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Hosting for the Holidays: The True meaning of Cead Mile Failte (A Hundred Thousand Welcomes)

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Cead Mile Failte: A Hundred Thousand Welcomes

You will see the greeting on home and pub décor, posted on fences and said in greeting throughout Ireland. Cead mile failte is Gaelic for "a hundred thousand welcomes." These words capture the welcoming heart and hospitality of the Irish people, and so the phrase has been celebrated for centuries.

Library Ireland has traced the beginnings of the phrase to an 1830s song's stanzas. The author is anonymous, and the title is Eileen a Roon (or, Ellen, the Secret Treasure of My Heart).

The Gaelic words of the final verse, translated, are:

A hundred thousand welcomes,

Eileen a Roon! A hundred thousand welcomes,

Eileen a Roon! Oh! welcome ever more,

With welcomes yet in store,

Till love and life are o'er,

Eileen a Roon!

According to Library Ireland, Handel, of Handel's Messiah fame, is said to have once declared that he would rather be the author of Eileen a Roon than of his most famous works.

Since then, this phrase has appeared on buildings, greeting cards, in parks and on gifts. For non-Gaelic speaking visitors to Ireland, you can find plenty of help on how to pronounce cead mile failte, compliments of YouTube and other social media websites.

Of course, there are many quotes that relay Ireland's famed hospitality to friends and strangers alike. According to one Irish proverb, "It is a sin against hospitality to open your doors and darken your countenance."

Another popular Irish saying incorporates the "thousand welcomes" phrase. According to this Irish rhyme:

Leprechauns, castles, good luck and laughter

Lullabies, dreams and love ever after

Poems and songs with pipes and drums

A thousand welcomes when anyone comes…

Has Ireland always been so welcoming? Irish families and visitors will say yes, and Irish historians will point out that it once was required by law.

According to ancient Brehon laws, first written down in the 7th century, all Irish families were required to offer at least a bit of hospitality to even strangers who came to their doors.

Cead Mile Failte Gifts for Your Home

At Creative Irish Gifts, we offer beautiful ways to add Ireland's favorite welcome to your home for guests and family.

Our customizable Cead Mile Failte plaque with the famous Gaelic phrase, and English translation, is crafted of antiqued brass with a green finish.

Our in-house custom gift experts will personalize your Irish welcome plague with your family name.

Our Bless This Irish Home plaque includes the Gaelic words Cead Mile Failte.

Even our funny Irish car plate tags contain the famed phrase. For those who prefer the single word for welcome, see our sturdy Failte doormat made with eco-friendly green dyes and coconut fibers.

Creative Irish Gifts is your source for Irish home décor, apparel, Irish crystal and pottery, Ireland figurines, jewelry and so much more. We have lovely woolen Irish sweaters, Belleek pottery, Galway crystal and Irish fragrance collections. We're famed for our personalized Irish gifts, and shipping is free on qualifying purchases.