Irish Sayings: Blessings, Proverbs and Toasts for St Patricks Day
The Irish are well known for having 'the gift of the gab' - the ability to use words to make anything sound good! There is a wonderful tradition of Irish sayings, proverbs and blessings, some funny, some wise. Saint Patrick is the patron saint of Ireland, the man credited with bringing Christianity to the Irish so of course there are some sayings and blessings uniquely associated with him.
This article tells you some of the best Irish sayings for St Patrick's Day. Whether you want to write a St Patrick's Day card to a friend or make a toast in Gaelic, read on to find all the uniquely Irish words you need...
More about Saint Patrick
St Patrick's Day Greetings, Blessings and Toasts
The most common greeting on St Patrick's Day (March 17th) is to simply say 'Happy St Patrick's day!'. If you like, you can say it in Gaelic - La Fhéile Phadraig shona duit (pronounced: la-ayla-fawdrig-huna-ditch). Another alternative is to wish your friends the blessings of St Patrick's Day; in Gaelic this is: Beannacht duit ar La Fhéile Phadraig (pronounced bannahckt ditch ur la ayla fawdrig).
The prayer known as Saint Patrick's Breastplate is most appropriate for a Christian celebration of St Patrick's day. The prayer is written in the style of an old Celtic blessing, and emphasizes the Celtic Christian belief that God is all around. You can read a copy of St Patrick's prayer here. A photograph of a shorter version is included alongside.
It is well known that the Irish are fond of a good toast year round, and St Patrick's Day is no exception. The simplest and most common toast to be heard in Ireland is 'sláinte' , being the Gaelic word for 'health'. The toast is intended to wish good health to all present - in spite of whatever drink is being consumed! (Sláinte is pronounced slawn-cha).
The Gaelic toast below is a tongue-in-cheek description of the ideal state of affairs in Irish culture:
Croi follain agus gob fliuch.
"A healthy heart and a wet mouth!"
And here's another Irish toast to say with friends...
Here's to a long life and a merry one.
A quick death and an easy one.
A pretty girl and an honest one.
A cold pint-- and another one!
A modern Irish blessing
St Patrick's Day: Irish Sayings and Proverbs
There are a few Irish traditions which relate to St Patrick's Day. For example, it was always said in my house when I was growing up that if it snowed on St Patrick's Day we would have a fine summer that year. I can't say that it ever came true - but it was a comfort when faced with snow in March to think that a warm and sunny summer was ahead!
It is also traditional to 'drown the shamrock' on St Patrick's Day. Irish pubs traditionally set a single shamrock on top of their customers pints on March 17th - and the shamrocks were promptly 'drowned' as the pint was drunk.
There are a lot of sayings in Ireland about Saint Patrick, for example that he drove the snakes from Ireland or that he challenged the pagan druids of Ireland by performing miracles which outstripped their naturalistic magic. The shamrock is associated with the saint because Patrick is reputed to have used the three-in-one leaf of the plant to explain the concept of the holy trinity.
And of course, there are a near endless number of proverbs containing the wit and wisdom of the Irish - that famous 'gift of the gab'. Some of the best are presented in the video below, along with a collection of images of Ireland, set to a traditional Irish folk song (Oh Danny Boy).
Wishing you... Beannacht La Féile Phadriag...
- Marie Mc Keown