Irish blessings are a very popular part of Irish culture.
For generations they have been a very integral part of the beliefs and traditions that have evolved over the land.
While many blessings focus on the health, happiness and good fortune of people. However, there are also a number of blessings specifically for houses.
The blessing of an Irish home was always considered important.
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Table of Contents
What are Irish Blessings?
Irish blessings are short compositions or phrases written in verse form that wish to convey a sense of goodwill or protection.
There are different types of Irish Blessings. Some mark joyous occasions such as weddings, births and birthdays.
Others can be used to observe various momentous milestones in life, such as the passing of a loved one.
Through the course of history, many Irish blessings have become influenced by Christianity. God is often referred to in these blessings and prayers.
Poetic language and natural imagery also abound in these messages of goodwill.
The History of Irish Blessings
Traditional Irish blessings have a long history dating back to before Christianity arrived in Ireland around the 5th century.
The meaning and intention of the words in blessings were believed to hold significant power and influence.
Blessings were thought to shape the outcome of certain events and potentially alter the future.
As well as blessing people, animals, crops, buildings or other valuable assets were also blessed.
Irish House Blessings
There is a long history of blessing houses in Ireland.
Some of these traditions have long been associated with the ancient festivals to mark the changing seasons.
Many of the house blessings would have been part of traditional annual rituals.
New Year blessings, as well as new beginnings, such as moving to a new home, would have also been a reason to celebrate.
(Marriages would have often heralded a move to a new home. For inspiration about Irish Wedding Blessings and toasts, you can check our other blessings post.)
Saint Brigid’s Cross
The ancient festival of Imbolc (February 1) has pagan origins.
This festival takes place at the end of winter to welcome the beginning of spring.
It is deeply connected with the Celtic Goddess Brigid and in more recent times, Saint Brigid.
One common tradition would have been to make a new St. Brigid’s Cross on this day each year.
This would have been placed by the entrance door to a house to bless all those who entered and left the building.
Flowers for Protection
The ancient fire festival of Beltane (May 1) marks the beginning of the summer and is another example.
Houses and other buildings received some special protection at this time of year in the form of another important Beltane Ritual.
Children would typically gather flowers and place them by the doors and windows of the houses.
This was thought to prevent the fairies from crossing the threshold and causing harm to the house or those inside.
A similar ritual would take place with the May Tree or May Bough. This was a tree or in some cases a branch that was decorated in front of the house.
It was also thought to give a form of protection. The native Irish tree species of Hawthorn, rowan or hazel were commonly used for this purpose.
Irish Blessing Wall Hanging
Wall hanging displaying Irish Blessings are still found in some Irish houses.
These Irish blessing prayers typically tend to focus on protection of the house and all those in it.
On occasion, they also mention health, good luck and fortune as well.
Mostly, these are hung near the main front door. However, some blessings are more appropriately placed in the kitchen or in a bedroom.
Holy Water Fonts
In Irish houses, particularly in older generations, a water font was a common feature.
(Today it is no longer so often seen in houses around the country.)
This form of Irish home blessing would have been placed by the main door.
People would have been able to bless themselves as they came and went from the home.
Mass in the Home
Mass, celebrated by a priest, would have also occasionally taken place in the home. This sometimes still takes place in more rural areas of Ireland today.
A special intention would usually be given for the mass. In some cases,this would be a home blessing.
Alternatively, a mass could be used to mark a special occasion. These would include Christmas celebrations, wedding anniversaries or the anniversary of someone’s passing.
The Penal Laws of the 16th and 17th century forbade Catholics from practicing their religion and attending mass.
Secret locations, known as mass stations or mass rocks, were established in the countryside.
These functioned as gathering places, where Catholics could worship in secrecy.
The practice of having a mass said in the home, may have in part developed from these restrictive laws.
The Irish Prayer or The Irish Blessing
When people mention an Irish Prayer or an Irish Blessing, they are often referring to the blessing below.
This nicely worded blessing with rich imagery is used in a lot of different circumstances.
Its simple meaning of wishing someone well for their journey can be interpreted in several ways.
It can be seen as one of the Irish farewell blessings, if the journey is a real undertaking.
Other interpretations envisage the journey as a new beginning or chapter to one’s life.
This is one of the reasons it has become a very popular Irish Wedding Blessing.
Interestingly, it is also commonly used as an Irish Funeral Blessing.
May the road rise to meet you,
May the wind be at your back,
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
The rains fall soft upon your fields and until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of His hand.
This is also commonly known as “May the Road Rise to Meet You“.
Related Article: For some more ideas about Prayer Blessings from Ireland, you can read our longer article.
New Home Blessing Irish Language
If you are looking for an Irish Blessing in Irish, the translated version of The Irish Prayer or The Irish Blessing is a good choice.
This is the text:
Go n-éirí an bóthar leat,
Go raibh an ghaoth go brách ag do chúl,
Go lonraí an ghrian go te ar d’aghaidh,
Go dtite an bháisteach go mín ar do pháirceanna,
Agus go mbuailimid le chéile arís,
Go gcoinní Dia i mbos A láimhe thú.
Saint Patrick’s Breastplate
One of the old Irish blessings, that has its origins in the 11th century.
Although it is usually sung as a hymn, the following verse is also a well liked blessing.
Christ with me,
Christ before me,
Christ behind me,
Christ in me,
Christ beneath me,
Christ above me,
Christ on my right,
Christ on my left,
Christ when I lie down,
Christ when I sit down,
Christ when I arise,
Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me,
Christ in every eye that sees me,
Christ in every ear that hears me.
This is a short Irish prayer for luck and protection from Saint Patrick (Saint Patrick’s Behold).
May the Irish hills caress you.
May her lakes and rivers bless you.
May the luck of the Irish enfold you.
May the blessings of Saint Patrick behold you.
Irish Blessings for New Homes
God Bless the four corners of this house,
And be the lintel blessed,
And bless the hearth and bless the board,
And bless each place to rest,
And bless each door that opens wide
To stranger as to kin,
And bless each crystal window pane,
That lets the starlight in.
Bless you and yours,
As well as the cottage you live in.
May the roof overhead be well thatched,
And those inside be well matched.
May you always have walls for the winds,
A roof for the rain, tea beside the fire,
Laughter to cheer you, those you love near you,
And all your heart might desire.
May your neighbors respect you,
Troubles neglect you,
The angels protect you,
And Heaven accept you.
May peace and plenty be the first
To lift the latch on your door,
And happiness be guided to your home,
By the candle of Christmas.
May love and laughter light your days,
And warm your heart and home.
May good and faithful friends be yours,
Wherever you may roam.
May your home always be too small to hold all your friends.
An bless the rooftree overhead,
And every sturdy wall
The peace of man, the peace of God
The peace of love on all.
May the roof over our heads never fall in.
And may we as friends never fall out.
Lucky stars above you,
Sunshine on your way,
Many friends to love you,
Joy in work and play.
May peace and plenty bless your world,
With joy that long endures.
May all life’s passing seasons
Bring the best to you and yours!
May your troubles be less,
And your blessings be more.
And nothing but happiness,
Come through your door.
May the blessed sunlight shine on you,
And warm your heart,
Till it glows like a great peat fire.
Always remember to forget,
The troubles that pass away.
But never forget to remember,
The blessings that come each day.
Here is an old Irish recipe for longevity.
Leave the table hungry.
Leave the bed sleepy.
Leave the tavern thirsty.
Short Irish Blessings for the Home
Irish culture typically involves a healthy dose of humor.
This humor and wit brings a sense of lightheartedness to situations.
It helps to remind us that even an Irish blessing for hard times can still make us smile.
The following jovial blessings can put a touch of Irish humor to the walls of your home.
As you slide down the banisters of life,
May the splinters never point the wrong way.
May misfortune follow you the rest of your life,
But never catch up.
May the hinges of our friendship never grow rusty.
May your right hand always be stretched out in friendship,
But never in want.
May you be in Heaven,
A full half hour
Before the devil knows you’re dead.
Related Article: Short Irish Blessings and Prayers (including some short Irish Blessings in Gaelic Irish)
Irish New Home Blessing Ideas
Moving into a new home is an exciting endeavor.
Family and friends are often called in to give a helping hand with all the organization.
They usually want to show their goodwill and best wishes for the future as well.
An Irish house blessing gift is a great way to do this.
This can be as simple as a greeting card with an Irish blessing written on it.
If you are creative, you could try to make the card yourself.
Otherwise there are some very tasteful options available elsewhere.
Wall hangings of Irish Blessings are another thoughtful way to share good wishes with a touch of Irish flair.
Decorated mugs can be purchased with a wide range of Celtic blessings, as well as Irish Blessings printed on them.
Perhaps you could find some suitable ones as a new house warming present.
Some of these new home blessings Irish people (and those with an affinity to Ireland) would probably enjoy.
If you have some more Irish gift ideas for new home blessings, we would be delighted to hear them!
Related Article: Share your gratitude with your friends with some Irish Blessings focusing on Friendship.
Irish Prayers and Blessings
There are lots of different Irish blessings to mark the happy, sad and funny times in our lives.
At times it can be difficult to find the right words to communicate our feelings, especially when it comes to saying goodbye. That is when Irish Blessings can come in useful.
They can provide words of solace and comfort during tough times, as well as provide smiles and laughter at the celebrations.
Looking for the right words of congratulation for the birth of a newborn baby? Irish baby or not, these blessings can suit the occasion.