The Irish Triads

The Irish Triads are triple wisdom sayings that relate lessons of how to live a life of goodness in wisdom, prosperity and happiness. There are many ancient Irish and Welsh triads, a number of which have been Christianized or glossed-over with Christian imagery. Below are examples of triads that appear to have escaped the tamperings of Christian scribes.

  • Concerning three things that hide: an open bag hides nothing, an open door hides little, an open person hides something.

  • Three errors not acknowledged: fear of an enemy, torment of love, and a jealous persons’ evil suspicion of their mate.

  • Three possessions we value most take away pride from us: our money, our time, and our conscience.

  • Three things by nature cause their possessor to err: youth, prosperity, and ignorance.

  • Three things resemble each other: a bright sword which rusts from long staying in the scabbard, bright water which stinks from long standing, and wisdom which is dead from long disuse.

  • Three things not easy to check: the stream of a cataract, an arrow from a bow, and a rash tongue.

  • Three things hard to catch: a stag on the mountain, a fox in the wood, and the coin of the miserly scrooge.

  • There are three things each very like the other: an old blind horse playing the harp with his hoofs, a pig in a silk dress, and a merciless person prating about piety.

  • Three things as good as the best: bread and milk against hunger, a white coat against the cold, and a yeoman’s son in a breach.

  • Three sweet things in the world: power, prosperity, and error in action.

  • There are three things which move together as quickly the one as the other: lightning , thought , and the help of the Mighty Ones.

  • Three things not loved without each one it’s companion: day without night, idleness without hunger, and wisdom without reverence.

  • There are three whose full reward can never be given to them: parents, a good teacher, and the Mighty Ones.

From Trioedd Ynys Prydein: (The Triads of the Island of Britain).

In the House of Blackthorn, students learn to write their own triads, which can be used as an incantation or part of a magical working. New classes begin September 2019. To schedule an interview, contact