Jun 7, 2010

The Triad

Irish triads are little sayings that list or compare three things. Some examples:

  • Three candles that illumine every darkness: truth, nature, knowledge.
  • Three unfortunate things for a man: a scant drink of water, thirst in an ale-house, a narrow seat upon a field.
  • Three things which justice demands: judgment, measure, conscience.
  • Three sparks that kindle love: a face, demeanor, speech.

Most of these triads come from ancient manuscripts such as The Yellow Book of Lecan and The Book of Ballymote. The lists of triads in these books are quite lengthy. The number three has always held significance in Ireland. Some speculate that this contributed to the easy assimilation of the Irish people to the Triune God of Christianity, and it's also why Patrick may indeed have used the shamrock to introduce the concept.

Have any Irish triads to share? Leave them in the comments section.

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