50 More Gaelic Sayings

Gaelic Sayings and Gaelic proverbs are really so full of popular and traditional wisdom. As I say on our Famous Irish sayings page, they help you understand how Irish people think and what they value in each other.

I have a friend who used to collect sayings and proverbs from other countries. He liked to compare them and look for common ground and differences. It was remarkable how many cultures shared many of the same values but not necessarily the same emphasis.

While not all of these sayings in Gaelic on this page are as popular as they may have once been, they give you some idea of how Irish people think about things. Qualities like genorosity, humility are valued and the company of others savoured. On the other hand, boasting and stinginess are frowned upon at best. Nonetheless, there is great understanding shown to the weaknesses and faults of people. And that holds true in Irish culture today.

One of the great Irish heroes of recent decades was Paul McGrath, a phenomenal soccer player who could barely put two words together in front of a camera, such was his humility and shyness. Despite his huge personal problems, Mc Grath remains a national treasure. On the other hand, Irish people took a certain pleasure when a politician, who boasted of running three houses on national television, got his comeuppance for suspected corruption a short time later. It's just the Irish way. We don't like anybody to lose the run of themselves! I think that comes through in the clever sayings below.

Gaelic Sayings 1-10
11-20
21-30
31-40
41-50


And if you haven't already done so take a look at our Famous Irish Sayings page which includes some of the best known Irish Gaelic sayings.

Gaelic Sayings 1-10

Gaelic Sayings
"It's the quiet pig that eats the meal."
Gaelic Proverb
-photo courtesy of
Aleksander Dragnes

  1. Is iad na muca ciúine a itheann an mhin.
    It's the quiet pig that eats the meal(grain).
    *****
  2. Coimhéad fearg fhear na foighde.
    Beware of the anger of a patient man.
    *****
  3. An té a bhíonn thuas óltar deoch air, an té a bhíonn thíos buailtear cos air.
    He who is successful is celebrated with drink, he who is down is kicked.
    *****

  4. Bíonn ceann caol ar an óige.
    Youth has a thin head .(You can’t put an old head on young shoulders.)
    *****
  5. Bíonn blas ar an mbeagán.
    A little can be tasty. (No need to over do it)
    *****
  6. Is é buille an phinn an buille is fealltaí.
    The pen's blow is the most treacherous. (The pen is mightier than the sword.)
    *****
  7. Féasta anocht agus gorta amárach.
    A feast tonight and a famine tomorrow.
    *****
  8. An té is ciúine is é is buaine.
    He who is silent is the stronger.
    *****
  9. An té a bhíonn siúlach, bíonn sé scéalach agus an té a bhíonn scéalach bíonn sé bréagach.
    He who travels is talkative (full of stories), and he who is talkative has a tendency to lie.
    *****

  10. Ná bí beag ná mór leis an chléir.
    Be neither unfriendly nor friendly with clergy.
    *****

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    Gaelic Sayings 11-20

    Gaelic Sayings "Three things that are difficult to understand;
    the mind of a woman,
    the work of bees
    and the coming and going of the tide."
    Gaelic Saying
    -photo courtesy of
    Kumaravel

  11. Trí ní is deacair a thuiscint; intleacht na mban, obair na mbeach, teacht agus imeacht na taoide.
    Three things that are difficult to understand; the mind of a woman, the work of bees and the coming and going of the tide.
    *****
  12. Níl saoi gan locht.
    There's not a wise man without fault.(We have all got our weaknesses)
    *****
  13. Is namhaid í an cheird gan í a fhoghlaim.
    A craft is an enemy if not learned. (You need to know what you are doing.)
    *****

  14. Dá ghile an t-éadach, is fusa é a shalachadh.
    The whiter the cloth the easier soiled.
    *****
  15. Is minic a bhain dealg beag braon.
    It is often a small thorn drew blood.
    *****
  16. Ná glac duine choíche ar a thuaraisc fhéin.
    Never accept anyone's own opinion of themselves.
    *****
  17. An rud nach fiú é a lorg, ní fiú í a fháil.
    What is not worth seeking, is not worth finding.
    *****
  18. Má tú ag lorg cara gan locht, béidh tú gan cara go deo.
    If you are looking for a friend without fault, you will be without a friend forever.
    *****
  19. Is minic cuma aingeal ar an Diabhal féin.
    There's often the look of an angel on the devil himself.
    *****
  20. Ná leathnaigh do bhrat muna féidir leat á chosaint.
    Don't unfurl your flag if you are unable to defend it.
    *****
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    Gaelic Sayings 21-30

  21. Is minic a bhíonn ciúin ciontach.
    The one who says nothing is often guilty.
    *****
  22. An té nach bhfuil láidir, ní foláir dó bheith glic.   
    He who is not strong must be clever.
    *****
  23. Ní mar a síltear a bítear
    Things may not be as they seem to be.
    *****

    Gaelic Sayings "Giorraíonn beirt bóthar."
    Gaelic Saying
    -photo courtesy of
    Mike Finkelstein

  24. Giorraíonn beirt bóthar.
    Two people shorten the road (Having a travelling companion makes the trip more enjoyable.)
    *****
  25. Ní huasal ná íseal, ach thuas seal is thíos seal
    Neither noble nor lowly, but up for a while and down for a while (It doesn't matter who you are, you will have your ups and downs.)
    *****
  26. Mol an óige agus tiocfaidh sí
    Praise youthfulness and it will respond to you.
    *****
  27. Is treise gliocas ná neart.
    Cunning is more powerful than strength.
    *****
  28. I dtosach na h-aicíde is fusa í a leigheas
    It is easier to cure a disease if caught early (A stitch in time saves nine.)
    *****
  29. Is fearr an tsláinte ná na táinte.
    Health is better than weallth.
    *****
  30. An rud ná cloiseann an chluas ní chuireann sé buairt ar an gcroí.
    What the ear does not hear will not worry the heart.
    *****
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    Gaelic Sayings 31-40

  31. Is fearr rith maith ná drochsheasamh
    A good run is better than a bad stand. (He who runs away lives to fight another day.)
    *****
  32. Is fearr réal inniu ná scilling amárach.
    Sixpence today is better than a shilling tomorrow (A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.)
    *****
  33. Nuair is gann é an bia is ea is fial é a roinnt.
    When food is scarce it is generous to share it.
    *****
  34. Is fearr a bheith beagán sprionlaithe ná mórán caillte.
    It is better to be a little miserly than to lose a lot.
    *****
  35. An lao ite i mbolg na mbó aige.
    He has eaten the calf in the stomach's cow (He has gone into debt on the assumption that future profits will clear the debt)
    *****
  36. Is fearr cara sa chúirt ná punt sa sparán.
    A friend in court is better than a pound in the purse.
    *****
  37. Thuillfeadh éinne airgead, ach is fear gasta a choiméadfadh é.
    Anyone would earn money, but it is a clever man who would hold on to it.
    *****
  38. Is fearr suaimhneas ar sop ná céad bó ar chnoc.
    Peace is better than a hundred cows on a hill. (The poor man can sleep soundly because he has nothing to lose.)
    *****
  39. An té is mó airgid is é is mó dúil ann
    He who has the most money has the most regard (at least while he has it.)
    *****
  40. Is fearr raidhse ná ganntanas.
    Plenty is better than scarcity.
    *****
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    Gaelic Sayings 41-50

  41. Is in ithe na putóige atá an chruthú.
    The proof of the pudding is in the eating.
    *****
  42. Ni bhíonn cuimhne ar an arán a hitear.
    There is no recollection of eaten bread. (Eaten bread is soon forgotten.)
    *****
  43. An té nach trua leis do chás, ná déan do ghearán leis.
    Don't go to him with your problem who has no sympathy for your case.
    *****

  44. Bíonn fáilte agus fiche roimh chuireadh gan iarraidh.
    There is great welcome in an unsolicited invitation.
    *****
  45. Capall na hoibre an bia.
    Food is the horse of work. (Food is what keeps you going.)
    *****

  46. Is fearr a bheith ag lorg bídh ná a bheith ag lorg goile.
    It is better to be looking for food than to looking for an appetite. (Better to be hungry than too sick too eat.)
    *****
  47. An té ná faigheann an fheoil is mór an seó leis an t-anraith
    He who does not get meat will get great satisfaction from the soup. (The person that does not get the great prize, may be happy just to get something)
    *****
  48. Gaelic Sayings "Buy a bad thing and be left with nothing.
    Gaelic Proverb
    -photo courtesy of
    Ben Sutherland

  49. Nuair a bhíonn an bolg lán is mian leis na gcnáimh síneadh.
    When the stomach is full, the bones like to stretch (it's nice to lie down).
    *****
  50. Ceannigh droch rud is bí gan aon rud.
    Buy a bad thing and be left with nothing."
    *****

  51. Feileann spallaí do bhallaí chomh maith le clocha móra.
    (Pebbles suit walls as well as big rocks.)
    *****

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