Cultural Resources

Irish Proverbs

Wine, Whiskey, and Spirits

St. Patrick's Day card with Uncle Sam

A toast to Irish-American friendship! Detail from a vintage postcard.

  • The newest food and the oldest of drink!
  • Choose your company before you drink.
  • Take the drink for the thirst that is to come.
  • Thirst is the end of drinking and sorrow is the end of love.
  • Wine is sweet but the results are bitter.
  • Wine drowns more men than water.
  • Wine is old men’s milk.
  • Wine is better than blood.
  • Wine makes old women wenches.
  • What butter and whiskey won’t cure, there’s no cure for.
  • Whiskey when you’re sick makes you well; whiskey when you’re well makes you sick.
  • He who drinks water does not get drunk.
  • Water is a good drink if taken in the right spirit.
  • A man takes a drink, the drink takes a drink, the drink takes the man.
  • Tea seldom spoils if water boils.
  • A narrow neck keeps the bottle from being emptied in one swig.
  • The first drop will destroy you; there’s no harm in the last.
  • Drunkenness and anger speak the truth.
  • Drink is the curse of the land: it makes you fight your neighbor, it makes you shoot at your landlord, and it makes you miss him.
  • If it’s drowning you’re after, don’t torment yourself with shallow water.
  • There is pain in prohibition.
  • When the liquor was gone the fun was gone.
  • Women do not drink liquor but it disappears when they are present.


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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