Great Irish quotes – a flair for the memorable quote

George Bernard Shaw quote. Youth is wasted on the young.
George Bernard Shaw quote. Youth is wasted on the young.

The Irish have a way with language. They throw words around like they’re going out of style. In doing so they’ve 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

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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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

Did you know?

Despite funerals being the saddest of occasions, they often produce wonderfully warm and life-affirming poems and blessings. The Irish have a great tradition for funeral poems and blessings. Find out more.

Have you heard about…

Some of the most popular surnames in Ireland have histories that go back hundreds, even thousands of years. Several originated from the ancient Irish clans that ruled various parts of the country over the centuries. Find out the stories of some of the most common names in Ireland.

What about this…

Brian Boru is known as the last High King of Ireland and is even credited with seeing off the Vikings who had terrorised the Irish for over 200 years. Find out more.

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