Last updated on September 6, 2023
What are Irish blessings?
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Blessings are deeply rooted in Irish tradition. Some go back thousands of years, to the time of the Celts. They were passed down orally, from generation to generation, for the Celts recorded little in writing.
As time passed and the language changed, from Gaelic to English and from early usage to today’s modern language, they will also have changed and adapted. Catholic-style blessings were added and modern wishes.
Blessings are therefore a testimony to days gone by, a witness to the time from which they originate and an ever-present good wish to give to loved ones.
Irish blessings are meant to bring luck, offer protection and give confidence. They can be expressed as a saying, a prayer or a poem. In any case they are well meant.
There are blessings for all important occasions in life, from birth, to family, friendship, the home, and any kind of activity where a good wish may be needed – travel for example!
The sailor or fisherman, the traveller on horseback or in a carriage, they all could have an accident. To prevent this from happening, there are still small Marian chapels on high mountain passes where travellers can say a prayer.
Even today, journeys can sometimes be difficult and arduous. It is therefore all the more important to set off with good wishes.
Below you will find some of the most beautiful Irish blessings – for travellers – and other occasions.
Blessings for the journey:
The weather – and the mood
There is not a day in Ireland when someone does not discuss the weather with you – the walker in the woods, the petrol pump attendant or the waitress in the pub. This is also reflected in many wishes:
“May the sun brighten your spirits, but may the rain not darken your mood.”
The long road
This blessing already sounds a lot like travelling, which in those days was mostly done on foot on bad roads:
“May the road rise to meet you.
May the wind be at your back.
May the sun shine warmly on your face,
the rain fall softly on your fields.
And until we meet again,
may God hold you in the peace of his hand.”
No trouble on the way
Short but to the point – no trouble on the road, please:
“May your blessings be more numerous than the shamrocks that grow,
and may you avoid trouble wherever you go.”
Can a saying be more timeless and timely than this? A wonderful resolution for the journey and every day:
“May you take the time to celebrate the quiet wonders that have no admirers in the noisy world”
And another wish to make the long road easier for you:
“Lead the road you walk always downhill to your destination.
When it gets chilly, have warm thoughts
and the full moon in the dark night.”
Don’t get stopped and follow your dreams – another piece of advice for travel and life:
“May the boundaries you come up against leave a path open for your dreams.”
Maybe you’ll find someone to do the journey with?
“Good times, good friends,
good health to you
And the luck of the Irish in all you do.”
Gently undulating, rolling down to the coast – the Irish hills. Be inspired:
“May the Irish hills caress you.
May their lakes and rivers bless you.
May the happiness of the Irish envelop you.
May the blessings of St Patrick look down upon you.”
Change of direction
Does this saying refer to the journey or life itself? Where is the difference – life is a journey!
“May you have the strength
to change direction,
when you can no longer walk
the old road.”
Peace in Silence
This blessing is similar to the silent miracles earlier in the text:
“Go your way quietly, in the midst of haste and hurry,
and know what peace the silence may give.”
Go forward courageously
This is another wish about overcoming adversity:
“My wish for you is that you go on courageously,
when the high peak before you seems unreachable,
and even the light of hope fades”
Having finally arrived at your destination, you may look back with gratitude:
“May you find peace when the day draws to a close
and your thoughts once more visit the places
where you have experienced good things today.
May the memory warm you
and good dreams accompany your stroke.”
Every journey begins with a first step…
There is something magical about this island, a spirituality that even modern “unspiritual” people perceive. Perhaps it is also a healthy relaxation and concentration on the essential things in life.
Our guests (we have a motorbike rental company in Ireland: www.easycruiser.tours) usually feel the same as we do – in Ireland we go down a bit inside, get a bit more calm, become more relaxed.
In this sense, I wish you a relaxed travel planning for your upcoming trip to the spiritual and magical Irish island!
“May your journey be an easy one
and joy inspire your heart”
(I admit – that was improvised, not original 🙂 )