – Irish Proverb

The treachery returns to the betrayer. – Irish Proverb

The tree remains, but not so the hand that put it. – Irish Proverb

The value of the well is not understood till it goes dry. – Irish Proverb

The waiting man thinks the time long. – Irish Proverb

The wearer best knows where the shoe pinches him. – Irish Proverb

The wearer best knows where the shoe pinches. – Irish Proverb

The well fed does not understand the lean. – Irish Proverb

The well fed person doesn’t understand the hungry one. – Irish Proverb

The well-fed does not understand the lean. – Irish Proverb

The well-filled belly has little understanding of the empty. – Irish Proverb

The windy day is not a day for scallops [thatching]. – Irish Proverb

The windy day is not the day for thatching. – Irish Proverb

The wine is sweet, the paying bitter. – Irish Proverb

The wisdom of the Englishman and the openness of the Gael – that is what does the harm. – Irish Proverb

The wise bird flies lowest. – Irish Proverb

The wood will renew the foliage it sheds. – Irish Proverb

The work praises the man. – Irish Proverb

The world goes round as if there were wings on it. – Irish Proverb

The world would not make a racehorse of a donkey – Irish Proverb

The world’s quiet and the pig is in the sty. – Irish Proverb

The young shed many skins. – Irish Proverb

The youngest thorns are the sharpest. – Irish Proverb

There are as many good fish in the sea as ever came out of it. – Irish Proverb

There are finer fish in the sea than have ever been caught. – Irish Proverb

There are fish in the sea better than have ever been caught. – Irish Proverb

There are many ways of killing a pig other than by choking it with butter. – Irish Proverb

There are only two kinds of people in the world, the Irish and those who wish they were. – Irish Proverb

There are three creatures beyond ruling – a mule, a pig and a woman. – Irish Proverb

There are three kinds of men, — the worker, the pleasure-seeker, and the boaster. – Irish Proverb
(Allow for combinations, such as ‘the pleasure-seeking worker’, “the boasting pleasure-seeker (flaunter)”, and other types as well.)

There are two tellings to every story. – Irish Proverb

There is a crock of gold in the tomb of every chieftain, but they are all guarded by cats and fairies. – Irish Proverb

There is an Irish way of paying compliments as though they were irresistible truths which makes what would otherwise be an impertinence delightful. – Katherine Tynan Hinkson

There is hope from the sea but there is no hope from the land. – Irish Proverb

There is hope from the sea, but none from the grave. – Irish Proverb

There is light at the end of the tunnel. – Irish Proverb

There is luck in leisure. – Irish Proverb

There is luck in sharing thing. – Irish Proverb

There is many a person with a high head today who shall be lying lowly tomorrow. – Irish Proverb

There is many a thing you hear that is not right to put in print. – Irish Proverb

There is misfortune only where there is wealth. – Irish Proverb

There is more friendship in a half pint of whiskey than in a churn of buttermilk. – Irish Proverb

There is never an old brogue but there is a foot to fit it. – Irish Proverb

There is no feast till a roast and no torment till a marriage. – Irish Proverb

There is no fireside like your own fireside – Irish Proverb

There is no fireside like your own fireside. – Irish Proverb

There is no fool who has not his own kind of sense. – Irish Proverb

There is no ghost as bad as the ghost with two legs. – Irish Proverb

There is no luck except where there is discipline. – Irish Proverb

There is no need like the lack of a friend. – Irish Proverb

There is no pain greater than the pain of rejection. – Irish Proverb

There is no place like home. – Irish Proverb

There is no smoke without fire. – Irish Proverb

There is no strength without unity. – Irish Proverb

There is no such thing as bad publicity except your own obituary. – Irish Proverb

There is no tax on talk. – Irish Proverb

There is no thing wickeder than a woman of evil temper. – Irish Proverb

There is no tune without a penny. – Irish Proverb

There is no use in carrying an umbrella if your shoes are leaking. – Irish Proverb

There is no virtue in the herb that is not got in time. – Irish Proverb

There is no wise man without fault. – Irish Proverb

There is not a tree in Heaven that is higher than the tree of patience. – Irish Proverb

There is not strength without unity. – Irish Proverb

There is nothing in the world so poor as going to hell. – Irish Proverb

There is nothing sharper than a woman’s tongue. – Irish Proverb

There is often a barb behind a kiss. – Irish Proverb

There is often anger in a laugh. – Irish Proverb

There is often the look of an angel on the Devil himself. – Irish Proverb

There is only one thing worse than being talked about, and that is not being talked about. – Oscar Wilde

There is only the blackberry got from the briar. – Irish Proverb

There is pain in prohibition. – Irish Proverb

There is skill in all things even in making porridge. – Irish Proverb

There never was a scabby sheep in a flock that didn’t like to have a comrade. – Irish Proverb

There never was an old slipper but there was an old stocking to match it. – Irish Proverb

There tends to be a black sheep in even the whitest flock. – Irish Proverb

There was never a scabby sheep in a flock that didn’t like to have a comrade. – Irish Proverb

There’s no need to fear the wind if your haystacks are tied down. – Irish Proverb

There’ll be white blackbirds before an unwilling woman ties the knot. – Irish Proverb

There’s a fool born every minute – and every one of them lives. – Irish Proverb

There’s as many good horses in carts as in coaches. – Irish Proverb

There’s little to choose between two blind goats. – Irish Proverb

There’s little value in the single cow. – Irish Proverb

There’s many a good tune played on an old fiddle. – Irish Proverb

There’s many a ship lost within sight of harbour. – Irish Proverb

There’s neither success nor efficiency without authority and laws. – Irish Proverb

There’s never a wise man without fault. – Irish Proverb

There’s no hearth like your own hearth. – Irish Proverb

There’s no hearthstone like your own hearthstone. – Irish Proverb

There’s no need to fear the wind if your haystacks are tied down. – Irish Proverb

There’s no sore ass like your own sore ass. – Irish Proverb

There’s no wise man without a fault. – Irish Proverb

There’s no worth to a story without an author. – Irish Proverb

There’s trouble in every house and some in he street. – Irish Proverb

Think before you speak, and look before you leap. – Irish Proverb

Thirst is a shameless disease. (The thirst for intoxicants is meant.) – Irish Proverb

Thirst is the end of drinking and sorrow is the end of drunkenness. – Irish Proverb

This is better than the thing we never had. – Irish Proverb

This world is the world of everyone in turn. – Irish Proverb

Those who get the name of rising early may lie all day. – Irish Proverb

Those who make laws should not break laws. – Irish Proverb

Those who make the best preparation for a work [can] make the greatest progress. – Irish Proverb

Those who play the game do not see it as clearly as those who watch. – Irish Proverb

Thou oughtest to increase good. – Irish Proverb

Though honey is sweet, do not lick it off a briar. – Irish Proverb

Though the proverb is abandoned, it is not falsified. – Irish Proverb

Though wisdom is good in the beginning it is better at the end. – Irish Proverb

Though wisdom is good in the beginning, it is better at the end. – Irish Proverb

Though your fame is great, it is not good. – Irish Proverb

Three best to have in plenty – sunshine, wisdom and generosity. – Irish Proverb

Three diseases without shame: Love, itch and thirst. – Irish Proverb

Three people can keep a secret, if two of them are dead. – Irish Proverb

Three things that can’t be taught: generosity, poetry and a singing voice. – Irish Proverb

Three things you cannot comprehend: the mind of a woman, the working of the bees, and the ebb and flow of the tide. – Irish Proverb

Time and Patience would bring the snail to Jerusalem. – Irish Proverb

Time is a good story teller. – Irish Proverb

Time is a great story teller. – Irish Proverb

‘Tis afterwards that everything is understood. – Irish Proverb

‘Tis as hard to see a woman cry, as a goose go barefoot. – Irish Proverb

‘Tis better to be idle than to be ill-employed.

‘Tis better to buy a small bouquet
And give to your friend this very day,
Than a bushel of roses white and red
To lay on his coffin after he’s dead. – Irish proverb

‘Tis better to spend money like there’s no tomorrow than to spend tonight like there’s no money! – Irish Proverb

To a man prepared for war, peace is assured. – Irish Proverb

To be red-haired is better than to be without a head. – Irish Proverb

To every cow its calf; to every book its copy. – Irish Proverb

To put off repentance is dangerous. – Irish Proverb

To someone who committed some small fault – ‘Tis only a stepmother would blame you.’ – Irish Proverb

To the fighting man peace is sure. – Irish Proverb

To the raven her own chick is white. – Irish Proverb

To think of it is as good as to mention it. – Irish Proverb
(i.e., Better think of it without saying anything about it.)

Too much familiarity breeds contempt. – Irish Proverb

Trampling on dung only spreads it the more.

Treachery returns. – Irish Proverb

Trouble hates nothing as much as a smile. – Irish Proverb

True friendship is like one soul living in two bodies.-. – Irish Proverb

True strength lies in gentleness. – Irish Proverb

Trust me, but look to thyself. – Irish Proverb

Trust not a spiteful man. – Irish Proverb

Truth has but one version. – Irish Proverb

Truth speaks even though the tongue were dead. – Irish Proverb

Truth stands when everything else falls. – Irish Proverb

Twenty years a child; twenty years running wild; twenty years a mature man — and after that, praying. – Irish Proverb

Twenty years a child;
twenty years running wild;
twenty years a mature man,
and after that, praying. – Irish proverb

Two good things: a young man courting, an old man smoking. Two bad things: an old man courting, a young man smoking. – Irish Proverb

Two people see a thing that an individual does not see. – Irish Proverb

Two shorten the road. – Irish Proverb

Two Sir Positives can scarce meet without a skirmish. – Irish Proverb

Two things that go for loss-turf on a mountain and the wisdom of a poor man. – Irish Proverb

Two thirds of help is to give courage. – Irish Proverb

Two thirds of the work is the semblance. – Irish Proverb

Two to one is odds. – Irish Proverb

Two-thirds of help is to give courage. – Irish Proverb

Walk straight, my son – as the old crab said to the young crab. – Irish Proverb

Watching is a part of good play. – Irish Proverb

We have a fine day more often than a kiln-cast. – Irish Proverb

We were born to die anyhow. – Irish Proverb

We’ll never know the worth of water till the well go dry. – Irish Proverb

‘what a dust we kick up,’ as the fly said to the cart wheel. – Irish Proverb

What appears full of promise often turns out a failure. – Irish Proverb

What butter and whiskey will not cure there’s no cure for. – Irish Proverb

What butter and whiskey will not cure there’s no cure for. – Irish Proverb

What butter and whiskey will not cure, there’s no cure for. – Irish Proverb

What butter and whiskey won’t cure, there is no cure for. – Irish Proverb

What butter or whiskey will not cure is incurable. – Irish Proverb

What butter or whiskey will not cure, there is no cure for. – Irish Proverb
(Absurd belief in the great medicinal efficacy of whiskey has wrought untold harm, says the author of Seanfhocla Uladh)

What fills the eye fills the heart. – Irish Proverb

What I’m afraid to hear I’d better say first myself. – Irish Proverb

What is fated for me it is hard to shun. – Irish Proverb

What is in the cat is in the kitten. – Irish Proverb

What is in the marrow is hard to take out of the bone. – Irish Proverb

What is nearest the heart is nearest the mouth. – Irish Proverb

What is seldom is wonderful. – Irish Proverb

What is the world to a man when his wife is a widow. – Irish Proverb

What should prevent the herring bag from having the odour of the herrings? – Irish Proverb

What the child sees (done) is what the child does. – Irish Proverb

What the child sees, the child does. What the child does, the child is. – Irish Proverb

What whiskey will not cure, there is no cure for. – Irish Proverb

What will come from the briar but the berry. – Irish Proverb

What won’t choke will fatten and clean dirt is no poison. – Irish Proverb

What would a young cat do but eat mice?. – Irish Proverb

What would shame him would turn back a funeral. – Irish Proverb

What would you expect from an ass but a kick? – Irish Proverb

Whatever knowledge, education, or learning the clown acquires, his own congenial nature still appears. – Irish Proverb

What’s all the world to a man when his wife is a widow. – Irish Proverb

What’s good for the goose is good for the gander. – Irish Proverb

What’s got badly, goes badly. – Irish Proverb

What’s in the marrow is hard to take out of the bone. – Irish Proverb

When a heifer is far from home she grows longer horns. – Irish Proverb

When a man gets his feet in lime he cannot easily get rid of it. – Irish Proverb

When a twig grows hard it is difficult to twist it. Every beginning is weak. – Irish Proverb

When all fruits fail welcome haws. – Irish Proverb

When all things spoke the potato said, ‘set me warm, dig me warm, eat me warm, that’s all i want.’ – Irish Proverb

When death comes, it will not go away empty. – Irish Proverb

When everybody’s house is on fire go home and look at your own chimney. – Irish Proverb

When fire is applied to a stone it cracks. – Irish Proverb

When luck comes, it comes by the bucketful. – Irish Proverb

When the apple is ripe it will fall. – Irish Proverb

When the apple is ripe, it will fall. – Irish Proverb

When the belly is full, the bones like to stretch. – Irish Proverb

When the cat is out the mice will dance. – Irish Proverb

When the cat is out the mouse can dance. – Irish Proverb

When the cat is out, the mice dance. – Irish Proverb

When the cat is outside, the mouse does be dancing. – Irish Proverb

When the cats leave the town (or home), the mice dance. – Irish Proverb
(When superiors are gone the subordinates make merry.)

When the drink is in, the sense is out. – Irish Proverb

When the drop (drink) is inside, the sense is outside. – Irish Proverb

When the drop is inside, the sense is outside. – Irish Proverb

When the fire is lighted it is hard to put it out. – Irish Proverb

When the fruit is scarcest, its taste is sweetest. – Irish Proverb

When the goat goes to church, he does not stop till he gets to the altar. – Irish Proverb

When the hand ceases to scatter, the heart ceases to pray. – Irish Proverb

When the hand is clean, It needs no screen. – Irish Proverb

When the liquor was gone the fun was gone. – Irish Proverb

When the old cock crows the young one learns. – Irish Proverb

When the old hag is in danger she must run. – Irish Proverb

When the old woman is hard pressed, she has to run. – Irish Proverb

When the river sounds, it’s because it carries water. – Irish Proverb

When the seed stops, the harrowing stops. – Irish Proverb

When the sky falls we’ll all catch larks. – Irish Proverb

When the sky falls we’ll all catch larks. – Irish Proverb
(Strabo describes the pre-Christian belief among Celts that the sky might fall down.)

When the sky falls we’ll catch larks. – Irish Proverb

When the sky falls, we’ll all catch larks. – Irish Proverb

When the stomach is full, rest is pleasant. When the stomach is full, the bones crave rest. – Irish Proverb

When the twig has become an old tree is not the time to bend it. – Irish Proverb

When the two ends of the candle are lighted it does not stand long. – Irish Proverb

When wrathful words arise a closed mouth is soothing. – Irish Proverb

When you are right no one remembers; when you are wrong no one forgets. – Irish Proverb

When you see a goat you should always hit him, because he is either going into mischief or coming out of it. – Irish Proverb

When your hand is in the dog’s mouth, withdraw it gently. – Irish Proverb

When your neighbour’s house is on fire, take care of your own. – Irish Proverb

When you’re not fishing be mending the nets. – Irish Proverb

Where comes a cow the wiseman lay down, there follows a woman, and where comes a woman follows trouble. – Irish Proverb

Where the tongue slips, it speaks the truth. – Irish Proverb

Where there is smoke there is fire. – Irish Proverb
(Where there is much evidence of a thing, the thing itself is likely to exist.)

Wherever there are women there’s talking, and wherever there’s geese there’s cackling. – Irish Proverb

Wherever you go and whatever you do, may the luck of the Irish be there with you. – Irish Proverb

While a person is out, his food goes cold (nothing does well, if neglected). – Irish Proverb

While young, it’s all dreams; when old, all memories. – Irish Proverb

Whiskey when you’re sick makes you well; whiskey makes you sick when you’re well. – Irish Proverb

Who gossips with you will gossip of you. – Irish Proverb

Who keeps his tongue keeps his friends. – Irish Proverb

Who lies with dogs rises with fleas.

Whoever the cap fits takes it. • Let him whom the cap suits wear it. – Irish Proverb

Whoever the cap fits, takes it. – Irish Proverb

Wide is the door of the little cottage.

Willful waste makes woeful want. – Irish Proverb

Willows are weak but they bind other wood. – Irish Proverb

Wind from the east is good for neither man nor beast. – Irish Proverb

Wine divulges truth. – Irish Proverb

Wine pours out the truth. – Irish Proverb

Winter comes fast on the lazy. – Irish Proverb

Winter comes on the lazy man. – Irish Proverb

Wisdom exceeds riches. – Irish Proverb

Wisdom exceeds strength. – Irish Proverb

Wisdom is a comb given to a man once he is bald. – Irish Proverb

Wisdom is the comb given to a man after he has lost his hair. – Irish Proverb

Wisdom is what makes a poor man a king, a weak person powerful, a good generation of a bad one, a foolish man reasonable. – Irish Proverb

Without education, without manners. – Irish Proverb
(He who is without sound education, is also without good manners etc.)

Without pressing him either too little or too much, keep a sure grip on the reins, for he is a fool who would not get value out of the horse he has on loan. – Irish Proverb

Without pressing too little or too hard, hold tight the reins for he’s a fool who would not get value from a borrowed horse. – Irish Proverb

Without treasure, without friends. – Irish Proverb

Woe to her whose husband is a surly fool. – Irish Proverb

Woe to him who burns his old cattle fold and has thus no reserve to fall back on if the new cattle fold should fail him. (i.e. One should not burn one’s boats.) – Irish Proverb

Woe to him who burns his old hnaile (cattlefold). – Irish Proverb
(and has thus no reserve to fall back on if the new huaile should fail him. I.e. One should not burn one’s boats.)

Woe to him who deems his opinion a certainty. – Irish Proverb

Woe to him who fails in his obligations. • He is a sorry wretch who fails to keep his bonds. – Irish Proverb

Woe to him who has a wretched house, but doubly woeful is he who has no house at all. – Irish Proverb

Woe to him who is without a wife, but doubly woeful is he who has one. – Irish Proverb

Woe to him who lets his secret (known) to a fence. • Never reveal your secret to a fence or a hedge. – Irish Proverb

Woe to him whose betrayer sits at his table. – Irish Proverb

Woe to him whose liberty depends on a stranger. – Irish Proverb

Woe to the man that entrusts his secrets to a ditch. – Irish Proverb

Women are shy and shame prevents them from refusing a man. – Irish Proverb

Women are stronger than men, they do not die of wisdom. – Irish Proverb

Women do not drink liquor, but it disappears when they are present. – Irish Proverb

Women in state affairs are like monkeys in glass-houses. – Irish Proverb

Words will not feed the friars. – Irish Proverb

Ye didn’t turn up when sense being distributed. – Irish Proverb

Ye pleasant men, are ye aware of the nature of children? What we have is theirs, but what they get is not ours. – Irish Proverb

You are not a fully fledged sailor unless you have sailed under full sail, and you have not built a wall unless you have rounded a corner. – Irish Proverb

You can keep away from the rogue, but you cannot keep yourself safe from the liar. – Irish Proverb

You can kill a dog more way than by choking it with butter. – Irish Proverb

You can take a man out of the bog, but you can’t take the bog out of the man. – Irish Proverb

You can’t kiss an Irish girl unexpectedly. You can only kiss her sooner than she thought you would. – Irish Proverb

You cannot eat your bread and have it. – Irish Proverb

You cannot make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear. – Irish Proverb

You cannot sup soup with a fork. – Irish Proverb

You cannot tell from a man’s clothes how much he is making, but you must look at his wife’s. – Irish Proverb

You can’t build a barrel around a bung hole. – Irish Proverb

You can’t build a barrel round a bung hole. – Irish Proverb

You can’t kiss an Irish girl unexpectedly. You can only kiss her sooner than she thought you would. – Irish Proverb

You can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear. – Irish Proverb

You can’t put a wide head on young shoulders. – Irish Proverb

You can’t teach an old dog new tricks. – Irish Proverb

You can’t whistle and drink at the same time. – Irish Proverb

You couldn’t make half a football team out of all the Leinster men in Heaven. – Irish Proverb

You didn’t turn up when sense was being distributed. – Irish Proverb

You kissed the blarney stone. – Irish Proverb

You might as well be whistling jigs to a milestone. – Irish Proverb
(When a friend can’t change a stubborn person’s mind).

You must crack the nuts before you can eat the kernel. – Irish Proverb

You must cut your coat according to your cloth. – Irish Proverb

You must empty a box before you fill it again. – Irish Proverb

You must live with a person to know a person. If you want to know me come and live with me. – Irish Proverb

You must take the little potato with the big potato. – Irish Proverb

You never had neighbours as good as boundary fences. – Irish Proverb

You never miss the water till the well has run dry. – Irish Proverb

You should never stop the plough to kill a mouse. – Irish Proverb

You will find enough of brushna in every wood to burn it. – Irish Proverb

You will never plough a field by turning it over in your mind. – Irish Proverb

You will not be able to make a silk purse of a pig’s ear. – Irish Proverb
(You’ll not be able to make a person naturally boorish and vulgar to be refined and decent.)

You won’t learn to swim on the kitchen floor. – Irish Proverb

You’ll never plow a field by turning it over in your mind. – Irish Proverb

You’ve got to do your own growing, no matter how tall your father was. – Irish Proverb

You’ll never plough a field by turning it over in your mind. – Irish Proverb

You’ll never plow a field by turning it over in your mind. – Irish Proverb

You’ll not find a thrush in a hawk’s nest. – Irish Proverb

Young people, make the web of life well. – Irish Proverb

Your feet will bring you to where your heart is. – Irish Proverb

Your feet will bring you where your heart is. – Irish Proverb

Your friend and your enemy think you will never die. – Irish Proverb

Your lord’s rent or your child’s life. – Irish Proverb

Your own business, do it, my man. – Irish Proverb

Your own deeds will long be baptized on you. – Irish Proverb

Your pocket is your friend. – Irish Proverb

Your son is your son today, but your daughter is your daughter forever. – Irish Proverb

Your son is your son until he marries, but your daughter is your daughter until you die. – Irish Proverb

You’re not as young as you used to be, but you’re not as old as you’re going to be. – Irish Proverb

Youth does not mind where it sets its foot. – Irish Proverb

Youth has a small head. – Irish Proverb

Youth is wasted on the young. – Irish Proverb

Youth likes to wander. – Irish Proverb

Youth sheds many a skin. The steed (horse) does not retain its speed forever. – Irish Proverb

Youth sheds many a skin. The steed does not retain its speed forever. – Irish Proverb

Youth will have its fling. – Irish Proverb

You’ve got to do your own growing, no matter how tall your father was. – Irish Proverb

You’ve got to do your own growing, no matter how tall your grandfather was. – Irish Proverb

Irish Proverbs

Irish Proverbs and Meanings

  • A blind man is no judge of colours
    • Meaning: knowledge is not equal to experience.
  • A friend’s eye is a good mirror
    • Meaning: trust your friends’ opinions.
  • A good beginning is half the work
    • Meaning: getting things started is the hardest part.
  • A good word never broke a tooth
    • Meaning: kindness is always returned.
  • A lamb’s bleat is often more telling than a dog’s bark
    • Meaning: sometimes being subtle works better than being loud and forthright.
  • A man’s mouth often breaks his nose
    • Meaning: if you talk too much you can get in trouble.
  • A trout in the pot is better than a salmon in the sea
    • Meaning: be thankful for what you have rather than chasing after what you can never get.
  • A wild goose never reared a tame gosling
    • Meaning: children learn by example.
  • A windy day is not a day for thatching
    • Meaning: don’t plan for the future in times of uncertainty.
  • A wren in the hand is better than a crane out of it
    • Meaning: a small success is better than a big failure.
  • An awkward colt often becomes a beautiful horse
    • Meaning: everything can be improved.
  • An empty sack does not stand
    • Meaning: lying and dishonesty gets you nowhere.
  • An old broom knows the dirty corners best
    • Meaning: wisdom comes with experience.
  • Any man can lose his hat in a fairy wind
    • Meaning: some things are out of anyone’s control.
  • Better to spend money like there’s no tomorrow than spend tonight like there’s no money
    • Meaning: live in the moment.
  • Beware of the anger of a patient man
    • Meaning: if you make a patient man angry, you know things are serious!
  • Broken Irish is better than clever English
    • Meaning: this one is quite straightforward!
  • Complain that you have no shoes until you meet a man who has no feet
    • Meaning: be thankful for what you have because there will always be someone in a worse situation than you.
  • Do not resent growing old, many are denied the privilege
    • Meaning: this one of the few self explanatory proverbs!
  • Do not take the thatch from your own roof to buy slates for another man’s house
    • Meaning: you can’t help others unless you help yourself first.
  • Don’t fear an ill wind if your haystacks are tied down
    • Meaning: There is no need to worry about things if you’re properly prepared.
  • Don’t make little of your dish for it may be an ignorant man who judges it
    • Meaning: never undersell yourself.
  • Enough and no waste is as good as a feast
    • Meaning: Having enough is better than having too much.
  • Even black hens lay white eggs
    • Meaning: seemingly bad people can still do good deeds.
  • Every man is sociable until a cow invades his garden
    • Meaning: Everybody has their off days!
  • Every patient is a doctor after his cure
    • Meaning: people who solve their own problems think they are experts in everyone else’s.
  • Everyone lays a burden on the willing horse
    • Meaning: people are quick to take helpful people for granted.
  • Experience is the comb that life gives a bald man
    • Meaning: A man who has lived long enough to lose his hair will no doubt know a thing or two about life.
  • God’s help is nearer than the door
    • Meaning: don’t run away from your problems.
  • God’s mill may grind slowly, but it grinds finely
    • Meaning: slow and steady wins the race.
  • Good luck beats early rising
    • Meaning: some people are more fortunate than others for no real reason.
  • He didn’t lick it off a stone
    • Meaning: people’s personalities or actions are always influenced by someone.
  • Hindsight is the best insight to foresight 
    • Meaning: Learn from your past mistakes to avoid making new ones.
  • However long the day, the evening will come
    • Meaning: bad times don’t last forever.
  • Hunger is good sauce
    • Meaning: hunger makes any food taste good.
  • If you are looking for a friend without a fault you will be without a friend forever
    • Meaning: nobody’s perfect!
  • If you dig a grave for others, you might fall into it yourself
    • Meaning: spite is a dangerous thing.
  • If you lie down with dogs you’ll rise with fleas
    • Meaning: don’t expect to mingle with bad people and not pick up some bad habits yourself.
  • It is better to be a coward for a minute than dead for the rest of your life
  • Meaning: safety is better than bravery.
  • It is easy to halve the potato where there is love
    • Meaning: if you love someone you will share whatever you have without resentment
  • It is the quiet pigs that eat the meal
    • Meaning: this can be compared to ‘the early bird catches the worm’.
  • It takes time to build castles
    • Meaning: hard work and planning will reap rewards eventually.
  • It’s a lonely washing that has no man’s shirt in it
    • Meaning: everybody needs someone to love (and wash clothes for.
  • It’s a long road that has no turning
    • Meaning: Always doing the same thing is neither beneficial nor entertaining.
  • It’s as easy to catch a cold in a King’s castle as in a shepherd’s hut
    • Meaning: everyone is human, wealth is no measure of health.
  • It’s better to pay the butcher than the doctor
    • Meaning: paying good money for good food is better than eating bad food and having poor health as a result.
  • It’s long road that has no turn in it – (Is fada an bóthar nach bhfuil aon chasadh ann)
    • Meaning: Be nice to people because you never know when you might meet/need them in the future.
  • It’s not a delay to stop and sharpen the scythe
    • Meaning: take every opportunity to learn.
  • Life is like a cup of tea; it’s all in how you make it
    • Meaning: how you live your life is a result of what you do in it.
  • Many a ship is lost within sight of the harbour
    • Meaning: don’t let your guard down no matter how safe you think things may be
  • Never dread the winter til the snow is on the blanket
    • Meaning: there is no need to worry about the cold while you have a roof over your head.
  • No matter how many rooms you have in your house, you’re only able to sleep in one bed
    • Meaning: it doesn’t matter how many possessions you have, we all have the same basic needs in life.
  • One beetle recognises another – (Aithníonn ciaróg, ciaróg eile)
    • Meaning: Like attracts like
  • Put silk on a goat and it’s still a goat – (Cuir síoda ar ghabhar agus is gabhar i gcónaí é)
    • Meaning: It means it doesn’t matter how well you dress up, if you’re not attractive it won’t make any difference!
  • Show the fatted calf but not the thing that fattened him
    • Meaning: be wary of giving away the secrets to success.
  • Sunshine always follows rain
    • Meaning: good things come after bad things; there is a light at the end of the tunnel.
  • The best way to keep loyalty in a man’s heart is to keep money in his purse
    • Meaning: another self explanatory one.
  • The cat is always dignified until the dog comes by
    • Meaning: everyone has something or someone that makes them angry.
  • The longest road out is the shortest road home
    • Meaning: time and effort always pays off in the end.
  • The older the fiddle the sweeter the tune
    • Meaning: things improve with age.
  • The skin of the old sheep is on the rafter no sooner than the skin of the young sheep
    • Meaning: nobody is immune to death or bad health no matter what their age.
  • There was never a scabby sheep in a flock that didn’t like to have a comrade
    • Meaning: even the most horrible people need friends.
  • There’s no use boiling your cabbage twice
    • Meaning: once something is done, there’s no need to revisit it; leave the past behind.
  • Whatever is got on the devil’s back falls under his belly
    • Meaning: Any good thing ill-acquired never stays good.
  • When the apple is ripe, it will fall
    • Meaning: what will be will be.
  • When the drop is inside the sense is outside
    • Meaning: alcohol leads to senseless activities!
  • While a person is out, his food goes cold
    • Meaning: good things turn bad if left neglected.
  • Wide is the door of the little cottage
    • Meaning: it is often poor people who are most generous.
  • You must crack the nuts before you can eat the kernel
    • Meaning: success takes hard work.
  • You never miss the water until the well has run dry
    • Meaning: you don’t appreciate what you have until it’s gone.
  • You’ll arrive back with one arm as long as the other
    • Meaning: Whatever you intend to do is pointless and won’t change anything.
  • You’ll never plough a field by turning it over in your mind
    • Meaning: stop thinking and start doing!
  • You’ve got to do your own growing, no matter how tall your father was
    • Meaning: success is never guaranteed.

Irish Proverbs

Irish Proverbs Translation and Meanings

  • An cleas a bhíos ag an deaid, bíonn sé ag an mac.
    • Translation: The trick the father has, the son has.
    • English equivalent: Like father, like son.
    • Meaning: Sons may look and behave like their fathers. This is due to inheritance and the example observed closely and daily.
  • Ba mhinic droch-éadach ar tháilliúr ‘s droch-bhróg ar ghréasaidh.
    • Translation: There was often a bad cloth on a tailor and a bad shoe on a cobbler.
    • English equivalent: The shoemaker goes barefoot.
    • Meaning: “Working hard for others one may neglect one’s own needs or the needs of those closest to him.”
  • Bíonn gach tosú lag.
    • Translation: Every beginning is weak.
    • Swedish equivalent: We all start out as children.
    • Wales. Board of Celtic Studies (1968). The bulletin of the Board of Celtic Studies. University of Wales Press.
  • Bíonn cluasa ar na clathacha.
    • Translation and English equivalent: Walls have ears.
    • Meaning: “What you say may be overheard; used as a warning.”
  • Casar na daoiní ar a chéile, ach ní chastar na cnuic.
    • Translation: The people meet each other but the hills do not.
    • English equivalent: A mountain never meets a mountain, but a man meets a man.
    • Meaning: There are some things/events that are impossible, like an encounter of mountains, but there is always a chance for people to meet. or Once can always find a possibility for revenge.
  • Is trian de’n obair tús a chur.
    • Translation: It is a third of the work to begin.
    • English equivalent: Well begun, is half done.
    • Meaning: Starting properly ensures the speedy completion of a process. A – beginning is often blocked by one or more obstacles (potential barriers) the removal of which may ensure the smooth course of the process.
  • Leig isteach ar chluas as amach ar cluas.
    • Translation: In at one ear and out at the other.
    • English equivalent: Advice most needed is the least heeded.
    • Who is wise? He that learns from every One.
      Who is powerful? He that governs his Passions.
      Who is rich? He that is content.
      Who is that? Nobody.” Benjamin Franklin, Poor Rickard’s Almanack (1755)
  • Na h-éisg bheaga a bheathuigheas na h-éisg mhóra.
    • Translation: The little fish feed the big fish.
    • English equivalent: Men are like fish; the great ones devour the small.
    • Meaning: “Small organizations or insignificant people tend to be swallowed up or destroyed by those that are greater and more powerful.”
  • Na tabhair malairt de do chapall nuair ata tu ag dul trasna ar an abhainn.
    • English equivalent: Don’t change horses in midstream.
    • “I took my son to a giant sand dune. I tried to encourage him to climb to the top. But midway up the dune, he decided to just stay and play in the most fun area, and forget all about reaching the top. He was right.” Neil Strauss, tweet from 2018
  • “Ní bhíonn airgead amadáin i bhfad ina phóca.”
    • Translation: A fool’s money is not long in his pocket.
  • Ní gnáthach caonnach ar an gcloich bhíonn a’ sior-chorruighe.
    • Translation and English equivalent: A rolling stone gathers no moss.
    • Meaning: “There are a Set of People in the World of fo unfettled and reftleis a Temper, and such Admirers of Novelty, that they can never be long pleafed with one way of’ living, no more than to continue long in one Habitation; but before they are well enter’d upon one Bufinefs, dip into another, and before they are well fettled in one Habitation, remove to another; fo that they are always bufily beginning to live, but by reafon of Ficklenefs and Impatience, never arrive at a way of living: fuch Perfons fall under the Doom of this Proverb, which is delign’d to fix the Volatility of their Tempers, by laying before them the ill Confequences of fuch Ficklenefs and Inconltancy.”
    • Source for meaning of English equivalent: Divers Proverbs, Nathan Bailey, 1721 [1]
  • Ní mar a shíltear a bhítear.
    • Translation: Things aren’t as they seem.
    • Oppenheimer (2006). The origins of the British: a genetic detective story : the surprising roots of the English, Irish, Scottish and Welsh. Carroll \& Graf. ISBN 0786718900.
  • Ní thagann ciall roimh aois.
    • Translation: Sense does not come before age.
    • English equivalent: Reason does not come before years.
    • Meaning: Older people having faced more adversity are more reasonable.
  • Ní thuigeann an seach an seang.
    • Translation:The well fed person doesn’t understand the hungry one.
    • English equivalent: No one knows where the shoe pinches, but he who wears it.
    • Meaning: “Nobody can fully understand another person’s hardship or suffering.”
  • Níl aon bhean is gnáthiage drochbhróga uirthí ná bean an ghréasaidhe.
    • Translation: There is no woman more accustomed to bad shoes on her than the cobbler’s wife.
    • English equivalent: The cobbler’s wife is the worst shod.
    • Meaning: “Working hard for others one may neglect one’s own needs or the needs of those closest to him.”
  • “Níor bhris focal maith fiacail riamh.”
    • Translation: “A good word never broke a tooth.”
    • “He who praises every body, praises nobody.”
    • Attributed to Samuel Johnson, “Johnsoniana”, The European Magazine and London Review (January 1785), p. 55. The anecdote which quotes this line was reprinted in The Works of Samuel Johnson, vol. 11 (Apophthegms, Sentiments, Opinions and Occasional Reflections), p. 216 (1787). According to George Birkbeck Hill, Johnsonian Miscellanies (1897, reprinted 1966), vol. 2, p. 1, 312, the author of this anecdote was George Steevens.
  • Toradh an chrainn a thuitfeas an duilleabhar.
    • English equivalent: The apple does not fall far from the tree.
    • “On two occasions, I have been asked [by members of Parliament], “Pray, Mr. Babbage, if you put into the machine wrong figures, will the right answers come out?”…I am not able rightly to apprehend the kind of confusion of ideas that could provoke such a question.” Charles Babbage, Passages from the Life of a Philosopher (1864), p. 6
  • Aithníonn ciaróg eile
    • Translation: It takes one to know one.
  • Ní dhéanfadh an soal capall rasa d’asal
    • Translation: You can’t make a racehorse out of a donkey!
  • Fillean an feall ar an bhfeallaire
    • Translation: The bad deed returns on the bad deed-doer.
  • Tús maith leath na hoibre
    • Translation: A good start is half the work.
  • Níl saoi gan locht
    • Translation: There’s not a wise man without fault.
    • Meaning: Everyone has their faults no matter how perfect they may seem—even you!
  • An rud is annamh is iontach
    • Translation: The thing that is seldom is wonderful.
    • Meaning: Much like Ireland’s landscape, this Irish proverb tells us that the rare things in life are best.
  • Is treise an dúchas ná an oillúint
    • Translation: Nature is stronger than nurture.
    • Meaning: No matter how much people are taught, the Irish language informs us that nothing is as good as a brush with nature.
  • Níl aon tintéan mar thintéan fhéin
    • Translation: There’s no fireplace like your own
    • Meaning: There is no place like home. We can all appreciate that.
  • Ní bhíonn an rath acht mar a mbionn an smach
    • Meaning: To fully excel at something, you must be fully committed;
    • Translation: There is no prosperity without discipline.
  • Ní thuigheann an sách an seang
    • Translation: The well-fed does not understand the lean.
    • Meaning: This proverb is telling us that those who have may not understand the concerns of those who don’t have, and that you may need to lose a little to understand what it is like to have nothing.
  • Ní neart go cur le chéile
    • Translation: There is strength in unity or we are better together.
    • Meaning: It is telling us that we can do more if we work together.
  • An té a bhíónn siúlach, bíonn scéalach
    • Translation: He who travels has stories to tell.
  • Níor bhris focal maith fiacal riamh
    • Translation: A good word never broke a tooth.
    • Meaning: This proverb proclaims that saying a kind word never did anyone any harm.
  • Is fearr and tslainte ná na táinte
    • Translation: Health is better than wealth.
    • Meaning: Don’t worry about the money; look after yourself first, and you’ll be happier!
  • Is minic a bhris béal duine a shrón
    • Translation: Many a time a man’s mouth broke his nose.
    • Meaning: Back with a bit of humour, this proverb warns that a misspoken word will have a consequence or two for your face!
  • Nuair a bhíonn an fíon istigh, bíonn an ciall amuigh
    • Translation: When the wine is in, sense is out. 
  • An té a luíonn le madaí, eiriodh se le dearnaid
    • Meaning: This proverb explains to us the dangers of mixing with the wrong people:
    • Translation: He who lies down with dogs comes up with fleas.
  • Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireann na daoine
    • Translation: Under the shelter of each other, people survive.
    • Meaning: A very Irish tradition is to look after one another, and this proverb champions this idea.
  • Mol an oige agus tiocfaidh sí
    • Translation: Encourage young people and they will get there.
    • Meaning: A famous saying across Ireland, this is a visionary message that tells us our young people, who are the future, will do well, so long as we do our bit to help them along the way.
  • Is fearr Gaeilge briste, ná Béarla cliste
    • Translation: Broken Irish is better than clever English.
    • Meaning: It is a call to maintain the Irish heritage and language, and a cry to everyone to speak Irish whenever they can, no matter how well they can speak the language.

Irish Idioms

Irish Idioms and Phrases

  • May the road rise up to meet you.
    • Meaning and Explanation: You may recognize this popular blessing (in Irish Gaelic: Go n-éirí an bóthar leat) from Catholic weddings or cross-stitched pillows in Nan’s house. One of the main characteristics of Celtic Christianity is the use of images of nature to show how God interacts with people. “May the road rise up to meet you/ May the wind be always at your back/ May the sun shine warm upon you face …” uses everyday images to mean, may God remove obstacles in your journey through life.
  • Sláinte!
    • Meaning and Explanation: In an Irish pub, patrons toast each other sláinte (pronounced “slaan-sha”) as they clink glasses of Guinness. Derived from the Old Irish adjective slán (which means “safe”), sláinte literally translates as “health” and is used as a stand-in for the more time-consuming “I drink to your health!”
  • What’s the craic?
    • Meaning and Explanation: Greetings like “Any craic?” and “How’s the craic?” give rise to potential awkward misunderstandings for tourists, because craic is pronounced like “crack.” The most straightforward definition is fun or enjoyment, and it can substitute for “How are you?” A typical response is “divil a bit,” which means “not much.”
  • May the cat eat you, and may the devil eat the cat.
    • Meaning and Explanation: Consider this insult a double whammy. By saying, “Go n-ithe an cat thú is go n-ithe an diabhal an cat,” the speaker wishes that a cat gobble up his enemy like a can of Fancy Feast, and that the Devil eat them both. It’s a surefire sentence to Hell.
      Curses are far more detailed and nuanced in Irish culture, as compared to the traditional F-bombs dropped in the U.S. Here’s another popular mouthful of an insult: “May you be afflicted with itching without the benefit of scratching.” Burn.
  • Two people shorten the road.
    • Meaning and Explanation: Company makes the journey fly, as evidenced by one anecdote from Celtic folklore. In it, a father asks his son to “shorten their journey” to see the king, and refuses to continue on foot when the son doesn’t know how. Frustrated, the son asks his wife what to do. “Every one knows that storytelling is the way to shorten a road,” she says. They set out the next morning, and the son weaves a tale the whole way to White Strand. Lesson learned: Giorraíonn beirt bóthar.
  • Story horse?
    • Meaning and Explanation: Move aside, Wishbone. “What’s the story, horse?” — abbreviated as “story horse?” — is how you ask a buddy what’s up. It’s a less breezy greeting than its American counterpart, and invites the other person to really dive into what’s been going on in life.
  • On me tod.
    • Meaning and Explanation: A lonely lad says, “I’m on me tod,” if he’s riding solo at the bars that night, or alone in general. Tod Sloan was an American jockey whose mother died when he was young, whose father abandoned him, and whose incredibly successful horse-racing career came to an end when he moved to the U.K. and was ridiculed for his Western riding style. Sloan was always said to be “on his own.”
      This expression is one of the best-known examples of Cockney rhyming slang, a phrase construction that involves taking a common word and using a rhyming phrase of two or three words to replace it. “On my Tod Sloan” rhymes with “on my own”; but in typical Cockney fashion, the word that completes the rhyme (“Sloan”) is omitted.
  • Acting the maggot.
    • Meaning and Explanation: Friend’s messing around, being obnoxious? Acting the maggot. Phone taking forever to deliver an iMessage? Acting the maggot. Comparing someone or something to a wriggly little white worm means they’re behaving like a fool.
  • You son is your son today, but your daughter is your daughter forever.
    • Meaning and Explanation: A man is only a son until he takes a wife. But as a daughter gets older, she will stay near the family, draining it of money and time for years to come. In Irish Gaelic, it’s Is é do mhac do mhac inniú, ach is í d’iníon d’iníon go deo.
  • ‘Tis only a stepmother would blame you.
    • Meaning and Explanation: There’s no need to be embarrassed or feel badly about committing a small offense, if the deed is so insignificant that only a jealous, belittling stepmother could find fault with you.
  •  We’re sucking diesel now.
    • Meaning and Explanation: When things are going exceptionally well and you’ve found success, not by luck but by your own merit, pat yourself on the back by saying, “I’m sucking diesel.” Or, celebrate that your Oldsmobile Diesel started up for what could be the last time.
  • S—- in a bucket.
    • Meaning and Explanation: Behold the raunchiest Irish slang used in sports: the English curse word “s—” with an “e” tacked on the end. It’s pretty self-explanatory. When the Republic of Ireland’s footballer James McCarthy recently tackled the ball into his own net, giving Serbia its first goal of the game, spectators at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin were certainly mumbling this under their breath.
  • That one suffers from a double-dose of original sin.
  • Meaning and Explanation: The Bible proposes that when Adam ate the forbidden fruit, he cast a state of sin on all of mankind. Today, if a child is particularly mischievous, he’s said to have been twice-cursed by Adam’s slip-up.
    • The phrase became popular in the 1880s, when proponents of British rule over Ireland attributed the Irishmen’s depravity of character (and the famine, some argued) to their second helping of original sin.
  • Christ on a bike!
    • Meaning and Explanation: Considered blasphemous by some Christians, the odd turn of phrase is a way of saying, “I can’t believe what I’m seeing.” First “#HotJesus,” now this. 
  • State o’you.
    • Meaning and Explanation: A popular exclamation used in inner Dublin, “Look at the state o’you!” implies that a person’s attire, personal hygiene, intoxication level, or general demeanor is worrisome. One might describe his drinking companion as being in a “bleedin’ state” if he “gets pissed” or “wrecked” on lager at the pub.
  • May today be better than yesterday, but, not as good as tomorrow
    • Meaning and Explanation: This philosophy of optimism is found in many cultures, and appears to date as far back as medieval times — when tomorrow, most certainly, could not be guaranteed to see a marked improvement on the day before.
  • What a sober man has in his heart, the drunk has on his lips
    • Meaning and Explanation: Drink features in many Irish proverbs, and indeed across many cultures. The above proverb is found in such disparate places as Denmark, Germany and Andalucía.
  • Luck never gives; it only lends
    • Meaning and Explanation: Luck and chance are favourite topics for proverbs in Ireland. “Money won is twice as sweet as money earned,” seems to be the general view, although this goes along with a consensus that luck will be evened out in the long run. But there is a harsher verdict: “Success is purely a matter of luck,” runs one view. “Ask any failure.”
    • Nonetheless,  Captain Happenstance was often relied on in Ireland.  “When your luck’s in you can win on a tram ticket,” ran a popular proverb in the early 20th century.
  • The past is very unpredictable
    • Meaning and Explanation: This has been attributed to many countries with particularly vexed histories (Ireland, Russia, Serbia), places where a popular pastime is revisiting the past. In the North of Ireland, events are given a different spin largely dependent on where the person — or his forebears — went to church of a Sunday.
    • As Irish-American journalist Bill Vaughan once said: “It might be a good idea if the various countries of the world would occasionally swap history books, just to see what other people are doing with the same set of facts.”
  • Whatever you say, say nothing
    • Meaning and Explanation: This was actually less of a proverb and more in the way of sound advice for anyone living in, or visiting, the North of Ireland. It comes from Seamus Heaney’s 1975 volume North, and the mordantly ironic title Whatever You Say Say Nothing soon became an aphorism for a time and a place where you always needed to be on guard over what you said. Even today it’s probably not a bad guiding principle.
  • Success consists of getting up just one more time than you fall
    • Meaning and Explanation: Oliver Goldsmith, from Longford (some records specify Rosscomon), accomplished something few other writers have ever managed – he wrote a poem, a play and a novel, each of which is regarded as amongst the finest in the English language.
  • Your last cheque should be to the undertaker — and it should bounce
    • Meaning and Explanation: Brendan Behan, along with O’Casey, Swift and Joyce, contributed much to the English language — their sayings and proverbs are today common currency. Oscar Wilde is perhaps the most often quoted. “There are only two tragedies in life: one is not getting what one wants, and the other is getting it,” is typical of his output.
    • Behan’s general attitude to death was strictly in line with his general philosophy.
  • Climate is what you expect. Weather is what you get
    • Meaning and Explanation: Well, living in a country that has been overcast since records began, we know all about uncooperative weather, and the climate makes regular appearances in our proverbs. Our old friend Brendan Behan introduced a saying that had great currency in the 20th century: “The weather’s so changeable you wouldn’t know which clothes to pawn.” The pawn shops have gone, but the iffy weather remains.
  • In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king
    • Meaning and Explanation: Again, a saying that has great antiquity, with roots in ancient Greece. But it has remained fashionable in Ireland, and is particularly popular when discussing Dáil Éireann.
  • It’s like the elephant in the front room
  • Meaning and Explanation: Dublin philosopher George Berkeley (18th century) used a version of it in his debates with scientists, asking whether or not there was “an invisible elephant in the room”.
    • Its modern use dates back to a 70 minute BBC television film by the late Alan Clarke, shown in 1989. Called Elephant, the bleak production – without commentary – was a reconstruction of 18 sectarian murders in the North.Clarke took the title from the Belfast writer Bernard McLaverty who described the Troubles in the North as ‘having an elephant in your living room’.
    • The interesting thing is that McLaverty’s original meaning is not quite the same as it is used in normal parlance today. He originally said the Troubles in the North were ‘like living in a room with an elephant and trying to ignore it. Occasionally it stood on your toe or crapped on your head, but mostly you tried to get on with it.’
  • The innocent and the beautiful have no enemy but time
    • Meaning and Explanation: Much of the William Butler Yeats output has become familiar to us: “Tread softly because you tread on my dreams,” comes from one of the most poignant love poems ever written. It begins, “Had I the heaven’s embroidered cloths. . .” and only gets better. Next year, with the 100th anniversary of 1916 upon us, expect to hear one of his most famous lines: “A terrible beauty is born.” But his view on “the innocent and the beautiful” remains both true — and dreadfully chilling.
  • We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars
    • Meaning and Explanation: There can scarcely be a better or more succinct summing up of self-improvement than Oscar Wilde’s beautiful and poignant lines.
  • It is “time enough” that lost the ducks.
    • (Ducks in summer time often do not come home in the evening, but prefer to remain beside the ponds and streams where they have been during the day. These particular ducks did so, and the owner delayed going for them till night came on, when she could not see them. During the night, they were stolen by someone, or carried off by a fox.)
  • The world is quiet and the pig in the craw (or sty).
    • (This was probably the remark of some servant or gilly – The pig is usually the last animal that is secured for the night at a farmer’s house. When this was done the farmer had time to breathe freely and enjoy the quiet of the night.)

Irish Proverbs

Irish Toasts

Here’s to the maiden of bashful fifteen;
Here’s to the widow of fifty;
Here’s to the flaunting, extravagant quean,
And here’s to the housewife that’s thrifty!
Let the toast pass;
Drink to the lass;
I’ll warrant she’ll prove an excuse for the glass. – Richard Brinsley Sheridan School for Scandal. Act iii. Sc. 3.

Here’s to your roof,
may it be well thatched
And here’s to all
under it –
May they be
well matched. – Irish Toast

May you die in bed at 95, shot by a jealous spouse.– Irish Toast for Father’s Day

May you die in bed at 95, shot by a jealous wife! – Irish Toast for Father’s Day

Here’s to a temperance supper,
With water in glasses tall,
And coffee and tea to end with
And me not there at all! – Irish Toast

Here’s to eyes in your heads and none in your spuds. – Irish Toast

Irish curses

Irish Curses

“Lord, confound this surly sister,
Blight her brow with blotch and blister,
Cramp her larynx, lung and liver,
In her guts a galling give her.” – Curse created by John Millington Synge on a friend’s sister who had criticized “The Playboy of the Western World.”

May his pipe never smoke,
may his teapot be broke,
and to add to the joke
may his kettle not boil,
may he lay in the bed
’till the moment he’s dead
may he always be fed on lob-scouse and fish oil,
may he swell with the gout,
may his grinders fall out,
may he roar, bawl and shout,
with the horrid toothache.
May his temples wear horns,
and all his toes corns,
the monster that murdered NeII Flaherty’s drake. – Irish curses from the rebel song Nell Flaherty’s Drake

May misfortune follow you the rest of your life, and never catch up. – Irish Curse

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. – Irish curse

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. – Traditional Irish Curse

May the enemies of Ireland never eat bread nor drink whisky, but be tormented with itching without benefit of scratching.Irish Curse

May the enemies of Ireland never meet a friend. – Irish Curse

May the grass grow long on the road to Hell for want of use. – Irish Curse

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. – Irish curse

May you be afflicted with the itch and have no nails to scratch with! – Irish Curse

May you be at the gates of heaven an hour before the devil knows you’re dead! – Irish Curse

May you never forget what is worth remembering, nor ever remember what is best forgotten. – Irish Curse

No butter be on your milk nor on your ducks a web. May your cow be flayed. And may the flame be bigger and wider which will go through your soul than the Connemara mountains, if they were on fire. – Irish Curse

Irish Blessings

Irish Blessings

Bless you and yours
As well as the cottage you live in.
May the roof overhead be well thatched
And those inside be well matched. – Irish blessing

Health and a long life to you.
Land without rent to you.
A child every year to you.
And if you can’t go to heaven,
May you at least die in Ireland. – Irish blessing

Holy Mother take the harm of the years away from you. – Irish blessing

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. – Irish blessing

May good and faithful friends be yours wherever you may roam.– Irish Blessing

May love and laughter light your days,
and warm your heart and home.
May good and faithful friends be yours,
wherever you may roam.
May peace and plenty bless your world
with joy that long endures.
May all life’s passing seasons
bring the best to you and yours! – Irish blessing

May neighbours respect you, trouble neglect you, the angels protect you, and Heaven accept you. – Irish Blessing

May the blessings of each day be the blessings you need most. – Irish Blessing

May the dreams you hold dearest, be those which come true. The kindness you spread, keep returning to you. – Irish Blessing

May the hinges of our friendship never grow rusty! – Irish Blessing

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. – Irish Blessing

May the luck of the Irish be with you! – Irish Blessing

May the most you wish for be the least you get. – Irish Blessing

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. – Irish Blessing

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. – Irish blessing

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

May the roof above you never fall in, and those gathered beneath it never fall out. – Irish Blessing

May the saddest day of your future be no worse than the happiest day of your past. – Irish Blessing

May the wind always be at your back. – Irish Blessing

May you always have a clean shirt, a clear conscience, and enough coins in your pocket to buy a pint! – Irish Blessing

May you be poor in misfortune, rich in blessings, slow to make enemies and quick to make friends. And may you know nothing but happiness from this day forward. – Irish Blessing

May you have food and raiment, a soft pillow for your head. May you be forty years in heaven before the devil knows you’re dead. – Irish Blessing

May you have the hindsight to know where you’ve been, the foresight to know where you are going, and the insight to know when you have gone too far. – Irish Blessing

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. – Irish blessing

May you live as long as you want,
And never want as long as you live. – Irish blessing

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

May you never forget what is worth remembering, nor ever forget what is best forgotten. – Irish Blessing

May your heart be light and happy, may your smile be big and wide, and may your pockets always have a coin or two inside! – Irish Blessing

May your home always be too small to hold all your friends. – Irish Blessing

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

May your thoughts be as glad as the s. May your heart be as light as a song. May each day bring you bright, happy hours that stay with you all the year long. – Irish Blessing

May your thoughts be as glad as the shamrocks. May your heart be as light as a song. May each day bring you bright, happy hours that stay with you all the year long. – Irish Blessing

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! – Irish blessing

Irish Poems

Garlic with May butter
Cureth all disease.
Drink of goat’s white milk
Take along with these. – Early Irish poem from A Taste Of Ireland: Irish Traditional Foods by Theodora Fitzgibbon

Tax his tractor, tax his mule; tell him, taxing is the rule.
Tax his oil, tax his gas, tax his notes, tax his cash
Tax him good and let him know, that after taxes, he has no dough.
If he hollers, tax him more; tax him till he’s good and sore.
Tax his coffin, tax his grave, tax his sod in which he’s laid.
Put these words upon his tomb, “Taxes drove him to his doom.”
Once he’s gone, we won’t relax. We’ll still collect inheritance tax.

But the greatest love — the love above all loves,
Even greater than that of a mother…
Is the tender, passionate, undying love,
Of one beer drunken slob for another. – Irish ballad

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