An exchange of comments:
To my ears, Irish is the most beautiful English, an impression reaffirmed by three long bicycle trips through the West of Ireland. How did a country with half the population of NYC produce Yeats, Synge, Wilde, Joyce, and Beckett, and all within about a 50 year period? — William Osborne
I don’t know whether Jonathan Swift spoke with a brogue. Seamus Heaney did. Maybe his poem “Digging” explains all that great Irish writing? — JH
PS: This is what Swift had to say …
. . . what we call the Irish brogue is no sooner discovered, than it makes the deliverer, in the last degree, ridiculous and despised; and, from such a mouth, an Englishman expects nothing but bulls, blunders, and follies. Neither does it avail whether the censure be reasonable or not, since the fact is always so. And, what is yet worse, it is too well known, that the bad consequence of this opinion affects those among us who are not the least liable to such reproaches, farther than the misfortune of being born in Ireland, although of English parents, and whose education has been chiefly in that kingdom. [Swift was educated in Ireland, btw.]
I have heard many gentlemen among us talk much of the great inconvenience to those who live in the country, that they should speak Irish. It may possibly be so: but, I think, they should be such who never intend to visit England, upon pain of being ridiculous; for I do not remember to have heard any one man that spoke Irish, who had not the accent upon his tongue easily discernable to any English ear.