The diminution of the Gaelic language and consequent sense of a broken tradition is one of the utmost importance in arriving at any adequate assessment of life in Ireland today. Here I attempt to show how proverbs reflect the old Gaelic tradition, now very weakened, mindful of what Thomas Davis […]

We have all heard that a four-leaved clover is lucky but the ‘hungry-grass’ was quite the opposite and very unlucky indeed for anyone who stood on it. ‘Hungry grass’ cannot be distinguished from other kinds of grass. It is said to grow on the spot where some poor person died […]

Bealtaine is the name in Irish, Scottish-Gaelic and Manx mythology for the seasonal feast at May 1. At the end of the dark half of the year, Bealtaine is a survival of one of the four great Celtic calendar feasts, known in early Ireland as ‘Imbolc’ (February 1), ‘Lughnasa’ (August […]

Ní hé lá na báistí lá na bpáistí (the day of rain is not the day of children). Anyone who has ever tried to entertain young children when it is too wet to go outside – especially on holidays – will appreciate the accuracy of this proverb. There is hardly […]