Irish Proverbs. Folklore from Co. Waterford

Irish cottage scene

This list of Irish proverbs was collected by the pupils attending Clochar San Eoin Dé school, Waterford in 1938.

A lie has no legs.

A little pot is soon hot.

Take each man’s censure but reserve thy judgement.

He that goes a-borrowing goes a-sorrowing.

Think before you speak and look before you leap.

Much wants more.

It’s the thunder the frights but the lightning that smites.

Little strokes fell great oaks.

Those who cannot have what they like must learn to like what they have.

A mill cannot grind with the water that has passed.

The older the crabtree the more crabs it bears.

If you do not take pains then pains will take you.

For a mischievous dog a heavy clog.

Love Daddie, love Mammie, love yourself above any.

Many things grown in the garden that were never set there.

The cat purrs for his own benefit.

They think little who speak too much.

Experience is the best schoolmaster.

Empty vessels make the loudest noise.

The best hurlers are always on the ditch.

A nod is as good as a wink.

Curiosity lost paradise.

As old as Methusalems cat.

Sense and nonsense are two things that do not agree.

“Ye are all the same” as the goat said to his feet.

“Life is sweet” as the tailor said as he ran away from the gander.

A stitch in time saves nine.

The cure is worse than the disease.

You cannot squeeze blood from a turnip.

An excuse is nearer to a woman than her apron.

The beginning of health is sleep.

Deep waters run smooth.

It is easier to fall than to rise.

Nature is stronger than training.

It is easier said than done.

These ‘Irish Proverbs’ form part of the Schools’ Folklore Collection, a large and important corpus of material, whose compilation occurred between 1937 and 1938.  This far-sighted scheme, run by the Irish Folklore Commission, saw over 100,000 schoolchildren collecting local folklore from their parents, grandparents and older members of the community.


The Schools’ Collection, Volume 0653, Page 108

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