Irish Christmas Blessings, Greetings and Poems
Using Irish Blessings at Christmas
Blessings have been associated with Irish culture for a long time. They are part of the tradition in Ireland of using words to show that we care about others. This is why the Irish are known for toasts, greetings and farewells which wish good health and good luck for loved ones.
From Gaelic to English
Blessings in Ireland were originally part of the Gaelic language tradition. However, as more and more Irish people have adopted English as their first language, the custom of blessings has moved into using English words to express Irish feelings. Irish blessings can relate to all kinds of good wishes for the future, and they are traditionally used at weddings, funerals, christenings and other important life events.
Christmas is also a time of year when blessings are used. Usually, Irish Christmas blessings wish good luck and good health for the new year to come. Christmas is a very important time of year in Irish culture; it is a time of family unity and remembering friends near and far.
Irish people usually gather together with family for a big meal on Christmas Day. Absent loved ones can be remembered with a toast or blessing. Cards and presents are also exchanged. You can find a link to ideas for celebrating Christmas Irish-style later in this article.
Wish Your Friends Health and Good Cheer With These Blessings
Traditional Irish Christmas blessings are a great way to let friends know you are thinking of them and wish them health and good cheer in the year to come. There are a selection of traditional Irish Christmas blessings below, followed by instructions on how to wish someone a Merry Christmas in Gaelic/Irish language and some ideas for Irish Christmas poems that you can use in your Christmas cards this year. There is even a video at the end of the article to help you with pronouncing Christmas greetings in Gaelic (Irish language).
Irish Christmas Blessings
Irish blessings can be used in Christmas cards, letters and party invitations. Here are a few short blessings that you might like to use this year:
- May peace and plenty be the first to lift the latch on your door, and may happiness be guided to your home by the candle of Christmas.
- May the good saints protect you and bless you today. And may trouble ignore you each step of the way. Christmas joy to you!
- Nollaig faoi shéan is faoi shaonas duit (A happy and a prosperous Christmas to you!)
- Beannachtaí na Nollag duit (The blessings of Christmas be with you!)
You might be wondering how to pronounce those last two Gaelic blessings above. Here is some guidance:
- Nollaig faoi shéan is faoi shaonas duit is pronouned "noll-ag fwee shee-an iss fwee show-nas ditch".
- Beannachtaí na Nollag duit is pronounced "ban-ach-tee na noll-ag ditch".
New Year's Blessing
On New Year's Eve, it is traditional to toast assembled friends and family with the blessing: 'May we all be alive and well here this time next year!'
Christmas in Ireland
Merry Christmas in Gaelic
Maybe you have been wondering how you would greet someone on Christmas day in Gaelic/Irish language. You can say 'Nollaig shona duit' (pronounced "noll-eg, hun-na ditch"). Literally, it means 'Christmas happiness be with you'.
If you are interested in learning more about how to pronounce Christmas greetings in Gaelic, I have posted a video below. Enjoy!
List of Irish Christmas Poems
Maybe you are thinking you would like to add an Irish Christmas poem to your Christmas cards this year, or maybe you would like to recite one at a Christmas gathering. Here are some Christmas poems by Irish poets which I would recommend. You can find them online posted on poetry sites.
- "A Christmas Childhood" and "Advent" by Patrick Kavanagh
- "Snow" by Louis MacNeice
- "Christmas Day" by Paul Durcan
- "Oíche Nollag na mBan" by Seán Ó Ríordáin
- "The Kerry Christmas Carol" by Sigerson Clifford
And however you decide to celebrate Christmas, I hope your heart is warmed by the loved ones in your life. Nollaig shona duit—Merry Christmas!