Irish proverb: Everyone is sociable until a cow invades his garden (Indeed.)PA Archive/PA Photos

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The Irish are known for their wit, wisdom and storytelling ability, many of which has manifested in the form of Irish proverbs.

IrishCentral has comprised a rundown of some of the best (and some of the worst) of these classic nuggets of advice so you can impress or offend your friends on St. Patrick's Day. So grab a cuppa tea, or something stronger if that is your fancy, and start getting your proverb on!


The ones you probably heard from your Irish mother:

She may have told you these time and time again, but you probably had to figure them out for yourself…

It is sweet to drink but bitter to pay for.

It's often a person's mouth breaks his nose.

You never miss the water till the well has run dry.

A cabin with plenty of food is better than a hungry castle.

There is no fireside like your own fireside.


The most accurate:

Not romantic, not cynical – just realistic…

There are no unmixed blessings in life.

Beware of the anger of a patient man.

Every dog is brave on his own doorstep.

A friend's eye is a good mirror.

You've got to do your own growing, no matter how tall your father was.


The funniest:

Whether these are true, false or just don’t plain make sense, they’ll be sure to get a giggle out of you…

If a cat had a dowry, she would often be kissed.

One may live without one's friends, but not without one's pipe.

Women do not drink liquor but it disappears when they are present.

Everyone is sociable until a cow invades his garden.

Never bolt the door with a boiled carrot.


The most confusing:

Anyone have a clue on what these mean? Let us know…

Put a beggar on a horse and he'll ride it to hell.

What butter or whiskey does not cure cannot be cured.

The skin of the old sheep is on the rafter no sooner than the skin of the young sheep.

A hole is more honorable than a patch.

There never was an old slipper but there was an old stocking to match it.


The worst:

So bad, they deserve individual commentary…

Work without end is housewife's work.

Last time I checked, it ain’t no man’s world anymore


Talk of the devil, and he will appear.

So I guess this means the actors in “Dogma” are going to hell


A change of work is as good as a rest.

Speak for yourself – I’d say most of us need a vacation every once in a while


It is better to be lucky than wise.

Better for who? Lotto winners? What about the lotto curse?!


Sense does not come before age.

Perhaps not, but sense sure doesn’t come WITH age


Only the rich can afford compassion.

See: “A cabin with plenty of food is better than a hungry castle”