There are Gaelic and old Irish blessings for every occasion whether a funeral, wedding or birthday. I have put together a list of general, traditional and short blessings just for every day use.
While many of these old blessings petition or request the help or intervention of God in some way, it does not always mean that the person saying them regards him or herself as being very religious. These blessings, whether in Gaelic or English, were the way Irish people had of expressing hope, desire for a better future and solidarity with their family, friends and neighbours.
Given the unfortunate state of the Irish economy, and the need to sustain hope in difficult circumstances, some of these traditional Irish blessings may be about to become as popular as they once were!
A word of warning, I include an approximate pronunciation of some Gaelic blessings. Just remember that 'ch' in Gaelic is like the 'ch' in 'loch', not as in chalk. If you can't manage that, pronounce as a 'k' to be understood.
May the road rise to meet you"."
Go n-éirí an bóthar leat
-photo courtesy of gmc
Long-life and fair health to you.
Saol fada agus breac-shláinte chugat.
(A Gaelic blessing pronounced Say-ol faw-dah og-uss brack- hlawn-cheh ch(k)oo-at)
Good health to you.
(pronounced Slawn-cheh ch(k)oo-at)
Go raibh míle maith agat!
(This simple Irish blessing is used in its original Gaelic often in Ireland -one of the few expressions that almost everybody knows. It means 'Many thanks' (literally 'That you may have a thousand good things') and is pronounced Guh rev mee-lah maw og-ut)
My seven blessings on you!
Mo sheacht mbeannacht ort!
(pronounced Muh hyawch(k)t mann-ach(k)t urt)
Good on you
(This very common and short Irish blessing is easy to use and pronounced Maw hoo)
Good luck to you
Go n-eirí an t-ádh leat.
(Literally meaning 'That luck may rise with you', this short Irish blessing is pronounced Guh nye-ree on taw laht.)
May you escape the gallows, avoid distress, and be as healthy as a
Peace on your hand and health to all who shake it.
God between us and all harm.
(When you hear some bad news or about someone's bad luck)
(pronounced Cuh-lah sawve)
May God never weaken you
Nár laga Dia thú
(Another common and short Gaelic blessing pronounced Nawr lag-ah Dee-ah hoo)
May you live as long as you want,
And never want as long as you live.
With the help of God, you'll pull through.
(Said to someone who is ill or out of sorts)
May the Lord keep you in his hand but never close his fist tight on
photo courtesy of gmc
Here's to the grey goose
With the golden wing;
A free country
And a Fenian King
The Grace/Prosperity of God on you
Rath Dé ort
(Another common and short Irish blessing pronounced Rah Day urt.
(This blessing is said when someone sneezes. It is pronounced Dee-ah
God bless all here.
(A traditional Irish blessing said on entering someone's house)
The blessing of God on you.
Bail ó Dhia ort
(pronounced Bal oh Yee-ah urt)
May you have the health to wear it.
(This short Irish blessing is said to someone when they buy or get
a new item of clothing)
May you have rye bread to do you good,
Wheaten bread to sweeten your blood,
Barley bread to do you no harm
And oatmeal bread to strengthen your arm.
To the doctor may you never hand any money,
And sweet be your hand in a pot full of honey.
God bless the corners of this house
And be the lintel blessed.
Bless the hearth, the table too
And bless each place of rest.
Bless each door that opens wide
To stranger, kith and kin;
Bless each shining window-pane
That lets the sunshine in.
Bless the roof-tree up above
Bless every solid wall.
The peace of Man, the peace of love,
The peace of God on all.
(I can still remember this traditional Irish house blessing hanging
in our living room at home when we were young.)
May you never bear the heavy load of an empty stomach
God bless the ground you walk upon
- photo courtesy of gmc
May God bless the ground you walk upon
More power to your elbow
(A short Irish saying often said as a 'Well done' , 'Nice job' or minor
congratulations to someone)
Arrah, may God give you sense
(Said in minor or feigned annoyance at someone who is being foolish
or making unnecessary fuss over you)
May his/her soul be on God's right hand
Ar dheas Dé go raibh a anam.
(This gaelic blessing is pronounced Err yass Day guh rev ah ann-am)
The Light of the Son of God on her soul
Solas Mhic Dé ar a n-anam.
(Pronounced Suh-lass Vic Day err a nan-am.)
The Lord have mercy on his soul.
May God grant you a generous share of eternity.
When you reach the inn of death, I hope it's closing time.
May you see him/her in heaven.
(On the death of a loved one)
May God level the road for his soul
That you may never be left to die a sinner.
(That you have a chance to say your last confession before a priest)
May there be rain at your funeral.
(Believe to be a good sign.)
May you receive mercy and grace, death without sin and may the righteous
gone before you receive their share of Eternal Glory
There are love, marriage and wedding sayings on our Irish love Sayings page
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Throughout 2013, there's a special celebration going on in Ireland. A great time for friends and family from all over the world to visit. Going to be a lot happening. Find out about 'The Gathering' but come back to Gaelicmatters.com