Ireland is a small country but we have so many different accents. For example; if I drive 20 minutes down the road people speak with a completely different accent and this variance in accents continues from village to village and town to town and even across one city (we have small cities btw).
What is the US experience with this?
Just for a size comparison New York City has nearly double the population of the Republic of Ireland yet I can hardly understand some fella 20 miles down the road.
Come to think of it is there an accepted universal American accent?
What I mean is, is there an accent that is portrayed by your BIG media networks as being the accepted way to speak as an American?
We have it in the form of a our national broadcaster, which never represents regional accents across Ireland even the comprehensible ones. England has it in the form of the BBC - for instance you will never hear a Geordie or a Liverpudlian reading the BBC news!
Who decides this?