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Howye! Ah, sure yer graaaaand, biy!

Unlike the impression given by both British and American media, there is more than one Irish accent. Researchers have found, in fact, that there's a different accent for roughly every five miles you travel - that's a slightly different accent for every single town on the island, though naturally, only locals will be able to hear the finer differences.

The dialect is properly known as Irish English or Hiberno-English. The English language has been firmly entrenched in Ireland since the mid-19th Century, but, as with Scotland and Wales, Irish English retains some grammatical features from the Irish languagenote , as well as a couple of archaic British odditiesnote . Irish English is also almost entirely rhotic, except for some Dublin accents.

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For reference...

Accents and examples:

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    Local or 'Common' Dublin 
The broad, working-class accent in Dublin. Most commonly seen or associated with those living in the city centre but can be found in all parts of the city, as far out as Tallaght or Finglas, for example. People with this accent are sometimes known as 'howyas' after the typical greeting. The 'oo' sound in words like 'book' and 'cook' is elongated, pronounced anywhere from like the 'oo' in 'moose' to the 'yew' in 'puke' (coming out like "bewk" or "buke" respectively). The vowels in words are stretched; words such as 'school', 'mean' and 'five' tend to be pronounced as 'schoo-wul' and 'me-yen' and 'foy-ev' respectively. In certain word endings in 't', it is not pronounced and there's a glottal stop instead; eg 'mouth' - 'mow', 'maggot' - 'maggih', 'mot' [girlfriend] - 'mo''. Speakers of this accent are also the most likely of the Dublin accents to turn 'th' into 't' or 'd' ('turty tree and a turd'). In all cases, tends to be profanity-laden.

Stereotype: Old, wisened, salt-of-the-earth grannies and granddads; street traders, especially from Moore Street, a shopping street in the inner city; criminals and gang-members. Basically, the Dublin version of Cockney and its associated stereotypes.

Examples:

Live-Action TV

  • Dustin the Turkey, icon to a generation of Irish children.
  • Most of the characters in Love/Hate, but in particular Nidge and Frannote  .
  • Agnes Brown from Mrs. Brown's Boys and her family members and friends.

Music

  • The Dubliners, of course. In particular, Ronnie Drew had a very strong accent both while speaking and singing.
  • Phil Lynott from Thin Lizzy.
  • Imelda May, rockabilly and jazz singer from The Liberties (inner city area).

Real Life

  • Radio One Liveline host Joe Duffy, who's famously from 'Clontaaarf'.
  • Former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern, who is from Drumcondra.
  • Labour Party leader and Tánaiste Joan Burton.
  • Dublin grandmother Ann Grimes shouting at the street fight in this video.

    Mainstream or Suburban Dublin 
The accent spoken by those in Dublin who are neither working-class nor D4; the middle class and suburban speakers.

Stereotype: None, really, since about 60% of Dubliners city- and county-wide possess it. Can be any sort of character but when they do appear they are often well educated and in prestigious jobs. Sometimes thought of as "RTÉ English", in which it is considered roughly equivalent to BBC English or Received Pronunciation.

Live-Action TV

  • Father Ted Crilly, Father Dougal McGuire and Father Jack Hackett from Father Ted, despite the fact that it is set on an island off the west coast of Ireland.
  • The Garda characters, Mick Moynihan and Ciaran Madden in Love/Hate.
    • The dentist, Andrew Reddin and his wife from series four.
  • Colm Meaney, and thus, Miles O'Brien from Star Trek.

Music

Real Life

  • Most RTÉ news presenters.
  • Former Late Late Show presenter (1965—1999) Gay Byrne.
    • Former Late Late Show presenter (1999—2009) Pat Kenny.
    • Current Late Late Show presenter (2009— ) Ryan Tubridy.
  • Author Roddy Doyle.
  • Actor Colin Farrell.
  • Actor Brendan Gleeson.
  • Deputy Leader of Sinn Féin TD Mary Lou McDonald.

    New or 'D4' Dublin 
An accent among a certain class of younger people born after around 1970. Named after the Dublin 4 postcode, an extremely affluent and expensive area (in terms of property prices) of the city where this accent is stereotypically found. A typical sentence might be "I'm totally taking the DORTnote  to the rogby, royshnote ?"

Stereotype: Upper class twits, basically — rich kids from privileged background; Daddy is a barrister and Mammy is a "lady who lunches" and spends her time going to America on shopping trips; he plays rugby (if a he; didn't engage in sports, if female) and attends Trinity College.

Live-Action TV

  • Jim Moriarty from Sherlock has his own actor's D4 accent, played up for hamminess, when he's not pretending to be someone with a different accent.

Literature

  • Ross O'Carroll-Kelly is a parody D4 character and star of a newspaper column and a number of 'autobiographical' novels.

Music

  • Bob Geldof of The Boomtown Rats and Band Aid fame has a version of this that's somewhat more nasal and downmarket; the D4 accent didn't really develop in Ireland until the late 1980s, on account of Irish people's massive exposure to transatlantic TV. Geldof comes from the right area, but he's from an earlier generation.
  • John and Edward 'Jedward' Grimes.
  • Downplayed with The Edge from U2, who was born in England to a Welsh family and grew up in a middle-class part of north Dublin.

Real Life

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    Country, Midlands or 'Culchie' 
A very wide range of different accents, separate here from Cork and Kerry, because, well, most people think of them as separate. Most people outside Dublin can narrow down an accent by county, and within a county many can narrow it down to a town (towns only a few miles apart can have audibly different accents.) This is the accent most likely represented in Oireland, if it's not the ludicrous Kerry-esque stage-Oirish accent of the obviously Fake Irish actor, but there is a great difference between the relatively sing-song Galway accent and the extremely flat Midlands accent.

Stereotype: Farmers, GAA fans (other than the Dublin footballers, obviously).

Live-Action TV

  • Podge and Rodge from A Scare at Bedtime.
  • All the characters from former soap opera Glenroe, set in Wicklow.
  • Pat Shortt, seen in Father Ted and his own series Killinaskully, has a quintessential Tipperary accent.
  • The characters in the 2005 mini-series Pure Mule have the very distinctive Offaly accent, which is as flat as the local countryside and which is caricaturable as ownly huving wun vuwel sownd.note 

Other

  • Irish-American columnist Finley Peter Dunne (1867-1936) frequently wrote his columns for the Chicago Tribune featuring the fictitious Mr. Dooley, an Irish immigrant bartender from County Roscommon, with a Funetik Accent:
    "Th' newspaper does ivrything f'r us. It runs the polis force an' th' banks, commands th' milishy, controls th' ligislachure, baptizes th' young, comforts th' afflicted, afflicts th' comfortable, buries th' dead an' roasts thim afterward. They ain't annything it don't turn its hand to fr'm explainin' th' docthrine iv thransubstantiation to composin' saleratus biskit. Ye can git anny kind of information ye want to in ye'er fav'rite newspaper about ye'erself or annywan else." note 

Real Life

  • Current President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins (from Galway).
  • Former Taoiseach Brian Cowen, from Offaly.
  • Former Taoiseach Enda Kenny, from Mayo.
  • Fergal Devitt, better known as Finn Balor, is from Bray, County Wicklow.

     Traveller 
See Irish Travellers for more information. Traveller accents usually sound like thick Connacht accents. Many also speak Traveller cant, known to native speakers as Gammon and linguistics experts as Shelta.

Film

Live-Action TV

  • Patrick, the pipe bomb maker and main nemesis in series five of Love/Hate.

Web Video

     Cork 
General characterized by "Y'know, like biiiiiiyyyyyyyyy!". Cork people tend to pronounce Cork as "Cark". Many areas also stretch out the end of sentences, with a rising tone similar to asking a question. Parodies of the accent tend to sound something like a cross between a Valley Girl and William Shatner.

Stereotype: Colourful characters; wants to separate Cork county into its own country. Also hates Dublin with a passion and considers Cork superior. Often joked to be the Irish equivalent of Texans (and to consider their neighbours in Kerry the Irish equivalent of Mexicans).

Film

Real Life

  • Brendan O'Connor, presenter of The Saturday Night Show.
  • Fianna Fáil leader Mícheal Martin.
  • Strangely enough, surviving recordings of archetypal Dublin author James Joyce reveal that he had a high-pitched Cork accent, on account of his father John being very much a Corkman.

Web Original

     Limerick 
Nasal and sharp.

Stereotype: Shank-toting, yokes-dropping underprivileged youth who'd stab you as soon as look at you.

Live-Action TV

  • The Rubberbandits, Blind Boy Boat Club and Mr. Chrome, two supposed rappers who made their debut as online crank phone call peddlers and eventually migrated to Republic Of Telly, a sketch comedy TV show on RTÉ, where they perfected their blend of brain-melting idiocy, surrealism and hip-hop tunes. They later stormed the Edinburgh Festival and went on to produce a pilot for Channel Four which fell through, but have since moved on to ITV, and will make a show about the 1916 rising for RTÉ. Best known for their song "Horse Outside", which produced a shitstorm of outraged moral guardians due to lyrics like "Fuck your Mitsubishi, I've a Horse Outside" and a video involving a short segment in which a character talked about how the married couple oughtn't give up on the partying if they have kids. Many complainers took to Live Line, but the segment was interrupted by the intrusion of Blind Boy, who phoned in to give an erudite lecture on irony, misdirection and semiotics.

     Kerry 
Has a tendency to rrrrrroll the Rrrs, and to pronounce "s" at the start of words as "sh".

Stereotype: Flat-cap wearing farmers, rampant xenophobes and weirdos. Also hates Dublin.

Real Life

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     Northern 
The Norries/Nordies. Shared here with British Accents. The Republic also the Donegal accentnote  Northern Ireland offers three main flavours of the local accent:
  • Belfast accents tend to be harsh
  • Western accents ((London)Derry/Tyrone/Fermanagh) tend to be softer
  • Irish Sea/North Channel coastal accents which are a mix of two with a hint of Scottish for good measure

One of the most notable sounds in the Northern Irish accent is "ar". People speak into their jaws, again audible when the "ow" sound is used. So when you next meet a Northern Irish person ask them to say "An hour in the power shower", and it comes out as "An arr in the par shar". Also, "ow" is pronounced more like "oi", leading to Hilarity Ensues when it comes to "how now brown cow". This sound is particularly distinctive because it tends to be retained by Northern Irish people even when otherwise they are toning down their accent (such as newsreaders presenting national news): in the middle of an otherwise RP-sounding sentence we will be told that the Prime Minister has announced that interests rates will come "doyn". Although again, this is not the same all over Northern Ireland. People from (London)Derry do tend to pronounce power - "Pau-yer". Also see "k-yar" for "car", "say-vin" for "seven" and "fill-um" for "film".

The key to speaking Irish Sea Coast Norn Irn (which is a mix of the above, Scottish and 'rural') - talk through your nose and drop the middle out of every word, or drop half the syllables. Spaces are optional. "I went to see the doctor" becomes "Aahwentuh se thu doc'er". You can see English people's brains stop dead as they try to decipher it. Trying to talk to anyone from Pakistan, Africa or Jamaica is a lost cause.

Long story short - we have the same amount of regional variations in accent, in an area smaller than Wales, as in the rest of the UK.

Stereotype: Inevitably, Western Terrorists taking random elements from the Villain tropebook.

Fictional examples:

Real-life examples:

  • Jackie Wright, Belfast-born sidekick/Butt-Monkey on The Benny Hill Show.
  • Ian Paisley - "criminality" used to be one of his favourite words.
  • James Nesbitt of Murphy's Law fame, who commonly subverts the NI accent stereotype by regularly playing good guys.
  • Nadine Coyle of Girls Aloud has an exaggerated Derry accent.
  • As mentioned above, Damian McGinty, who rose to fame after winning The Glee Project, and now plays Rory Flanagan on Glee, has a Derry accent.
  • Colin Morgan, although he shifts to an English accent for Merlin
  • And of course, Liam Neeson who tends to use his natural Ballymena accent in most of his films, though his accent is quite muted and soft.
  • James Burke, the BBC's main science reporter in The '60s and The '70s, known across the Pond as "That Guy Who Made Connections" speaks in what sounds like RP to an American, but upon closer listening is very clearly Derry with English schooling from the age of 11—that habit of dropping into rhoticity gives it away.
  • Van Morrison, when speaking and not singing, betrays his East Belfast roots.

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