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Friday 8 December 2023 Dublin: 9°C

Donald Trump read out an Irish 'proverb' today, but it might actually be a Nigerian poem

“Always remember to forget the friends that proved untrue.” What?

IRELAND HAS MANY great proverbs. “May the road rise to meet you.” That’s the most famous one. “Maireann na daoine ar scáil a chéile.” That’s one you probably learned for your Leaving Cert.

But the one that Trump recited today after his meeting with Taoiseach Enda Kenny at the White House? It’s not one many people had heard before.

Can’t see the video? Click here.

As we stand together with our Irish friends, I’m reminded of a proverb – and this is a good one, this is one I like, I’ve heard it for many, many years and I love it.
Always remember to forget the friends that proved untrue, but never forget to remember those that have stuck by you.

A lot of Irish people were left confused by Trump’s ‘proverb’, mainly because they’d never heard of it.

So where does this “Always remember to forget” line come from?

It’s listed as a ‘self-esteem poem’ on this website:

an ocean

It also appears on this page of ‘St Patrick’s Day blessings’, along such classically Irish phrases as “Dance as if no one were watching”:

st patricks day also has it as an Irish blessing:

always remember

While according to Poemhunter, it’s a line from the poem Always Remember, by a Nigerian poet called Albashir Adam Alhassan.

poemhunter Poemhunter Poemhunter

A few royalties wouldn’t go amiss for poor old Albashir, we’d wager.

Dear Team Trump: Might we suggest you consult the Leaving Cert syllabus for a more suitable proverb next time? All the best, Ireland.

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A version of this article was written by Valerie Loftus and posted on

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