Blessing/Poem – Ireland


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.

English translation:

May the road rise to meet you
May the wind be always at your back
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 hollow of his hand.

The informant is third generation Irish. He heard many of these traditional Irish folklore genres from his grandmother whose mother came from Ireland, one of twelve kids that was sent to America as a result of the potato famine. He’s seen and heard this prayer “all over the place.” Usually it’d be hung up on ornaments on the door, also used for wedding blessing.

The informant interpreted this blessing within the context of Irish history. Since most of these lines refer to traveling, for example, imagery of nature, the wind, the sun, the rain and the road, he believes the blessing came about as a result of the mass exodus of Irish people from their homeland. Thus, this blessing was probably used numerous times before send offs.

I know I’ve seen this poem/blessing before somewhere, but I never knew it was Irish. This also sounds a lot like something Yeats would write; whom I also did not know was Irish until my informant brought it to my attention. After researching this blessing a bit more, I’ve also realized that a lot of Irish poems start with “may…” and that there are different versions and variations of this same blessing, thus making it Dundes’ definition of a typical folklore.