21 Funny Quotes About Ireland

Hal Roach

‘If there were only three Irishmen in the world you’d find two of them in a corner talking about the other.

Maria Brandan Araoz (Argentine writer)

The History of Ireland in two words: Ah well.

The Invasion by the Vikings: Ah well.
The Invasion by the Normans. Ah well.
The Flight of the Earls, Mr Oliver Cromwell.

Daniel O’Connell, Robert Emmett, The Famine, Charles Stewart Parnell, Easter Rising, Michael Collins, Éamon De Valera, Éamon De Valera again (Dear Germany, so sorry to learn of the death of your Mr Hitler), Éamon De Valera again, the Troubles, the Tribunals, the Fianna Fáil Party, The Church, the Banks, the eight hundred years of rain:
Ah well.

Niall Williams, Irish author, born 1958, from ‘History of the Rain’

One was definitely Irish…. The second man was unmistakably American. It wasn’t so much his tan or dark hair that gave him away as how he held himself. He had an eager air, as though the world was full of possibility. Irish people never looked like that.

Rachael English, Irish broadcaster and writer, from ‘Going Back’

I think being a woman is like being Irish. Everyone says you’re important and nice, but you take second place all the same.

Iris Murdoch, Novelist and Philosopher, (1919-1999)

I am married to Beatrice Salkeld, a painter. We have no children, except me.

Brendan Behan
Brendan Behan

I think the Irish woman was freed from slavery by bingo…. They can go out now, dressed up, with their handbags and have a drink and play bingo. And they deserve it.

John B. Keane, Irish writer, (1928-2002)

I still hold two truths with equal and fundamental certainty. One: the British did terrible things to the Irish. Two: the Irish, had they the power, would have done equally terrible things to the British. And so also for any other paired adversaries I can imagine. The difficulty is to hold on to both truths with equal intensity, not let either one negate the other, and know when to emphasize one without forgetting the other. Our humanity is probably lost and gained in the necessary tension between them both. I hope, by the way, that I do not sound anti-British. It is impossible not to admire a people who gave up India and held on to Northern Ireland. That shows a truly Celtic sense of humor.

John Dominic Crossan, Irish-American scholar and writer (born 1934)

The Irish ignore anything they can’t drink or punch.

James Boswell, Scottish writer, (1740-1795)

I formed a new group called Alcoholics-Unanimous. If you don’t feel like a drink, you ring another member and he comes over to persuade you.

Richard Harris, Irish actor, (1930-2002)

It’s not that the Irish are cynical. It’s rather that they have a wonderful lack of respect for everything and everybody.

Brendan Behan, Irish writer (1923-1964)

I’m an atheist and I thank God for it.

George Bernard Shaw, Irish writer (1856-1950)

A Garda recruit was asked during the exam: ‘What would you do if you had to arrest your own mother?’ He answered: ‘Call for reinforcements.’


If this humor be the safety of our race, then it is due largely to the infusion into the American people of the Irish brain.

William Howard Taft, 27th US President (1857-1930)

When anyone asks me about the Irish character, I say look at the trees. Maimed, stark and misshapen, but ferociously tenacious.

Edna O’Brien, Irish writer, (born in 1930)

An Irishman will always soften bad news, so that a major coronary is no more than ‘a bad turn’ and a near hurricane that leaves thousands homeless is ‘good drying weather’.

Hugh Leonard, Irish writer, (1926-2009)

The English are not happy unless they are miserable, the Irish are not at peace unless they are at war, and the Scots are not at home unless they are abroad.

George Orwell, English Writer (1903-1950)

Dublin University contains the cream of Ireland – rich and thick.

Samuel Beckett, Irish writer, (1926-1989)

He knows nothing and he thinks he knows everything. That points clearly to a political career.

George Bernard Shaw, Irish writer, (1856-1950)

Joseph O'Connor

The most important thing I would learn in school was that almost everything I would learn in school would be utterly useless. When I was fifteen I knew the principal industries of the Ruhr Valley, the underlying causes of World War One and what Peig Sayers had for her dinner every day…What I wanted to know when I was fifteen was the best way to chat up girls. That is what I still want to know.

Joseph O’Connor,Irish writer, from ‘The Secret World of the Irish Male’

by Michael Green
Home Page

About the author

Michael Green Michael Green is Manager of The Information about Ireland Site

4 thoughts on “21 Funny Quotes About Ireland

  1. Fantastic Irish quotes. I loved all of them. As the late Hal Roach once said: “The Irish can laugh at themselves, that is what makes them so special”. I agree.

  2. I loved the joke about having to arrest your mother, but only after calling for reinforcements. It reminded me of my own feisty, dearly loved and much missed mother. When she was angry, her eyes fairly blazed. She was always saying, “Wait’ll I get the strap!” to my six brothers, and taking one step towards the kitchen door where it dangled. Then the boys took off in all directions. My father looked at me once and laughed. “I’ve been married to your mother for thirty years” he said, “She’s never once taken that strap off the door”.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *