Down in Cork he’d be known as a Langer

by Kieran Healy on June 6, 2004

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

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!

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?

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]

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

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!)

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!

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.

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.

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word » Blog Archive » Oh lord, he’s a ferocious langer.
01.26.06 at 9:12 pm



John Quiggin 06.07.04 at 1:30 am

The clip was fun. I’ll keep a lookout for these guys (or at least their CD) next time I go to a Folk Festival.


tbelcher 06.07.04 at 8:10 am

An Australian equivalent? Compare and contrast…


Greg 06.07.04 at 10:42 am



Greg 06.07.04 at 10:42 am



Mrs Tilton 06.07.04 at 11:41 am

Grand stuff to be sure, but it doesn’t hold a candle to You’ll Never Be Lonesome in Prison….


dsquared 06.07.04 at 8:41 pm

It must have been a hell of a laugh at your school when the Ryder Cup was on telly …


Kieran Healy 06.07.04 at 10:54 pm

I’m afraid to say that it was, yeah.

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