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Famous Irish Quotes

Quotes from Famous Irish Writers, Politicians & Scholars

Some of the most famous quotes by famous Irish Writers, Politicians & Scholars. Ireland has been noted over the centuries for its brilliant writers & literary scholars..enjoy their wit!



George Bernard Shaw

George Bernard Shaw was an Irish playwright, critic and polemicist whose influence on Western theatre, culture and politics extended from the 1880s to his death and beyond. He was born on July 26, 1856, in Dublin and died on November 2, 1950, at Ayot St Lawrence, in the United Kingdom.


Life is no brief candle to me. It is a sort of splendid torch which I have got a hold of for the moment, and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it on to future generations.

I often quote myself. It adds spice to my conversations.

There is no love sincerer than the love of food.

Newspapers are unable, seemingly, to discriminate between a bicycle accident and the collapse of civilisation.

A man who loses his money gains, at the least, experience, and sometimes, something better.

Some men see things as they are and ask why. Others dream things that never were and ask why not.

A life making mistakes is not only more honourable, but more useful than a life spent doing nothing at all.

The only man I know who behaves sensibly is my tailor. He takes my measurements anew each time he sees me. The rest go on with their old measurements and expect me to fit them.

Oscar Wilde

Oscar Wilde

Oscar Fingal O’Flahertie Wills Wilde was an Irish playwright, novelist, essayist, and poet. After writing in different forms throughout the 1880s, he became one of London’s most popular playwrights in the early 1890s. Oscar was born on October 16, 1854 in Dublin and passed away on November 30, 1900 in Paris, France


I have the simplest tastes. I am always satisfied with the best.

I can resist everything but temptation.

I love scandals about other people, but scandals about myself don’t interest me. They have not got the charm of novelty. (The Picture of Dorian Gray)

Murder is always a mistake…One should never do anything that one cannot talk about after dinner.(The Picture of Dorian Gray)

I like Wagner’s music better than anybody’s. It is so loud that one can talk the whole time without people hearing what one says.(The Picture of Dorian Gray)

There is only one thing in the world worse than being talked about, and that is not being talked about. (The Picture of Dorian Gray)

One should never trust a woman who tells one her real age. A woman who would tell one that, would tell one anything. (A Woman of No Importance)

I never saw a man who looked
With such a wistful eye
Upon that little tent of blue
Which prisoners call the sky
 (A The Ballad of Reading Gaol)

Brendan Behan

Brendan Behan

Brendan Francis Aidan Behan was an Irish Republican, poet, short story writer, novelist, and playwright who wrote in both English and Irish. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest Irish writers and poets of all time. He was born in Dublin on February 9, 1923 and died aged 41 on March 20, 1964 in his native city.


The most important things to do in the world are to get something to eat, something to drink and somebody to love you.

The big difference between sex for money and sex for free is that sex for money usually costs a lot less.

I am a drinker with writing problems.

One drink is too many for me and a thousand not enough.

Other people have a nationality. The Irish and the Jews have a psychosis.

There is no such thing as bad publicity except your own obituary.

I have a total irreverence for anything connected with society except that which makes the roads safer, the beer stronger, the food cheaper and the old men and old women warmer in the winter and happier in the summer.

I only drink on two occasions — when I’m thirsty and when I’m not.

When I came back to Dublin I was court-martialled in my absence and sentenced to death in my absence, so I said they could shoot me in my absence.

No strangers here, just friends you haven’t met!

James Joyce

James Joyce

James Augustine Aloysius Joyce was an Irish novelist and poet. He contributed to the modernist avant-garde, and is regarded as one of the most influential and important authors of the twentieth century. Joyce was born on February 2, 1882 in Rathgar, Co Dublin and he died in Zurich Switzerland on January 13, 1941.


You get a decent do at the Brazen Head

A man of genius makes no mistakes; his errors are volitional and are the portals of discovery.

Better pass boldly into that other world, in the full glory of some passion, than fade and wither dismally with age.

Think you’re escaping and run into yourself. Longest way round is the shortest way home.

Shakespeare is the happy hunting ground of all minds that have lost their balance.

Mistakes are the portals of discovery.

History, Stephen said, is a nightmare from which I am trying to awake.

Your battles inspired me – not the obvious material battles but those that were fought and won behind your forehead.

I am tomorrow, or some future day, what I establish today. I am today what I established yesterday or some previous day.

Christopher Columbus, as everyone knows, is honoured by posterity because he was the last to discover America.

Wlliam Butler Yeats

William Butler Yeats

William Butler Yeats was an Irish poet and one of the foremost figures of 20th-century literature. A pillar of both the Irish and British literary establishments, in his later years he served as an Irish Senator for two terms. Yeats was born on June 13, 1865, in Sandymount, Co Dublin and he died in Menton, France on January 28, 1939.


There are no strangers here, only friends that have not yet met.

Education is not filling.

The intellect is forced to choose: Perfection of the life, or of the work.

The worst thing about some men is that when they are not drunk they are sober.

Book of KellsQuotes from Other Irish Literary Notables

The following are a selection of quotes from a variety of notable Irish scholars, poets, writers and surely the most famous of Irish-Americans, President John Fitzgerald Kennedy (JFK).



A nation reveals itself not only by the men it produces but also by the men it honors, the men it remembers.  John F. Kennedy

I think the Irish woman was freed from slavery by bingo….They can go out now, dressed up, with their handbags and have a drink and play bingo. And they deserve it. John B. Keane

Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall. Oliver Goldsmith

When I die I want to decompose in a barrel of porter and have it served in all the pubs in Ireland. J. P. Dunleavy

I’m troubled, I’m dissatisfied. I’m Irish! Marianne Moore

No human being believes that any other human being has a right to be in bed when he himself is up. Robert Lynd

Praise, like gold and diamonds, owes its value only to its scarcity. Samuel Butler

The Irish are a fair people; they never speak well of one another. Samuel Johnson

Every man of genius is considerably helped by being dead. Robert Lynd

All I ever seemed to get was the kind of girl who had a special dispensation from Rome to wear the thickest part of her legs below the knee. Hugh Leonard

There is an Irish way of paying compliments as though they were irresistible truths which makes what would otherwise be an impertinence delightful. Katherine Tynan Hinkson

A lament in one ear, maybe, but always a song in the other. Sean O’Casey

At a dinner party one should eat wisely but not too well, and talk well but not too wisely. W. Somerset Maugham

One wonders in this place, why anyone is left in Dublin, or London, or Paris where it would be better, one would think to live in a tent or hut, with this magnificent sea and sky, and to breathe this wonderful air which is like wine in one’s teeth. J. M. Synge

Irish Proverbs

Old Irish Proverbs

As if the wit, wisdom and intellect from Ireland’s literary greats as exemplified through their writing and quotes wasn’t enough, we Irish do like to have the odd proverb to fall back on. Here are just some examples.


May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind always be at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
and rains fall soft upon your fields.
And until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of His hand.
An old Irish proverb

May those who love us, love us. For those who don’t love us, May God turn their hearts. And if God can’t turn their hearts, May he turn their ankles so we’ll know them by their limping!  An old Irish proverb

Laughter is brightest where food is best. An old Irish proverb

As they say in Ireland:…. “may you be forty years in heaven before the devil knows you’re dead”. An old Irish proverb