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May The Road Rise To Meet You (Irish Blessing)

May The Road Rise To Meet You (Irish Blessing)

‘May The Road Rise To Meet You’ is arguably one of the most iconic of the many Irish blessings.

It is a simple yet meaningful Irish blessing thats steeped in wisdom, depth and love.

The use of this blessing has transcended generations and has stood the test of time, acting as a source of comfort for many across the world.

Below, you’ll find the full Irish blessing ‘May The Road Rise To Meet You’ along with its background and our interpretation of it.

‘May The Road Rise To Meet You’ verse

may the road rise up to meet you irish blessing

Before we look into the meaning of ‘May The Road Rise To Meet You’, here is the Irish blessing (it’s often used as an Irish poem, too) in full:

‘May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind be always at your back.
May 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 palm of His hand’

Meaning of ‘May The Road Rise To Meet You’

irish blessing may the road

Photos via Shutterstock

I’d like to start this section by saying that I am not a scholar of any form – this is simply my interpretations of ‘May The Road Rise To Meet You’.

So, please do take the below with a pinch of salt. One of the more common questions that we get about the Irish blessing, “May the Road Rise to Meet You,” is where did it originate.

As is the case with many ancient Irish traditions, there’s no reliable source as to who wrote it and when.

Line 1: ‘May the road’

The first line of this Irish blessing is the most iconic: “May the road rise up to meet you”.

This is a metaphor that wishes the recipient an easy journey, hoping that the road rises to make their journey that bit easier.

As you read this line, you can picture a weary traveller rambling along a steep road that eventually rises to transform the persons journey from a tough one to an easy one.

It’s easy, from this line alone, to see why this is one of the more popular Irish wedding blessings.

Line 2: ‘May the wind’

The second line says: “May the wind be always at your back” and this further emphasises the sentiment from the first line.

The speaker is continuing to wish the listener a more doable journey, courtesy of natural forces (the wind).

This line paints a clear picture – a person making their way along a path with a powerful breeze pushing them along, rather that hitting them from the front and making their journey a more difficult one.

Line 3: ‘May the sun shine’

The third line says: “May the sun shine warm upon your face”. Now, although it doesn’t include any Irish symbols, the symbolism is clear.

You could interpret this in several ways, but I like to think that the reader is wishing the listener a warm and wonderful journey (the opposite being cold and dark).

Line 4: ‘May the rains fall soft’

The second last line of this Irish blessing says: “May the rains fall soft upon your fields”. Again, the theme of wishing the listener an easy journey in life is repeated.

When reading this blessing, my mind always goes to the opposite of each line. In this instance, the opposite is torrential rain which would make field work in particular tough.

Line 5: ‘And until we meet again’

The final line is all about reunion: “And until we meet again, may God hold you in the palm of His hand.” This line is steeped in comfort and well wishes.

It wishes the listener(s) a safe journey and the hope that, one day, reader and listener will meet again.

Final thoughts on this old Irish blessing

In life, regardless of who we are and where we’re from, every single one of us sets off on a journey, big or small.

Each journey, whether it’s moving abroad or getting married, brings with it its fair share of challenges – both good and bad.

The Irish blessing ‘May The Road Rise To Meet You’ acknowledges each of these challenges and periods of transition and meets them with various well wishes.

It is a simple Irish blessing that makes a good Irish toast, especially if you’re looking for one that’s short and simple.

FAQs about the Irish blessing ‘May The Road Rise To Meet You’

We’ve had a lot of questions over the years asking about everything from ‘Is this an Irish farewell?’ to ‘Can this Irish blessing be used for a wedding?’.

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 does may the road rise to meet you mean?

The meaning of ‘May The Road Rise To Meet You’ is one of well wishes to a person or persons about to set off a journey. It wishes them an easy path and every success along the way.

What is the Irish quote may the road rise?

‘May the road rise up to meet you. May the wind be always at your back. May 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 palm of His hand’

Who wrote the poem May the road Rise to Meet You?

Like many ancient Irish blessings, the original author along with when it was written is unknown. It would have been originally written in Irish and later translated.

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