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Irish Farewell Blessings & Toasts: Thoughtful Ways to say Goodbye

In life there are many farewells. Some are just temporary while others are forever. 

When we find ourselves in such a circumstance, it can often be tricky to find the right words to express ourselves. 

This is particularly true when it comes to saying goodbye to a family member or friend. 

When words fail us, a meaningful Irish blessing may help us express our wishes in a very touching way. 

This article explores several different types of goodbyes. 

Through death we say our goodbyes to loved ones. Compassionate farewell blessings for  bereavements are included in this article. 

Farewell for different reasons, such as travel, relocating or moving jobs are also covered.  

As well as finding appropriate blessings to suit your needs, I hope you will learn about the Irish attitude to farewells.

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Irish Farewell Blessings for Death

A young couple staring out across the sea towards the setting sun.
A young couple staring out across the sea towards the setting sun. (Photo: 4kclips via Shutterstock, text added via

The death of a family member, friend or colleague can leave us searching for the right words to say. 

These simple, yet meaningful blessings can help you convey your feelings of grief and condolences for those left behind. 

They can be spoken or written as Irish memorial sayings on cards or flowers for the deceased.

Until we meet again, 
May God hold you in the palm of His hand.

Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam dílis.
(May his soul be on God’s right hand/rest in peace)

Ar dheis Dé go raibh a hanam dílis.
(May her soul be on God’s right hand/rest in peace)

Death leaves a heartache no one can heal,
Love leaves a memory no one can steal.

We cannot share this sorrow
If we haven’t grieved a while.
Nor can we feel another’s joy
Until we’ve learned to smile.

Irish Farewell Toasts

It is traditional to make a toast to the deceased. 

This is very often with alcoholic drinks, such as a pint of stout or a glass of whiskey.

Here are some ideas for Irish farewell toasts: 

Solas Mhic Dé ar a n-anam.
(The Light of the Son of God on their soul)

May peace be within you and may your heart be strong
May you find what you’re seeking wherever you roam.

At funerals, people also use Irish toasts for a long life. These are some of the most popular Irish toasts. 

Girl with a bunch of flowers in a field of flowers
Girl with a bunch of flowers in a field of flowers. (Photo: alexkich via Shutterstock, text added via

May you be in Heaven,
A full half hour 
Before the devil knows you are dead.

May your coffin be made of finest wood 
From a 100-year-old tree, 
That I’ll go plant tomorrow.

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

May the good Lord take a liking to you, 
But not too soon.

Woman blowing dandelion seeds and making a wish.
A wish for a happy life. (Photo: Aleksandr Kirillvia Shutterstock, text added via

Death in Irish Culture

In Ireland, traditions and rituals around death have often opted to focus on celebrating the life of the person who has passed away. 

These have traditionally taken place in the form of wakes. 

In an Irish traditional Wake, friends and family in the local community come to the house of the deceased to pay their respects. 

It is a social mourning occasion involving keening, as well as storytelling, music and song. 

There would also be plenty of alcohol to mark the event. 

This is probably one reason why there is a saying “the only difference between a wedding and a wake is there is one less person”.

Games, trickery, mischief and even match making were also all part of Irish Wake. 

Today, wakes are no longer very common in Ireland, but the idea of celebrating the life of the person who dies, remains strong. 

In the Irish Celtic belief system, death was seen as a transition to the Otherworld. 

On certain days of the year, the boundary connecting the Otherworld and this world would thin enabling contact. The festival of Samhain is one of these times of the year. 

The cycle of life, death and rebirth was extremely important to the Celts, and can be seen by the importance of the Celtic Tree of Life Symbol.  

Related Articles: 

You will find more thoughtful Irish blessings related to death on this website. For example:

Discover more about Irish traditions around death and the Irish Prayer for the Dead in this detailed article.

Irish Farewell Blessings for Travel

For those who depart for travel, there are Irish Blessings to wish them well on their journey and keep them from harm.

The most famous of all Irish Blessings is May the Road Rise to Meet You. It is also simply known as “The Irish Blessing”. 

It can and is used for many different occasions. The wording wishes a person well on their journey, but it can also be interpreted as any new chapter in life. 

You will find more about the interpretation of this famous blessing in this article on May the Road Rise to Meet You Blessing Guide

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.

A hiking trail in the beautiful Wicklow Mountains. (Photo: AllaStasy Via Shutterstock, text added via

This is the Irish Blessing in Irish:

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. 

Other Irish blessings related to travel are as follows:

May God’s blessings always accompany your journey.

May you have companions who share with you a part of the way
On the long journey through the adventure of life.

May God safely guard your every step, lest you stumble.

May the saints bless and protect you today
And may problems keep away from you every step of your way.

May you find the right road that leads you to your destination.

On a boat with a friend in picturesque County Galway.
On a boat with a friend in picturesque County Galway. (Photo: Karlo Curis via Shutterstock, text added via

Travel in Irish Culture

Ireland is a relatively small country, but its population has long been drawn from its shores by a sense of adventure. 

One of the most famous early Irish travelers is Saint Brendan or Brendan the Navigator

He lived during the late 5th and early 6th century. 

Legend has it that he set forth in a boat from the Dingle Peninsula and headed westward into the unknown world. 

Some versions of the story suggest that he may have reached North America and returned to tell the tale.  (The British explorer Tim Severin undertook the same journey in the 1970s to prove that it was theoretically possible.)

Tom Crean Statue in Annascaul in County Kerry. (Photo:

Another man from County Kerry took part in epic explorations centuries later, this time to Antartica. 

Tom Crean (or Thomas Crean) took part in three Antarctic Explorations in the early 20th century, including Robert Scott’s Terra Nova Exploration 1911-1912. 

This is why you will find a charming pub known as the South Pole Inn in Crean’s home village of Annascaul in County Kerry!

The South Pole Inn in Annascaul in County Kerry. (Photo:

Many great minds also left Ireland, some possibly in need of a cultural exchange. 

The great writers such as James Joyce, Oscar Wilde and George Bernard Shaw, to name but a few, spent long periods outside of Ireland. 

Irish farewell for Relocation and New Starts

A farewell marks the end of one chapter and the beginning of another. 

In life there are many such transitions. Some of the ones that occur most often include moving house, or changing jobs for example. 

These types of farewells associated with new start and beginnings can bring about a sense of excitement and hope for what lies ahead. 

There may also be feelings of melancholy, especially for those loved ones left behind.

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

May the face of every good news
And the back of every bad news
Be toward us.

May you have the strength to change direction when you can no longer walk the old road.

Emigration in Irish Culture

Many Irish have left the shores of the Emerald Isle throughout the course of history. 

Events, such as the Great Famine of 1845-1847, resulted in mass emigration to far off destinations such as the United States and Australia. 

The majority left out of desperation or punishment for their criminal activities. 

Cobh in County Cork is an example of just one of the locations where many people departed from.

Under the circumstances, most farewells during this time were final ones as loved ones departed to far off places around the world. 

Thankfully these types of farewells today do not need to be final ones. 

Farewells for moving house, leaving a job or relocating to somewhere new can be filled with optimism and excitement for a new chapter in life.

Irish Farewell Blessings FAQ

What is an Irish Goodbye?

An Irish goodbye is when someone intentionally leaves a social occasion without telling anyone they are departing. 

The person just slips away unnoticed. 

While this may seem rude to some people, there are some cases where this might be acceptable. 

The main reason why people opt for an Irish Goodbye is to avoid hurting someone’s feelings by leaving early. 

Departing in such circumstances avoids confrontation and “making a fuss”.

Irish Blessings

Discover more traditional Irish blessings for different occasions on this website. 

You can mark a special occasion with a birthday blessing (or a birthday blessing in Irish). 

There are also many other life changing events that have wonderful blessings to accompany them. They are: 

Special blessings to start your day or calming blessings to finish your day are also on the website. Enjoy!