Some Irish Triads

The triad was a form of literary composition among the Irish along with several other similar enumerative sayings common in Irish literature (e.g. duads, tetrads, heptads). The triad was perhaps influenced by the concept of the Blessed Trinity which accounts for many other peculiar phenomena in Irish folklore, literature, and art.

  • Three glories of speech: steadiness, wisdom, brevity.
  • Three false sisters: “perhaps,” “may be,” “I dare say.”
  • Three bloodsheds that need not be impugned: the bloodshed of battle, of jealousy, of mediating.
  • Three brutes whose trespasses count as human crimes: a chained hound, a ferocious ram, a biting horse.
  • Three things that ruin every chief: falsehood, overreaching, parricide.
  • Three woman-days: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday. If women go to men on those days, the men will love them better than they the men, and the women will survive the men.
  • Three man-days: Thursday, Friday, Sunday. If women go to men on those days, they will not be loved, and their husbands will survive them. Saturday, however, is a common day. It is equally lucky to them. Monday is a free day to undertake any business.
  • Three prohibitions of food: to eat it without giving thanks, to eat it before its proper time, to eat it after a guest.
  • Three worst smiles: the smile of a wave, the smile of a lewd woman, the grin of a dog ready to leap.
  • Three renovators of the world: the womb of woman, a cow’s udder, a smith’s moulding-block.
  • Three things that constitute a harper: a tune to make you cry, a tune to make you laugh, a tune to put you to sleep.
  • Three things that constitute a blacksmith: Nethin’s spit, the cooking-hearth of the Morrigan, the Dagda’s anvil.

Published by Christian Clay Columba Campbell

Christian Clay Columba Campbell is a Roman Catholic of the Anglican Use. As Senior Warden of the Cathedral of the Incarnation (Orlando, FL), he organised the process by which the parish accepted the Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum coetibus, petitioning to join the Catholic Church. The Anglican Cathedral is now the Church of the Incarnation in the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter. Personal queries should be directed to me at eccentricbliss dot com.

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