Old wives tales from Ireland – Superstition

Here are some of Ireland’s oldest superstitions:superstitions-01

Our Irish ancestors were very wise indeed but very superstitious here are a few of the many Irish superstitions .

Anyone that kills a robin will have a life full of misery. If a robin comes in to your house its a sign someone  close to you will die.

If a magpie comes chattering at your windowsill it is a sign of death.

The shoe or a horse or donkey nailed above your door will bring good luck. But the shoe must be found, not bought.

You see a black cat it is unlucky, but if it crosses your path, it will bring the opposite. The popular lucky black cat.

If you come across a crowing hen or a whistling girl both are considering bad luck.

If a chair falls when a person stands up, it is an unlucky omen.

If your ears are burning, someone is gossiping about you.

If your nose is itchy, you will have a fight with someone.

If you stumble at a grave it is considered very bad luck.

If you break a mirror, you can expect seven years of bad luck.

If you spill salt, you must throw some over your left shoulder to stave off bad luck.

The seventh son of a seventh son has the power over all diseases and can cure them by laying hands.

You must never build a house on the site of a Fairy Fort for it will bring you eternal bad luck. do not mess with the fairies.

It is also seen as very bad luck to place new shoes on a table or chair.

It is believed that the souls of the dead that die abroad, wish to be buried in Ireland. The dead will not rest peaceably unless buried with their forefathers and people of their own kind.

If you meet a funeral you must turn back and walk at least four steps with the mourners.
If you hear a cuckoo on your right you will have good luck for a year.

To cure a fever, place the person on the shore when the tide is coming in. When the tide begins to go back out, the retreating waves will carry away the disease and the fever.

To make your skin beautiful, wash your face with May dew on May morning (May Day) at sunrise.(might be worth a try)

If chased at night by a ghost or an evil spirit, try to get to a stream of running water. If you can cross it no devil or evil spirit will be able to follow.

If you want to know the name of the person you are to marry, put a snail on a plate sprinkled with flour. Cover the plate and leave it overnight. In the morning the initial of the person will be on the plate, traced by the snail.

Here are some Fairy superstitions us Irish love the owl Fairies or “Wee Folk”


Other names for the fairies are “Them”, “The Other Crowd” and of course “The Wee Folk”. You should never call them Fairies, at least don’t say it out loud, they hate that name.

Fairies live all over Ireland. The places they live are called forts, raths, or mounds. A fairy king rules each of these places. At times it is said you can hear sounds of music and merriment coming from the fairy places.

Fairy paths are the routes fairies use to get from here to there and are all over Ireland. Never build a house on a fairy path. The best way to avoid this is to set four posts at the corner of the site overnight. If they are still standing in the morning then it is safe to build there. If any have fallen or are moved try another spot. You don’t want your house on a fairy path. You would never have any peace.

It’s believed woman that appear to have died in childbirth are taken to live with the fairies. The same is true of stillborn babies.

Ohh there are many more I could add but this should do you for now, us Irish are very superstitious folk,how superstitious are you ?




  1. oh gaynor long time no see! how did i know that we would rekindle our fire if i found you online, trust you to be on a superstitions website lol you’re nuts mun hun x

  2. The house in the fairy fort is a lie, my father family home is built in one, and the foundation is an inaugeration stone of a High King (There are only 4 in Ireland) but anyone that takes anything out of the fort, that’s of historic value, will most definitely meet with bad luck

    1. Hi Graham,sorry only getting back to you now, been away from the blog for a while,that is so interesting about your fathers family home and only 4 in Ireland amazing,I would definitely not try and take anything out of the fort I don’t think its worth the risk ha ha.There are many many different tales about our wee Irish Fairies all which I enjoy. I just hope I never have a bad encounter with one 🙂

  3. Hi Adam Blake here thank you for putting these superstitions up. I believe its very important to keep up our old superstitious heritage. Growing up my grandparents used to tell me a lot of them but since they died when I was only young and my mother had no interest I lost the knowledge of a lot of them. But I think its so important to always know them and pasd them along its a part of who we are truly. Thanks again please put up as many more Irish superstitious and customs as you have knowledge of.

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