Cultural Resources

Irish Proverbs

Down on the Farm

  • The cocks crow but the hens lay the eggs.
  • A good farmer is known by his crops.
  • An empty barn needs no roof.
  • In winter, the milk goes to the cow’s horns.
  • When the apple is ripe it will fall.
  • Apples will grow again.
  • There’s no need to fear the wind if your haystacks are tied down.
  • More grows on a tilled field than is sowed in it.
  • A windy day is not the day for thatching.
  • Work is better than talk.
  • Riding on a goat is better than the best of walking.
  • Don’t pluck the goose until you catch her.
  • The man with a cow doesn’t need a scythe.
  • The morning of the race is not the morning to feed your horse.
  • Time used sharpening a scythe is not time wasted.
  • A dead hen is done laying.
  • Many a rose-cheeked apple is rotten to the core.
  • You can’t sell the cow and drink her milk.
  • There’s little value in the single cow.
  • Everyone lays a burden on the willing horse.
  • There was never a scabby sheep in a flock that didn’t like to have a comrade.
  • Often a cow does not take after its breed.
  • The seed you sow is the corn you will reap.
  • You’ll never plow a field by turning it over in your mind.
  • A good eye is worth two pairs of hands.
  • The taste of the clover makes a thief of the dove.
  • A rambling bee brings home the honey.
  • Idle dogs worry sheep.
  • A nod is as good as a wink to the blind horse.
  • It is a bad hen that will not scratch herself.
  • You can’t expect a big egg from a little hen.
  • The deed will praise itself.
  • When a heifer is far from home she grows longer horns.
  • When all fruits fail welcome haws.
  • A soft dropping April brings milk to cows and sheep.
  • A farmer’s work is never done.


Irish Proverbs

Many fine collections of Irish proverbs have been published over the years. An assortment of some of our favorites are available as new or used copies. Your purchase will help support the non-profit activitites of Compass Rose Cultural Crossroads.

Online collection copyright © 1995, 2007-2012. Compiled by Joanne Asala, author of Celtic Folklore Cooking. You are free to use these proverbs on your own site as long as you credit Compass Rose Cultural Crossroads as the source and provide a link to our Web site:

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