Grace 4: The Irish Way

Grace is a form of blessing. The Irish name for Grace is Gráinne (grawn-ya). The Irish have always had a sense of spirituality, which has been demonstrated since Christianity came to Ireland and previously in pre-Christian Celtic times.

‘The Irish blessing is these days a fairly religious thing. Since the days of the great Bishop and St. Patrick, is famous for running all of the snakes out of Ireland,  the Irish people have always had a strong relationship with religion.

The messages and beliefs of Christianity have been apparent throughout the history of Ireland, and have helped shaped their way of life today. What better way to channel your faith and share it with others that by sharing a traditional Irish blessing.

But did you know that it is believed that the history of the Irish blessing is actually even older than Christianity?

History suggests to us that the tradition of the Irish blessing dates back to pre-Christian times, in fact to ancient Celtic times, when they were a folk and druidic tradition.

At this time traveling (travelling) poets and bards would offer blessing services to clans as they crossed throughout the country. Their blessings were often rooted in nature and the environment, and many of them have been re-interpreted for the new Christian era.’

St. Patrick

After St. Patrick brought Christianity to Ireland there are many references to him in the blessings. Traditionally the blessings were said in the Irish language so when they were translated they had the poetic sense of the Irish language with certain turns of phrase. Below is a prayer/blessing that we have been told is from St. Patrick.

Connected to Nature

The weather and nature were always important to the Irish. They say you can have four seasons in one day in Ireland. With many people living off the land or fishing off the coasts the weather is intertwined with the every day life of people. This is represented in many of the blessings.


Family is extremely important to the Irish. After the Irish potato famine and during any time of financial hardship many Irish people emigrated to Britain, Canada, the U.S.A, Australia and New Zealand. There was immense sadness when a loved one went to a far distant land maybe to be never seen again. Here is a very well-known Irish blessing.


Friends like families have strong bonds which can last a lifetime. Often these friendships arose out of co- existing in small close-knit communities in Ireland. Here is one of many blessings about friendship.

No Place like Home

The Irish traditionally have wanted to own their own homes if possible, although circumstances and attitudes are changing in recent times. This is meant to have arisen because of being under British rule for centuries and having to pay rent as tenant farmers to the ‘big house’ in the country or to landlords of tenement buildings in the cities. So home was always important and the place for the family to be together. We had this blessing on a wall at home when I was growing up and I always loved it.

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