Irish Toasts & Blessings For A Happy New Year

Here is a collection of Irish toasts and blessings to help you ring in the New Year, with a little bit of Irish wit and wisdom.

Happy New Year To All!



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Always remember to forget

The troubles that pass away.

But never forget to remember

The blessings that come each day.


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May your pockets be heavy and your heart be light.

May good luck pursue you each morning and night.


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May your heart be light and happy,

May your smile be big and wide,

May your pockets always have

A coin or two inside!

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In the New Year, may your right hand always be stretched out in

friendship and never in need.

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May the saddest day of your future be no worse than the

happiest day of your past.

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May you get all your wishes but one, so that you always have

something to strive for!


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Count your blessings instead of your crosses.

Count your gains instead of your losses.

Count your joys instead of your woes.

Count your friends instead of your foes.

Count your smiles instead of your tears.

Count your courage instead of your fears.

Count your full times instead of your lean.

Count your kind deeds instead of your mean.

Count your health instead of your wealth.

Love your neighbor as much as yourself.


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When we drink, we get drunk.

When we get drunk, we fall asleep.

When we fall asleep, we commit no sin.

When we commit no sin, we go to heaven.

So, let’s all get drunk, and go to heaven!


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“Go mbeire muid beo ar an am seo arís.”

May we be alive this time next year!



Athbhlian Faoi Mhaise Daoibh!

(Happy New Year)



Irish American Mom


Nostalgia For A Lingering Irish Christmas

Discarded American Christmas trees line sidewalks mere days after the festive occasion.  A sadness swells in my heart when I see them, abandoned to a mulching fate. Credit

Christmas Day in Ireland marks the beginning of festivities, not the end.  I miss post-Christmas Irish get-togethers, throughout the Twelve Days of Christmas.

Bottles of whiskey, boxes of chocolates, or tins of cookies are toted around to each port of call, because you can’t go anywhere “with one arm as long as the other.” Credit

I always laugh at Irish tins of cookies called ‘USA biscuits.’  Not one cookie in this lovely assortment resembles any cookie variety in the good old USA.  I always remember hoping our Christmas visitors might bring Milk Tray chocolates in their distinctive purple box, fearing the arrival of an inevitable box of Black Magic.  I often wonder how many homes each box of Black Magic gets passed on to in Ireland, before someone finally says “Thank God for dark chocolate.”

Tin Of Chocolate Biscuits

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Unscheduled afternoon cups of tea with mince pies and chocolate biscuits shared between neighbors, friends and relatives, foster connection and memories.  Chats in pubs weave stories and emotions together, creating the legacy of Christmases long gone.

The last time I spent Christmas in Ireland was nineteen years ago, when my husband and I married on January 2nd.  Christmas in America is wonderful, but when I see the first abandoned tree a few days after Christmas I get a little nostalgic, longing for another Irish Christmas.  Some year when my kids are a little older, I will trade our annual summer pilgrimage for a winter retreat, and savor the joys of an Irish Christmas once again, when festive days seem to dawdle by.

And so each year, my Christmas tree stands sentinel in the corner until January 7th.  No matter how long I spend living in America, I cannot throw our tree out the week after Christmas.  I grow superstitious when my husband suggests taking our decorations down early. Credit

My mother always says it is bad luck for the coming year, to remove holly or the crib, before Christmas is officially over.  And so, my poor wise men wait patiently on a separate shelf before being granted admittance to the crib on January 6th.

When I am old and gray, insisting my children do not touch my decorations until January 7th, they will probably just roll their eyes to heaven. Credit

Their spouses will probably ask:

“What’s up with your crazy mother?”

They will probably reply:

“She’s just a mad, old, Irish woman – you’ll never understand.”

They probably will be right.  I’ll be a crazy, old, Irish American grandma, filled with memories of lingering Irish Christmases.


Athbhlian Faoi Mhaise Duit!

(Happy New Year)



Irish American Mom

Happy Christmas From Irish American Mom

Merry Christmas to all.  I hope you have a wonderful time, filled with love, family and friends. Credit

Thank you to all who have found my blog, and taken time to read my ramblings.  Your kind thoughts, comments, and support have meant the world to me over the past three months, as I took my first steps on my blogging journey.  This Christmas I give thanks for all of you, my readers.  I look forward to the coming year of blogging, writing, and above all connection with wonderful people, like you.

Christmas is not just a time of year, nor a passing season.  I hope the spirit of Christmas remains with us all year long, as a state of mind, where we continually find peace and happiness. Credit

Before I sign off for Christmas, I had to share this photo.  It falls into an “Only In Ireland” category – a pub with a nativity scene behind their “Guinness” etched window.  Oh, the magic of Christmas in Dublin!

Best wishes from my Irish American home to yours, wherever you may be, on this beautiful Christmas Day!

Nollaig Shona Dhaoibh

(Merry Christmas To All)

Irish American Mom

Over The Rooftops – A New Christmas Song

Earlier this week an old college friend sent me a link for a Christmas song he wrote.  “Over The Rooftops” is written by Frank Foley and performed by “The Allstars”.

Ever since I first listened, I have been humming it in my head, singing it to the kids, and driving everyone crazy with my out of tune version of this catchy tune.

Warning! If you press play and listen, you’ll be lilting this song long after Santa Claus has returned to the North Pole.

The scenes in the video are of Frank’s hometown, Trim, Co. Meath.  Trim castle looks magical in the snow of 2010.


“Over the rooftops Santa Claus is riding,

Just a star to guide him,

Hoping all the children are asleep.” Credit

Every year I am certain Santa’s sleigh turns over the castle ramparts to veer towards the rooftops of the town.

“Over the castle, down along the river,

Santa gives a shiver,

It’s cold up in the sky on Christmas Eve.” Credit

Castle imagery is inspired by Trim Castle and its proximity to the River Boyne. Credit

This ancient ruin, surrounding wall, Barbican gate and moat, sit on a commanding rise above the town.  Built in the 12th century, by Hugh de Lacy, it is the largest surviving Norman keep in Ireland. Credit

Scenes from the movie Braveheart were filmed here.  Entrance to the castle is by guided tour.  The surrounding castle grounds are spectacular. Credit

Flood lights, reflecting on the castle walls, are magical.  At Christmas time this magic is all around:

“And the Christmas lights bring magic to the night,

And the magic fills the air.”


Hope you enjoy this song as much as I do.


Nollaig Shona Duit

(Merry Christmas)


Irish American Mom

Newgrange – Ireland’s Megalithic Wonder Of The Winter Solstice

Older than Stonehenge and the Great Pyramids of Egypt, Newgrange is Ireland’s finest megalithic monument.

Today, when the sun rises on the morning of the winter solstice, this mythical tomb will reveal its ancient, astronomical secrets. Credit

On the shortest day of the year, a shaft of light from the rising sun, enters the light portal, a small rectangular window above the entrance, passes through a stone passageway, before finally piercing the darkness of the inner burial chamber.  The event lasts for about 17 minutes.

The Inner Tomb Passageway at Newgrange

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Newgrange has been dated to 3200 BC which makes it over 5000 years old.  The precise orientation of this monument, to align with the rays of the rising sun on the shortest day of the year, and for a few days before and after, was no accident of nature.  This incredible phenomenon is believed to have been carefully planned by those who designed and built this burial tomb.

Ceiling of inner chamber at Newgrange

The Ceiling of the Inner Chamber at Newgrange

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The method of collection and movement of the large stones forming the inner passageway, and interlocking ceiling of the inner chamber, remains a mystery.  These huge stones were probably dotted throughout the surrounding countryside, and moved uphill to the site.  This required a coordinated, community effort with precise directions and goals.

The Tuatha De Dannan, the ancient mythological rulers of Ireland are credited with building Newgrange, as a burial-place for Daghda, their great leader and his three sons.  Building of Grianan of Aileach in Co. Donegal is also attributed to Daghda.  Irish folklore is replete with references to the mound at Newgrange, including links to Cuchulainn, Diarmuid of the Fianna, and The Children of Lir.

The exact identity of who this burial chamber was built for, remains unknown. Its complexity is an indicator of his importance.  The builders of Newgrange, were skilled, intellectual mathematicians. Credit

The roofbox is the term for the opening through which the sunlight enters. Credit

Twelve standing stones form a circle around the tomb. Engraved, spiral motifs add to the mystery of the site. Credit

The picture above provides a good dimensional reference.  The ability to create such a small portal, with exact solar alignment on the shortest day of the year, is a true marvel of the ancient world. Credit

The facade of the monument consists of sparkling white quartz.  Periodically, egg-shaped, gray, granite stones protrude from the wall.

Newgrange is actually a large mound of stones covered in earth and grass, concealing its inner burial chamber. Over 200,000 tons of stone were positioned to create a water-tight chamber.

The site sits on top of an elongated ridge of land, tucked within a bend of the River Boyne.  It is amongst 26 other ancient burial chambers in the Boyne Valley. Credit

Here is a side view of the mound.

Newgrange can only be visited on guided tours accessed from a visitor’s center at Bru na Boinne.

I visited Newgrange many times as a young girl.   Many of my childhood, school, field trips from Dublin included a tour of this ancient site.  Since the day I first heard of its mythical significance, I have dreamed of standing in the inner chamber on a winter solstice morning, to witness its magnificent illumination. Credit

Only a lucky few each year experience the real thing.  A lottery is held to choose those who will stand inside the dark, inner chamber awaiting the sun’s light.  Now that my kids are getting older, I think I might throw my name in the hat.  Who knows?  Some year I may stand there to witness how light can find us, even in the darkest of places. Credit

I pray today, Ireland finds hope in the light of Newgrange.  Despite all the doom and gloom of recent months and years, our light can never be extinguished.


Slan agus beannacht leat!

(Goodbye and blessings)



Irish American Mom