By the end of this article, you’ll be speaking with Irish accent like a pro!
There are a few things to consider and be aware of before beginning to learn how to speak with an Irish accent credibly.
If you want to master the ways of the Irish accent without dedicating hours on end, we’ve included all that you need to know below.
Understand the Spoken Irish Accent
Let’s begin with the basics; what makes an Irish accent so unique in the first place?
If you’ve ever heard an Irish accent, you will have noticed that it flows with quirky slang, musical intonations, and a charming undertone that makes it one of a kind. But, what about the Irish accent’s origins?
In linguistic terms, Irish accents are known as Hiberno-English, which are found in many varieties across the island.
During the 12th Century, Anglo-Normans invaded the country and brought with them Old English. However, it was during the 1600s that really saw the country’s dialects begin to form.
Brit rulers wanted to maintain Ireland as an English speaking country, with the island’s native language pushed west.
When written, Irish English appears to be almost identical to British English, though when spoken it is evident that it is an English language of its own.
Rhoticity is a characteristic of Irish English that sets it apart, this means that the letter ‘r’ is often left unpronounced. The letter ‘t’ often sounds like a British English ‘ch’ sound and ‘d’ often sounds like a ‘j’.
How to Do an Irish Accent Step by Step
Are you ready to try out your Irish accent?
In this how to do an Irish pronunciation step by step guide, you’ll find out the most important rules for mastering the Irish accent:
1. Observe and listen to native Irish speakers
The first step to mastering any British English accent is to listen to native speakers.
This will provide you with a great insight into the types of slang that are spoken and how both vowels and consonants sound when spoken.
We recommend enabling English subtitles though, as the Irish accent can be quite difficult to understand at first, especially if you aren’t familiar with it already.
2. Test out some Irish Slang
Every accent comes with its own slang words, and Irish is no exception (check out our British Slang Guide).
You’ve more than likely heard somebody jokingly impersonate an Irish speaker by saying ‘top of the morning to you’ as a way of greeting.
The Irish accents carry many more slang words outside this common phrase. Here are a few examples of Irish Slang to get you started:
‘Sure look’ – it is what it is
‘Grand’ – okay, or good
‘Give it a lash’ – give it a go
‘Jacks’ – toilet
‘Leg it’ – run
‘Fair play’ – congratulations
‘Manky’ – dirty
‘Kip’ – sleep
‘Jammy’ – lucky
Check out this Irish accent video, full of Irish Slang!
3. Practice hardening consonants
One of the main rules of the Irish accent is to harden your consonant sounds when speaking.
For example, the word ‘tube’ sounds more like ‘choob’. This is because it is natural to Irish folk to emphasise non-vowel aspects of words.
4. Soften vowel sounds
Opposingly, you should also soften vowel sounds if you want to sound legitimately Irish.
The letter ‘a’ is often pronounced as an ‘ah’ or ‘aw’ sound. For example, ‘how are you?’ becomes ‘ha-ware-ya?’.
5. Speak quicker than you normally would
Finally, but not least, to speak confidently with an Irish accent, you should speak at a faster than usual pace.
Pauses in speech observed in Irish English are usually filled with an ‘em’ sound rather than ‘uh’. Each sound in an Irish sentence is always pronounced albeit more softly or harshly.
Irish Accent Examples
While learning the accent of Ireland, it is certainly helpful to watch videos of celebrities who are native to the island. As mentioned, The Banshees of Inisherin featuring famous actor Colin Farrel will give you an idea of how to speak with the accent.
Other examples of celebrities that speak with an Irish accent include Liam Neeson from the famous Taken franchise and Bono, a singer from popular band U2.
We advise that you record a demo reel of your Irish accent and send it to us to be considered for any upcoming gigs we have available.