It’s just like a scene from Father Ted!
Living in North Clare, where Father Ted was filmed, is never dull. It may be a rural area, with small villages, quiet roads and cows both small and far away, but the area is famed for its ‘characters’, some of whom provided the inspiration for the locals, and some of the antics they get up to in episodes of Father Ted.
The Father Ted scriptwriters, Graham Linehan and Arthur Mathews came to the Burren (Craggy Island) with hilarious scripts, but in many cases they included some of the local characters they met while staying in the area.
Characters like ‘Tom’ who can be seen sitting on the wall with ‘I shot JR’ on his shirt, and Colm, who ‘wouldn’t be able to devote all of his time to this racism thing’.
And of course, there were many locals who worked as extras on the series, for the princely sum of 30 Irish pounds a day and all they could eat.
There’s a great story, told by people in the village of Kilfenora who were extras in the Lovely Girls episode (Rock a Hula Ted, series 2, episode 7).
In order to have enough of an audience for the contest, the director needed to get a lot of extras to turn up on the day for this episode, and filming started at 8am. So he decided to put a real bar in the marquee, and sent the word around that there would be ‘free drink’. And indeed, plenty of extras turned up on time for the start of filming at 8am, so he was delighted.
However, the barman was enthusiastic, and started serving pints at 8am. By lunchtime, many of the extras were so drunk they could not stand. With the result that the rest of the filming had to be deferred to another day. If you look carefully at that episode, you will see that the audience at the end of the Lovely Girls contest is completely different to the audience at the start!
So, when you visit Craggy Island, make sure you have enough time to spend in the pubs in Kilfenora and Ennistymon, to meet some of the locals and have the ‘craic’. We look forward to seeing you soon, the drinks are on you….