The "Proverbial" Knowledge of Ireland......




Proverbs of Ireland

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What's good for the goose is good for the gander.

Every patient is a doctor after his cure.

Neither give cherries to pigs nor advice to a fool

Soft words butter no parsnips but they won't harden the heart of the cabbage either.

You'll never plow a field by turning it over in your mind.

There are finer fish in the sea than have ever been caught

A tyrone woman will never buy a rabbit without a head for fear its a cat

A windy day is not the day for thatching

The old pipe gives the sweetest smoke

Marriages are all happy its having breakfast together that causes all the trouble

A scholars ink lasts longer than a martyrs blood

Take gifts with a sigh most men give to be paid

A turkey never voted for an early Christmas

What butter and whiskey will not cure there's no cure for

The Irish forgive their great men when they are safely buried.

The longest road out is the shortest road home.

The older the fiddle the sweeter the tune

Its no use boiling your cabbage twice

There's no need to fear the wind if your haystacks are tied down.

Do not mistake a goats beard for a fine stallions tail

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.

If you lie down with dogs you'll rise with fleas.

A wild goose never reared a tame gosling.

A boys best friend is his mother and there's no spancel stronger than her apron string.

There never was an old slipper but there was an old stocking to match it

Firelight will not let you read fine stories but its warm and you wont see the dust on the floor.

As the old cock crows the young cock learns.

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

Many an Irish property was increased by the lace of a daughter's petticoat.

The best way to keep loyalty in a man's heart is to keep money in his purse.

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

A trout in the pot is better than a salmon in the sea

If the knitter is weary the baby will have no new bonnet

Its for her own good that the cat purrs.

Even a tin knocker will shine on a dirty door

An old broom knows the dirty corners best

One beetle recognizes another

To the raven her own chick is white

When the sky falls we'll catch larks.

Any man can lose his hat in a fairy- wind.

If you have one pair of good soles its better than two pairs of good uppers

It s no use carrying an umbrella if your shoes are leaking

It's difficult to choose between two blind goats.

A silent mouth is sweet to hear

It's as hard to see a woman crying as it is to see a barefooted duck

He'd offer you an egg if you promised not to break the shell

Its a bad hen that won't scratch herself

No matter how often a pitcher goes to the water it is broken in the end

There was never a scabby sheep in a flock that didn't like to have a comrade

A nod is as good as a wink to a blind horse

The fox never found a better messenger than himself

There'll be white blackbirds before an unwilling woman ties the knot

Show the fatted calf but not the thing that fattened him.

A buckle is a great addition to an old shoe

In winter the milk goes to the cow's horns

Men are like bagpipes no sound comes from them until they're full

Snuff at a wake is fine if there's nobody sneezing over the snuff box

You must crack the nuts before you can eat the kernel

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

Often a cow does not take after its breed

What would a young cat do but eat mice?

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

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

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

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

The wood will renew the foliage it sheds.

What will come from the briar but the berry

The hand goes only where the leg goes.

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

One who is without cows must be his own dog. A blind man can see his mouth.

You never miss the water till the well has run dry.

A king;s son is not nobler than his food.

Keep your tongue in your jaw and your tow in your pump.

Pity the man who has a stranger's spancel on him.

To every cow its calf; to every book its copy

Watching is a part of good play

By degrees the castles are built

When the apple is ripe, it will fall

Patience cures many an old complaint

The one who waits the fine day, will get the fine day.

Patience and forbearance make a bishop of his reverence

Patience can conquer desiny

Patience is a plaster for all sores

For what cannot be cured patience is best

There is not a tree in heaven higher than the tree of patience

Patience is a virtue that causes no shame

Time and Patience would bring the snail to Jerusalem

Everyone praises his native land.

Nobody ever bought peace but the man who hadn't got it.

Peace(quietness) is worth buying.

The world's quiet and the pig is in the sty

Least said soonest mended

No matter who succeeds or fails, the peacemaker will always suffer

To the fighting man peace is sure

The end of a feast is better than the beginning of a fight

An eye is blind in another man's corner

One eye in the orner is sharper than two about the house

He's more to be pitied than laughed at.

Don't tell your complaint to one who has no pity

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

It's better than it's want

Have it yourself, or else do without it

Better the certainty of the straddle (packsaddle) than the mere loan of a saddle

Possession is nine-tenths of the law

Better own a trifle than want a great deal

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

Possession satisfies

A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.

It's beter than the loan you couldn't get

Half a loaf is better than no bread

A live dog is better than a dead lion

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

Put a beggar on horseback and he'll ride to hell

Put a beggar on horseback and he'll go on a gallop.

Poverty parts good company

Many a defect is seen in the poor man

It's hard to take britches off bare hips

The full man does not understand the wants of the hungry

A little pleases a poor man

Poor men take to the sea; the rich to the mountains

Poverty creates sadness

Pity the man who does wrong and is poor as well

There is nothing in the woorld so poor as going to hell.

The thief is no danger to the beggar.

Poverty is no shame.

Two things that go for loss-turf on a mountain and the wisdom of a poor man.

Shame is ever a part of poverty

No-one is ever poor who has the sight of his eyes and the use of his feet A poor man never yet lost his property

Poor is the church without music

A smokey cabin, a handful of spuds and a flea-filled bed

No stopping the force of a going wheel by hand

No forcing the sea

Don't county your chickens before they are hatched

Don't bless the fish till it gets to the land

Don't build the sty until the litter comes

Praise the ripe field not the green corn

Praise the ford when you have crossed it

You must empty a box before you fill it again

The pride of women and the pride of priests

It is difficult to soothe the proud

Pride comes before a fall

Pride feels no pain The jump of a cock on the dungheap

There is no virtue in the herb that is not got in time.

A postponement till morning A postponement for ever.

It is no time to go for the doctor when the patient is dead

A promise is a debt

Proverbs cannot be contradicted

The proverb cannot be bettered

Though the proverb is abandoned,it is not falsified

Don't throw out the dirty water until you have the clean water in

It's better to return from the centre of the ford than drown in the flood

The sty before the litter

If you meet a red-harird woman,you'll meet a crowd.

To be red-haired is better than to be without a head

To put off repentance is dangerous

It's better to be sorry and stay than to be sorry and go away.

It's a small thing that outlives a man

Remembmber even if you loose all, keep your good name for if you loose that you are worthless.

Those who get the name of rising early may lie all day

When a man gets his feet in lime he cannot easily get rid of it

No dealing with a revengeful man

He was never good since the time a yard(of cloth) made a coat for him

Don't mention him and a decent man in the one day.

A sly rogue is often in good dress

She would drink the cream and say the cat she had was an old rogue

The horse with the most scars is the one that highest kicks his rear

The person who brings a story to you will take away two from you.

A story without an author is not worth listening to

Leave the bad tale where you found it

There is no smoke without fire

When all fruits fail welcome haws

When the fruit is scarcest,its taste is sweetest

We have a fine day more often than a kiln-cast

A soft dropping April brings milk to cows and sheep

Autumn days come quickly like the running of a hound on the moor

A misty winter brings a pleasant spring,a pleasant winter a misty spring

Many a sudden change takes place on a spring day

In winter the milk goes to the cow's horns

A secret is a weapon and a friend

It is no secret that is known to three

Fences(ditches)have ears

Don't tell your secret even to a fence

Woe to the man that entrusts his secrets to a ditch

The secret of an old woman scolding

If it's a secret,it's binding

Don't tell secrets to the children of your relatives

No tree but has rotten wooe enough to burn it

A man may be his own ruin

A wedge from itself splits the oak tree

A man has often cut a rod to beat himself

It's for her own good that the cat purrs

His own wound is what everyone feels soonest

What is nearest the heart is nearest the mouth

He who is best for me is he who shall get the best share

The full stomach does not understand the empty one

The man who was dividing Ireland didn't leave himself last

Sense doesn't come before age

After the gathering comes the scatering

What would shame him would turn back a funeral

A list full of gain and a village full of shame

Better is the trouble that follows death than the trouble that follows shame

Do not keep your toungue under your belt

A man is shy in another man's corner

A silent mouth is musical

The silent are often guilty

The silent mouth is sweet to hear

When wrathful words arise a closed mouth is soothing

The stars make no noise

Little talk is easy to cure

A closed mouth--a wise head

A silent mouth never did any harm

Strength is not enduring

Sending the goose on a message to the fox's den

Putting the fox to mind the geese

You din't turn up when sense was being distributed

There's neiher success nor efficiency without authority and laws

Fat is not to be had without labour

The windy day is not the day for thatching

One man's meat is another man's poison

Whoever the cap fits takes it

Better sit beside him than in his place

A short visit is best and that not too often

The eye should be blind in the home of another

It's often a man's mouth broke his nose

Don't say everything hyou want to say lest you hear something hyou would not like to hear

Don't let your tongue cut your throuat

See not what you see and hear not what you hear

Never speak to the feet while the head is alive

Don't rest your eyes beyond what is your own

It's bad manners to talk about ropes in the house of a man whose father was hanged

A greyhound finds food in its feet

The slow hound often has good qualities

The bird that can sing and won't sing should be made to sing

A cat between two houses, a rabbit between two holes, the two liveliest

Great talk and little action

Do not be talkative in an alehouse

You kissed the blarney stone

A spender gets the property of the hoarder

Let your bargain suit your purpose

Spread your cloth only as you can draw it

The waiting man thinks the time long

A watched kettle never poils

Time is a good story-teller

He who spies is the one who kills.

Treachery returns

There's trouble in every house and some in he street

Everything troubles you and the cat breaks your heart

The fox never found a better messenger than himself

Never trust a spiteful man

A man with a loud laugh makes truth itself seem folly Trugh is great and will win out

Even the truth may be bitter

Thre are two tellings to every story

Drnunenness and anger,'tis said tell the truth

What I'm afraid to hear I'd better say first myself

Trugh speaks even though the tongue were dead

You can keep away from the rogue,but you cannot keep yourself safe from the liar.

Trugh stands when everything else falls

It is no shame to tell the truth

Tell the truth and shame the devil

The well-filled belly has little understanding of the empty

'Tis afterwards that everything is understood

It's a bad hound that's not worth the whistling

He knows how many grains to a bushel of wheat

He knows the price of everything and the value of nothing

He couldn't drag a herring off the coals

It's just a wisp in place of a brush

One pair of good soles is worth two pairs of upper leathers

Withouth pressing too little or too hard, hold tight the reins for he's a fool who would not get value from a borrowed horse

It's not worth a couckoo-spit

Better an idle house than a bad tenant

Pity him who makes his opinions a certainty

he thinks that he himself is the very stone that was hurled at the castle

He dotes on his midden and thinks it the moon

That's a spoon ye'll sup sorrow with yet

Wilful waste makes woeful want

A shamefaced man seldom acquires wealth

The money-maker (profiteer) is never tired

The doorstep of a great house is slippery

There is mosfortune only where there is wealth

Sweet is the voice of the man who has wealth

A hut is a palace to a poor man

A heavy purse makes a light heart

There's little value in the single cow

A man of one cow-a man of no cow

It's easy to knead when meal is at hand

Wind from the east is good for neither man nor beast

A kerry shower is of twenty-four hours

Better April showers than the breadth of the ocean in gold

Better for a man to have even a dog welcome him than a dog bark at him

Going in is not the same as going out

A welcome is a debtor's face

Wat's al lthe world to a man when his wife is a widow

A wise head keeps a shut mouth

Everyoneis wise till he speaks

Food is no more important than wisdom The beginning of wisdom is the fear of God

There's no wise man without a fault

He may die of wind but he'll never die of wisdom

You can't put a wide head on young shoulders

Wisdom is what makes a por man a king,A weak person powerful,a good generation of a bad one, a foolish man reasonable.

Though wisdom is good in the beginning it is better at the end

A little of anything isn't worth a pin; but a wee bit of sense is worth a lot

No making of a wise man

A dishonest woman can't be kept in and an honest woman won't

There is no thing wickeder than a womaan of evil temper.

A bad woman(wife) drinks a lot of her own bad butter-milk

A foolish woman knows a foolish man's faults

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

Beef to the heels like a Mullingar heifer

Eight lives for the men and nine for the women

Wherever there are women there's tlaking, and wherever there's geese there's cackling

Irishwomen have a dispensation from the pope to wear the thick ends of their legs downwards

Women are shy and shame prevents them from refusing a man.

Everything dear is a woman's fancy

Like an Irish wolf she barks at her own shadow

She wipes the plate with the cat's tail

More hair than tit, like a mountain heifer

Women are stronger than men, they do not die of wisdom

When the old woman is hard pressed,she has to run

It's difficult to trust a woman

Man to the hills, woman to the shore

Beat a woman with a hammer and you'll have gold

'Tis as hard to see a woman cry,as a goose go barefoot

Where comes a cow the wiseman lay down(St.Colmcille), there follows a woman,and where comes a woman follows trouble

Only a fool would prefer food to a woman

Don't be ever in court or a castle wihout a woman to make your excuse

An excuse is nearer to a woman than her apron

There is nothing sharper than a woman's tongue

A woman without is she who has neither pipe nor child

The yellow praiseach (kale) of the fields that brings the Meath women to harm

A woman like a goose, a sharp pecking woman
A woman like a pig, a sleepy-headed woman
A woman like a sickle, a strong stubborn woman
A woman like a goat, a woman of rushing visits
A woman like a sheep, an affable friendly woman
A woman like a lamb,a quiet friendly woman

It is not the most beautiful woman who has the most sense

A woman can beat the devil

A shrew gets her wish but suffers in the getting

Many a time the man with ten (cows has ovetaken the man with foryt(cows)

Do it as if there was fire in your skin

The seeking for one thing will find another

make your hay before the fine weather leaves you

Sow early and mow early

The early riser gets through his business but not through early rising

The slow horse reaches the mill

Making the beginning is one third of the work

The quiet pigs eat all the draff

The sweat of one's brow is what burns everyone

Everyone lays a burden on the willing horse

Every little makes a mickle

Sppeed and accuracy do not agree

Never Put off tomorrow what you can do today

I'll go there tonight for evening is speedier than morning

The person of the greatest talk is the person of the least work

Be there with the day and be gone with the day

About evening a man is known

Long churning makes bad butter

Scattering is easier than gathering

The labour of the crow

Put it on your shoulder and say it is not a burden

It's no delay to stop to edge the tool

The mason who strikes often is better than the one who strikes too hard

It destroys the craft not to learn it

The dog that's always on the go, is better than the one that's always curled up

Handfuls make a load

Don't go early or late to the well

A good beginning is half the work

Praise the young and they will make progress

Many a happy colt makes a fine horse

The young shed many skins

Youth likes to wander

The growth of the gosling

Youth cannot believe


She is like a Waterford heifer, beef to the heels.

He is like a Waterford merchant, up to the aŚ in business.

His eyes are like two burnt holes in a blanket.

Full of fun and foustre, like Mooney's goose.

He looks as angry as if he was vexed.

'Tis as bad as cheating the devil in the dark, and two farthingcandles for a halfpenny. A wild goose never laid a tame egg. He'd skin a louse, and send the hide and fat to market:


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