Cultural Resources

Meeting on the Turret Stairs 
by Frederick William Burton.

Meeting on the Turret Stairs by Frederick William Burton. This image is available as a poster.

Irish Proverbs

Love and Marriage

  • It is hard to escape the bonds of love.
  • He who stares into the middle of the fire does be heavily in love.
  • What is nearest the heart is nearest the lips.
  • The color of the cheek cannot disguise the feelings of the heart.
  • The man who sees what he loves knows true happiness.
  • A golden ring can tie a man as tight as any chain.
  • There’ll be white blackbirds before an unwilling woman ties the knot.
  • Love is no impartial judge.
  • It is a lonesome washing that doesn’t have a man’s shirt in it.
  • There is no cure for love but marriage.
  • Don’t show your skin to a person who won’t cover it.
  • Court abroad but marry at home.
  • Any man who owns a cow can always find a woman to milk her.
  • Many an Irish property was increased by the lace of a daughter’s petticoat.
  • A growing moon and a flowing tide are lucky times to marry.
  • A man cannot grow rich without his wife’s leave.
  • There never was an old slipper but there was an old stocking to match it.
  • There is never an old brogue but there’s a foot to fit it.
  • It is better to be refused a hook on harvest day than to be refused for a wife.
  • Marry a mountain woman and you marry the mountain.
  • Poor people have poor weddings.
  • A blanket is better off being doubled.
  • It’s easy to halve the potato where there’s love.
  • Marriages are all happy; it’s having breakfast together that causes all the problems.
  • There are no trials until one gets married.
  • A silent mouth is sweet to hear.
  • Woe to him who does not heed a good wife’s counsel.
  • It is as hard to see a woman crying as it is to see a barefoot duck.
  • The first year is the kissing year; the second year is the fisting year.
  • Three things you cannot comprehend are: the mind of a woman, the working of the bees, and the ebb and flow of the tide.
  • Three types of men who fail to understand women: young men, old men, and middle-aged men.


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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