Irish Proverbs

Enjoy dozens of witty and insightful Irish proverbs and idioms that have been passed down from one generation to the next for hundreds of years!

  • Mere words do not feed the friars.
  • Quiet people are well able to look after themselves.
  • The work praises the man.
  • You didn’t turn up when sense was being distributed.
  • Don’t let your tongue cut your throat.
  • Patience cures many an old complaint.
  • Nature will come through the claws, and the hound will follow the hare.
  • To the fighting man, peace is sure.
  • Age is honorable, and youth is noble.
  • The day will come when the cow will have use for her tail.
  • You never miss the water until the well has run dry.
  • Lack of resource has hanged many a person.
  • It is easy to halve the potato where there’s love.
  • A hound’s food is in its legs.
  • Don’t say everything you want to say, lest you hear something you would not like to hear.
  • To every cow, its calf; to every book, its copy.
  • If you want to know me, come and live with me.
  • An old broom knows the dirty corners best.
  • He knows how many grains to a bushel of wheat.
  • If you want to be criticized, marry.
  • All sins cast long shadows.
  • It takes time to build castles.
  • Marry a mountain girl, and you marry the whole mountain.
  • Two shorten the road.
  • One beetle recognizes another.
  • Better be quarrelling than lonesome.
  • A wild goose never reared a tame gosling.
  • May you have a bright future, as the chimney sweep said to his son.
  • There is no strength without unity.
  • A silent mouth is melodious.
  • What will come from the briar but the berry?
  • Patience and forbearance make a bishop of his reverence.
  • The well fed does not understand the lean.
  • It is sweet to drink but bitter to pay for.
  • There is no luck except where there is discipline.
  • When the sky falls, we’ll catch larks.
  • Better own a trifle than want a great deal.
  • It is no secret that is known to three.
  • What butter and whiskey will not cure there’s no cure for.
  • Life is like a cup of tea: it’s all in how you make it.
  • When you are right, no one remembers; when you are wrong, no one forgets.
  • The best way to keep loyalty in a man’s heart is to keep money in his purse.
  • As the old cock crows, the young cock learns.
  • It is a bad hen that does not scratch herself.
  • When the fruit is scarcest, its taste is sweetest.
  • Possession satisfies.
  • Don’t bless the fish until it gets to the land.
  • Three diseases without shame: love, itch, and thirst.
  • Instinct is stronger than upbringing.
  • It is better to be a coward for a minute than dead for the rest of your life.

For thousands more proverbs and words of wisdom, collected from over 40 countries, check out Proverbs from Around the World!

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