For some time now, some of my on-line friends have advised me to provide a version of CassidySlangScam without the invective aimed at Cassidy and his supporters. In response to that advice, I am working on providing a glossary of the terms in Cassidy’s ludicrous book How The Irish Invented Slang with a short, simple and business-like explanation of why Cassidy’s version is wrong.
Cassidy rightly states that agrah, a term of endearment, comes from the Irish a ghrá, meaning ‘oh love’. He mentions the traditional song Siúil a Ghrá, which he misspells Siúl a Ghrá (walk my love). He also fails to mention that this is simply a variant of the song Siúil a Rún, which he mentions two pages later in reference to the expression a rún.
As is the case with acushla, it is also quite clear that this is not an English word. If, as Cassidy claimed, there were hundreds or thousands of Irish words and phrases in English, you would expect common endearments like this to be top of the list, yet New Yorkers do not address one another as ‘acushla’ or ‘agrah’. Such expressions are only found in English in the context of sentimental Irish melodramas or ballads, and their origin from Irish Gaelic has never been in doubt.