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Irish Prayer Blessings: Caring Words of Strength, Comfort & Hope

Irish prayers offer people hope, guidance and direction. 

They can be used in many different circumstances and can easily become part of your daily routine. 

Discover more about their origins, meanings and which prayer blessings from Ireland are the most popular. 

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What are Irish Prayer Blessings?

Irish prayer blessings are popular prayers that originated in Ireland. 

These prayers provide hope, guidance, protection and comfort to many. 

In some cases, prayers have been passed down through generations of families. 

Others are more modern inventions and are probably not based on old Irish blessings or prayers. 

Irish prayers draw their inspiration from Irish culture and values and have a strong basis in Christianity.  

The language and imagery of nature are frequently integrated into the wording of the prayers and blessings. 

This reiterates the long standing connections between the people and the land in everyday life. 

Some of the most well known Irish prayers include “May the Road Rise Up to Meet You” and “Saint Patrick’s Breastplate”.

Sunrise at the Forty Foot swimming area in Dublin with Irish prayer text
Sunrise at the Forty Foot swimming area in Dublin. (Photo: Michael Kellner via Shutterstock, text added via

What do Irish Prayers focus on? 

Some prayers focus on good health, wellbeing, luck and fortune. 

There are also prayers and blessings to wish someone well for their future, whatever may lie ahead of them.

Wedding Blessings from Ireland would be one example of this and there are also lots of different Irish birthday blessings as well.

Others are pleas for help and guidance, particularly in times of hardship and difficulty.  

During times of sickness and ill health, prayers of healing can be recited. 

Farewell prayers are also one of the themes covered by Irish prayers. 

These partings may just be temporary, such as prayers for travel. 

However, there are also prayers for death and funeral prayers.

When are Irish Prayers and Blessings used?

There are a variety of different circumstances when Irish prayers can be used. 

Weddings and funerals commonly feature Irish prayers. 

Other religious ceremonies, such as Baptisms, Communions and Confirmations also may feature Irish prayers. 

Irish prayers are also used on a regular basis by many as positive affirmations about life and happiness. 

They are used as part of daily devotions to help maintain and strengthen people’s faith. 

In some homes, there may be a plaque on the wall with a popular Irish blessing. 

Irish prayers are not only popular in Ireland, but also in other parts of the world. 

History of Irish Prayers and Blessings

The Irish have a way with words. They are known for their rich and entertaining myths and legends that are an integral part of the storytelling culture, which dates back centuries.

Celtic druids passed down their knowledge orally between the generations. 

Their knowledge of history, folklore and Celtic blessings was deemed so valuable that it was not to be written in case it fell into the wrong hands. 

The value of the spoken word has continued in the form of the Irish Prayers. 

Dramatic coastline at Dunluce Castle in County Antrim with Irish prayer text.
Dramatic coastline at Dunluce Castle in County Antrim. (Photo: kieranhayesphotography via Shutterstock, text added via

Christianity spread through Ireland from about the 5th century onwards. 

Saint Patrick was not the first person to try to convert the Irish pagan Celts to Christianity

However, he was very successful with this task and his legacy is the most enduring. 

Much of Irish culture is deeply rooted in Christianity, and in particular Catholicism. 

God and the Holy Spirit are frequently referenced in Irish prayers and blessings as a provider of spiritual guidance. 

Not all Irish prayers include a religious aspect, some also focus on other central themes in life. These include love, birth and rebirth, as well as friendship. 

Why are Irish Prayers popular?

The language and simple meanings conveyed in Irish prayers give them a widespread and enduring appeal for many. 

Irish prayers provide both spiritual and emotional support. They can be used in times of joy, happiness and celebration as a form of thanksgiving. 

In times of sorrow and hardship, they can provide comfort and solace to those that need a little extra support. 

Other people tend to use the prayers as a form of communication and way to express their faith. 

These are blessings Irish people recite, but they are also popular elsewhere. 

Many people with Irish heritage find the cultural significance of these prayers important. 

For these individuals, the connection with their ancestry and roots is very meaningful and moving. This helps to contribute to a sense of belonging.

As with many short Irish Blessings, Irish Prayers also tend to spotlight the positive points in life that make it worth living. 

They help to focus our attention on the good aspects in our lives that we encounter on a daily basis. 

Gratefulness and appreciation are important and we sometimes need reminders of this. 

There is also an underlying thread that aims to show us that hard times will also pass eventually. 

Hope and optimism are very much present in old Irish prayers. 

Popular Irish Prayers

There are many different prayers that are popular in Ireland. Some people may choose to say these prayers on a daily basis, while others may only use them from time to time.

We hope you find some prayers to suit your specific needs.

The Irish Prayer

A pathway in Glendalough, County Wicklow with Irish prayer text
A pathway in Glendalough, County Wicklow. (Photo: AllaStasy via Shutterstock, text added via

The Irish Prayer is also well known as The Irish Blessing, or simply as “May the Road Rise to Meet You”. 

Over time, the exact origins of this enduring Irish prayer have been lost. 

However, it is probably one of the most well known and well liked of all Irish Prayers and Blessings. 

Related Article: The Complete Guide to May the Road Rise to Meet You

There are some slight variations to the wording. Two of the most commonly used versions are shown below. 

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.

The alternative version of this prayer is as follows: 

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.

What is the meaning of the Irish Prayer?

The Irish Prayer is a short blessing that wishes someone well for their life stage or journey ahead. 

It hopes that their path in life will be an easy one and that the person will be supported along the way. 

When to use the Irish Prayer? 

The Irish Prayer is very verstitle and is regularly used in a variety of circumstances. 

Both joyful and sad occasions can be appropriate times to use this particular prayer. 

The Irish Prayer for a New Beginning

This prayer is commonly used to mark a new chapter in one’s life or a new beginning.

Examples of this would be Irish wedding celebrations, where two people embark on their future lives together. 

Moving location or starting a new job could also be good times to use this prayer. 

A coastal sunset in County Donegal with Irish prayer text.
A coastal sunset in County Donegal. (Photo: Lukassek via Shutterstock, text added via

The Irish Prayer as an Irish Farewell Blessings

A new start can also mean a journey in the physical sense. 

The Irish Prayer can act as an Irish farewell prayer or an Irish blessing for travel for such circumstances.

Irish Prayer for Funerals

The final chapter in life can also be marked by this prayer. 

As a final parting wish, these comforting words may be used to accompany the deceased and provide solace for the loved ones left behind. 

Related Article: Comforting Irish Funeral Blessings

Saint Patrick’s Breastplate 

View of the mouth of Cork Harbour on a sunny day with Irish prayer text.
View of the mouth of Cork Harbour on a sunny day. (Photo: Voyagerix via Shutterstock, text added via

It was originally written in about the 11th century in the Irish language. 

This old Irish blessing prayer is now most commonly recited as a hymn. 

The second verse which is included here is possibly the most popular. 

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.

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. 

Mt. Errigal in County Donegal at sunset with Irish blessing text.
Mt. Errigal in County Donegal at sunset. (Photo: Gerry McNally via Shutterstock, text added via

Irish Prayer for Protection

May the love and protection
Saint Patrick can give
Be yours in abundance
As long as you live.

Bonus Tip: Saint Patrick’s breastplate, Saint Patrick’s Behold and the Prayer to Saint Patrick for protection can all be used as Irish blessings for St Patrick’s Day.

Irish Prayers

May God be with you and bless you,
May you see your children’s children,
May you be poor in misfortune, rich in blessings.
May you know nothing but happiness
From this day forward.

May God grant you always a sunbeam to warm you,
A moonbeam to charm you, 
A sheltering Angel so nothing can harm you. 
Laughter to cheer you, 
Faithful friends near you 
And whenever you pray, 
Heaven to hear you.

May your days be many and your troubles few,
May God’s blessing descend upon you.
May peace be within you and may your heart be strong
May you find what you’re seeking wherever you roam.

A golden sunset in Limerick with Irish prayer text.
A golden sunset in Limerick. (Photo: Piotr Machowczyk via Shutterstock, text added via

Irish Prayer for the Sick

If you are looking for an Irish prayer for strength to overcome an illness, the following words of reassurance might help you or others. 

With the help of God, you’ll get through it.

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

Irish Prayers for Healing

Many people turn to prayer in times of suffering. 

An Irish Prayer for healing can be shared with someone who is experiencing physical pain. 

It can also be used to provide comfort and support in times of emotional and spiritual troubles as well. 

These prayers provide solace by helping to increase resilience during life’s hardships.

May God give you…
For every storm, a rainbow,
For every tear, a smile,
For every care, a promise,
And a blessing in each trial.
For every problem life sends,
A faithful friend to share,
For every sigh, a sweet song,
And an answer for each prayer.

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.

Poolbeg Lighthouse in Dublin in winter with Irish prayer blessing.
Poolbeg Lighthouse in Dublin in winter. (Photo: Peter Krocka via Shutterstock, text added via

Irish Prayers for Dead

This Irish prayer for the dead is an old Irish blessing.

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

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

Irish Funeral Prayer

May the Road Rise to Meet You (as mentioned above) is one of the most commonly used Irish funeral prayers. 

Its simple meaning can act as a highly suitable Irish funeral blessing. 

The use of this prayer can also be appreciated by the family and friends of the deceased. This is especially the case if the departed person had Irish connections.

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

Irish Prayer for Christmas

May the Blessings of Christmas be with you,
May the Christ Child light your way,
May God’s holy angels guide you,
And keep you safe each day.

Prayers in Irish

This is the translation of The Irish Prayer or The Irish Blessing (May the Road Rise to Meet you).

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.  

These Irish prayers in Gaelic Irish can be used as a way to say “may he or she rest in peace”. 

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

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

Related post: Do you know how to say Happy Birthday in Irish?

Non Religious Irish Prayer Blessings

Inch Beach in County Kerry with an Irish blessing text.
Inch Beach in County Kerry. (Photo: MNStudio via Shutterstock, text added via

If you are looking for an Irish pray for luck, happiness or friendship, here are some ideas. 

Wishing you a rainbow
For sunlight after showers
Miles and miles of Irish smiles
For golden happy hours
Shamrocks at your doorway
For luck and laughter too,
And a host of friends that never ends
Each day your whole life through.

May the blessed sunlight shine on you
And warm your heart
Till it glows like a great peat fire.

Related Article: Irish Blessings for Friendship

How to Use Irish Prayers

Irish prayers have the potential to be a useful resource for many people in terms of both their mental and physical well-being. 

They can be used as a way to express our gratitude for our lives and our loved ones. 

By focusing on what we have rather than what we do not have, we help our minds to think more positively.  

This “glass half full attitude” can have quite substantial positive knock on effects in one’s whole life. 

The positive affirmations found in the prayers can also help to build our strength and inner strength. 

They can help us to face challenges in a brave new way and persevere in difficult situations. 

Related Article: Guide to Celtic Symbols for Strength and Inner Strength

Certain prayers provide insight and clarity into situations that could otherwise overwhelm us. 

This can assist us to stay on track when we are pursuing our goals and priorities.

By helping to highlight what is important, prayers aid us in seeing different options and suitable directions forward.  

When words fail us, prayers can stand in as expressions of hope and reassurance in most circumstances. 

These words can help connect us to others and contribute to a sense of community and mutual support during tough times.  

They also help to remind us that we have mighty strength within us. 

Ways to Integrate Irish Prayers into Your Life

The Burren in County Clare covered in flowers with Irish prayer.
The Burren in County Clare covered in flowers. (Photo: MNStudio via Shutterstock, text added via

How you choose to include Irish Prayers in your life will depend entirely upon you. 

You might like to set up a morning routine, whereby you can recite an Irish Prayer that feels particularly meaningful. 

This could be part of a daily worship, meditation or mindfulness routine. Some people like to set an intention for this practice which they try to focus on throughout their day. 

One or two prayers may suit you and your needs very well. 

Perhaps these positive affirmations could become a sort of mantra that you can recite to yourself whenever you need to. 

They might provide you with inspiration, courage or a deep sense of peace.

The beautiful imagery and poetic language of the Irish Prayers can be creatively integrated into different artistic pursuits. 

Personalized greeting cards, wall blessings and lots more can be created from the simple words of Irish Prayers. 

These are a great way to share the uplifting messages with friends and family.

Traditional Irish Blessings and Prayers

There are many other old Irish blessings and prayers that form an integral part of Irish culture. 

Humor is commonplace in Irish culture and features often in many Irish blessings. You can discover some Irish wit in these funny Irish Blessings

Discover more about these prayers and blessings on this website.