Top Five… worst Irish accents

border butler
Too-ra-loo-ra-loo-ral, too-ra-loo-ra-li… top of the mornin’ to yah, boyo. There’s nothing that captures the heart of a fiery-haired cailín quite like a thick Oirish brogue, and none have mastered it as well as these fine strapping buachailli.

5. Darby O’Gill and the Little People – Michael McBride (Sean Connery)

Before he was the suave superspy, Sean Connery was a handsome divil of a landlord in this 1959 Irish classic, complete with superb forced perspective leprechaun special effects and a banshee that will make you brownify your underwear. But scarier still is Connery’s Oirish accent which creeps up and skulks away like an Irish bog wraith. Watch him crank it up to 11 with a shamrock-laden ‘Ah now Katie…’ And speaking of Katie, Janet Munro’s accent is actually far, far worse. For the singing parts the pair were dubbed, so we can only assume Walt Disney decided to let them do the talking parts themselves for a good ol laugh.

4. The Devil’s Own – Frankie McGuire/Rory Devaney (Brad Pitt)

As a Hollywood film with a main character from Northern Ireland, Brad is obviously in the IRA. Actually, it’s a little unfair to include Frankie ‘The Angel’ on this list, as that raised intonation on the end of every sentence is pretty much how everybody talks in the North. It’s just that we know Brad can do so much better – his inaudible Irish knacker in Snatch was spot on.

3. The Jackal – Declan Mulqueen (Richard Gere)

The only thing that stands out further than Bruce Willis’s stupid wigs in this film is Richard Gere’s Irish brogue. Another ex-IRA man (did they ever have any current members?), this time a sniper, whose sharpshooting skills are thankfully a bit better than his remembering-he’s-supposed-to-be-Irish skills, with an accent that slips off more times than a greased-up gerbil on an air hockey table. When it does crop up though, it is usually drowned out by Valentina Koslova’s Rrrrrruuuuuu-shan accent.

2. PS I Love You – Gerry (Gerard Butler)

THIS…IS…IRELAND! Gerry took a lot of stick for this attempt at an Irish accent, but to be honest I can’t really hear it under the usual feral growl he calls a voice. Since many people who aren’t from either Scotland or Ireland cannot tell an Irish and Scottish accent apart, he propably could have got away with his natural highland warble. Script notes do not specify whether or not his character was in the IRA. Anyway, here he is apologising for offending a nation (3m15).

1. Blown Away – Ryan Gaerity (Tommy Lee Jones)

Tommy Lee Jones is no stranger to hamming it up, and he doesn’t disappoint here. As a freelance terrorist/bomb expert too zany even for the IRA to employ (which is a shame, with all their members seemingly heading to America to involve themselves in various Hollywood-esque misadventures), Tommy comes to town to terrorise Bridges father-and-son duo Jeff and Lloyd. Why director Stephen Hopkins didn’t kit him out in a large green leprechaun hat, an Italia ‘90 Irish strip, tricolour cape, ‘kiss me I’m Irish’ boxer shorts, a pint of Guinness in one hand and sack of potatoes in the other to match his accent is anyone’s guess.


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20 Responses to “Top Five… worst Irish accents”

  1. Kathryn Says:

    Ha! Is Tommy Lee actually trying to sing happy birthday in Irish in that last clip?

    I think I would have liked Into the West in the final five. Not because the accents were bad but because they spawned an entire generation of Irish school kids going ‘Tito! Tito!’ and pronouncing it like the bags of crisps.

  2. If you ever write a post about “Worst Italian Accents,” please consider including Nicholas Cage’s as it was heard in “Captain Corelli’s Mandolin” (a movie that was dreadful without the accent).
    M. Carter at the Movies

  3. you forgot these….

    1. South Dublin
    2. Kerry
    3. North Dublin
    4. Belfast
    5. Offaly

  4. What about Tom Cruise in Far and Away?

  5. Justin Michaels Says:

    good list Ross McD, i think youre right to leave the Cruiser off it. while his accent isnt great in Far and Away, its not the worst – and Scots like Sean Connery and Gerard Butler should just know better.
    worst irish accent ever? Nadine Coyle –

  6. Connery also deserves a mention for the worst accent ever, Irish or otherwise, in the history of cinema.

    In a film called The Next Man he plays a Saudi Arabian minister to the UN with a Scottish accent. Genius or he just couldn’t be arsed.

    *points up* Good call on Cage’s joke accent

  7. in fairness to Connery, he struggles with a Scottish accent. his brogue is simply… Connerese:

  8. I can’t perceive accents because I’m italian but you manage to make me understand 🙂 thank you! How is the italian accent? I’m really curious…!

  9. Oh, great idea for a top five: worst Italian accents!
    Some off the top of my head are borderline racist. Nic Cage In Capt Corellis Mandolin I’m told is particularly shocking…..Mama Mia! It’s-a me, Mario Cage!

  10. keegobob Says:

    I thought connery’s irish accent was pretty good actually, “and what kind of man are you who does’nt believe in the little people??”

  11. What about Kevin Spacey in Ordinary Decent Criminal, he wasn’t even trying and Darby O’ gill and the little people surely a shoe in.

  12. I meant Darby O’ Gill is too obvious.

  13. I meant Darby O’ Gill is too obvious.

  14. What you’re forgettin about Brad Pitt’s accent in Snatch is “it’s not Irish, it’s not English, it’s just . . . well, it’s just Pikey.”

  15. When I was in China, I could never figure out what Sean Connery said on screen…….I’m getting better these days, having lived almost 9 years in London:-)

  16. Jaysus hi, to be sure da worst accent’s defo da wan comin from that wee fekker across me desk. Ya can take da boyo outta Santry… but ya canne take the Santry outta the boyo…

  17. I don’t think Connery bothered with accents later on. When he played an Irishman again, in Untouchables, I don’t think he was trying at all. I’d rather have no accent than a bad accent.

  18. Far and Away. Tommy-boy’s “Yer a corker, Shannon” still draws chuckles.

  19. I always see Brad Pitt on the lists of worst Irish accent, but I actually think he’s one of the better Irish accents I’ve heard. He sounds like the people from Northern Ireland I’ve talked to, and the Northern Irish actors/singers I’ve heard speak. I can’t decide if there’s some slip up in his accent I miss because I’m American or if these lists are made by Americans who can’t tell the difference between Northern Irish/Dublin/Galway/whatever accents. Maybe both. But honestly, I’m also wondering why Leonardo Dicaprio isn’t on the list for Gangs of New York.

  20. Good shout Echo, you’re right Brad’s accent was accurate, it’s just a crap accent to take off – am I right McG?
    Also, Leo earned immunity from accent abuse with his superb-yet-hilarious South African effort in Blood Diamond

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