The Gift of Blarney

There’s also an Irish word, seoraí, which describes “the flourishes and stylish additional details in storytelling,” as translated by Darach Ó Séaghdha, author of Motherfoclóir: Dispatches From a Not So Dead Language. Those details are the reason that “two people tell a story, but one tells it better.”

Be it me, or Leopold Bloom, I love that sense of ordinary folk wandering around this city, that slippery language, those minute pauses, that sense that every encounter could start a short story. During the lockdown, I’ve missed it.

There’s a standard Dublin greeting, “What’s the story?” You don’t have to answer. You can toss it back (“Not much. Story with you?”). Or you can get dishing (“Wait till I tell ya…”). Often shortened to a single word (“Story?”), it evokes the city’s literary chops, but also the casual, off-the-cuff creativity that lifts a good conversation.

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