Here’s a lovely collection of Irish sayings and proverbs to help sustain us in times of trouble. These wise old words are part of our oral cultural inheritance.
These original sayings are found in the language of our ancestors, Irish or Gaeilge, which is one of the world’s six Gaelic or Celtic languages.
There’s kindness, compassion and wisdom in the words of our predecessors, and in times of trouble we can turn to their ancient advice to find comfort.
These old sayings were a way of passing down knowledge through the generations, and many of these sayings date back hundreds of years.
Our Irish ancestors faced many trials and tribulations over the centuries, so I thought why not examine some of their uplifting sayings, to help us find courage and resolve when life gets challenging.
Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireann na daoine.
Phonetic Pronunciation: Err scawh a ch(k)ale-ah a wir-enn na dee-neh.
Under the shadow of each other, people survive.
(In other words: In the shelter of each other, people survive.)
Is olc an ghaoth nach séideann do dhuine éigin.
Phonetic Pronunciation: Is ulk an gway nawch(k) shay-dan do gwin-eh aye-gan.
It is a bad wind that does not blow (bring good) to somebody.
(In other words – No matter how bad something that happens, someone will benefit.)
Is ait an mac an saol.
Phonetic Pronunciation: Iss atch on moc an say-ol.
Life is a strange son.
(In other words – Life is strange.)
Dá fhada an lá tagann an tráthnóna.
Phonetic Pronunciation: Daw aw-dah on law tog-ann an traw-no-nah.
No matter how long the day, the evening comes.
(In other words – No matter how bad things are, they will end)
Níl aon tinteán mar do thinteán féin.
Phonetic Pronunciation: Neel ane tin-tawn mawr duh hin-tawn fayne.
There’s no hearth or fireplace like your own hearth.
(In other words – There’s no place like home.)
Ní huasal ná íseal, ach thuas seal is thíos seal.
Phonetic Pronunciation: Nee hoo-sal naw ee-shal, och(k) shal iss he-oss shal.
Neither noble nor lowly, but up for a while and down for a while.
(In other words – It doesn’t matter who you are, you will have your ups and downs)
Is giorra cabhair Dé ná an doras.
Phonetic Pronunciation: Iss gur-rah cow-er Day naw an dur-ass.
God’s help is nearer than the door.
(In other words: You only have to ask God for help.)
Is fada an bóthar nach mbíonn casadh ann.
Phonetic Pronunciation: Iss faw-dah on boh-har noch(k) me-on caw-sah ann.
It’s a long road that has no turning.
(In other words: Things never go completely smoothly or badly)
Dia idir sinn agus an t-olc.
Phonetic Pronunciation: Dee-ah id-ir shin og-uss on tulk.
God between us and all harm.
(This is often said upon hearing bad news)
I dtosach na h-aicíde is fusa í a leigheas.
Phonetic Pronunciation: Ih dus-ock nah hack-ee-deh iss fuss-ah eeh ah lye-uss
It is easier to cure a disease if caught early
(A stitch in time saves nine.)
Nuair is gann é an bia is ea is fial é a roinnt.
Phonetic Pronunciation: Noo-ur iss gone ay on bee-ah is sha iss fee-ul ay ah rye-unt.
When food is scarce it is generous to share it.
Mo sheacht mbeannacht ort!
Phonetic Pronunciation: Muh hy-awkth mann-ock-th urt
My seven blessings on you!
Nár laga Dia thú.
Phonetic Pronunciation: Nawr lag-ah Dee-ah hoo
May God never weaken you.
Is fearr an tsláinte ná na táinte.
Phonetic Pronunciation: Iss fahr an tlawn-teh naw na tawn-teh.
Health is better than wealth.
Tá Dia láidir is máthair mhaith aige.
Phonetic Pronunciation: Thaw Dee-ah law-dir iss maw-hir wah egg-eh
God is strong and He has a good mother.
Aithnítear cara i gcruatán.
Phonetic Pronunciation: Ah-nee-tar cah-rah ih grew-tawn
A friend is known in hardship.
Is iomaí cor sa tsaol.
Phonetic Pronunciation: Iss um-eeh cur sah thail.
There is many a twist in life.
Go bhfága Dia do shláinte agat.
Phonetic Pronunciation: Guh vaw-gah Dee-ah dhu hlaw-un-teh ah-gut.
May God spare you your health.
Níor dhún Dia doras riamh nár oscail Sé ceann eile.
Phonetic Pronunciation: Nee-ur goon Dee-ah dur-uss ree-uv naw-r us-kil shay ku-own ell-ah.
God never closed one door without opening another.
And finally here’s one I don’t have the exact wording for in Irish, but it’s a blessing or wish I often heard said by my granny, when she would hear that someone wasn’t well.
In Irish it would be close to this… Le cabhair Dé, go n-éirðidh tú níos fearr (pronounced Leh cow-ir day, guh ni-row-ig thu nee-us far). If any Irish speaker reads this and knows the exact wording of this blessing in Irish, please do let us know in the comment section.
With the help of God, you’ll pull through.
(Said to someone who is ill or out of sorts)
And there you have it – a collection of Irish blessings and sayings in times of trouble.
I hope you find comfort in these soft words of our ancestors.
Slán agus beannacht,
Goodbye and blessings)