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22 Best Irish Toasts (With Etiquette Tips)

22 Best Irish Toasts (With Etiquette Tips)

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!

Quick etiquette advice for giving Irish toasts

irish cheers toasts warning

Before we raise a glass and show you the best Irish toasts, let’s cover a few basics around etiquette (take note):

1. Don’t believe everything you see online

It’s easy 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.

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.

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

Mussenden Temple

Photos via Shutterstock

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

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

Irish goodbye toast

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

irish toast for friends

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

short toast

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

funny 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, mist 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

happiness toast

Short and simple, this Irish toast wishes happiness and reminds us of the important things in life.

It finishes on a lighthearted night with reference to future prosperity.

“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

gratitude toast

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

Benone Strand

Photos via Shutterstock

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

luck of the irish toast

Now, while the term ‘the Luck of the Irish‘ has reasonably offensive origins, it’s use 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

friendship toast

Many Irish 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 Irish blessings,

Slow to make enemies,

And fast to make friends!”

3. A love letter to Ireland and her lovers

more irish wedding toasts

A simple and short Irish 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

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

pot of gold

Next up is another short 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

Tollymore Forest Park

Photos via Shutterstock

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

funny irish cheers

First up is a light-hearted Irish 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

a toast to friends

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!”

Related reads: See our guides to funny Irish sayings, Gaelic phrases and old Irish proverbs

3. A toast to friendship and security

a short irish toast

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

missing someone toast

This one might come out as a bit of a soppy Irish love 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

St. Patrick's Day toasts

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

irish toast to good 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

funny cheers

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

Irish love toast

This is a cheeky short Irish toast, typically said to a 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

another irish drinking 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’.

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Sunday 12th of November 2023

Love the article. Our heritage is Scot-Irish. I try to incorporate traditions into the holidays, big & small. It's been a dream of mine to go to Ireland for decades. While it appears that trip won't happen, articles like this keep Ireland in my heart and mind's eye. Thank you from Kentucky, USA

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