Old Fashioned Irish Sayings

1. “May the road rise up to meet you.”

You may be familiar with this saying from Catholic weddings or cross-stitched pillows in the houses of your Irish relatives. Images of nature and the outdoors are common themes in Irish Christianity. “May the road rise up to meet you/ May the wind be always at your back/ May the sun shine warm upon you face …” uses everyday images to say, may God remove obstacles in your journey through life.

2. “Sláinte! (“slaan-sha”)”

In the pubs of Dublin, bar-goers toast each other “Sláinte!“ as they clink pints of Guinness. The word has origins from the old Irish adjective “slán,” which means “safe.” “Sláinte” literally translates as “health” and is used as a stand-in for the longer phrase, “I drink to your health!”

3. “What’s The Craic?”

“Any craic?” and “How’s the craic?” are greetings that give rise to potential awkward misunderstandings for tourists, because craic is pronounced like “crack.” Craic can literally mean just “fun,” and any version of the phrase can mean “How are you?” A typical response to “What’s the craic?” is “divil a bit,” which loosely means “not much.”

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