The Big Little Book of Irish Wit and Wisdom
Amazon Synopsis: Six separate, enchanting gift books have been remade into one hefty little book that is the ultimate collection of the traditions, heritage, and whimsy of the Emerald Isle. The book includes a rich blend of classic Irish triads dating from the ninth century, 28 riddles of traditional Irish life, 32 prayers and blessings for all occasions, 50 proverbs, and the best of Ireland's toasts. 250 color illustrations.
Yaq Note: Many of these Proverbs are meant to be taken in a metaphoric sense: e.g. animals are often used to represent people, or people's characteristics. Similarly, other proverbs are meant to be multi-purpose, and to have no distinct meaning, until applied to a real life situation. Therefore, any familiar setting, object, animal, event, or so forth, will have a hidden depth of meaning, rather like a simple 'koan' of the Eastern tradition. These proverbs are sometimes designed to be pondered over, and at other times just designed to make you laugh. Enjoy.
Classic Irish Proverbs
Amazon.com The sayings contained in this compact, green-bound volume--some bawdy, some knowing, and some filled with quiet wisdom--demonstrate the rich oral heritage of the Emerald Isle. Presented in both English and Irish, these traditional adages deal with subjects ranging from love and marriage to power and war. While some are familiar in their English translation ("Time and tide wait for no man"), others are original, striking, and fresh: "Don't let your tongue cut your throat." "He who gets a name for rising early can stay in bed until noon." "Every dog is brave on his own doorstep." Even more interesting (to a student of Irish culture, at least) are those expressions that don't translate well or are unclear in meaning: "There is hope from the sea but there is no hope from the land"; "Reverence ceases once blood is spilt." Brian Fitzgerald's whimsical, Chagall-esque color illustrations provide a handsome accompaniment.
Yaq Note: 'Unclear' proverbs are proverbs that are very difficult to translate into English. Many Irish Gaelic words are untranslatable, because many words in Irish have double, triple or more meanings. In this tradition, many of these words alone mean much more than their English language equivalent word. It is because of this, that Irish people had often been criticized for never saying what they really meant, or for being 'obtuse'. The real truth, however, is simply that the Irish found it very difficult to drop the extra meanings, as they found much more accuracy, and brevity in their own language. Over time, however, they found a way of expressing themselves adequately in English, by adding in their own words, and turns of phrase. Anyone interested should check out some Gaelic poetry from our booksections.