Since it’s been so cold and miserable, with hail and sleet raining down from grey skies, I have been taking the bus into work. I’ve tried a few different routes and have now settled on the 123 from Merino to Walkinstown. The bus takes me all the way from Ballybough Rd to the Liberties and back.
The Liberties are one of the oldest parts of Dublin and is now a growing media and tech hub. The old markets and historic buildings sit next to dynamic e-commerce centers. And whether they like it or now, gentrification is happening all around – yes there are hipsters and coffee shops sprouting like weeds between the dirty cracks of the streets.
Ballybough on the other hand is one of the more disadvantaged areas in Dublin. The name is accually derived from the term Bailebough, which in Irish comes from ‘baile’ (town) and ‘bocht’ (poor). Originally though Ballybough was known as Mud Island because of its proximity to the mud flats on which Fairview and North Strand are build.
While commuting between these two areas it becomes quickly apparent that the most colourful of Dublin residence live there. You’ll hear the ‘real’ Dublin accent and delight in their unique ability to turn a phrase or create their very own rhyming slang. And if Peter Wright, the author of “Cockney Dialect and Slang” is to be believed the Irish actually invented it to confuse the non-Irish workers.
So, if you hear someone is ‘headed to the rock-and-roll’ they’re off to collect the dole, if someone tells you ‘you’ll be brown bread’, it means you’ll be dead and if you’re a tea-leaf they think you’re a thief. One of my favorites is ‘cream-crackered’ for tired, and I love the Daniel Day when talking about the Luas (Dublin tram system).
This Dublenese is really wonderfully creative, after all who else but Dublin criminals would call someone who is unpredictable and hard to put down a Apache, or an undercover garda (Irish Police) as a ghost? And if you are ever referred to as a Micky Dazzler, they really think you’re a bot full of yourself and wear much too flashy clothes.
So if you ever are visiting Dublin or just want to enrich your vocabulary, hop on to the 123 and take a trip with a few real Dubliners.