Hollywood actors have shown an incredible flair for making the Irish accent look extremely difficult. The internet is replete with rankings mocking the worst Irish accents of all.
However, what of the foreign actors who have mastered the Irish accent? Here are the five greatest Irish accents that the non-Irish have delivered on the big screen:
5. Cate Blanchett - Veronica Guerin
Blanchett makes a decent fist of the Irish accent in Veronica Guerin. Very few wobbles as she portrayed the Sunday Independent journalist murdered in 1996. Good enough for fifth spot.
It is the last film made about a Sindo journalist until Hollywood finally gets around to making that film about Barry Egan.
4. Kelly MacDonald - Intermission
Scots have shown a decent facility with the Irish accent over the years, and Kelly McDonald makes a strong fist of the southern accent in Intermission. Nice and subtle.
Indeed, she must have been convincing, because just seven years after Intermission hit cinemas MacDonald would make her return to the Irish brogue, portraying Kerry woman Margaret Thompson (neé Rohan) on HBO series Boardwalk Empire.
3. David O'Hara - Braveheart
Among the many historical inaccuracies in Braveheart was the strange claim that the Irish troops - who were under the command of King Edward - switched sides and fought with the Scots in the Battle of Falkirk. (The Irish in fact fought for Edward against the Scots).
Central to the film's contrary claim was the presence of David O'Hara's mad Irishman who claimed the island as his own.
O'Hara was born in Glasgow. In a rather inexplicable twist, Braveheart was jam-packed with Irish actors putting on Scottish accents and yet the one prominent Irishman in the film was played by a Scotsman.
2. Samantha Morton and Paddy Considine - In America
English actors Samantha Morton and Paddy Considine both pull off a pleasing version of the South Dublin accent. Morton's effort in particular is far removed from the hackneyed stage Irish. If we didn't know any better, we'd probably think these actors are Irish. Maybe we can claim them on the Granny Rule.
1. Jon Voight - The General
The greatest Irish accent ever produced by an American actor - nay - by an American person.
Voight voiced to perfection the exasperated culchie guard accent, while charged with bringing Brendan Gleeson's character Martin Cahill to heel.
Not only does Voight speak in a perfect Irish accent, he manages to get the 'Irish guard accent', which is something few Irish people can get right themselves. An outstanding effort.