The statue of "Ulysses" author James Joyce in Dublin.Leon Farrell / Photocall Ireland

The Irish have a way with words, as we all know. The following is a sample of sayings and proverbs that have lasted for generations – though some of them may be a tad antiquated by today's standards. They are taken from a book called "Timeless Wisdom" available though UCD Press

The Demon Drink

"If Holy Water was beer he'd be at mass every morning."

"Whiskey when you're sick makes you well, whiskey when you're well makes you sick."

"Wine drowns more men than water."

"You've never seen a collection for a needy publican."

"The drunk will soon have daylight in through the rafters."

"A man in need of a drink thinks of great schemes to get it."

"Drink is a curse – it makes you shoot at your landlord – and miss him."
"Before you call for one for the road be sure you know the road."


"A widow and her money are soon courted."

"A young man is bothered till he's married after that he's bothered all the time."

"If a man is in love he is no judge of beauty but when love wears off he'll tell a woman about her warts."

"Marriage changes a man and makes the woman who changed him complain about him not being the same man she married."

"Sweet is the voice for a woman of a man who has wealth."

"If you love her in rags your love will last."

"A silent mouth is the sweetest sound."

"Empty and cold is a house without a woman."
"Health to the men but may the women live forever."


"There is hope from the sea but none from the graveyard."

"A poor man's tale is rarely heard."

"Better to go to bed supperless than to rise in debt."

"Contentment is greater than a kingdom."

"The three strongest forces, fire, water and hatred."

"Three sharpest eyes, a blacksmith on a nail, a priest on his parish, a young girl on a boy."

"Hope is the cure for all misery."

"Everyone is an expert until they speak."