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Touching Irish Poems About Death and Dying

Kelly Roper
Woman reading a eulogy at graveside

Irish poems about death and dying truly touch the heart. If you're looking for the perfect poem for an Irish funeral, wake, or memorial service, one of these original poems or one of the more famous Irish poems about dying will surely provide the sentiments you need as you lay your loved one to rest.

Original Irish Poems About Death

The poems included here are written with the spirit of Ireland and her people in mind. Some are a little more religious in nature than others.

I'll See This Side of the Green No More

By Kelly Roper

I'll see this side of the green no more,
Or feel those gentle mists.
The warmth of the sun as it breaks through the clouds,
Will no longer find me in its midst.

For I'm off to meet my maker and
I hope in Heaven to remain,
Though departing from this emerald isle
Gives me a stab of pain.

Yet part of me will remain here,
Beneath this soft, blessed ground.
Please take a moment to remember me,
Whenever you come around.

Dublin Cemetery

Tip a Glass in My Honor

By Kelly Roper

Tip a glass in my honor
And perhaps pour a sip on my grave.
It's not so much the whiskey
As your company I crave.
Sing me one of our favorite tunes
We used to join in at the pub.
Remember me fondly as you sing,
And I'll remember you to God here above.

Celtic cross gravestone in a cemetery

More Glorious Than Ireland

By Kelly Roper

The beauty of the Irish hills
Has always been a balm to my soul.
To think that Heaven must be
Even more glorious than Ireland
Fills me with a desire to see it.
So I've gone ahead of all of you,
But rest assured,
I'll be there when you catch up.

Green landscape in Ireland

An Irish Funeral Prayer

By Kelly Roper

May Mother Mary take (name) by the hand,
And lead him/her to our Lord.
May Jesus Christ welcome him/her with open arms,
And share with him/her the glories of Heaven.
And may (name) remember us poor sinners left here,
And pray for our salvation.
Áiméan.

Cross monument in the sunset

Consider the Shamrock

By Kelly Roper

Consider the shamrock, how St. Patrick said
It represents the Holy Trinity.
Father, Son, and Holy Spirit,
And the Heavenly realms that be.
We're taught that if we follow God
and strive to do His will,
One day we'll go to our reward
In His shining city on a hill.
Take heart that our dearly departed,
Now knows the face of God,
And the Lord's presence radiates all around,
An encompasses him/her with love.
So each time you see a shamrock,
Remember your loved one that's passed.
Strive to be worthy of Heaven,
Where you'll be reunited at last.

Famous Irish Poems About Death and Dying

If you're searching for an Irish poem mourners might be more familiar with, consider these poems. Some may already be familiar to you, others less so, but each has its merits.

The Traditional Irish Blessing

The Irish Blessing was written by an unknown author. It used as a general blessing, but it's also recited at funerals sometimes as a parting wish from the deceased to his or her family and friends. This blessing has also been adapted into a song called Until We Meet Again. Either the reading or the song would make a lovely closing for a funeral ceremony.

"May the roads rise up to meet you,
May the wind be always at your back..."

Those We Love (Don't Go Away)

Those We Love, author unknown, offers comfort that our loved ones are never truly gone. This poem would make a touching graveside reading.

"Those we love don't go away;
They walk beside us every day.

Unseen, unheard but always near.
Sill loved, still missed, and very dear..."

An Irish Airman Foresees His Death

An Irish Airman Foresees His Death was written by the famous Irish poet William Butler Yeats, and it's perfect for an airman's funeral. An excerpt from this poems reads:

"I know that I shall meet my fate
Somewhere among the clouds above;
Those that I fight I do not hate,
Those that I guard I do not love..."

Under Ben Bulben

Under Ben Bulben is another poem by William Butler Yeats that has a focus on death. This excerpt expresses the heart of the poem and would make a lovely quote for the funeral service even if you don't want to read the entire poem.

"...Whether man dies in his bed
Or the rifle knocks him dead,
A brief parting from those dear
Is the worst man has to fear..."

Irish landscape with a rainbow

The Parting Glass

The Parting Glass is another example written by an unknown author. The lyrics are set to music, and the song would be perfect for a traditional Irish wake.

"But since it falls unto my lot,
That I should rise, and you should not,
I gently rise and softly call,
Goodnight and joy be with you all."

Remembered Joy

Remembered Joy, an Irish funeral poem by an unknown author, urges mourners not to grieve for the deceased, explaining he or she is following God's plan. It would make a lovely funeral reading.

"Don't grieve for me, for now I'm free!
I follow the plan God laid for me.
I saw His face, I heard His call,
I took His hand and left it all…"

Death Is Nothing at All

The Irish funeral poem Death Is Nothing at All was originally written by an English clergyman named Henry Scott Holland, but it was adapted by Irish monks and used at funerals. The poem could be included in a funeral program, but this excerpt could also inscribed on a headstone.

"Death is nothing at all,
I have only slipped away to the next room..."

Mid-Term Break

Mid-Term Break by Seamus Heaney was inspired by the death of the poet's younger brother. Read in its entirety or used as a quote like the excerpt below, it's a touching piece suitable for a child's funeral.

"...He lay in the four foot box as in his cot...
A four foot box, a foot for every year."

The Blackbird of Glanmore

The Blackbird of Glanmore, also by Seamus Heaney, is another poem inspired at least in part by his brother's death. It could be used as a quote on a funeral program for a young boy.

"...And I think of one gone to him,
A little stillness dancer- Haunter-son, lost brother ..."

Writing a Poem for Someone Who Has Passed

If you want to create a truly personal tribute for someone who has passed, you can do that too. Think of what you'd say to that person and what kind of imagery you'd like your poem to inspire. There's great beauty in the Irish culture, and contemplating it can help you write a touching poem to share with everyone.

Touching Irish Poems About Death and Dying