Great Irish quotes – a flair for the memorable quote

The Irish have a way with language. We throw words around like they’re going out of style.

In doing so Irish writers have provided countless phrases and sayings that have been quoted across the world.

George Bernard Shaw quote Youth is wasted on the young. Image Copyright - Ireland Calling

Many of these witticisms are from Ireland’s long list of great writers: Oscar Wilde, George Bernard Shaw, Jonathan Swift, James Joyce, WB Yeats, Brendan Behan … the list goes on.

But there are many other colourful phrases that can’t be attributed to any one person. Like that other great Irish tradition, folk music, they spring anonymously from the villages, towns and cities across Ireland.

We’re now embarking on the huge task of trying to record as many of these sayings as we can find. When possible, we’ll try to add notes, illustrations and background information.

We’ll start with some of the classics but we’ll soon move on to some of those that are less well known but equally intriguing.

Memorable quotes from the Irish

Dave Allen

St Francis of Assisi

Brendan Behan

George Best

Maeve Binchy

Edmund Burke

Frank Carson

Michael Collins

John Philpot Curran

Colin Farrell

Oliver Goldsmith

Richard Harris

Seamus Heaney

Douglas Hyde

James Joyce

Robert Kennedy

James Larkin

CS Lewis

Samuel Lover

Robert Lynd

Phil Lynott

Mary McAleese

Frank McCourt

Malachy McCourt

Spike Milligan

Thomas Moore

Liam Neeson

Sean O’Casey

Maureen O’Hara

Brian O’Nolan

Peter O’Toole

Edel Mary Quinn

Hal Roach

G B Shaw

Richard B Sheridan

Richard Steele

Bram Stoker

Jonathan Swift

John Millington Synge

Éamon de Valera

Oscar Wilde

Theobald Wolfe Tone

WB Yeats

Jonathan Swift quote. A wise man should have money in his head but not in his heart. Image Copyright - Ireland Calling

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Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body. Richard Steele

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You can preach a better sermon with your life than with your lips. Oliver Goldsmith

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I am a drinker with writing problems. Brendan Behan

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decorative shamrocks

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The light music of whiskey falling into a glass – an agreeable interlude. James Joyce

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You’re on Earth. There’s no cure for that. Samuel Beckett

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Those who plot the destruction of others often perish in the attempt. Thomas Moore

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Everybody has always loved eating in Ireland and the family always gathered around the table – which was also where the stories were told. Maeve Binchy

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You can never plan the future by the past. Edmund Burke

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Won’t you come into the garden? I would like my roses to see you. Richard Brinsley Sheridan

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decorative shamrocks

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decorative shamrocks

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Being Irish, he had an abiding sense of tragedy, which sustained him through temporary periods of joy. W B Yeats

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The surest way to fail is not to determine to succeed. Richard Brinsley Sheridan

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Money does not make you happy but it quiets the nerves. Sean O’Casey

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Oscar Wilde quote. Be yourself, everyone else is already taken. Image Copyright - Ireland Calling

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