What The "Irish Blessing" Means

Most barbershoppers know the song we call "The Irish Blessing." First, I'll share the words to the song, then tell you what it means.

"May the road rise up to meet you. May the wind be always at your back. May the sun shine warm upon your face; May the rains fall soft upon your fields and until we meet again, may God hold you in the palm of His hand."

“May the Road Rise Up to Meet You,” is an Irish blessing often used as a prayer that has been handed down throughout the centuries by musical groups and word of mouth.

The History of this Irish Blessing
The Irish blessing is a prayer, originally written in Gaelic. “May the road rise to meet you” is actually mistranslated quite a bit from the original Gaelic language it was written in. “Rise” actually translates more accurately to “succeed.” So the text means,“May you succeed on your road.”

The author of the prayer isn’t known for certain, although many attribute it to St. Patrick, as it is similar to his other writings.

The ancient Irish were said to have a deep appreciation for nature. Perhaps the beautiful scenery they were blessed to be surrounded by helped them connect with God. The wind, the sun, and the rain are included in this particular blessing. Celtic literature is famed for using images of nature and everyday life to speak of how God interacts with His people.

What Does the Wind Symbolize?
Knowing that the first line wishes the prayer’s recipient success, the element of wind “at your back” in this passage could simply mean a lack of hardship to go up against or challenge to climb over. A flat road is easier to travel than one with hills or even gradual inclines.

But we know that it’s unrealistic to have zero obstacles because those are often the building blocks of character and faith that we experience that refine our hearts throughout our journey on earth.

One writer suggested that The "wind" can be likened to the Holy Spirit who is surely with us on our journey.

What Does the Sun Symbolize?
“May the sun shine warm upon your face,”alludes to God’s Mercy. “But for you who revere my name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its rays.” (Malachi 4:2).

Knowing that the exact translation of the word “rise” is actually “succeed,” we look for success and have hope for our path.

What Does the Rain Symbolize?
“The rains fall soft upon your fields,”for an ancient Irish farmer, was a symbol of God’s provision. The lush green landscape couldn’t exist without a steady amount of rain. The evidence of His provision is revealed in nature, His Creation.

The Final Blessing
“May God hold you in the palm of His hand.” For a culture enriched by the beauty of nature that surrounded them, perhaps this ending reminds them to "Fear not," and "Do not be anxious about tomorrow."

Sing along with the quartet on YOUTUBE if you know your part.
... See MoreSee Less

View on Facebook

This February 14th we will be offering SINGING VALENTINES again. Call me at 715-483-9202 and reserve a spot. We will send you a photo of the event and give the recipient a flower as we sing! ... See MoreSee Less

View on Facebook

Reminder: Ladies' Night for Barbershopers is Sat., Jan. 19th at 5:30 PM Shoreview Supper Club,
796 100th St, Amery, WI 54001-5125
... See MoreSee Less

View on Facebook

Come and hear the Senior World Champion Quartet @ 7 PM ...on Jan. 18th at Marine on the St Croix Village Hall ... See MoreSee Less

OUR LAST SHOW as current International Senior Champions will be in Marine on St Croix (home town of our bass) on January 18. Then its on to the MidWinter Convention, and "singing away" our trophy onstage at the Grand Old Opry in Nashville. We are having SO much fun!

View on Facebook