Cultural Resources

Irish Proverbs

A Land of Poets and Musicians

An Irish piper

An Irish piper. Detail from a vintage postcard.

  • A tune is more lasting than the song of birds, and a word more lasting than the wealth of the world.
  • Three things that cannot be taught: a singing voice, generosity, and poetry.
  • The first story from the host, stories until dawn from the guest.
  • That a poet is born, not made, is well-known.
  • One tale is good until another is told.
  • One story brings on another.
  • Out of the kitchen comes the tune.
  • The older the fiddle, the sweeter the tune.
  • There’s many a good tune played on an old fiddle.
  • Who brings a tale takes two away.
  • Time is a good storyteller.
  • It is the flattering harp which never lacked golden strings.
  • Poor is the church without music.
  • A poem ought to be well made at first, for there is many a one to spoil it afterwards.
  • He who pays the piper calls the tune.
  • Men are like bagpipes—no sound comes from them until they’re full.


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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