Inspirational Words of Wisdom

Irish Proverbs:
Garnering Wisdom in Gaelic and Irish Sayings

Irish Proverbs: Gaelic Wisdom and Irish Sayings

This is an inspiring collection of Irish proverbs featuring selected famous Irish sayings, along with old traditional Gaelic proverbs. They've been chosen for their important teachings - ones that focus on living a good and productive life.

The meanings that follow are my own interpretation of each of the Irish proverbs. You or others may interpret them in a different way.


Ready For Some Good Old Irish Wisdom?

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

Meaning: Although it's good to plan what you wish to accomplish in your mind, you still have to go out and begin taking the steps to put your plan into action. Just sitting around thinking about it won't get you what you want.

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

Meaning: Don't fall into the trap thinking that "everything's already been done." There is always room for improvement and new ideas. Always search for that "finer fish" and you may just find it.

Its no use boiling your cabbage twice.

Meaning: Let worries go... stop rehashing them because it doesn't accomplish anything.

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

Meaning: When you begin an important project, make sure to lay the groundwork so that your plan is solid. Then you won't have to fear that your future endeavors will tumble down or blow away.

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

Meaning: Not only will you be judged by others, you'll also be influenced by the people you hang around with.

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

Meaning: Take care of yourself. You can't take care of others when you're in bad shape due to looking after everyone else's needs and never your own.

When the sky falls we'll catch larks.

Meaning: Another way of saying if you're given a lemon, make lemonade. Always look for opportunities to turn things around, even when it all seems to be crashing down around you.

Making the beginning is one third of the work.

Meaning: You can't accomplish anything until you actually take the steps to begin.

A silent mouth is sweet to hear.

Meaning: Listen more, talk less. Not only will you not say something you may later regret, you'll actually learn more.

You must crack the nuts before you can eat the kernel.

Meaning: You must do the work first, then you'll get your reward.

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

Meaning: This is the same as "a leopard can't change its spots" and "a wolf in sheep's clothing." A bad seed is a bad seed regardless of where you plant it. Listen to your intuition when your gut tells you that something's not right with the person or situation that you're dealing with.

There are two tellings to every story.

Meaning: Be careful of listening to gossip and realize that there are always two sides to a story. Remember, whoever is telling you their version of the tale will always come across as the victim who's been wronged.

By degrees the castles are built.

Meaning: Success in anything takes time. Build a solid foundation first, then steadily add to that foundation block by block.

When the apple is ripe, it will fall.

Meaning: Know that at times it's pointless to force something to happen faster than it should (or can). Patience in certain situations if more productive in the end.

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Praise the young and they will make progress.

Meaning: Praise and encourage children to do and be their best rather than criticizing them. The more your praise, the more they are willing to do well. The more you criticize, the sooner they give up.

Half a loaf is better than no bread.

Meaning: Be happy with what you already have and in what you have accomplished in your life. This is the same as saying the glass is half full, rather than half empty.

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

Meaning: Remain honest and keep your promises for even if you loose everything, you will be known as a person who is trustworthy. People are much more willing to help someone they know they can trust. Having a good name can take you a long ways and make life much easier all in all.

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