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How to speak with an Irish accent – but only if you insist

It’s a bit of a mystery to most people in Ireland but the Irish accent has suddenly become very fashionable.

Why do people want to speak with an Irish accent? Colin Farrell. Photo Copyright - David Shankbone CC2
Irish was recently voted the world’s sexiest accent in a poll of 5,000 women. This is probably due to the popularity of actors like Colin Farrell and Liam Neeson but even so, to come ahead of the French and the Italians is a welcome if surprising achievement.

Of course, Americans of Irish descent have always been fascinated by the Irish brogue of their forefathers. At times some have been known to even adopt an Irish accent, perhaps while on holiday in Ireland or when they find themselves with a group of Irish friends.

The rise of the Irish accent has led to an explosion of videos and articles claiming to be able to teach you how to speak like a native.

We’ve checked them out and our conclusion is that …well, they’re not that great.

Nearly all are by people who aren’t Irish themselves, which explains why most of the accents they teach are generic stereotype rather than anything even vaguely accurate.

Generally speaking, the Irish don’t like people try to imitate their accents; it can come across as patronising.

But if you still want to go ahead…these are a selection to get you started.

English voice coach Gareth Jameson…better than most videos but generic Irish rather than any specific regional accent.

American Ivan Borodin – produces a vaguely Ulster accent but still very much stage Irish

Wacky Australian girl calling herself Awesome Alanna gives her guide to an Irish accent.

American actor Glen Munro – produces a stereotype Ulster accent…he gets closer than most and gives very detailed advice.

One last video. Finally, an Irishman giving the lessons and suddenly we have a genuine Dublin accent. He tries to teach his friend but with only limited success.

We hope you enjoyed the videos, but unless you have to learn an Irish accent for a play or something like that, it’s probably best not to bother. You’ll find that the Irish will much prefer to hear you speak with your own accent rather than imitate theirs.


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