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Irish Toasts for St. Patrick´s Day

Irish Toasts for St. Patrick´s Day

March 7, 2013 –


Happy St. Patrick's Day Or in Gaelic - Beannachtaí na Féile Pádraig!

Happy St. Patrick’s Day
Or in Gaelic – Beannachtaí na Féile Pádraig!

Toasts are an essential role for any St. Patrick’s Day celebration. They serve as a link amidst the formal ceremony and a less formal atmosphere of the coming celebration. The St. Patrick’s Day toast allows family members and friends to talk their hearts out. Remember Abraham Lincoln’s words from his inaugural address, and you will never go wrong, “With malice toward none; with charity for all.” A toast is a wish, and whether you believe in karma or not, it is always better to wish good than ill; far better to follow Shakespeare and “drink down all unkindness.”

That said, we’ve found it helps us when offering toasts to use the standard pattern that Colonial-era drinkers used. It’s a simple, two-part format in which you first propose the object of the toast and then either explain why it’s worth toasting or offer a wish on its behalf. This will then lead into the toast at which point you should finish by fully drinking your beverage which is hopefully some hearty Guinness!

And now for some time weathered St. Patrick’s Day and Irish Toasts to impress your family and friends during your St. Patrick’s Day celebrations. Cheers!

May your pockets be heavy and your heart be light, may good luck pursue you each morning and night.

May the roof above us never fall in, and may we friends gathered below never fall out.

A trout in the pot is better than a salmon in the sea.

As you slide down the banister of life, may the splinters never point in the wrong direction.

A friend’s eye is a good mirror.

May you live as long as you want, and never want as long as you live.

He who loses money, loses much; He who loses a friend, loses more; He who loses faith, loses all.

May the Lord keep you in His hand and never close His fist too tight.

May your neighbors respect you, trouble neglect you, the angels protect you, and heaven accept you.

May the sound of happy music, and the lilt of laughter, fill your heart with gladness, that stays forever after.

May the hinges of our friendship never grow rusty. And our ale never turn musty.

St. Patrick’s Day is an enchanted time — a day to begin transforming winter’s dreams into summer’s magic.

Saint Patrick was a gentleman, Who through strategy and stealth, Drove all the snakes from Ireland, Here’s a toasting to his health. But not too many toastings Lest you lose yourself and then Forget the good Saint Patrick And see all those snakes again.

A bird with one wing can’t fly. —said to encourage someone to take a second drink It is better to spend money like there’s no tomorrow than to spend tonight like there’s no money!

That the tap may be open when it rusts!

My friends are the best friends Loyal, willing and able. Now let’s get to drinking! All glasses off the table!

Here’s to a long life and a merry one. A quick death and an easy one. A pretty girl and an honest one. A cold pint– and another one!

Here’s to a temperance supper, With water in glasses tall, And coffee and tea to end with– And me not there at all!

When money’s tight and hard to get, and your horse is also ran, When all you have is a heap of debt, a pint of plain is your only man.

Here’s to being single… Drinking doubles… And seeing triple!

I drink to your health when I’m with you, I drink to your health when I’m alone, I drink to your health so often, I’m starting to worry about my own!

Here’s to women’s kisses, and to whiskey, amber clear; Not as sweet as a woman’s kiss, but a darn sight more sincere!

May you have warm words on a cold evening, a full moon on a dark night, and a smooth road all the way to your door.

There are good ships, and there are wood ships, The ships that sail the sea. But the best ships, are friendships, And may they always be.

Here’s to you and yours, And to mine and ours, And if mine and ours ever come Across you and yours, I hope you and yours will do As much for mine and ours, As mine and ours have done For you and yours!

To live above with the Saints we love, Ah, that is the purest glory. To live below with the Saints we know, Ah, that is another story!

May the lilt of Irish laughter lighten every load. May the mist of Irish magic shorten every road… And may all your friends remember all the favours you are owed!

Here’s to the land of the shamrock so green, Here’s to each lad and his darlin colleen, Here’s to the ones we love dearest and most. May God bless old Ireland, that’s this Irishman’s toast!

I have known many, and liked not a few, but loved only one and this toast is to you.

May you be in heaven a full half hour before the devil knows your dead. May you live as long as you want and never want as long as you live.

May your heart be light and happy, May your smile be big and wide, And may your pockets always have a coin or two inside!

Always remember to forget The troubles that passed away. But never forget to remember The blessings that come each day.

May you always have a clean shirt, a clear conscience, and enough coins in your pocket to buy a pint!

May the face of every good news and the back of every bad news be towards us.

May neighbours respect you, Trouble neglect you, The angels protect you, And heaven accept you.

May you have the hindsight to know where you’ve been, The foresight to know where you are going, And the insight to know when you have gone too far.

May the saddest day of your future be no worse than the happiest day of your past.

May those that love us, love us. And those that don’t love us, May God turn their hearts. And if he doesn’t turn their hearts, May he turn their ankles, So we’ll know them by their limping.

May misfortune follow you the rest of your life, and never catch up.

May you have food and raiment, a soft pillow for your head. May you be forty years in heaven before the devil knows you’re dead.

May your mornings bring joy and your evenings bring peace… May your troubles grow less as your blessings increase!

May you get all your wishes but one, so that you will always have something to strive for!

May the luck of the Irish Lead to happiest heights And the highway you travel Be lined with green lights. Wherever you go and whatever you do, May the luck of the Irish be there with you.

If you’re enough lucky to be Irish… You’re lucky enough!

May you have all the happiness and luck that life can hold— And at the end of all your rainbows may you find a pot of gold.

May your pockets be heavy— Your heart be light, And may good luck pursue you Each morning and night.


The Parting Glass by Celtic Woman




Celtic Calendar & Astrology Was Based On Trees

Celtic Calendar & Astrology Was Based On Trees

James O’Shea | @irishcentral | February 18,2014

celtic trees

The Celtic calendar was based on sacred trees and compatibility between the different tree groupings. The Celts believed trees had sacred properties.

Which tree are you?

Birch: People born from December 24 to January 21. In old Celtic culture, the New Year started with the defeat of the old year or old king. Compatibility with Willow, Vine and Ivy.

Rowan: People born from January 22 to February 18. They are compatible with Ivy and with Hawthorn.

Ash: Born from February 19 to March 17. Your best relations will be with Oak and Willow.

Alder: Born from March 18 to April 14. Try to know Hazel and Elder. They are perfect for you if you are under Alder protection… A strong protection!

Willow: Born from April 15 to May 12. They are friendly people and get along well with Hazel, Vine, Birch, Oak and Ash.

Hawthorn: From May 13 to June 9. Rowan and Ivy are your best friends.

Oak: From May 13 to July 7. They are the kings. Oak people have a similar personality to Leo people. They were born to lead.

Holly: From July 8 to August 4. Compatibility with Ash and Elder.

Hazel: From August 5 to September 1. Compatibility with Oak, Vine, Reed, Willow and Alder. Really nice people!

Vine: From September 2 to September 29. Vine represents joy and they get on well with Willow and Birch.

Ivy: From September 30 to October 27. A problematic personality similar to Scorpio. People can love them but in fact, they don’t trust anyone.

Reed: From October 28 to November 24. Compatibility with Oak and Ash.

Elder: From November 25 to December 23. A really conservative personality. Compatibility with Holly and Alder.

Changing Samhain Traditions

Memento Mori at Mount Jerome Cemetery

Changing Samhain Traditions

All Hallows’ E’en and Halloween – How Samhain took on a New Meaning

By , Guide

Have you ever wondered how the Irish-Celtic feast of samhain became the carnival-like Halloween? Blame the popes, the reformation and European emigration.

All Hallows – A Moveable Feast

Today November 1st is the feast of All Hallows or All Saints or Allhallowmas – and “Halloween” derives from the evening before, “All Hallows’ Evening” or short “Hallowe’en”. Easy. And a direct link to the Celtic tradition of samhain, for the Celts the day started at sundown.

Since around the middle of the 4th century Christians set aside a special day in honor of all saints. And Saint Chrysostom fixed the date as the first Sunday after Whitsuntide. Pope Boniface IV in 609, however, converted this moveable feast into a fixed date, May 13th. But Pope Gregory III moved the feast again, this time to November 1st.

Why such a change? Historians point to simple economics – Rome was literally swamped by pilgrims on All Saints Day and the larders were running low in spring. So Gregory III sensible pushed the feast to the end of the harvest period.

Other theories point the finger firmly at the Irish. They were still feasting at samhain, so a Christian alternative had to be provided. Not unusual – the date of Christmas, after all, was replacing winter solstice celebrations. And in Ireland imbolc was replaced by Saint Brigid’s Day. Early popes pushed such “syncretisms”, the incorporation of pagan lore into Christianity.

Thus a Celtic day of reflection, new beginnings and communication with the otherworlds was usurped by a similar yet Christian feast. Skeptical? It might just be coincidence, but May 13th also marked the lemuria, the ancient Roman Feast of the Dead.

So Halloween is a Catholic Feast?

Hold your horses – other traditions had a bearing as well. All of which combined created Halloween as we know it …

In Britain All Hallows was celebrated with a procession … of children dressed up as saints, angels and devils. And they were rewarded for their enthusiasm with “soul cakes”, sweet biscuits. And in Brittany All Hallows was connected to pranks, some of them quite macabre.

But the main new influence came with the reformation – even though the reformed churchmen did not encourage the belief in saints. All Hallows was basically replaced by “reformation day”, a day of a new beginning, quite fitting in with the samhain tradition.

Then in 1605 Guy Fawkes made a spirited attempt at revolution, his plan to blow up the Houses of Parliament failed … but “the 5th of November” shall be forever remembered. With dressing up, bonfires and fireworks. And begging children (“A penny for the Guy!”), mischievous pranks and the burning of the pope in effigy.

Coming to America

The puritans finally started to bring some of these traditions to America – first and foremost an anti-catholic sentiment and a pathological fear of witchcraft. Which in turn mingled with mysticism and superstition found amongst German immigrants, a belief in the power of saints preserved by Anglican settlers, Catholic influences from French or Spanish migrants and even pagan beliefs preserved by outwardly “Christian” slaves. All this together culminating in autumn festivities after the harvest. Which in turn were revitalised by Irish immigrants of the 19th century, bringing with them remnants of the samhain tradition.

Halloween as We Know It

By the end of the 19th century “Halloween” was established as a uniquely North-American festivity. Complete with the main characteristics of

  • Trick or Treat – a combination of the British processions, the Irish lait bhain, “soul cakes” and the “penny for the Guy”;
  • Pumpkinheads – derived from scurrilous Irish lanterns made from turnips to keep evil spirits away and
  • Parties everybody was celebrating something around the time anyway.

Today Halloween is the third most popular day to throw a party in the US – beaten only by New Year’s Eve and Super Bowl Sunday! And the once typically “American” feast has slowly started to conquer the world … with Halloween parties and parades far outweighing a traditional samhain celebration even in Ireland.

Virginia Pumpkin Festival

Virginia Pumpkin Festival – The Pumpkinman Cometh

Virginia Pumpkin Festival

A Halloween-ish Feast in County Cavan, Celebrating the Not-So-Humble Pumpkin

By , Guide

The Virginia Pumpkin Festival shares some history with Halloween – both are recent introductions. While Halloween grew out of the Celtic Samhain tradition, the County Cavan feast in honour of the pumpkin grew out of imported Halloween imagery. And has been an immediate success.

When is the Virginia Pumpkin Festival Held?

Easy – always on the October Bank Holiday Weekend, that is the weekend just before the last Monday in October (which is a public holiday, thus a three-day-weekend just before or sometimes on Halloween).

Where is the Virginia Pumpkin Festival Held?

As the name says … in Virginia. That would be the smallish town of Virginia in County Cavan, not the state.

Finding the exact location within Virginia is not a problem – the whole town will be blocked to vehicle traffic, so you can just head there and then follow the signs for the parking lots. This also means traffic chaos during the Virginia Pumpkin Festival, as the busy N3 between Kells and Cavan will be closed and all traffic diverted via backroads.

What Can You Expect at the Virginia Pumpkin Festival?

As the name says … pumpkins. And as the posters will lead you to believe all sorts of Halloween-related shenanigans as well. After all, this is the time of mass pumpkincide in the name of the lantern. But in Virginia, the pumpkin strikes back …

One of the highlights of the Virginia Pumpkin Festival is the pumpkin weigh-in, held right in the middle of town with the support of heavy machinery. Pumpkins of a size that two or three kids could hide in are brought in by local and not-so-local growers. International entries are coming in from Europe and overseas and while the prize money seems small, it is all about the honour. Which is reflected in weight – a few hundred pounds of pumpkin on a pallet is quite a sight to behold.

Other pumpkin-related activities include the ever-popular pumpkin carving and letting a pumpkin fall from a great height. Stand well back unless you don’t mind being covered in orange goo and pumpkin seeds.

Is it Just Pumpkins?

No, there is a funfair and loads of fun activities all over town will keep you occupied for a few hours. Some have a definite Halloween flavour added … such as skeletons doing a bit of Irish dancing (“Riverdance” will never be the same again …) and kids running around in costumes.

Street theatre, entertainers, concerts (featuring well-known Irish acts such as the Waterboys or Imelda May) and even a “Farmer’s Dance” (featuring “Irish & Country”, so bring you Stetson and wellies) can be experienced. And one of the highlights is the darkness … at some point during the proceedings the street lighting is switched off and you might soak in the eerie atmosphere of a late October evening by pumpkin-light.

Not to be missed are the food stalls … from local delicacies via German “bratwurst” to nuts and sweets straight from Iran you’ll be tempted beyond any reasonable calorie count. Bring some spending money and appetite.

Who Should Visit the Virginia Pumpkin Festival?

Well, this is all-in-all quite wholesome family entertainment, so make it a day out with the whole family (but keep track of your kids and don’t let them get too spooked by some of the theatre acts). It might also get a little bit rowdier later in the evening (the pubs are open and doing roaring business, after all).

The Nitty-Gritty of the Virginia Pumpkin Festival

This is not a free festival – you will have to pay a tenner (€ 10, concessions available) to enter Virginia. Considering the entertainment on offer this is a decent price, but only if you plan to spend some hours. Some scheduled events (like the concerts) will cost extra, as will rides in the funfair. Budget for that, especially with kids. Food and drink can be had at normal prices, the local takeaways and restaurants do not hike their prices. Alternatively bring your own.

Also: Bring clothing to fit the occasion and the Irish weather, most events are open air (rain jackets and caps are far more sensible than umbrellas) and even on a sunny day the evening can become freezing cold very fast indeed – thick socks anyone?

If you need more information on the Virginia Pumpkin Festival –

Samhain – A Very Irish Feast: The Roots of Halloween in Celtic Ireland

The Dead may Walk the Earth at Samhain

The Roots of Halloween in Celtic Ireland

By Bernd Biege, Guide (© 2007 Bernd Biege licensed to, Inc.)

November 1st was traditionally known as samhain, literally translated the “end of summer” and pronounced something like sow-een. This was the end of the Celtic year, the start of winter, a time for reflection. And part of a sometimes confusing tradition …

From Darkness Comes Light

One of the Celtic idiosyncrasies was the concept of beginning in darkness and working towards the light. As the year started with winter, the days started at sundown. Thus the night from October 31st to November 1st was part of samhain, known as oiche shamhna or “evening of samhain“.

Samhain was one of the four “quarter days” of the Celtic calendar, along with imbolc (February 1st, start of spring), beltane (May 1st, start of summer) and lughnasa (August 1st, start of the harvest). We do not have any undisputed information about how these festivities were conducted in pre-Christian times. Samhain seems to have been a specifically Irish tradition and first mentioned by Christian chroniclers. Feasting seems to have taken the best part of a week, a few days either side of the actual samhain day.

Samhain – Preparing for Winter

The preparations concerned mainly cattle and other livestock – all members of the herd were caught, brought into enclosures or sheds near the homestead. And some were marked for death – those animals too weak to survive the winter were slaughtered. Not for any ritual reasons, this was down to purely practical considerations. And filled the larder for winter.

At the same time all corn, fruits and berries had to be harvested and stored. There still is a widespread belief in Ireland that after November 1st all fruit is bewitched and thus inedible. The pooka was said to roam free at samhain – a black, ugly horse with red eyes and the ability to talk. And with a penchant for kidnappings and copious urination on berries. On the other hand a respectful contact with the pooka could show you the future …

Communal Activities – Samhain as a Day of Reckoning

Many legends concern the big meetings at samhain – this was the time to take stock and decide upon future activities. At the Hill of Tara or on lakeshores. A general armistice during this period made meetings between sworn enemies, diplomacy and social activities beyond tribal and political boundaries possible. All debts had to be settled and horse-racing as well as charioteering provided a peaceful contest.

But spiritual activities were an integral part of the feast.

Traditionally all the fires were extinguished when oiche shamhna set in, making this the darkest night of the year. The fires were then re-lit, marking the start of the new year.

Tradition has it that druids lit a huge bonfire on the Hill of Tlachtga (near Athboy, County Meath) and burning torches were then carried from there to every household during the night – alas, a physical impossibility. Though the reputed special tax levied by the king for this “service” certainly seems believable in light of the modern Irish state’s revenue ideas …

We All Have to Make Sacrifices

Other rituals involving fire were not so quaint and definitely easier to arrange – the “wicker men”. Basically a cage made from wickerwork in a rough resemblance of the human form, then stuffed with (living) sacrificial offerings. Like animals, prisoners of war or unpopular neighbors. Which were then burned to death inside the “wicker man”. Other rituals involved drowning … Happy New Celtic Year!

But these human sacrifices should not be seen as the undisputed norm. Though sacrifices were undoubtedly made, they may only have involved milk and corn spilled into the earth. And there might even have been nocturnal human activities connected to fertility rituals. It was considered a good omen if a woman became pregnant at samhain!

The Non-Human Touch at Samhain

Not everybody joining in the samhain celebrations was necessarily human … or of our world. The night from October 31st to November 1st was a time “between years” to the Celts. And during this time the borders between our world and the otherworld(s) were flexible and open.

Not only the pooka was out and about … bean sidhe (banshee) could be killed by humans during the night, fairies were visible to human eyes, the underworld palaces of the “gentry” (an Irish title for fairies) were open to come and go. Humans could drink with mighty heroes and bed their beautiful female companions … as long as you did not make any mistakes, broke any rules or violated even the most ridiculous taboo. The problem being that the chances to foul up far outweighed the chances of a good night out – so most people opted for a quiet night in. Doors securely locked.

Last but not least Uncle Brendan might come knocking, even though he has been buried the last twenty years in New York. Samhain was also a time when the dead could walk the earth, communicate with the living … and call in old debts.

“Druidic” Confusion

All this belongs to the conservative picture of samhain. Which has been thoroughly muddled by neo-pagans and esoteric authors detailing “lost knowledge”. To such a degree that even a Celtic god of death called samhain appeared – a pure invention.

Colonel Charles Valency is to blame for many inventions. In the 1770s he wrote exhaustive treatises on the origin of the “Irish race” in Armenia. Many of his writings have long been consigned to the lunatic fringe. But Lady Jane Francesca Wilde carried his torch in the 19th century and her “Irish Cures, Mystic Charms and Superstitions” – which is still being cited as an authoritative work.

Samhain meanwhile mutated into All Hallows E’en and Halloween. And samhain or Halloween is still celebrated in Ireland in various ways – complete with fortune telling and special meals.

Imbolc Blessings

Imbolc Blessings

by Wiccan Moonsong

Graphic by: AvalonSky

Merry Meet and Brightest Imbolc Blessings to all of you.

Imbolc is typically celebrated on the 1st or 2nd of February. Today is St. Brigid’s day.  Today we honor the Celtic Goddess Brigid who came to be known as the Christian Saint.  Her festival was originally known as Imbolc.  The name Imbolc refers to the lactation of the Ewes. So today we celebrate the return of Spring.  Imbolc is also known as Candlemas.

In Ireland, at this time of year, even though it was still cold and harsh, they began to prepare their land for Spring farming. In ancient Pagan times they would circle the field with torches to purify and make ready the land.  In the Celtic traditions today is the day that we would remove any Yuletide greenery still in our homes and burn them to make ready the coming of spring.

Deities of Imbolc: 
All Virgin/Maiden Goddesses, Brighid, Aradia, Athena, Inanna, Gaia, and Februa, and Gods of Love and Fertility, Aengus Og, Eros, and Februus.

Symbolism of Imbolc: 
Purity, Growth and Re-Newal, The Re-Union of the Goddess and the God, Fertility, and dispensing of the old and making way for the new.

Symbols of Imbolc: 
Brideo’gas, Besoms, White Flowers, Candle Wheels, Brighid’s Crosses, Priapic Wands (acorn-tipped), and Ploughs.

Herbs of Imbolc: 
Angelica, Basil, Bay Laurel, Blackberry, Celandine, Coltsfoot, Heather, Iris, Myrrh, Tansy, Violets, and all white or yellow flowers.

Foods of Imbolc: 
Pumpkin seeds, Sunflower seeds, Poppyseed Cakes, muffins, scones, and breads, all dairy products, Peppers, Onions, Garlic, Raisins, Spiced Wines and Herbal Teas.

Incense of Imbolc: 
Basil, Bay, Wisteria, Cinnamon, Violet, Vanilla, Myrrh.

Colors of Imbolc: 
White, Pink, Red, Yellow, lt. Green, Brown.

Stones of Imbolc: 
Amethyst, Bloodstone, Garnet, Ruby, Onyx, Turquoise.

Activities of Imbolc: 
Candle Lighting, Stone Gatherings, Snow Hiking and Searching for Signs of Spring, Making of Brideo’gas and Bride’s Beds, Making Priapic Wands, Decorating Ploughs, Feasting, and Bon Fires maybe lit.

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