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  • AW King

Blessings, Wisdoms and Curses

Updated: Nov 20, 2023

The Irish language is a rich and descriptive language lending to its wealth of literature through the ages. Not only are the Irish known as brilliant writers of stories and poetry, there is a wide range of blessings and wisdoms. Curses are also prominent and reflect the delightful cultural humour.


Bullaun cursing stone
(wikimedia commons)

Bullán or bullaun (bowl) stones were used to bestow blessings and curses. These indented stones filled with water which was said to have magical powers and a smaller stone was used to turn over in the water while a blessing or curse was being recited. This was in the hopes of curing or cursing a particular person. The curses had to be just or the curse would land upon the person giving the curse. The early Christians adopted this practice which gave rise to the baptismal font in churches.

Listed here is a short list of some Blessings, wisdoms, and curses. This list is by no means exhaustive. Feel free to send others in the comments.

Blessings:

Bail ó Dhia ort- the blessing of God on you

Céad míle fáilte- A hundred thousand welcomes

Codladh sámh- sleep well

Fad saoil agat- Long life to you

Go n-éirí an t-ádh leat- Good luck to you

Go n-éirí an bóthar leat- Have a good journey

Go dté tú slán - May you fare well

Go raibh míle maith agat! – May you have a thousand good things (many thanks)

Mo sheacht mbeannacht ort! – My seven blessings on you

Nár laga Dia thú- May God never weaken you

Rath Dé ort- May God prosper you

Saol fada agus breac-shláinte chugat – long life and fair health to you

Sláinte chugat- Good health to you

Curses:

Bíodh an diabhal agat!- Let the Devil take you!

Fairsinge agus fán id’ chionn!- May nothing be in store for you, but to wander far and wide!

Go dtachta sé thú!- May it choke you!

Go mbristear gach cnámh id’ chorp!- May every bone in your body be broken!

Imeacht gan teacht ort – may you leave without returning

Mallacht Dé ort!- God’s curse on you!

Mo sheacht mallacht ort!- My seven curses on you!

Wisdom:

An té a bhíonn thuas óltar deoch air, an té a bhíonn thíos buailtear cos air - He who is successful is celebrated with drink, he who is down is kicked.

An té is ciúine is é is buaine – he who is silent is the stronger

Coimhéad fearg fhear na foighde – beware the anger of a patient man

Dá ghile an t-éadach, is fusa é a shalachadh – the whiter the cloth, the easier soiled

Is iad na muca ciúine a itheann an mhin – it’s the quiet pig who eats the grain

Is é buille an phinn an buille is fealltaí – the pen is mightier than the sword

Is minic a bhain dealg beag braon – it is often a small thorn drew blood

Má tú ag lorg cara gan locht, béidh tú gan cara go deo – if you are looking for a friend without fault, you will be without a friend forever

Ná leathnaigh do bhrat muna féidir leat á chosaint – don’t unfurl your flag if you are unable to defend it

Níl saoi gan locht – there is not a wise man without fault

Trí ní is deacair a thuiscint; intleacht na mban, obair na mbeach, teacht agus imeacht na taoide – three things that are difficult to understand; the mind of a woman, the work of bees, and the coming and going of the tide

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