The best-selling song in Ireland at the moment is a strike for local terms of abuse over international ones. A group from Cork—Ireland’s second-largest city, its real capital, and my home town—is dominating the charts with “The Langer,” outselling such international cursers as Eamon and Frankee. “Langer” is a Cork term meaning—well, it can mean a lot of things, but this clip from the song gives you the primary meaning. The song itself isn’t destined to be a classic of contemporary folk music, but seeing as recent political events have caused me to use the word myself a few times to uncomprehending Americans, I can now point them towards this. The song is also notable for being the first with a full verse as Gaeilge to reach number one in Ireland. Appropriately the verse is about langers who think only they can speak Irish. Full lyrics are below the fold, courtesy of The Cork Diaries.

The Langer

Have you seen the old man The drunken ould lout Roaring and bawling and spilling his stout? And in everyone’s business You’ll first see his snout Down in Cork he’d be known as a langer

Chorus: A langer (Response: A langer) In Cork he’d be known as a langer

And our hero Roy Keane Footballer supreme The finest this country and Man U’s ever seen. And we’d have won the World Cup But Mick McCarthy fouled up. Roy was dead right to call him a langer!

Chorus: A langer (A langer) Roy was dead right to call him a langer!

And Johnny and Mick Have a Honda Civic With spotlamps and spiders And loud rock music Ah, but don’t they look nice With the big furry dice? Would they ever stop acting the langer?

Chorus: The langer (the langer) Would they ever stop acting the langer?

Féach an phleice amach romhainn, ag bladairt trína thóin Níl gaelinn ag éine, dár leis, ach é féin Tá aige fomhraíocht sár-bhinn, ’s gramadach fíor chrinn, I gCorcaigh, gan dabht, sé an langer![1]

Curfa: An langer! An langer! I gCorcaigh, gan dabht, sé an langer!

From Mitchelstown to Cape Clear You’ll be welcome down here For there’s plenty of scenery, music, and beer But avoid the rugby weekend in Kinsale For every year with out fail The town gets infested with langers

Chorus: With langers (with langers) The whole town’s infested with langers

[This verse done in a posh Montenotte accent] In two thousand and five Culture will thrive All along the green banks of the Lee (Shouted: Oh, good man, George!) But no matter what If you arrive on a yacht We’ll tolerate absolutely nobody acting the langer (Shouted: Certainly not in Crosshaven!)

Chorus: Langer (Langer) There’ll be nobody acting the langer

George Bush and his boys Ah, did make your blood boil. Will they give the Iraqi people back their soil? Ah, and all of us know All he wants is their oil. Oh Lord, he’s a ferocious langer!

Chorus: A langer (A langer) Oh Lord, he’s a ferocious langer!

So three cheers for Roy Keane He’s back wearing the green. Ah, what more could you ask him to do? So forget all the press And the whole bloody mess They’re only a big shower o’ langers.

Chorus: Langers (Langers) They’re only a big shower of langers.

So there was me song I didn’t keep ye too long For now ye all know one word of Cork slang And while there’s meat on me bones I hope I’ll never be known As a typical home-grown Cork langer

fn1. Look at the messer in front of us,/ talking through his ass, / Nobody can speak irish,/ in his opnion, but himself, / He’s got perfect pronounciation,/ and perfectly accurate grammar, / In Cork, without a doubt, he’s a langer.