There’s some excellent Irish toasts. There’s some terrible ones, too.
We’ve all been there – sat at a wedding or huddled around a table in a pub when someone decides to raise a glass.
Some are good. Others are great. And some… well… some are shockingly bad!
In this guide, we’re focusing on the best Irish toasts for St Patrick’s Day, Weddings and more. Dive on in!
Some quick etiquette warnings for Irish toasts
Before we raise a glass and show you the best Irish toasts, let’s just cover a few basics around etiquette (take note):
1. Don’t believe everything you see online
It’s easy enough to read something online that sounds ‘quintessentially Irish’. At least 50% of the online guides to ‘Delivering Irish cheers’, as they call them, contain funny Irish toasts that are in fact in no way Irish. Take what you see online with a pinch of salt.
2. Funny vs offensive
So, you think you’ve found a funny Irish toast that’s packed with Irish slang words and you can’t wait to try it out… Unfortunately, while there are plenty of genuine and funny Irish drinking toasts online, there’s also a lot of stuff bordering on offensive. If in doubt always leave it out (or sense check it with us in the comments below).
3. Know your audience
The right toast can go down well in the right company. Before making one, regardless of whether it’s a St Patrick’s Day toast or otherwise, be clear about 1, the contents of the toast and 2, how appropriate it is for your audience. Some of the toasts below, for example, would be very inappropriate for a wedding.
Old and traditional Irish toasts
First up, let’s take a look at a few traditional Irish toasts.
These are great for formal occasions and friendly gatherings alike.
1. Farewell to friends toast
This is a light and old Irish toast that you can use to bid farewell to a good friend at the end of a gathering, and is a wish for good tidings and protection.
You can also interpret it as a toast to those who have departed the world of the living.
“May the road rise to meet you.
May the wind be always 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 hollow of His hand.”
2. Toast of gratitude
This is a short and simple traditional Irish toast toast that observes the unending cycle of bad times leading to good times.
It’s a hope that troubles won’t rule over you and that the blessings that come your way aren’t ignored in times of need.
“Always remember to forget
The troubles that passed away.
But never forget to remember
The blessings that come each day.”
Related read: Read our guide to 21 of the most unique and unusual Irish wedding traditions
3. Friends toast
Next up is a short and sweet Irish wedding toast that can be shared between good friends and wishes for safety and prosperity in this life and the next.
“May your glass be ever full.
May the roof over your head be always strong.
And may you be in heaven half an hour before the devil knows you’re dead.”
4. A quick one ideal for weddings
Some of the best Irish toasts are short and pack a punch. This is a nice, quick toast that you can use with friends and acquaintances.
Short and sweet, it’s a simple wish for a good life, lived to the fullest.
“May you live as long as you want
And never want as long as you live”.
5. A quirky toast
Next up is another funny Irish toast that wishes a life well-lived, this one is pretty popular for its “Irish-ness”, with references to magic, mists, and laughter.
“May the lilt of Irish laughter
Lighten every load.
May the mist of Irish magic
Shorten every road…
And may all your friends remember
All the favours you are owed!”
Related read: See our guide to 18 beautiful Irish wedding blessings to add to your ceremony
6. A toast for happiness
Short and simple, this toast wishes happiness and reminds us of the important things in life.
Who needs a pot of gold when you’ve a coin or two for a pint at the end of the day?
“May your heart be light and happy,
May your smile be big and wide,
And may your pockets always have
A coin or two inside!”
7. Gratitude toast take-2
This is another version of the gratitude toast above (number 2).
It uses slightly more simplified language while keeping the essence more or less the same.
“Always remember to forget
The things that made you sad.
But never forget to remember
The things that made you glad.”
Irish wedding toasts
So, we’ve a dedicated guide to Irish wedding toasts, but I’ll show you some of my favourites below.
There’s everything from funny Irish toasts that are great to round off a speech to short Irish cheers sayings for those of you not found of spending too much time in the limelight.
1. The luck of the Irish
Now, while the term ‘the Luck of the Irish‘ has reasonably offensive origins, it’s user here is more than acceptable.
Like most Irish wedding toasts, this one wishes good luck and happiness to the bride and groom. But, it can also be used in cards to thank or welcome the guests to the reception.
“May the luck of the Irish
Lead to happiest heights
And the highway you travel
Be lined with green lights.
Wherever you go and whatever you do,
May the luck of the Irish be there with you.”
2. An Irish toast for good luck
Many toasts use opposites to punctuate their meaning and this wedding staple is a classic.
It wishes a rich and fulfilled life without hardship.
“May you be poor in misfortune,
Rich in blessings,
Slow to make enemies,
And fast to make friends!”
3. A love letter to Ireland and her lovers
A short and simple toast for any proud Irishman or woman who’s been touched by the romance of a wedding.
“Here’s to the land of the shamrock so green,
Here’s to each lad and his darlin’ colleen,
Here’s to the ones we love dearest and most.
May god bless old Ireland, that’s this Irishman’s toast!”
4. A toast of wisdom
Sometimes people think this is a bit of an odd choice for a wedding, but it often comes up, possibly among parents who aren’t convinced their kids have made the right choice!
But that’s perhaps a cynical way of looking at it. Alternatively, it can be interpreted as bestowing a blessing of the wisdom that many learn only in later years.
“May you have the hindsight to know where you’ve been,
The foresight to know where you are going,
And the insight to know when you have gone too far.”
5. A pot of gold
Next up is another Irish toast for good luck. This one packs plenty of the symbols of Ireland into a handful of sentences.
But it’s a gentle toast that wishes luck, happiness, and wealth. It’s typically made as glasses are raised to the bride and groom.
“May you have all the happiness
And luck that life can hold—
And at the end of all your rainbows
May you find a pot of gold.”
Funny Irish toasts
We’ve saved some of the best Irish toasts for last (see our guide to the best Irish jokes for more funny stuff!).
These quirky toasts are ideal for merry gatherings when after a few pints, visitors might even be forgiven for over-egging the Irish cliches!
1. A twisted toast
First up is a light-hearted toast that wishes for popularity, and if that’s not possible, at least an easy way to tell who your enemies are!
“May those who love you love you,
And those who don’t love you,
May god turn their hearts.
And if he doesn’t turn their hearts,
May he turn their ankles so you’ll know them by their limping”.
2. One toast to rule them all
This is a personal favourite and it often comes out when a group of friends is at that ideal point of the night before drunkenness sets in.
When you’re merry and buzzing, and everything in the world is just as it should be.
“Here’s to a long life and a merry one.
A quick death and an easy one.
A pretty girl and an honest one.
A cold pint- and another one!”
3. A toast to friendship and security
Ireland has been through a lot in its long history, but like humans around the world, what most of us really want is a safe place and good company.
This toast captures the sentiment perfectly and in just two short lines.
“May the roof above us never fall in,
And those gathered beneath it never fall out.”
4. A toast to a sweet cailín
This one might come out as a ‘ah-here-loverboy-over-there-is-pining-for-his-missus’ type toast, but it has a nice sentiment and a good dollop of humour.
Or, you might say it in honour of the woman in your life while you’re out drinking with friends.
“Here’s to women of the Irish shore;
I love but one, I love not more.
But since she’s not here to drink her part,
I’ll drink her share with all my heart.”
5. St. Patrick’s Day toast
This one’s a little bit of a mouthful, but you might come across it during St Patrick’s day celebrations.
“St Patrick was a gentleman,
Who through strategy and stealth,
Drove all the snakes from Ireland,
Here’s a toasting to his health.
But not too many toastings
Lest you lose yourself and then
Forget the good saint Patrick
And see all those snakes again”
6. A toast to your health
Drinking to the health of those around you is always a good choice.
Just be sure not to overdo it, lest your own suffers…
“I drink to your health when I’m with you,
I drink to your health when I’m alone,
I drink to your health so often,
I’m starting to worry about my own!”
7. A toast to pleasant vices
This one is another favourite, and it’s another one that is likely to come out as the group begins to get merry!
A great choice when you’re drinking with good friends, whether you’ve known them your entire life, or just met them a few beers ago.
“Here’s to cheating, stealing, fighting, and drinking.
If you cheat, may you cheat death.
If you steal, may you steal a woman’s heart.
If you fight, may you fight for a brother.
And if you drink, may you drink with me.”
8. A toast to true love
This is a cheeky little toast, typically said to your loved one.
If you’re feeling brave, you might try it on an anniversary or valentine’s day!
“Here’s to me, and here’s to you,
And here’s to love and laughter-
I’ll be true as long as you,
And not one moment after.”
9. This one’s on me toast
This toast is a celebration of those fantastic people who aren’t shy about getting a round in!
“May the winds of fortune sail you,
May you sail a gentle sea.
May it always be the other guy
Who says, ‘this drink’s on me.'”
FAQs about the best Irish toasts
We’ve had a lot of questions over the years asking about everything from ‘What are some inoffensive Irish drinking toasts?’ to ‘What St Patrick’s Day toasts are good for family gatherings’?.
In the section below, we’ve popped in the most FAQs that we’ve received. If you have a question that we haven’t tackled, ask away in the comments section below.
What is the most common Irish toast?
If you’re looking for traditional Irish toasts, it depends on the occasion. In our guide above you’ll see common ones for weddings, drinking and more.
What do the Irish say when toasting?
In Ireland, we say ‘cheers’. However, you’ll hear some people say ‘Sláinte’ (pronounced ‘Slan-cha’), which means ‘Health’.