Fatal Fourway: The worst Irish accents in Film/TV of all time

Heather Reynolds – Arts and Lit Editor: Helena Bonham Carter in Ocean’s 8

As a lesbian, Ocean’s 8 means a lot to me. Like, that many beautiful, talented women on one screen at the same time was a truly transcendent point in my life. A transcendent moment that I was inelegantly pulled out of every time Rose (Helena Bonham Carter) opened her mouth. While the accent she used was a tried and tested British standard, that test is one it has failed every time, and Bonham Carter is no exception. It was inaccurate, stereotypical, and actively farcical at times (something which she seemed to be aware of as she slipped out of it regularly). There was literally no reason to make this character Irish, and all it did was distract from what the overall scene was setting out to do, because the accent was just that egregious. Other bad Irish accents in film have been because the film was set in Ireland, and the filmmakers couldn’t think of a bankable Irish star, but Rose literally had no reason to be Irish as it was set in the States. This decision could easily have been scrapped once it was realised that Bonham Carter was unable to do the accent, but it wasn’t, and I’d find that more annoying than the quality of her brogue any day.

Emma Kiely – Film and TV Editor: Gerald Butler in P.S I Love You

No foreign actor has ever done the Irish accent justice; trying to sound like a native whilst butchering the pronunciation of Ireland (it’s “Are-land”, not “eyer-land”). However, there is one that stands out as the sorest thumb of this sea of horrific accents. Gerald Butler, already a pathetic actor with the acting range of a coffee mug, was somehow chosen to play Galway native Gerry in the 2007 rom-com P.S I Love You. The reason this accent is the one I have chosen to express my disgust at, is because Butler doesn’t even try to feign an Irish accent. He constantly sounds inebriated (which probably seemed accurate to the American producers) and his attempt at embodying the Irish party boy Colin Farrell prototype is more tragic than the fate of his character. Now, the film most likely had American women swooning over the Irish tragic hero and had them fleeing to Connemara in the hope that a tall dark drunk stranger would serenade them with an acoustic version of Galway Girl and bathe them in Guinness. However, to us native Irish, the only accent that Butler’s performance somewhat resonates with is a drunk Saoirse Ronan, and that is not a compliment.

Aoife Mawn – Music Editor: Julia Roberts in Michael Collins

This is the hill I will die on. Genuinely the worst Irish accent in film, Julia cycled through all 32 counties in her attempts to sound like Longford woman Kitty Kiernan in the 1996 film. It would have been all too easy to cast an Irish actress in the role, but instead Hollywood producers wanted the draw of star Roberts, and due to this, the historical aspect of the film came second to the love story between Collins and Kiernan. It was a poor choice, as Julia Roberts genuinely cannot do an Irish accent, or rather she can’t decide which one she wants to do. Sounding Northern one minute, Corkonian the next, her entire screen time is painful to watch, and makes her interactions with Liam Neeson more awkward than two star crossed lovers. If you’re going to put on the accent, at least work out which general area of Ireland you’re from, but with our Julia she was told she was supposed to be from Longford. Go and sit in a pub in the town centre for half an hour and you’d have it down! As if her turn in this film wasn’t bad enough, she starred in ‘Mary Reilly’ the same year, and further continued her assault on our wonderful native tongue. Disgusting.

Fiachra Johnston – Art and Design Editor: the entire cast of Sons of Anarchy

Sons of Anarchy will forever be, what I believe “the kids” these days call, my trash baby. Kurt Sutter’s grimdark TV series starring the titular motorcycle gang had no right to be as enjoyable as it was (though its current spin-off series Mayans MC, is a remarkably well-put together American Crime Drama), but it was stupid, cheesy fun that ticked all the boxes for me. However, this all changes for me in season three, when the plot decides they need to go to Belfast for eleven straight episodes, and all of a sudden every single stereotype about Northern Ireland is alive and well and right in your face.

With a total of ONE actual Northern Irish actress in the show, you can expect some truly despicable attempts at a Belfast accent. Titus Welliver, playing the season’s big baddie Jimmy O’Phelan (because nothing tells your audience that a character is Irish better than an O’ in their last name) is the prime suspect, but EVERYONE is guilty here, and every word that comes out of their mouths makes me want to vomit shamrock shake and Jameson, or whatever they think Irish people consume, everywhere. The setting is trash, your accents are trash, you playing Flogging Mollys and Black 47 non-stop is trash, and all of this is just signalling the beginning of the end for your show, fellas.