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This Pronunciation Varies*

My sister was in Chicago the week it was very cold and snowy. Miraculously, she got in and she got out. Her flight out of Chicago was much delayed but she got in to Dublin about midday. She then picked me up and drove us both to Cork.

I offered to drive, I really did but she has a new car and, secretly, I think she doubts my ability to keep it scratch free. It was lovely to have her to myself for the day even if she was exhausted. We stopped en route for lunch in Kildare Village (my struggles with which I have previously documented). I spent a fiver on lipbalm from Penhaligon which was profligate and €7.50 on a vase from Villeroy and Boch which was definitely a bargain.

As we approached Cork, I asked her “Will you go straight to bed when you get home?” “Oh no,” said she, “I have to spend a couple of hours answering emails.” I was suitably horrified by the work ethic expected from her American overlords. “But then,” I said, “then, you’ll go to bed.” “No,” she said, “I’m going to a record launch in Cawlan’s”. “Where?” “Cawlan’s.” “Never heard of it, spell it.” “C-O-U-G-H-L-A-N-S” “Oh,” I said, “Cocklan’s”. “No, Cawlan’s, you’ve just been out of Cork too long, you don’t know how to pronounce it any more,” said she.

I let it go, she was driving after having been awake for 36 hours and flown out of a snow bound mid-West. But I knew I was right.

Later that evening, my brother asked me would I run him to the pub in the car. “Sure,” said I, “where are you going?” “Cawlan’s.” I am a broken woman.

*You know from Hilaire Belloc ” But this pronunciation varies/ Some people call it Buenos Aires.”




2 Responses to “This Pronunciation Varies*”

  1. Jennifer Says:

    In my experience it’s always Cawlans when pronounced in Cork City. It can vary as it heads towards the County bounds. I once had a Judge in a Limerick court publicly correct me for calling out a case as Cawlan instead of Cocklan!! I didn’t have a clue what he was on about at the time having never heard the other pronunciation!! What didn’t help was the defendant stepped in and said he was from Cork so it was right the first time. The Judge was not impressed.

  2. belgianwaffle Says:

    That is funny. This is a fraught subject, frankly.

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