20 July 2023
By Tom Collins
From the archives: There’s one thing about us in Cork. We have a beautiful accent.
Back in 1972 Cork actor James N Healy looked at the history of Cork accents through the ages in an episode of ‘Hall’s Pictorial Weekly’ broadcast on 21 October 1972.
Cork man James Healy disputes that Dublin view that the Cork accent goes up and down. He does acknowledge that there is more than one accent in Cork but they are all Cork. He says that the Cork accent was started by Saint Finbarr when he came down to Cork from the west of Ireland in the sixth century to build a church. A Scandinavian touch was added to the accent with the arrival of the Danes a few centuries later. Then came the Welsh Normans. After that, the English would arrive for the summer season and add their bit to the vocal cocktail that is the Cork accent. In the 18th century, the French Huguenots arrived contributing the “harsh, shrill side of our accent”.
The accent ranges from the sound of the Cork street trader to the fruity tones of the Montenotte.
In its extreme form, it’s probably like somebody trying to eat a hot potato while giving a confidential message simultaneously.
There is also the “Roches Stores” accent but the most genuinely Cork accent is probably that of Blackpool, the living quarters of the Celts who clustered around the northside of the old city. To hear a genuine accent, visit an old Blackpool pub.
This is somewhat nasal, spoken out of the corner of the mouth and with a sense of irony.
Frank Hall’s amusing and satirical series began on 29 September 1971 with the full title “Hall’s Pictorial Weekly Incorporating the Provincial Vindicator” which became known as “Hall’s Pictorial Weekly”.
The series allowed Frank Hall to follow his own interest in the lives of viewers throughout the country. Regarded as RTE’s flagship comedy show, it featured satirical sketches on current news stories and popular culture, as well as parody songs, comedy sketches, re-edited videos, cartoons and spoof television formats. The show ran for 9 series until 1980.