"That decision changed our lives. I still remember our first time flying into Shannon, being mesmerized."iStockphoto

The Irish have a beautiful way with words that even when translated sound poetic.

Nowhere is that more  true than with proverbs and seanfhocals -- literally “old words” that the Irish use. Here are some examples:

1. Ní hé lá na gaoithe lá na scoilb. A windy day is not a day for thatching.
Meaning: Don’t close the barn door after the horse gets out.

The sandpiper cannot serve two beaches

The sandpiper cannot serve two beaches



2. Ní féidir leis an ngobadán an dá thrá a fhreastal.
The sandpiper cannot serve two beaches.

Uttered when one is trying to do to much at the same time.

In each other’s shadow the people live

In each other’s shadow the people live



3. I scath a chéile a mhaireann na daoine.
In each other’s shadow the people live.

Uttered when a local calamity shows up how much people need each other.

What is assumed is often wrong.

What is assumed is often wrong.



4. Ní mar a shíltear a bhítear.
What is assumed is often wrong.

Uttered when things don’t go quite according to plan.

Before a big meal after a long fast.

Before a big meal after a long fast.


5. Is maith an t-anlann an t-ocras. Before a big meal after a long fast.

A companion shortens a road.

A companion shortens a road.



6. Giorraíonn beirt bother.
A companion shortens a road.

When a friend helps time pass on a journey.

The old dog for the hard road.

The old dog for the hard road.



7. An sean Madra  don bhóthar chruaidh
.
The old dog for the hard road.

When age and experience is the best  answer to a problem.

Beauty doesn’t boil the kettle.

Beauty doesn’t boil the kettle.



8. Ni beireann cailin dathuil an citeal.
Beauty doesn’t boil the kettle.

When a girl may have looks but little home skills.

It is often a man’s mouth broke his nose.

It is often a man’s mouth broke his nose.



9. Is minic a bhris béal duine a shrón.
It is often a man’s mouth broke his nose.

Usually after a loudmouth in a pub gets his comeuppance.

What would the son of a cat do but kill a mouse?

What would the son of a cat do but kill a mouse?



10. Cad a dhéanfadh mac a cat a dhéanamh ach luch a mharú?
What would the son of a cat do but kill a mouse?

Our nature is always within us.