Archive | March, 2017

A wannabe Irish man with a Michael Caine accent docks in Dun Laoghaire on St. Patrick’s Day

17 Mar

He’d finally done it. He had achieved his ambition to live in Dublin and what better day to start this adventure than on St Patrick’s Day?

As the ferry docked, Donal surveyed the magnificent coastal facade of Dun Laoghaire. His arrival may not have had the pomp and ceremony of Queen Victoria’s but this was different. He considered himself a man of the people. Although his accent was London, he believed his Irish DNA would keep him one hundred per cent in tune with all around him.

In fact he definitely did not want to acquire an Irish accent – either by intention or osmosis. He had met a number of Irish people in London who had tried too hard to achieve a local accent. The result was a hilarious mixture of sounds. Whilst he was very amused by this Donal did not want to become a similar source of mirth in reverse.

Paradoxically, this wannabe Irish man quite liked his English accent. On a few occasions people remarked that he sounded like Michael Caine. Donal liked this – he thought Michael was a brilliant actor.

In response Donal would offer a more contrived impersonation in which he combined Michael’s “did you know  … not a lot of people know that” technique with a standard music hall joke :-

“Did you know, did you know that every day a man gets knocked over by a London bus? – and he’s getting bloody annoyed at it!”

Donal thought this was a sure-fire winner – the feedback he received was mixed.

On the following day he went to the Ireland v England rugby match at Lansdowne Road. While  shouting his Michael Caine head off in support of Ireland a polite Irishman, sitting next to him, gently inquired as to what part of Ireland he was from and observed that he must have spent a lot of time in England – he was correct.

It was several years later, with the coming of voicemail messages, that he realised just how very English his accent was. In the early days of his time in Dublin this revelation might have shaken his belief that he would totally integrate with the Dubliners but by the time he became aware of it he was already fully settled.

This is an edited extract from the book “London Irish Dublin Irish”. Photo0108 (1)