Not Wild about Jamie Dornan’s unconvincing brogue? Here are some of Hollywood’s worst Oirish accents (and some of the best too…)

Well, begorrah and begosh, isn’t it a grand soft morning in the Emeralde Isle? Hang on there and I’ll grab my shawl and we’ll take a quick dance around the crossroads for some leprechaun spotting.

It was the content that we didn’t know we needed in Lockdown 2.0. But when the trailer for new movie Wild Mountain Thyme went online last night, there was an audible sound of collective jaws dropping around the nation.

With more clichés than you could shake a shillelagh at, the clip featuring Jamie Dornan, Emily Blunt and Christopher Walken, which lasts two minutes 51 seconds, instantly went viral as it provided an endless source of mirth.

And where do we start with the accents, with the woeful attempt by Dornan – who is Northern Irish – the most baffling of all. Perhaps the Holywood native deliberately botched it to make his co-star’s efforts seem less painful?

However, it’s very evident that the Oirish accent, and the ‘R’ sound especially, can be the trickiest to pull off when it comes to big-budget movies featuring major Hollywood stars (which begs the question why they didn’t just use Irish actors in the first place).

Well, now we know how our Gallic neighbours felt after Emily in Paris dropped on Netflix, with its stream of hackneyed clichés about the French capital.

We take a look at some of the worst and the best accents that we’ve seen over the years:

The Worst

1. Tom Cruise in ‘Far And Away’

Who can forget the Hollywood star and his mega-watt smile delivering the immortal line: ‘You’re a corker, Shannon’ in the 1992 corn-fest. Utterly cringe-worthy and incomprehensible in parts, the movie set in the 19th century has become an Oirish classic for all the wrong reasons.

2. Julia Roberts in ‘Michael Collins’ and ‘Mary Reilly’

A repeat offender, she played the part of Kitty Kiernan, who fell in love with Irish revolutionary Collins in this 1996 movie… but nobody fell for her accent when it came to this role. The same year saw her play an Irish housemaid who becomes embroiled in a love affair with her employer Dr Jekyll, and his alter ego Mr Hyde. Her dialect was as poor as the plotline.

3. Richard Gere in ‘The Jekyll’

He took on the part of an IRA terrorist who is freed to help stop a brutal assassin from wreaking more bloodshed but his attempt at an Irish brogue in this 1997 offering is the most terrifying thing in this movie.

4. Brad Pitt in ‘The Devil’s Own’

Normally Brad can’t put a foot wrong in our eyes but his Irish lilt in this 1997 release is eye-wateringly bad and makes you want to watch it with the ‘mute’ button on every time he appears on screen.

5. Pierce Brosnan in ‘Taffin’

While we can forgive non-nationals for butchering our accent, having a Navan native deliver his lines with such a bad Irish accent in his thriller about a debut collector is just unforgivable.

The Best

1. Daisy Edgar Jones in ‘Normal People’

Daisy spent months working on her Irish accent for the part of Marianne and the result was a perfectly neutral, hiberno-English inflection throughout the ten-part series. She said she listened to Mayo native and author Sally Rooney for inspiration. Having an Irish mum also helped.

2. Judi Dench in ‘Philomena’

Dench was perfectly cast here as lead character Philomena Lee in the real-life story after her 50-year search for the son that was taken from her as a baby. Her mother was born in Dublin which may have helped her pull off such a flawless performance.

3. Cate Blanchett in ‘Veronica Guerin’

The two-time Oscar-winning Australian won plaudits for her portrayal of the murdered journalist and even managed her north Dublin-inflected accent perfectly. Ten out of ten.

4. Meryl Streep in ‘Dancing at Lughnasa’

When we need someone to sound like an authentic Irish person, we know who to call. Unsurprisingly Streep, who has a trio of Academy Awards under her belt, didn’t drop the ball when it came to the tricky Donegal accent with her portrayal as lead character Kate Mundy in this Irish classic.

5. Jon Voight in The General

A very challenging role, that of playing a rural Garda called Inspector Ned Kenny, Voight took to it with aplomb and his accent is hailed as one of the most authentic-sounding by any American actor. Based on the book about the slain gangland character by Paul Williams, Voight steals the show in this movie which sees him pursuing Brendan Gleeson’s Martin Cahill.

Online Editors

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