Cultural Resources

Irish Proverbs

Food and Famine

  • All living things must be fed.
  • The first drop of the broth is the hottest.
  • You must take the little potato with the big potato.
  • The heaviest ear of corn bends the lowest.
  • Tobacco after food.
  • When the belly is full, the bones like to stretch.
  • Good humor comes from the kitchen.
  • It is pleasant with company at the table; woe to him who eats alone.
  • A stew boiled is a stew spoiled.
  • A king’s son is not nobler than his food.
  • It’s no use boiling your cabbage twice.
  • A man is like the bagpipes, he never makes a noise until his belly is full.
  • A good fire makes a speedy cook.
  • A cabin with plenty of food is better than a hungry castle.
  • Let broth boil slowly, but let porridge make a noise.
  • Never scald your lips on another man’s porridge.
  • Only a fool would prefer food to a woman.
  • You don’t know what is in the pot until the lid is lifted.
  • A full stomach never thinks of an empty one.
  • It is good to be hungry when you have something to eat.
  • It is better to be in search of food than in appetite.
  • The man that stays long out, his supper cools.
  • A belly to the sun is often empty.
  • A long fast and want of shoes makes young folk sensible.
  • Those who neither work nor pray shall starve.
  • A blessing does not fill the belly.
  • If you go uninvited to the feast, carry your own stool with you.
  • You must crack the nut before you can eat the kernel.
  • A hungry eye sees far.
  • Hunger is a good sauce; if it doesn’t choke you, it will fatten you.
  • Hunger will conquer a lion.
  • If you have to swallow a frog, try not to think about it. If you have to swallow two frogs, don’t swallow the smaller one first.
  • Talk doesn’t fill the stomach.
  • Last to the work, first to the table.
  • It’s easy to be generous with another person’s share.
  • Beware of the public house or limpets will be your food.


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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