The Art of an Irish Blessing


May you be in Heaven a half hour
before the Devil knows you’re dead!

With the holiday of St. Patrick’s Day just around the corner, now is a great time to explore the quintessential Irish blessing. These wise and witty blessings are usually recited at weddings, wakes and any other occasion – happy or sad.

Well known for their lyrical turn of phrase, the Irish typically exercise their rhetorical power to bless their friends and loved ones with happy marriages, warm homes, healthy children, prosperous finances and godly grace.

Past down for centuries and across oceans, the original Irish blessings were typically shared in voice rather than in writing. Perhaps that is why so few blessings can today be attributed to a known author. Of course, this anonymity suits the modest Irish culture and likely contributes to the universal popularity of the Irish blessing.

If you want to add an air of authentic Irish charm to your St. Patty’s celebrations, try reciting one of these Irish blessings:

An Old Irish Blessing
May the road rise to meet you.
May the wind be always at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face.
And rains fall soft upon your fields.
And until we meet again,
May God hold you in the hollow of His hand.
A Wish for a Friend
Wishing you a rainbow
For sunlight after showers-
Miles and miles of Irish smiles
For golden happy hours-
Shamrocks at your doorway
For luck and laughter too,
And a host of friends that never ends
Each day your whole life through!

An Irish Prayer
May God give you
For every storm, a rainbow,
For every tear, a smile,
For every care, a promise,
And a blessing in each trial.
For every problem life sends,
A faithful friend to share,
For every sigh, a sweet song,
And an answer for each prayer.
An Irish Curse
May those who love us, love us.
And those that don’t love us,
May God turn their hearts,
And if he doesn’t turn their hearts,
May he turn their ankles,
So we may know them by their limping.
Dance as if no one were watching,
Sing as if no one were listening,
And live every day as if it were your last.
May your neighbors respect you,
Troubles neglect you,
The angels protect you,
And Heaven accept you.