back to article Yorkshire man wakes up Irish after brain surgery

A Yorkshire man woke up from brain surgery to find he'd turned from a flat vowelled, thrifty dalesman into a blarney kissing, 'Danny Boy' singing, happy-go-lucky Dubliner. The Daily Mail reports that 30 year old Chris Gregory spent three days on life support, after a blood vessel in his brain ruptured. While the staff were …


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  1. Robin Baker

    it's not unusual...

    My friend's nephew got swiped off his bike on his way home and came out of a coma with a Scottish accent. Born in Birmingham, this can best be described as a happy outcome.

    They never did get the scrote in the 4x4 that hit him though.

  2. richard
    IT Angle

    line of the week?

    "but suddenly thinking you are French is terrifying"



  3. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Funniest tea splling quote ever

    "It might sound funny to others, but suddenly thinking you are French is terrifying."

  4. Sooty

    I wonder

    ""foreign accent syndrome", where a smack to the head or other trauma leaves the sufferer speaking in a foreign accent"

    Could this be employed in film making, hire Shaun Connery and keep cracking him over the head until you get the accent you want.

  5. Anonymous Coward


    So does that mean that all Irish are just brain-dead Northerners?

    Anonymous for good reasons ;)

  6. John Hawkins
    Thumb Up

    Proof that Adam was an Irishman!

    The Irish accent is obviously something everyone is born with and we then learn to speak another language or with another accent as we grow older. Must be something deep within our DNA. Possibly something for the Human Genome Project to look at? Perhaps there's a special gene sequence responsible for language after all.

    Though I guess that some kind of double blind test would need to be done in order to make it scientifically relevant. Volunteers anyone?

  7. alan

    I guess then...

    but suddenly thinking you are French is terrifying

    I guess you would just have to SURRENDER to it :)

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Exactly how much of his brain did they remove? Glad he recovered quickly though.

  9. Anonymous John


    It makes you wonder, doesn't it?

  10. The Fuzzy Wotnot
    IT Angle

    Oh dear

    He will be whipped off to some government bunker to have his brain inspected, they may just have to to remove it first though!

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    ...and still no one pointed out the rather obvious: mess around with someones brain, say: damage it, and out it comes and Irish man. Or similarly obvious: those comments were all censored.

  12. Christopher Rogers

    Ryanair boss...

    Thats how Ryanair's Michael O'Leary came to be - a tight fisted Yorkshire man had surgery and became a tighwad penny pinching Irish man....

  13. Rapacity

    Reminds me of a joke

    Reminds me of a joke about an Irishman who had brain surgery; when he woke up the doctor told him the surgeon had had to remove half his brain. He said, 'Godverdomme, mijn hoofdpijnen.' Translation - a Dutchman is an Irishman with half a brain.

    ..On the other hand it just goes to show there's a little bit of the happy Irish soul in all of us.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    No it doesn't.

  15. Steven Jones

    continuity error?


    His wife-to-be walked into the ward, and heard a commotion including "someone singing 'Danny Boy' really loud. It sounded like a drunken Irishman, and all the racket seemed to coming from the direction of Chris’s bed."

    Mrs Gregory then realised the Ronan Keating-a-like was her future husband who had apparently been reset from tyke to jackeen. On spotting his wife, he apparently declared "It's da broid."


    Now does this mean that the guy already had a soon-to-be-divorced wife who happened to be in the room at the same and, by sheer coincidence, his new wife-to-be is either currently, or was married to another Mr. Gregory...

  16. Tawakalna

    bejabers and begorrah!

    the very same ting happened to me one fine noight when oi got a smack on the old head dere from yer man wit the empty bottle o' Jamesons, to be sure!

  17. Frumious Bandersnatch

    article fails to mention

    what kind of brain surgery this was. It wasn't, by any chance a brain transplant? Just asking the obvious ...

  18. Scott
    Thumb Up

    Jamaican Granny

    Wasn't there a granny that woke up after a smack on the noggin and spoke with a Jamaican accent.

  19. Niall


    "He’s no connection with the country and he’s never been there" or he would never have sung the bloody song, no matter how much of his brain they removed.

  20. Anonymous Coward

    Brain dead scotsman

    I heard a story about a Scottish man who woke up one day and thought he was running the country!

    Oh wait...

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    @AC 11:04 GMT Tut Tut, everyone knows we only keep things simple so you sassenachs (yeah it means the same in Irish) can understand.

    Obviously he received a blow in the back of the head where the automatic language functions are, he then thought he was Tom Cruise trying to copy an Orish accent, "It's da broid.", more Brooklyn then Dublin. If he thought he was a Dub he would have said "It's me mot"

    However I could understand it if he had a large piece of his brain removed and then thought he was a member of Boyzone or Westlife.

    Cool one El Reg, jackeen, somebody in the know? A bogger on the staff, Is Ms Bee really Ms O'Bee.

  22. Anonymous Coward


    "Godverdomme, mijn hoofdpijnen" Literal translation - "god damn it, my head hurts"; could have been flemish Belgian but then they'd need to remove far more than half the brain - more like 95%.

    AC so my Belgian wife doesn't find out.

    BTW just as well it wasn't a Lancastrian accent...

  23. Osiris

    @continuity error?

    Maybe Mrs Gregory - the future wife to be - was also his Mother.

    Think about it...

  24. Seán


    Absofuckinglutely, the only song you'll never hear in Ireland.

    Obviously the Yorkshireman thought he'd died and gone to a better place where he could have his hearts desire, to be promoted to Irish and within those hallowed ranks to be a Dubliner the most exalted of all Irishmen. Sadly it was not to be and after a half hour of bliss he returned from being a citizen to a subject. Either that or bagpuss went back to sleep.

  25. A J Stiles


    erm ..... sorry ..... *audio clip* or it didn't happen.

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @ Reincarnation

    I didn't believe in it in my past lives, and I'm bloody well not going to start now!

  27. shane fitzgerald

    Pure daycent but...'d wanta be doggy wide them brain surgens, one doonchie op your talking through your hoop. Haunted shes alright. Sure how bad?

  28. Rob

    jokes aside..

    i can go along with someone's accent changing after a blow to the head, but speaking in another language they have never learnt before?

    that's either lies/exaggeration, or something that deserves lots & lots of investigation, imagine what it could do for educating the world.. it's not quite at the matrix "i know kung-fu" but still, imagine the applications, someone must be investigating this seriously, shirley?

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up


    Well-played :)

  30. Alistair

    Wasn't dere dat football manager now?

    Sorry not into the hoofing game but I remember seeing this daft english football manager who had landed a job in Holland being interviewed by dutch TV - in english - and putting on a comedy-piss take dutch akshent for the benefit of the viewers! Goes to show the requirements for the job being a preemptive lobotomy. To be sure.

  31. Dave Bell

    Paging Henry Higgins...

    What we have is a bunch of people hearing something that sounds Irish to them.

    Think of it as a sort of slurred speech where a phoneme has warped to affect the overall sound.

    What I'd like to know is whether somebody who has studied accents hears Irish, or damaged Yorkshire.

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Niall @Seán

    Are you sure? Have you never passed by one of O'Carrolls "crud to sell to tourists" shops? (apart from Irish Rugby Jerseys) Have you ever heard the rubbish that passes for music in these shops? I have to stop typing now, I beginning to feel unwell just thinking about it (apart from the Irish Rugby Jerseys).

  33. James O'Shea Silver badge

    re dave bell

    It's impossible to damage Yorkshire more than it is already.

    as for the 'Irish' accent, and the singing of 'Danny Boy'... if someone started singing 'Danny Boy' around here they wouldn't like the reaction they'd get.

    And it's not terrifying to wake up and think you're French, it's terrifying to be driving on the same road as someone who thinks they're French. Or worse, Quebecois. ("Quebecois: someone who drives like a Frenchman, only at the wheel of a large American car.")

  34. Gav
    Thumb Down

    Don't believe a word

    Once you get past the usual press funny-story nonsense, the actual facts of these kind of stories usually comes down the the person's speech being affected in such a way that it sounds kind of like what some people think as similar to a bad impression of a particular accent.

    No sudden transfer to a different life in a different country, no sudden mastery of a foreign language, no sudden adopting of clichéd national expressions and songs.

    However, once a newspaper gets hold of it, all the other bollocks gets fabricated and the poor brain-damaged victim is made to sound like a caricature and given no end of mysterious and magical abilities to go with their new found 'accent'.

  35. J


    "It might sound funny to others, but suddenly thinking you are French is terrifying."

    Gotta forward this to my French amis...

  36. Anonymous Coward

    it happend to me as well

    in 1980 i fell from a low wall which i slipped off (whilst running away from some of the skool bullies) and landed on my head. Ii suffered a blackout, severe concussion, brain damage, (oh and it hurt like hell!).

    Thanks to this little stunt i spent a week in hospital after a number of head xrays with suspected fractured skull. (I also ended up OD'ing on paracetamol and aspirin because of the severe headaches for the following year or so, and now have a liver that looks like edam cheese.)

    I then spent the following 6 months or more walking around with an American accent.

    This was really-really not funny, and my life at skool was made hell by all the (then 80's chavs).

    For the following couple of years i would on occasion drop into an american accent when under stress, eventually my accent changed to full on BBC news presenter English.

    (yeah too much TV really is bad for you, especially all those late night politics programs).

    Which got me into even more trouble with the oiks who all spoke with a broad devon accent.

    we also had all those alien spaceships being observed over devon in those years..... what a pity i wasnt abducted as well...

    i could be flying about in a spaceship or be used as an experiment, instead of on the long term dole, wasting my life away typing this rubbish about my failed les-miserable life on a late tuesday afternoon...

    btw... Need more frequent BOFH episodes :)

  37. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Either/Or proposition

    If he was singing "Danny Boy", he wasn't from Dublin. If he was from Dublin, he wasn't singing "Danny Boy".

  38. SisterClamp

    It all sounds... a zero-sum game to me. And the "terrifying" comment...? Priceless.

  39. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It happened to me too

    I had half my brain removed, but it hasn't done me any harm at all. Fair dinkum, I've been flat out like a lizard drinking ever since, cobber.

  40. storng.bare.durid

    The Derry Air

    Nobody I KNOW with ANY self respect would sing it.

    Irish me arse. It's a load of bollocks.

  41. elderlybloke
    Dead Vulture

    Danny Boy

    I hate to mention this but I have heard this song quite a few times here in New Zealand.

    What does that make us?

    PS. All this has made me forget about the Swine something.

  42. Chris
    Dead Vulture

    @the Flemish slur


    By Anonymous Coward Posted Tuesday 28th April 2009 13:21 GMT


    "Godverdomme, mijn hoofdpijnen" Literal translation - "god damn it, my head hurts"; could have been flemish Belgian but then they'd need to remove far more than half the brain - more like 95%.

    AC so my Belgian wife doesn't find out.

    BTW just as well it wasn't a Lancastrian accent...


    My dear chap perhaps you should check yourself for missing most of your brain... Had it not been for them stupid flemish you english would have been quite a bit poorer off at the start of the industrial revolution and during the wars with the French...

    Not to mention that apparently cricket would find its origins in a lawn game player in Flanders looooooong time ago...

    Also all our beers but our lagers are much better than anything (bar ciders) in GB... I totally understand why you go the coward way... she should kick you out and squeeze you dry...

    I would dare to presume you are a typical limey arse who still thinks there is such a thing as the British Empire

  43. Paul

    Maybe he woke up with an Ulster accent but those who reported it dodn't know the difference.

    You are likely to hear Danny Boy in Ulster, though not in Dublin. It is, after all, Northern Ireland's de facto unofficial anthem.

  44. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    brain injury

    It's common after brain injury to have a foreign accent.I sounded like someone from Germany or Holland for several years.I was from Brooklyn, NY.

  45. luas_dublin

    Not again.

    Hang ...partially brain damaged Englishmen thinking they're Irish and talking in woeful stage oirish accents? This is Dexys Midnight Runners all over again..

  46. Seán

    @@The flemish slur

    The Flemish are (drumroll please) swamp-Germans. Ay thank yew, thank yew. I believe that little remark will get you stabbed in most parts of the Nederlands.

    @Gav You must be a wikipeado applying half-baked reason to facts resulting in a "reasonable compromise" which is in fact a lie. It's the sort of faux-reasoning which conspiracy nuts thrive on and it's the reason many wikipedia articles are complete garbage. Blessed be the cheesemakers.

  47. d

    HaHa-Stephen Rey's 'Fluent Dysphasia' (2004)

    Fluent Dysphasia (2004)film short

    A father in Ireland goes to watch a football match with his buddy while his daughter has to study Irish, or Gaelic - the ancient language of Ireland. After over-celebrating his club's victory, he awakes in the morning and finds he only speaks Irish, and that he doesn't even understand English. His buddy is aghast at this situation, believing his friend to have become possessed, but his daughter manages to translate his friend's assertion that this change may have been caused by a blow to the head during the revelries of the past evening's celebrations. They decide to hit him again, and use a frying pan for the job. Disastrous results ensue. ..

  48. Richard Russell
    Thumb Down

    A blow for Flanders and for freedom!

    Isn't this just another of those egregiously specious theories cooked up by doctors who mistake correlation for cause?

    The blow on the 'ead caused the Irish/Flemish witterings? Pshaw! Might it not equally be that blows to the head are *caused by* rambling in alien accents? 'Appen this poor tyke was rabbitin such execrable English that his blood vessel just burst. Similarly, a very poor Durham imitation can result in severe blows to the cranium with a frying-pan. And it's best to avoid atrocious Brummie altogether, for obvious reasons.

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