There is hope from the sea, but there is no hope from the land (grave).
Note: Elizabeth Kubler-Ross argued in her book, On Death and Dying, that there are five stages of grief; the first is denial. This week’s proverb is a frank vehicle for helping the survivor get past this first stage. It is similar to a Spanish proverb, “A la muerte no hay cosa fuerte.” (Nothing is stronger than death.) An Italian proverb is equally blunt, “A ogni cosa c’é rimedio fuorché alla morte.” (There is a remedy for everything except death.)
Note also: In Ulster, you might hear a slightly different version of this seanfhocal, “Bíonn dúil le béal farraige ach cha bhíonn dúil le béal uaighe.” (There is hope from the mouth of the sea but not from the mouth of the grave.) The negative particle ‘cha’ is often used in Ulster speech instead of the negative particle ‘ní.’ Like the particle ‘ní,’ the particle ‘cha’ causes the word that follows it to be lenited, except words beginning with ‘d’ or ‘t’ which are eclipsed. For example, ‘cha bhíonn’ in this seanfhocal and ‘cha dtuigim’ instead of ‘ni bhíonn’ and ‘ní thuigim.’ An dtuigeann tú?