by Malahide Historical Society
We have heard stories that a local dialect could be heard spoken around Malahide as recently as the 1940s. Here is a most interesting extract of an article from Fingal County Council on the subject.
‘Fingal consists of most of the northernmost five: Balrothery East; Balrothery West; Nethercross; Castleknock Blanchardstown Coolock.Before describing this history, it is important to clarify that the linguistic situation in North Co. Dublin was complicated by the presence of a third language besides Irish and English: Fingallian. Fingallian was a poorly documented local descendant of Middle English, and appears to have originated in the very earliest English spoken by Anglo-Norman settlers in Co. Dublin; in this and other respects it was substantially identical to the Forth and Bargy dialect spoken in the south of Wexford. Despite pressure at first from Irish (from which, like the dialect of Forth and Bargy, it borrowed a number of words; see below), Fingallian survived as a curious, precarious linguistic island in North Co. Dublin until the mid-nineteenth century, when it eventually succumbed to local English. Unfortunately we have so little information on Fingallian that we do not know exactly how far its area of use extended or how this area then contracted. Its name and existing texts suggest it was spoken north of the city in the 1600s and 1700s; its influence is certainly detectable in the nineteenth century English of Oldtown, Co. Dublin, recounted in Patrick Archer’s Humours of Shanwalla (1906) here; remnants of it are perhaps also just noticeable in the twentieth century English of Swords, Lusk, Rush, Skerries, Naul et al. Irish loanwords in Fingallian are of particular interest to us; they must have been borrowed directly from the local Irish dialect then spoken in North Co. Dublin. (We have no direct information on whether or not Fingallian speakers also knew Irish; but given the extensive nature of borrowings from Irish - which mirror the pervasive English we find in the Irish of today - a situation where Fingallian was a minority language surrounded by and under pressure from Irish, and where the two languages were used indifferently by bilingual speakers, seems most likely.)’