What Are Some Traditional Irish Sayings?


Quick Answer

The most famous traditional Irish saying is "Erin go bragh," which means "Ireland forever." Traditional Irish sayings or Irish proverbs cover various topics including life, friendship and humanity.

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Many traditional Irish sayings offer advice on life. One saying that promotes the quality of being optimistic is, “A light heart lives long.” A saying that encourages hard work is, “There is no luck except where there is discipline.” A proverb that extols precaution is, “A lock is better than suspicion.” A saying that gives advice for relating with the young is, “Praise the young and they will blossom.”

A number of Irish proverbs extol the value of friendship. “Two shorten the road” is one famous example. A less-known example that speaks about the value of taking advice from a friend is, “A friend’s eye is a good mirror.” A traditional Irish saying that speaks about the importance of having friends in general is, “There is no need like the lack of a friend.”

Many traditional Irish provide a view on the nature of life and of human beings. A saying that speaks about the complexity of life is, “There are no unmixed blessings in life.” A saying that speaks about the tendency for wealthy people to understand to those who are poor is, “The well-fed does not understand the lean.” Not all traditional Irish sayings are proverbial, however. The saying, “May the cat eat you and the devil eat the cat” is a double condemnation.

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