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About 400 Irish Proverbs with Variants

Here are about 400 Irish proverbs culled from books listed near the bottom. About 100 of them are taken from A Miscellany of Irish Proverbs, collected and edited by Thomas O'Rahilly (Dublin: The Talbot Press, 1922). These are paginated. Some explanations from his book have been included from time to time. Gaelic wording is as a rule left out below, but not completely. All the proverbs are shown in Gaelic in O'Rahilly's book, and names and dates the quotations below that have become proverbial over time too. And the book contains ample references otherwise too. O'Rahilly's comments explanations appear in round brackets. Other additions are put in square brackets.


A bad wife takes advice from everyone but her husband.

A beetle buries himself in dung.

A blind man is no judge of colours.

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

A closed hand catches no hawk. (315)

A dear good article is better than a cheap bad article.

A demon is not entitled to forgiveness. (322)

A dumb priest does not get a livelihood. (109) • A dumb priest never got a parish.

A foster-child is as he is brought up. (13)

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

A good dress often hides a deceiver.

A good man is a wise man.

A good thing is bettered by being increased.

A good word does not destroy a tooth.

A greyhound finds its food by using its feet. (64)

A hen carried far is heavy.

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

A kind word never broke anyone's mouth. (85)

A lamb when carried far becomes as burdensome as a sheep.

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

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

A man of learning understands half a word. In Latin: Verbum sapienti satis. [196)

A person does not get his learning cheaply.

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

A poet should be honoured.

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.

A promise is a debt. — Tochmarc Étaíne. (275) • Scottish: He who promises must pay. Welsh: Everyone's promise is a debt to him.

A ragged colt may make a good horse. (114)

A rolling stone does not gather moss.

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

A ship is often lost because of one man.

A single scabby sheep will infect a flock.

A small army is a door to death.

A solitary man makes not an army. (290)

A sound man is a king.

A stitch in time saves two stitches.

A trade not (properly) learned is an enemy.

A trade that is not practised is an enemy,' i.e. it does more harm than good.

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

A vessel holds only its fill. (34) - Cf. One cannot take more out of a sack than the full of it.

A wise head makes a closed mouth. (27)

About the foot of the tree the foliage falls.

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

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

An act is to be believed before (mere) talk and writing. (369) • English: "Actions speak louder than words."

An early riser gets through his business, but not by means of early rising [alone]. (33)

An experienced rider doesn't change his horse in midstream.

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

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

As you have spent the candle, spend the inch.

As you make your bed lie on it.

Attend the luck when you get it.

Bad encouragement is neither help nor assistance.

Baptise your own child first. (I.e. Attend to your own affairs first, before troubling about other people's). (97)

Be on your guard against taking sides. (21)

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

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

Best is a conference from which comes peace.

Better "it is so" than "it may be so". (154)

Better a little relationship than much acquaintance. (118)

Better be sure than sorry.

Better good manners than good looks. (18)

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

Better know the thing than be taken by surprise.

Better late than too late.

Better to be fortunate than to be rich.

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

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

Between the two stools he came to the ground.

Beware of the bribed man.

Birds of one feather are often together.

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

Burning embers are easily kindled. (172) Cf. It is easy to kindle a live coal. (Old feuds are easily revived - It is easy to renew an old quarrel).

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

Calm and noiseless are the full pools.

Character is better than wealth.

Charity begins at home.

Choose your company before you sit down [e.g., to drink together]. (22)

Cleanliness is a great comfort.

Cleanliness is part of glory.

Coming out is a different thing from going in. (e.g., Going into the king's house (or the town) is one thing, getting out is another.) (348) Cf. Slippery are the flagstones of the mansion door.

Constant begging only meets with constant refusal. (123)

Culture and (the world's) respect are seldom found together. [Abr.]

Cunning is better than strength.

Death does not come without a cause. (50)

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

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

Do not show your teeth until you can bite.

Don't begin to reap your neighbour's corn till he asks you.

Don't blow on dead embers. (I.e. Do not attempt a hopeless or impossible task. (340)

Don't break your laidhricín on a stool that isn't in your way. • Don't break your shin on a stool that isn't in your way. (Don't go out of your way to get into trouble.)

Do not build the sty before the litter comes. (15) • Don't build the sty before (you get) the pigs. (Lest you might never get them.)

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

Don't give judgment on the first story till you hear the other side.

Don't go through the world without seeing anything.

Don't lift me till I fall. (Wait till I go wrong before you begin to correct me.)

Don't marry a wife on account of cattle.

Don't meddle with a briar and the briar will not meddle with you.

Don't neglect your betterment: repentance is not (yet) late.

Don't postpone the good deed.

Don't postpone your betterment.

Don't praise or dispraise yourself.

Don't put ease before exertion.

Don't put in your spoon where there is no porridge"

Don't see all you see and don't hear all you hear.

Don't show your teeth where you cannot bite.

Don't throw out even dirty water until you have the clean water in. (88) • Cast not out the auld water till the new come in. • Don't throw out the dirty water till you bring in the clean.

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.

Early sow, early mow.

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

Enquiry is the beginning of knowledge. • Questioning is the door of (i.e. the way to acquire) knowledge. (281) • Questioning is the door of knowledge. • Knowledge is bettered by [sound] enquiry [and inspection].

Even a good horse can't keep running.

Even a trifling thing pleases a poor man.

Even gold can be bought too dearly.

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

Even truth may be bitter.

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

Every flatterer is not a friend.

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

Everyone praises his own land. (360)

Everything is (sooner or later) consumed.

Fame lasts longer than riches. (277)

Fences have ears.

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

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

Foolish love is blind.

For his learning and manners you may praise a man.*

For what cannot be cured patience is the best remedy. English: "What cannot be cured must be endured." (219) • For what cannot be cured, patience is best.

Foresight [sometimes: patience] conquers destiny. (158)

Forgetting a debt does not pay it. (168)

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.

From education comes conduct.

Generosity which is dilatory is worth going to meet.

Gentleness is better than violent anger.

God's mill grinds very finely.

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

Good sense is no less important than food.

Goods are consumed by being used in small quantities. (170)

Greatness knows modesty.

Half a loaf is better than no bread.

Half is better than a complete refusal.

Half the work is a good beginning.

Handfuls make up a load.

Harvest is green.

He is a good horse that never stumbles.

He is a sorry wretch who fails to keep his bonds. (227)

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

He is a wise man who takes care of himself.

He who is beaten in the head is timid. ("Beaten in the head" means mentally oppressed or subdued.)

He who is lazy in spring is envious at harvest-time. (229)

He who lies down with dogs shall rise with fleas.

Hold on to the bone and the dog will follow you.

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

I don't like a man who is bribed. In Gaelic: Níhail liom fear breibe. (222)

Idle dogs worry sheep.

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

If you are inquisitive be knowledgeable.

If you are wise, take advice.

If you cannot bite, never show your teeth. (87)

If you catch a pig, catch it by the leg. (145)

If you give the loan of your breeches, don't cut off the buttons.

If you keep bad company, you are sure to suffer.

If you must be in rags, let your rags be tidy. (91)

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

If you think little of the meadow don't buy the grass.

In the beginning of the disease the cure is best.

Intelligence is better than strength.

It is "time enough" [that] lost the race.

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.)

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

It is a good story that fills the stomach.

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.

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. (207)

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

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

It is a wedge from itself that splits the oak. (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. (116)

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

It is better to be alone than in bad company.

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

It is better to be lucky than an early riser. (In Gaffney and Cashman 2003:7)

It is easier to fall than to rise.

It is easier to get counsel than help.

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

It is easy to knead when meal is at hand. (I.e. Work is easily done when one has all the appliances for doing it. (181)

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

It is foolish not to enjoy, with due moderation, the good things you have. (An explanation] [208)

It is good news to have no bad news.

It is hard to drive a hare out of a bush in which he is not. (148)

It is hard to take stockings off a bare foot.

It is hard to take wool off a goat. [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 not a feast till the roast, and there are no galling trials till marriage.

It is not every day daddy kills a deer (i.e., 'It is rarely we have an occasion like this.') (152)

It is not he who eats most that lives longest.

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

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

It is one's self knows best where the boot is pressing on the foot.

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

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

It is the multitude of hands that makes the work light.

It is the smooth water that runs deepest.

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

Its outward display is greater than its value.

It's sweet to drink but bitter to pay for it.

It's the last suitor that wins the maid.

Keep the trickster on your side. (11)

Knowledge comes through practice. (40)

Lay up in time.

Laziness is a load. In Gaelic: Trom an rud an leisge. (201)

Learning is no burden to a person.

Let him who will not have advice have conflict. (I.e. such a man will create trouble for himself.) (120)

Let not your tongue cut your throat. • A fool's tongue is long enough to cut his own throat.

Life is precious, as the tailor said when running from the gander. (112)

Little profit comes from constant drunkenness.

Long out of sight, far out of mind.

Look before you leap.

Look before you speak. (Think before you speak.)

Love pursues profit. (I.e. Self-interest comes first, often love afterwards, in marriages for money.) (80)

Many a good parent had a bad child.

Many a thing happens that is never expected.

Marry in haste and repent at leisure.

Mere words will not feed the friars. Compare: "Fair words butter no parsnips," and "The belly is not filled with fair words." (356) • Words will not feed the friars.

Mice won't stay long in an empty house.

Might is two-thirds of right. (338)

Much evil comes from talk that does not come from silence.

Musicians are craftsmen. • Musicians are brothers.

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."

Necessity is the mother of invention. (225)

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

Never praise a ford till you go over. (9)

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

No good is got by wasting, but a good name is got by alms-giving. (I.e. One ought not to waste, but -). (167)

"No man will another in the oven seek except that himself have been there before (Heywood)." "The mother would never seek her daughter in the oven had not herself been there first (Clarke)." (366)

No matter who comes off well, the peacemaker is sure to come off ill. (108)

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

No merriment in the seat of justice.

Nobility listens to (or patronises) art.

Nothing comes into a closed hand.

Nothing is preferable to reconciliation. (I.e. It is best to settle disputes amicably.) (139)

Often a cow does not take after its breed. (14)

Often has a man cut a rod to beat himself.

Often has a ship been lost close to the harbour. (231)

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

Often has the likely failed and the unlikely prospered.

One cannot draw blood from a turnip. (149)

One good man is better than many worthless ones. (346)

One look before is better than two behind. (150)

One man's meat is another man's poison.

One who is waiting thinks the time long.

Patience is a plaster for all sores.

Pity him who would burn his thiompán for you.'

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

Pity the man who does wrong and is poor as well."

Pity the man who is drowned during the tempest, for after rain comes sunshine. (75)

Pleasant on the outside, dark and gloomy on the inside.

Poor men take to the sea, rich to the mountain.

Poor men take to the sea, rich to the mountain. (6)

Postpone not a good action. In Gaelic: Ná cuir an mhaith ar cáirde. (204)

Poverty destroys companionship.

Praise the ripe field, not the green corn. (98)

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

Prove a friend before poverty.

Provision for heaven – weighing and being strictly honest. [Abr.]

Put the saddle on the right horse. (Blame the right person.)

Rarely is a fight continued when the chief has fallen. (133)

Riding on a goat is better than the very best walking.

Satire wounds a great character.

Say but little, and say it well. (28) • Say little and say it well.

Scattering is easier than gathering.

Scratch me and I'll scratch you.

Seldom is there a slaughter from which no one escapes. Cf. English: 'Tis a hard battle where none escapes.

Seldom is there champion who does not meet with some reverse.

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. (286)

Shun danger and it will shun you. (311)

Shun evil company.

Shun the friendship of a lying man. Should you contract a friendship with him, be on your guard.

Sorrow will pay no debt.

Speak neither well nor ill of yourself.

Speed and precision seldom agree. "Good and quickly seldom meet." (194)

Spread your mantle only as you can draw it. (I.e. Do not attempt more than you are able for. Var. Cut your coat according to your cloth.) (212)

Still waters run deep.

Story-telling [may become] a complicated affair.

Take gifts with a sigh, most men give to be paid.

Take stock of the river before you plunge into the current.

Talk does not fill the stomach.

Tell me your company and I'll tell you who you are.

The bad deed turns on its doer.

The bark of a hound in a green glen.

The bird that deserts its own brood has little affection.

The calf belongs to the owner of the cow. (298)

The cat has leave to look at the king.

The cat is his own best adviser.

The clothes are (= make) the man (i.e. his outward appearance).

The clown searches for the mare and he sitting on her. [Mod]

The cow is milked from her head. • It is from her head the cow is milked. (First feed her, that is.)

The eating of it is the proof of the pudding. • The proof of the pudding is in the eating of it. • The proof of the pudding lies in the eating of it. • The eating of it is the proof of the pudding.

Reliable testing is called for. The proverb is many centuries old. 'Proof' in it means 'test', and the pudding is haggis. The Oxford English Dictionary (OED) describes the mediaeval pudding as "the stomach or one of the entrails of a pig, sheep, or other animal, stuffed with a mixture of minced meat, suet, oatmeal, seasoning, etc., and boiled" - a haggis. Mediaeval peasants, faced with a boiled up, potentially fatal dish fit for a farmyard massacre, might have thought a taste test was wise. The farm dog might have liked that idea as long as it lived.

The expectation of recouping himself is what beggars the gambler. • The hope of winning proves the gambler's undoing.

The fox never found a better messenger than himself. • The fox never found a surer messenger than himself.

The friend is proved when the need is greatest.

The greater the strait the more valuable is the help.

The heaviest ear of corn is the one that lowliest hangs its head. (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 historian's food is truth.

The hope of winning proves the gambler's undoing. (56)

The Irishman is an impatient fellow (Saying).

The lake is not encumbered by the swan, and the body is not encumbered by good sense. [Abr.].

The last place is meet for the best beloved.

The law of borrowing is to break the borrower.

The losing horse blames the saddle.

The lucky man waits for prosperity. (I.e. Prosperity comes to him without effort on his part.) (345)

The man at sea may return but not the man in the churchyard. (209)

The man of the boots doesn't care where he puts his foot.

The miller's pigs are fat but God knows whose meal they ate.

The mountain is a good mustard. (I.e. Work or exercise on the mountain is a good appetiser.) (94)

The mouth that speaks not is sweet to hear.

The new broom sweeps the house best. (186)

The old boot gets the old stocking. (Said when an old couple marries.)

The old woman is the better of being warmed, but she is the worse of being burned.

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.

The pleasantry of children is nice.

The priest's pig gets the most porridge.

The raven thinks her own bird the prettiest in the wood.

The short chat is the best.

The thing that often occurs is not much appreciated.

The value of the well is not understood till it goes dry.

The wearer best knows where the shoe pinches him. (46)

The wisdom of the Englishman and the openness of the Gael – that is what does the harm.

The world goes round as if there were wings on it.

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.)

There are three kinds of men, — the worker, the pleasure-seeker, and the boaster. (Allow for combinations, such as 'the pleasure-seeking worker', "the boasting pleasure-seeker (flaunter)", and other types as well. - TK] [250)

There is luck in sharing a thing. (157)

There is many a person with a high head today who shall be lying lowly tomorrow.

There is many a thing you hear that is not right to put in print.

There is no ghost as bad as the ghost with two legs.

There is often a barb behind a kiss.

There is often anger in a laugh.

There is only the blackberry got from the briar.

There is pain in prohibition.

There is skill in all things even in making porridge.

Think before you speak, and look before you leap.

Think before you speak, and look before you leap. (188)

Thirst is a shameless disease. (The thirst for intoxicants is meant.)

This world is the world of everyone in turn.

Those who make laws should not break laws.

Those who make the best preparation for a work [can] make the greatest progress.

Thou oughtest to increase good.

Though your fame is great, it is not good.

'Tis better to be idle than to be ill-employed.

To think of it is as good as to mention it. (I.e., Better think of it without saying anything about it.) (101)

Too much familiarity breeds contempt. (177)

Trampling on dung only spreads it the more.

Truth has but one version.

What appears full of promise often turns out a failure. (156)

What butter or whiskey will not cure, there is no cure for. (Absurd belief in the great medicinal efficacy of whiskey has wrought untold harm, says the author of Seanfhocla Uladh (see Introduction))

What is fated for me it is hard to shun.

What is in the cat is in the kitten.

What is in the marrow is hard to take out of the bone.

What should prevent the herring bag from having the odour of the herrings?

What the child sees (done) is what the child does.

Whatever knowledge, education, or learning the clown acquires, his own congenial nature still appears [Abr.].

When the belly is full, the bones like to stretch.

When the cat is out, the mice dance.

When the cats leave the town (or home), the mice dance. (When superiors are gone the subordinates make merry.)

When the drink is in, the sense is out.

When the fire is lighted it is hard to put it out.

When the old cock crows the young one learns.

When the old hag is in danger she must run.

When the seed stops, the harrowing stops.

When the sky falls we'll all catch larks. (Strabo describes the pre-Christian belief among Celts that the sky might fall down. [See Couprie 2011:213]).

When the stomach is full, rest is pleasant. When the stomach is full, the bones crave rest.

When the twig has become an old tree is not the time to bend it.

When the two ends of the candle are lighted it does not stand long.

When your hand is in the dog's mouth withdraw it gently.

When your neighbour's house is on fire, take care of your own.

Where there is smoke there is fire. (Where there is much evidence of a thing, the thing itself is likely to exist.)

Who lies with dogs rises with fleas.

Whoever the cap fits takes it. • Let him whom the cap suits wear it.

Wine pours out the truth.

Winter comes on the lazy man.

Wisdom exceeds riches.

Wisdom exceeds strength.

Without education, without manners. (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.

Without treasure, without friends.

Woe to her whose husband is a surly fool.

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. (216)

Woe to him who burns his old hnaile (cattlefold) (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. (191)

Woe to him who fails in his obligations. • He is a sorry wretch who fails to keep his bonds.

Woe to him who has a wretched house, but doubly woeful is he who has no house at all.

Woe to him who is without a wife, but doubly woeful is he who has one.

Woe to him who lets his secret (known) to a fence. • Never reveal your secret to a fence or a hedge.

Woe to him whose betrayer sits at his table.

Woe to him whose liberty depends on a stranger [Mod]. (184)

Ye pleasant men, are ye aware of the nature of children? What we have is theirs, but what they get is not ours.

You cannot eat your bread and have it.

You can't whistle and drink at the same time.

You never had neighbours as good as boundary fences.

You will not be able to make a silk purse of a pig's ear. (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.

Young people, make the web of life well. [Adapted]

Your own business, do it, my man.

Some Proverbial Phrases in Irish Literature

Putting a withe around sand. Compare the English "a rope of sand." (371)

Beating an oak with one's fists. (372)

Striking one's head against a rock. Knocking one's head against a stone wall. (373)

A wall against the onrush of the flood-tide. (376)

Sailing against the wind. (378)

Putting one's hand into an adder's nest. (379)

A kick against a boor. (381)

Giving a warning to one who is doomed (i.e. a futile task.) (384)

A drop before a shower. (I.e. a portent of greater things to come. (385)

A shelter from the shower (used to denote ease and comfort.) (386)

Danger without fear. (I.e. foolish confidence in the face of danger. (391)

The ox's part in milking-time. (I.e. the role of an idle spectator. (392)

A wisp in place of a broom. (I.e. a poor substitute.) (396)

Fencing a field after the plunder has been committed. (I.e. "locking the stable-door when the steed has been stolen.") (412)

A postscript

Thomas F. O'Rahilly, the collector and editor of some 100 of these sayings, was a professor of Irish at the University of Dublin. He selected proverbs and proverbial phrases from the literature of the past thousand years - here in English translation. Several of these proverbs have Latin originals, but most of the proverbs of the collection are distinctively Irish. For such "native" types of proverbs O'Rahilly quoted Scottish and Manx versions too, and analogous proverbs in Welsh.

When proverbs not derived from English are common to Ireland and Scotland, they are said to be three hundred years old at least. Proverbs that are common to widely-separated districts in Ireland, are also rather old. It is probable that many of the Irish proverbs are very old, for proverbs were held in high esteem by wise people in earlier times, and Ireland was a cultured island for a long time.

Irish possesses a repertory of proverbs that users traditionally delight to draw from to clench an argument or drive home an opinion.


Irish proverbs, Literature  

NOTE. Some proverbs are from The Irish Penny Journal, 10 Nov. 1832; 18 July 1840; and 1 Aug. 1840 (in Internet Archive).

Bhraonáin, Donla Uí, ed. 500 Seanfhocal - Proverbs - Refranes - Przyslów. Dublin: Cois Life, 2007.

Flanagan, Laurence. Irish Proverbs. 2nd rev. ed. Dublin: Gill and Macmillan, 2001.

Gaffney, Séan, and Seamus Cashman, eds. Proverbs and Sayings of Ireland. Dublin: Wolfhound Press, 2003 (1974).

Meyer, Kuno. The Triads of Ireland. London: Williams and Norgate, 1906.

O'Donnell, James, and Brian Fitzgerald. Classic Irish Proverbs in English and Irish. Belfast: Appletree Press, 1997

O'Farrell, Padraic. Irish Proverbs and Sayings: Gems of Irish Wisdom. Cork: Mercier Press, 1980.

Ó Muirgheasa, Énrí. Seanfhocla Uladh [Ulster Proverbs]. Dublin: Connradh na Gaedhilg, 1907.

O'Rahilly, Thomas Francis. A Miscellany of Irish Proverbs. Dublin: The Talbot Press, 1922.

Toibin, Sean. Irish for All: Everyday Conversation in Irish with Imitated Pronounciation and English Translation, including Salutations, Simple Proverbs, Rhymes and Witticisms from Gaelic Firesides = Gaehilg do chách: comhrádh beirte. Dublin: The Talbot Press, 1922.

Williams, Fionnuala, comp. Irish Proverbs. Dublin: Poolbeg Press, 1992.

Harvesting the hay

Symbols, brackets, signs and text icons explained: (1) Text markers(2) Digesting.

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