A Hidden History – The Irish Language in Liverpool / An Ghaeilge i Learpholl
According to Liverpool-born Irish teacher and journalist Tony Birtill, Liverpool’s ‘Scouse’ dialect was influenced by the fact that the Irish language was spoken by thousands of people in the city until the beginning of the last century.
Walton native Birtill has collected together evidence of this in a new book entitled Hidden History – Irish in Liverpool/An Ghaeilge I Learpholl, which he launched at the weekend as part of the Liverpool Irish Festival.
He explains: “‘Ter ar wack’ is usually regarded as a rather old-fashioned Liverpool-slang farewell. But when written ‘tabhair aire, a mhac’ it makes perfect sense to an Irish speaker, and is pronounced in a very similar way to the Scouse.
“It means ‘take care, son.’ The language of poorer, marginalised sections of the community is often viewed with distain by people who are better-off.”
The book also describes how 24,000 Irish residents in Liverpool signed a petition to the Vatican in 1842, requesting more Irish-speaking priests for the city as they could not speak enough English to attend confession.