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Fr Ted – a national treasure that spread its wings in Clare

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It would go on to receive international acclaim but there was little fuss when the early work of Fr Ted was carried out in North Clare.

In 1995, in and around the village of Kilfenora, one of the national treasures of Irish culture began to spread its wings.

Set in the fictional village of Craggy Island, Father Ted starring Dermot Morgan as Father Ted Crilly, Ardal O’ Hanlon as Father Dougal McGuire and Frank Kelly as Father Jack Hackett, aired for a total of 25 episodes. The Parochial House where the show is set lies at Glenquin, on the Boston Road from Kilnaboy.

Hundreds of Father Ted enthusiasts make this pilgrimage from far and wide, each year. Most of the location work was filmed in County Clare, in places such as Corofin, Kilfenora, Ennis, Ennistymon and Kilnaboy.

The series was discontinued after three seasons prior to lead actor Dermot Morgan’s untimely death due to cardiac arrest. The show soon gained international acclaim from Ireland, Britain and Australia with deep ties to simplistic Irish life and stereotypes.

In January 2007, a heated dispute began between the island of Inisheer and Inishmore over which island could claim the honourary title of Craggy Island.

Much like the slapstick nature of Father Ted, the two islands battled it out in a five a side football match, with the winner of the bout receiving the fabled emblem of being called Craggy Island. Inishmore won 2-0.

Since 2007, Father Ted has been celebrated by the annual ‘The Friends of Ted Festival’, also known as Ted Fest. The show aired from 21st April 1995 to 1st May 1998.

An avid reader from a young age, Cian’s love of the archives has been shared by Clare Echo readers who enjoy his Reeling in The Years section. Charles Dickens, Terry Pratchett and Michael Crichton were his favourites writers in his younger years while he was always a fan of studying the opinion columns in The Irish Independent. A past pupil of Lissycasey National School and St Flannan’s College, he is currently completing his final year studies at the University of Limerick in New Media and English. From September, he will be commencing a Masters Degree in Journalism at UL.

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