At what point does an accent become an entirely new language?

The internet was delighted by a recent RTE News report about the theft of up to 60 sheep. It’s actually a pretty serious story, all things considered; those sheep are extremely valuable, and farmers can’t afford to lose them. When 60 go missing, it’s devastating, and there’s nothing funny about this type of crime.

But there is something amusing about one of the farmers, as the internet quickly discovered.

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RTE interviewed Mikey Joe O’Shea for the piece, and although he’s clearly passionate about the loss of his animals, that’s about all we can get from his comments. His thick Irish brogue makes his speech completely undecipherable. 

No, we’re really not exaggerating that. If you can translate this entire interview, you win a prize (the prize, however, is the interview). 

O’Shea was joined by his colleague, Richie Griffin, who has a similar accent.

However, we can hear Griffin say, “it’s not that difficult,” then something about moonshine, then something about picking someone up. Your guess is as good as ours, but at least there were some English words in there.

And if you think that this is difficult to parse simply because you’re not from Ireland, well, think again. Many Irish Twitter users expressed utter confusion at Mikey Joe O’Shea’s accent.

RTE even joined in the fun, temporarily changing their site’s headline to “Ewe Won’t Believe Your Ears.”  

This is called a Kerry accent, by the way, named for county Kerry. It uses rolled Rs and tongue vibrations to create a lyrical, sing-song quality that (in our humble opinion) elevates it over more common English dialects.  

In any case, social media went a little bit nuts as thousands of people expressed their utter disbelief. There were plenty of puns, by the way; our favorite is “Oh, for flock sake, some farmer’s been fleeced.”

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Now, on one hand, this type of internet fervor diminishes the serious issues that these farmers are facing. On the other hand, millions of people are now learning about these 60 missing sheep, so we’d call it a net gain for Griffin and O’Shea. Police are investigating the alleged crime. 

This reminds us of another viral interview from 2016.

While Today‘s interview with Daniel McConnell of Brisbane, Australia, wasn’t quite as indecipherable, it did generate a similar reaction on the internet. 

Billed as the “most Australian interview ever,” it features the riveting story of how McConnell chased down a car that had driven into a retail shop that was owned by his friend’s mother. 

McConnell says he had “nothing on but me jocks,” but he still managed to keep the alleged perpetrator at the scene until the police could get there. 

This video quickly went viral, and it’s easy to see why. It’s downright impossible not to enjoy McConnell’s telling of the story. Really, we could all use a few more awesome accents in our lives.