St. Patrick’s Day — or “St. Paddy’s,” or “St. Pat’s,” but never “St. Patty’s” — is both a time to honor the noble history of Ireland and to reflect on its horrendous reflections in popular culture, whether it’s drunk frat boys vomiting green beer outside a sports bar named “Finnegans Wake” or the many, many non-Irish actors who’ve taken a clumsy swing at doing an Irish accent.
For the holiday, The Independent runs down a list of “The Worst Irish Accents in Film History,” ranging from Tom Cruise’s twinkly-eyed emigrant in “Far and Away” to Tommy Lee Jones’s IRA man in “Blown Away.” The Telegraph goes them one better, presenting a supercut of rogue brogues, and allowing you to vote on which does greatest offense to the Emerald Isle.
Truth be told, they don’t all sound so bad: Natascha McElhone and Cate Blanchett fall towards the respectable end of the scale, while Richard Gere and Sean Connery — who makes the list twice, for butchering the accent in “Darby O’Gill and the Little People” and not even attempting it in “The Untouchables” — run into “Dear God, my ears!” territory. But one has to defer to the Belfast Telegraph, which strangely enough, names an actual Irishman as the worst offender in cinema history. According to them, no one’s ever done a worse Irish accent than County Louth’s own Pierce Brosnan, in 1988’s little-known “Taffin.” Judge for yourself: