Slang is the common language of the streets and fields. Ireland, with its interesting mixture of languages and dialects, has a particularly rich store of it. It has fascinated some of our greatest writers, not least Joyce, Flann O' Brien, Behan and Beckett. Although often thought of as common, slang has in fact made a significant contribution to the distinctive nature of Irish writing as well as to the patterns of ordinary Irish speech.
Diarmaid O Muirithe is one of Ireland's leading authorities on slang, cant and demotic language generally. He is certainly the most popular. His columns in the Irish Times and other newspapers and magazines have brought his characteristic mixture of wit, kindness and scholarship lightly worn to a wide audience.
In Irish Slang, he provides a selection of glosses on Irish slang words and phrases in his inimitable style. Thus he glosses the word Blah / blaa, as follows: 'A kind of bread, something like a bap, but lighter. It is circular-shaped. Waterford people say the stuff is uniquely theirs, but that is not true; it was also baked in counties Kilkenny and Wexford in my youth. The Waterford story that blahs /blaas were introduced by the Huguenots who fled religious persecution in France in the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries, and originally called blaads, may or may not be true. I think the word is from the Irish bleathach, a small, flat flour cake.' A delightful little book.