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Irish Proverbs

Many quips a strong man will make

compiled by Ann-Marie Imbornoni
  • A good beginning is half the work.
  • You'll never plow a field by turning it over in your mind.
  • Many hands make light work.


  • Long churning makes bad butter.
  • It's no use boiling your cabbage twice.


  • Read more Irish quotes.


  • Every dog is brave on his own doorstep.
  • A little dog can start a hare, but it takes a big one to catch it.
  • Do not show your teeth until you can bite.


  • The world would not make a racehorse of a donkey.
  • Put silk on a goat and it is still a goat.


  • An old broom knows the dirty corners best.
  • There never was an old slipper but there was an old stocking to match it.
  • The old pipe gives the sweetest smoke.


  • The windy day is not the day for thatching.


  • A trout in the pot is better than a salmon in the sea.
  • There are as many good fish in the sea as ever came out of it.
  • There are finer fish in the sea than have ever been caught.


  • No forcing the sea.
  • Men may meet, but mountains never greet.


  • It takes time to build castles.
  • Time and patience would bring the snail to Jerusalem.
  • Patience is a poultice for all wounds.


  • If you don't know the way, walk slowly.
  • It was not on one foot that St. Patrick came to Ireland.
  • Your feet will bring you to where your heart is.


  • Learn about ten major Irish saints.


  • He who pays the piper calls the tune.
  • There is no tune without a penny.


  • The best way to keep loyalty in a man's heart is to keep money in his purse.
  • A heavy purse makes a light heart.
  • The heavier the purse, the lighter the heart.


  • Two shorten the road.
  • A friend's eye is a good mirror.
  • There is luck in sharing a thing.


  • Beauty will not make the pot boil.
  • Better good manners than good looks.


  • What's in the marrow is hard to take out of the bone.
  • You can take a man out of the bog, but you can't take the bog out of the man.
  • What will come from the briar but the berry.


  • What's a proverb?

  • One man's meat is another man's poison.
  • The wearer best knows where the shoe pinches.
  • If the cap doesn't fit, don't wear it.


  • You can't build a barrel around a bung hole.


  • It is better to be lucky than rich.
  • It is better to be lucky than wise.
  • It is better to be lucky than to be an early riser.




  • It is not a secret if it is known by three people.
  • What I'm afraid to hear I'd better say first myself.
  • A kind word never broke anyone's mouth.


  • Eaten bread is forgotten.
  • You never miss the water till the well has run dry.
  • Absence increases sorrow.


  • In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king.
  • A light heart lives long.
  • When the belly is full, the bones like to stretch.
  • Good sense is as important as food.


  • The wine is sweet, the paying bitter.
  • What butter and whiskey will not cure, there's no cure for.
  • Good as drink is, it ends in thirst.


  • If you lie down with dogs, you'll rise with fleas.
  • Talk of the devil, and he will appear.
  • Constant company wears out its welcome.


  • Burning embers are easily kindled.


  • Poverty parts good company.
  • No one is ever poor who has the sight of his eyes and the use of his feet.
  • The thief is no danger to the beggar.


  • When your hand is in the dog's mouth, withdraw it gently.
  • Better be sure than sorry.


  • God is good, but never dance in a small boat.
  • The grace of God is found between the saddle and the ground.
  • God's help is nearer than the door.


  • Read about St. Patrick's Day history.


  • When the sky falls we'll catch larks.
  • One swallow never made a summer.


  • A silent mouth never did any harm.
  • It's often a man's mouth broke his nose.
  • Everyone is wise till he speaks.


  • Words will not feed the friars.
  • Proverbs cannot be contradicted.


Information Please® Database, © 2007 Pearson Education, Inc. All rights reserved.

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