The Irish Accent: Borrisokane, North Tipperary

The art of asking a question and providing the answer to it all in one sentence is a very complicated oratory gift. My father’s people were from a town in North Tipperary, Borrisokane. They seemed to possess this gift in greater quantity than anyone else I knew in Ireland.

I call this gift “double barrel speech.” It happens so swiftly that the listener must pay special attention, otherwise the punchline has come and gone before the words register in your head.

For example, as a child I remember sitting in the family car outside a store in Borrisokane, The Gem this store was called back then. It was a hot summer’s day, we don’t get too many of them in Ireland. The windows of the car were rolled down and the conversations of the passerby on the street were clear and distinct.

Two older men approached each other from opposite directions. The greeting was as follows.

“Ah hello. Are you not gone home yet?”

“No. Are you?”

Wasn’t the answer just staring them in the face?

Another example of double barrel speech was the offering and refusal to offer a cup of tea, all in a few short words. Again this speech pattern is specific to Borrisokane.

“You won’t have a cup of tea will you?”

Ah, let me think about how to answer that. Yes I will not have a cup of tea? No I will not have a cup of tea? Maybe I will not have a cup of tea? I guess the right answer is that I won’t have a cup of tea, thanks all the same.

“You won’t have a cup of tea, will you?” “Am? Do I win the tea if I give the right answer?”

I am poking fun at the Irish accent here, but I am allowed to, I am Irish. I love how we speak. I love the fact that we are a small island and we have such a diverse dialect that we can pin point where a person is from just by listening to the accent.

Today’s lesson was lovingly dedicated to Borrisokane in North Tipperary. Tomorrow we’ll head off to Galway, my mother’s home county and “The besht in the wesht!”


2 thoughts on “The Irish Accent: Borrisokane, North Tipperary

  1. hi im joe conway ,the person who owns the gem shop ,my sis who lives in portland oregen seen your blog and emailed it to me

    • Hi Joe.
      Thanks for commenting.I know The Gem and Borrisokane because my father was Michael Horrigan.

      I still have relatives around the area. I knew your mother also. I am the youngest of the Horrigans from Portumna.

      I hope you enjoy the blog and wish you and your family the very best.

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