Did You Know? Wexford Had Its Own Language Called Yola

Did You Know? Wexford Had Its Own Language Called Yola

"Quare good sahn"

Before all the jokes about it just being the Wexford accent start flooding in, Yola was an actual separate language spoken in Wexford up until around 1850. The Forth and Bargy dialect was spoken in the Forth and Bargy baronies of Wexford. This encompassed the area from Wexford town and Rosslare Harbour, to near Duncannon, where the River Barrow meets the sea around Hook Head.

It is thought that the language evolved from Middle English, which was spoken by the Normans when they invaded back in 1169. This was the first area that English speakers arrived to during the Norman invasion.

After the Gaelicisation of the country after the 14th century, middle English began to die out, with only the Yola community and the speakers of Fingallian in Dublin remaining. Modern English arrived to Ireland in the 17th century, and with that Yola and Fingallian died out.

Here's a translation of an old Yola song, called The Wedding of Ballymore, from the 15th or 16th century

A peepeare struck ap; wough dansth aul in a ring,
The piper struck up, we danced all in a ring,
Earch myde was a queen, an earch bye was a king,
Each maid was a queen, and each boy was a king,
Zoo wough aul veil a-danceen; earch bye gae a poage,
So we all fell a-dancing, each boy gave a kiss,
To his sweethearth, an smack lick a dab of a brough.
To his sweetheart, and a smack like a slap of a shoe.

Zoo wough kisth, au wough parthet; earch man took his laave,
So we kissed and we parted, each man took his leave,
An a boor lithel breedegroom waithed wonderfullee griefte,
And the poor little bridegroom looked wondrously grieved,
Zoo wough aul returnth hyme, contented an gaay,
So we all returned home, contented and gay,
To our pleoughes an mulk-pyles till a neeshte weddeen die.
To our ploughs and our milk-pails till the next wedding day.

Mad stuff. Sounds like a bit a combination of Dutch and English or that video of what English sounds like to non-English speakers.


Obviously since the language died out back in 1850, there are no videos/audios of people speaking it. There are guides in pronunciation however, and this guy seems to have made a decent approximation of it.

The biggest thing Yola has done for us, is give us the word quare. 

All together now "Quare good lad!"

Also Read: The Best Twitter Reactions To The Show Formerly Known As Love Island

Joe O'Gorman

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