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.
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.
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.
4. Ní mar a shíltear a bhítear. What is assumed is often wrong.
Uttered when things don’t go quite according to plan.
5. Is maith an t-anlann an t-ocras. Before a big meal after a long fast.
6. Giorraíonn beirt bother. A companion shortens a road.
When a friend helps time pass on a journey.
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.
8. Ni beireann cailin dathuil an citeal. Beauty doesn’t boil the kettle.
When a girl may have looks but little home skills.
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.
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.
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