27 Best Irish Proverbs and Meanings That Will Inspire and Warm Your Life

27 Best Irish Proverbs and Meanings That Will Inspire and Warm Your Life

We love being Irish and what it stands for. To know more about our heritage, we posted a question on what characteristics and proverbs all Irish have in common. We received a lot of answers – including the best Irish proverbs and meanings. In this article, I appreciate Ireland’s wisdom better.

What Characteristics Do The Irish Share?

Here’s a list of our favorite answers about what characteristics all Irish have in common.

  1. We’re generally entirely reserved and pretty tame.
  2. No, we aren’t all gingers!
  3. We’ve got an opinion about everything!
  4. We’d rather walk on fire than say NO (like our Japanese brethren)
  5. We get miffed when Americans abridge St. Patrick’s Day into Patty’s Day!
  6. The Irish put family above all else is a given. And while we can get into a severe argument on principles and politics, one thing is for sure: we love a good story.
  7. Ireland is a country teeming with the tradition of language and storytelling. Our specific language existed way before English was spoken - a strong gauge of how we value keeping culture and traditions alive.
  8. Storytelling and wise banter kept us Irish entertained long before pen, paper, and technology. It has become so much of a social engagement that Ireland has produced many of the world’s most renowned writers. Some were Oscar Wilde, Samuel Beckett, Bram Stokers, George Bernard Shaw, and William Butler Yeats. And where brilliance dwells, wisdom does not fall far behind.
  9. Our rich storytelling culture has spawned many proverbs, sayings, and phrases. There will always be a pertinent Irish proverb for any situation.

Famous Irish Proverbs And Meanings

Here are a few classic and famous Irish proverbs we love. Let’s dive in!
  1. “There are only two tragedies in life: one is not getting what one wants, and the other is getting it.”
    -Oscar Wilde
    • Meaning: Life is unpredictable. Success can also lead to misfortune.
  2. "You must crack the nuts before you can eat the kernel."
    -Irish Proverb
    • Meaning: You need to render hard work before you succeed.
  3. "If you lie down with dogs, you’ll rise with fleas."
    -Irish Saying
    • Meaning: You will always pick up some bad habits if you hang out with the wrong crowd.
  4. "A wish that every day for you will be happy from the start, and may you always have good luck and a song within your heart."
    -Irish Blessing
  5. "When the apple is ripe, it will fall."
    -Irish Proverb
    • Meaning: What should happen, will happen. And there’s no stopping it.
  6. "However long the day, the evening will come."
    -Irish Proverb
    • Meaning: Horrible days don’t last forever.
  7. "You’ll never plow a field by turning it over in your mind."
    -Irish Saying
    • Meaning: Overthinking will get you nowhere. Only action does.
  8. "There’s no use boiling your cabbage twice."
    -Irish Proverb
    • Meaning: You can’t change the past.
  9. "Whatever is on the devil’s back falls under his belly."
    -Irish Saying
    • Meaning: Any good thing gained in bad faith never stays.
  10. "Every patient is a doctor after his cure."
    • Meaning: People who solve their problems know more about that aspect.
  1. "The Irish do not want anyone to wish them well; they want everyone to wish their enemies ill."
    -Harold Nicolson

  2. "The longest road out is the shortest road home."
    -Irish Proverb
    • Meaning: Persevere and suffer now. Reap the benefits later.
  3. "A kind word never broke anyone’s mouth."
    -Irish Saying
    • Meaning: Kindness will get you places. Or kindness will always be reciprocated in some way.
  4. "A man’s mouth often breaks his nose."
    Meaning: You can get into arguments if you don’t watch what you say.
  5. "The future's not set; there is no fate but what we make for ourselves."
    • Meaning: You determine your future.
  6. "The future's not set; there is no fate but what we make for ourselves."
    • Meaning: You determine your future.
  7. "You’ve got to do your growing, no matter how tall your grandfather was."
    • Meaning: You can neither inherit success nor wisdom. You have to work hard for it yourself. You are your own man (or woman).
  8. "Do not resent growing old. Many are denied the privilege."
    • Meaning: Be thankful that you are alive.
  9. "It’s easy to catch a cold in a king’s castle as in a shepherd’s hut."
    • Meaning: Everyone is human. Anyone can get sick regardless of wealth.
  10. "It’s not a delay to stop and sharpen the scythe."
    • Meaning: Learning is not a waste of time.
  11. "Mothers hold their children’s hands for a little while … And their hearts forever."
    • Meaning: A child will never outgrow his need for his mother.
  12. "Don’t make little of your dish, for an ignorant man may judge it."
    • Meaning: Don’t under-price or underrepresent yourself.
  13. "It is better to be a coward for a minute than dead for the rest of your life."
    • Meaning: Safety is better than bravery.
  14. '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."
    • Meaning: Feel your love and presence while your loved ones are alive.
  15. "Hindsight is the best insight to foresight."
    • Meaning: Learn from your mistakes!
  16. "Hunger makes a good sauce."
    • Meaning: Everything tastes delicious when you’re hungry.
  17. "Many a ship is lost within sight of the harbor."
    • Meaning: Never let your guard down. It could also mean not giving up because the end could be approaching.
  18. "A wild goose never reared a tame gosling."
    • Meaning: Children learn by example. Children learn from what their elders do, not what their elders say.

There isn’t an end to wise anecdotes from the Irish! What’s your favorite? Care to share some of your Irish proverbs and meanings?

Share the wisdom of the Emerald Isle with us in the comment section! 🍀 Then, take a journey through our exquisite collections and find the perfect piece that resonates with your Irish spirit.

Shop now and make these timeless symbols a part of your story.

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