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  • 3/16/2004

Proverbs of Ireland

Every patient is a doctor after his cure.

Neither give cherries to pigs nor advice to a fool.

Soft words butter no parsnips but they won't harden the heart of the cabbage either.

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

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

A windy day is not the day for thatching.

The old pipe gives the sweetest smoke.

A scholars ink lasts longer than a martyr's blood.

Take gifts with a sigh most men give to be paid.

A turkey never voted for an early Christmas.

The Irish forgive their great men when they are safely buried.

What's good for the goose is good for the gander.

The longest road out is the shortest road home.

The older the fiddle the sweeter the tune.

It's no use boiling your cabbage twice.

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

Do not mistake a goats beard for a fine stallion's tail .

Drink is the curse of the land. It makes you fight with your neighbor. It makes you shoot at your landlord and it makes you miss him.

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

A wild goose never reared a tame gosling.

A boy's best friend is his mother and there's no spancel stronger than her apron string.

There never was an old slipper but there was an old stocking to match it.

Firelight will not let you read fine stories but its warm and you won't see the dust on the floor.

As the old cock crows the young cock learns.

Humor to a man is like a feather pillow. It is filled with what is easy to get but gives great comfort.

Many an Irish property was increased by the lace of a daughter's petticoat.

The best way to keep loyalty in a man's heart is to keep money in his purse.

A narrow neck keeps the bottle from being emptied in one swig.

A trout in the pot is better than a salmon in the sea.

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

It's for her own good that the cat purrs.

Even a tin knocker will shine on a dirty door.

An old broom knows the dirty corners best.

One beetle recognizes another.

To the raven her own chick is white.

When the sky falls we'll catch larks.

Any man can lose his hat in a fairy- wind.

If you have one pair of good soles its better than two pairs of good uppers.

It s no use carrying an umbrella if your shoes are leaking.

It's difficult to choose between two blind goats.

A silent mouth is sweet to hear.

It's as hard to see a woman crying as it is to see a barefooted duck.

It's a bad hen that won't scratch herself.

No matter how often a pitcher goes to the water it is broken in the end.

There was never a scabby sheep in a flock that didn't like to have a comrade.

A nod is as good as a wink to a blind horse.

The fox never found a better messenger than himself.

There'll be white blackbirds before an unwilling woman ties the knot.

Show the fatted calf but not the thing that fattened him.

A buckle is a great addition to an old shoe.

In winter the milk goes to the cow's horns.

Men are like bagpipes no sound comes from them until they're full.

Snuff at a wake is fine if there's nobody sneezing over the snuff box.

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

He got it from nature as the pig got the rooting in the ground.

Often a cow does not take after its breed.

What would a young cat do but eat mice?

Nature will come through the claws, and the hound will follow the hare.

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

What is in the marrow is hard to take out of the bone.

The wood will renew the foliage it sheds.

What will come from the briar but the berry?

The hand goes only where the leg goes.

One who is without cows must be his own dog.

A blind man can see his mouth.

You never miss the water till the well has run dry.

A king's son is not nobler than his food.

Keep your tongue in your jaw and your tow in your pump.

Pity the man who has a stranger's spancel on him.

To every cow its calf; to every book its copy.

Watching is a part of good play.

By degrees the castles are built.

When the apple is ripe, it will fall.

Patience cures many an old complaint.

The one who waits the fine day, will get the fine day.

Patience and forbearance make a bishop of his reverence

Patience can conquer destiny.

Patience is a plaster for all sores.

For what cannot be cured patience is best.

There is not a tree in heaven higher than the tree of patience.

Patience is a virtue that causes no shame.

Time and Patience would bring the snail to Jerusalem.

Everyone praises his native land.

Nobody ever bought peace but the man who hadn't got it.

Peace (quietness) is worth buying.

The world's quiet and the pig is in the sty.

Least said soonest mended.

No matter who succeeds or fails, the peacemaker will always suffer.

To the fighting man peace is sure.

The end of a feast is better than the beginning of a fight.

An eye is blind in another man's corner.

He's more to be pitied than laughed at.

Don't tell your complaint to one who has no pity.

A poem ought to be well made at first, for there is many a one to spoil it afterwards.

Have it yourself, or else do without it .

Better the certainty of the straddle (packsaddle) than the mere loan of a saddle.

Possession is nine-tenths of the law.

Better own a trifle than want a great deal.

A wren in the hand is better than a crane to be caught.

A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.

It's better than the loan you couldn't get.

Half a loaf is better than no bread.

A live dog is better than a dead lion.

A trout in the pot is better than a salmon in the sea.

Put a beggar on horseback and he'll ride to hell.

Put a beggar on horseback and he'll go on a gallop.

Poverty parts good company.

Many a defect is seen in the poor man.

It's hard to take britches off bare hips.

The full man does not understand the wants of the hungry.

A little pleases a poor man.

Poor men take to the sea; the rich to the mountains.

Poverty creates sadness.

Pity the man who does wrong and is poor as well.

There is nothing in the world so poor as going to hell.

The thief is no danger to the beggar.

Poverty is no shame.

Two things that go for loss-turf on a mountain and the wisdom of a poor man.

Shame is ever a part of poverty.

No-one is ever poor who has the sight of his eyes and the use of his feet.

A poor man never yet lost his property.

Poor is the church without music.

A smokey cabin, a handful of spuds and a flea-filled bed.

No stopping the force of a going wheel by hand.

No forcing the sea.

Don't county your chickens before they are hatched.

Don't bless the fish till it gets to the land.

Don't build the sty until the litter comes.

Praise the ripe field not the green corn.

Praise the ford when you have crossed it.

You must empty a box before you fill it again.

The pride of women and the pride of priests.

It is difficult to soothe the proud.

Pride comes before a fall.

Pride feels no pain.

The jump of a cock on the dungheap.

There is no virtue in the herb that is not got in time.

A postponement till morning A postponement for ever.

It is no time to go for the doctor when the patient is dead.

A promise is a debt .

Proverbs cannot be contradicted.

The proverb cannot be bettered.

Though the proverb is abandoned, it is not falsified.

Don't throw out the dirty water until you have the clean water in.

It's better to return from the centre of the ford than drown in the flood.

To be red-haired is better than to be without a head.

To put off repentance is dangerous.

It's better to be sorry and stay than to be sorry and go away.

It's a small thing that outlives a man.

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

Those who get the name of rising early may lie all day.

When a man gets his feet in lime he cannot easily get rid of it.

No dealing with a revengeful man.

He was never good since the time a yard(of cloth) made a coat for him.

Don't mention him and a decent man in the one day.

A sly rogue is often in good dress.

She would drink the cream and say the cat she had was an old rogue.

The person who brings a story to you will take away two from you.

A story without an author is not worth listening to.

Leave the bad tale where you found it.

There is no smoke without fire.

When all fruits fail welcome haws.

When the fruit is scarcest, its taste is sweetest.

We have a fine day more often than a kiln-cast.

A soft dropping April brings milk to cows and sheep.

Autumn days come quickly like the running of a hound on the moor.

A misty winter brings a pleasant spring, a pleasant winter a misty spring.

Many a sudden change takes place on a spring day.

In winter the milk goes to the cow's horns.

A secret is a weapon and a friend.

It is no secret that is known to three.

Fences (ditches) have ears.

Don't tell your secret even to a fence.

Woe to the man that entrusts his secrets to a ditch.

The secret of an old woman scolding.

If it's a secret, it's binding.

Don't tell secrets to the children of your relatives.

No tree but has rotten wooe enough to burn it.

A man may be his own ruin.

A wedge from itself splits the oak tree.

A man has often cut a rod to beat himself.

It's for her own good that the cat purrs.

His own wound is what everyone feels soonest.

What is nearest the heart is nearest the mouth.

He who is best for me is he who shall get the best share.

The full stomach does not understand the empty one.

The man who was dividing Ireland didn't leave himself last.

Sense doesn't come before age.

After the gathering comes the scattering.

What would shame him would turn back a funeral.

A list full of gain and a village full of shame.

Better is the trouble that follows death than the trouble that follows shame.

Do not keep your tongue under your belt.

A man is shy in another man's corner.

A silent mouth is musical.

The silent are often guilty.

The silent mouth is sweet to hear.

When wrathful words arise a closed mouth is soothing.

The stars make no noise.

Little talk is easy to cure.

A closed mouth--a wise head.

A silent mouth never did any harm.

Strength is not enduring.

Sending the goose on a message to the fox's den.

Putting the fox to mind the geese.

You didn't turn up when sense was being distributed.

There's neiher success nor efficiency without authority and laws.

Fat is not to be had without labour.

The windy day is not the day for thatching.

One man's meat is another man's poison.

Whoever the cap fits takes it.

Better sit beside him than in his place.

A short visit is best and that not too often.

The eye should be blind in the home of another.

It's often a man's mouth broke his nose.

Don't say everything you want to say lest you hear something you would not like to hear

Don't let your tongue cut your throat.

See not what you see and hear not what you hear.

Never speak to the feet while the head is alive.

Don't rest your eyes beyond what is your own.

It's bad manners to talk about ropes in the house of a man whose father was hanged.

A greyhound finds food in its feet.

The slow hound often has good qualities.

The bird that can sing and won't sing should be made to sing.

A cat between two houses, a rabbit between two holes, the two liveliest.

Great talk and little action.

Do not be talkative in an alehouse.

You kissed the blarney stone.

A spender gets the property of the hoarder.

Let your bargain suit your purpose.

Spread your cloth only as you can draw it.

The waiting man thinks the time long.

Time is a good story-teller.

He who spies is the one who kills.

Treachery returns.

There's trouble in every house and some in the street.

Everything troubles you and the cat breaks your heart.

The fox never found a better messenger than himself

Never trust a spiteful man

Even the truth may be bitter

There are two tellings to every story

What I'm afraid to hear I'd better say first myself

Trough speaks even though the tongue were dead

You can keep away from the rogue, but you cannot keep yourself safe from the liar.

It is no shame to tell the truth

Tell the truth and shame the devil

The well-filled belly has little understanding of the empty

It's a bad hound that's not worth the whistling

He knows how many grains to a bushel of wheat

He knows the price of everything and the value of nothing

He couldn't drag a herring off the coals

It's just a wisp in place of a brush

One pair of good soles is worth two pairs of upper leathers

Without pressing too little or too hard, hold tight the reins for he's a fool who would not get value from a borrowed horse

It's not worth a cuckoo-spit

Better an idle house than a bad tenant

Pity him who makes his opinions a certainty

he thinks that he himself is the very stone that was hurled at the castle

Willful waste makes woeful want

A shamefaced man seldom acquires wealth

The money-maker (profiteer) is never tired

The doorstep of a great house is slippery

There is misfortune only where there is wealth

Sweet is the voice of the man who has wealth

A hut is a palace to a poor man

A heavy purse makes a light heart

There's little value in the single cow

A man of one cow-a man of no cow

It's easy to knead when meal is at hand

Wind from the east is good for neither man nor beast

Better April showers than the breadth of the ocean in gold

Better for a man to have even a dog welcome him than a dog bark at him

Going in is not the same as going out

A welcome is a debtor's face

What's the entire world to a man when his wife is a widow?

A wise head keeps a shut mouth

Everyone is wise till he speaks

Food is no more important than wisdom

The beginning of wisdom is the fear of God

There's no wise man without a fault

He may die of wind but he'll never die of wisdom

You can't put wide head on young shoulders

Wisdom is what makes a poor man a king, A weak person powerful, a good generation of a bad one, a foolish man reasonable.

Though wisdom is good in the beginning it is better at the end

A little of anything isn't worth a pin; but a wee bit of sense is worth a lot

No making of a wise man

A dishonest woman can't be kept in and an honest woman won't

There is no thing wickeder than a woman of evil temper.

A bad woman(wife) drinks a lot of her own bad butter-milk

A foolish woman knows a foolish man's faults

A whistling woman and a crowing hen will bring no luck to the house they are in.

Eight lives for the men and nine for the women

Wherever there are women there's talking, and wherever there's geese there's cackling.

Irishwomen have a dispensation from the pope to wear the thick ends of their legs downwards.

Women are shy and shame prevents them from refusing a man.

Everything dear is a woman's fancy.

Like an Irish wolf she barks at her own shadow.

She wipes the plate with the cat's tail.

More hair than tit, like a mountain heifer.

Women are stronger than men; they do not die of wisdom

When the old woman is hard pressed, she has to run

It's difficult to trust a woman

Man to the hills, woman to the shore

Beat a woman with a hammer and you'll have gold

Where comes a cow the Wiseman lay down (St.Colmcille), there follows a woman, and where comes a woman follows trouble.

Only a fool would prefer food to a woman

Don't be ever in court or a castle without a woman to make your excuse

An excuse is nearer to a woman than her apron

There is nothing sharper than a woman's tongue

A woman without is she who has neither pipe nor child

A woman like a goose, a sharp pecking woman
A woman like a pig, a sleepy-headed woman
A woman like a sickle, a strong stubborn woman
A woman like a goat, a woman of rushing visits
A woman like a sheep, an affable friendly woman
A woman like a lamb, a quiet friendly woman

It is not the most beautiful woman who has the most sense

A woman can beat the devil

A shrew gets her wish but suffers in the getting

Many a time the man with ten (cows has overtaken the man with forty (cows)

Do it as if there was fire in your skin

The seeking for one thing will find another

Make your hay before the fine weather leaves you

Sow early and mow early

The early riser gets through his business but not through early rising

The slow horse reaches the mill

Making the beginning is one third of the work

The sweat of one's brow is what burns everyone

Everyone lays a burden on the willing horse

Speed and accuracy do not agree

Never put off tomorrow what you can do today

I'll go there tonight for evening is speedier than morning

The person of the greatest talk is the person of the least work

Be there with the day and be gone with the day

About evening a man is known

Long churning makes bad butter

Scattering is easier than gathering

The labour of the crow

Put it on your shoulder and say it is not a burden

It's no delay to stop to edge the tool

The mason who strikes often is better than the one who strikes too hard

It destroys the craft not to learn it

The dog that's always on the go, is better than the one that's always curled up.

Handfuls make a load

Don't go early or late to the well

A good beginning is half the work

Praise the young and they will make progress

Many a happy colt makes a fine horse

The young shed many skins

Youth likes to wander

The growth of the gosling

Youth cannot believe

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