Over at Anglotopia, we’ve written a lot about British comedy from Monty Python to the Carry On films and while Ireland’s culture may have a lot of similarities, its uniqueness sets it apart even down to its own brand of humour. Of course, this also extends to television which has developed a familiar but distinct comedy of its own. Several of Ireland’s best comedy shows have become worldwide phenomena in their own right. We have found our top ten favourite Irish television comedies that we think you should watch and you can let us know your own favourite shows in the comments.
10. Bachelors Walk
Starting off with this dramedy that ran from 2001 to 2006 over three series, Bachelors Walk took place in the same neighbourhood of Dublin for which the show was named and featured Barry, Raymond, and Michael trying to find happiness and success. It won awards in its time and was regarded for showing off modern Dublin.
9. The Walshes
Another Dublin-based show, The Walshes was a sitcom brought to TV by the comedy group Diet of Worms along with well-known comedy writer Graham Lineham. It’s distinguished in that it made the leap from a series of web shorts onto the BBC, a recipe for success mirrored by Canadian comedy show Letterkenny. Fan reaction was split about the series and now it’s regarded as something of a cult classic.
Moving from the city to the country, Killinaskully was a series with an odd sense of humour that took place in a fictional rural village of the same name. It had a darker sense of humour not unlike the English series League of Gentlemen but was decidedly more sitcom than sketch comedy. Killinaskully ran for six years and helped put the village of Ballinahich (where it was filmed) on the map as a tourist destination.
7. The Young Offenders
Set in the City of Cork, this series that began in 2018 and was based on the 2016 film of the same name. Acting as something of a prequel to the film, it features friends Conor and Jock constantly running afoul of various authorities in their criminal attempts to find wealth and success in life. Cork residents enjoy the show as a mostly realistic and humorous portrayal of life in the city.
6. Dan & Becs
Dan & Becs ran for two series in 2007 and featured an affluent South Dublin couple often narrating their life events in a blog-like fashion. In keeping with its “vlog” format, the two main characters, played by Dave Coffey and Holly White, never appear in the same room, but separately describe the events of their relationship that they have been in for six months.
5. Bridget & Eamon
Bridget & Eamon has run for four series starting in 2016 and is set in the 1980s that often watches much like the US series Married with Children. Bridget & Eamon are “unhappily married” and bicker constantly with much hilarity. The show was produced with incentives from the Irish film industry and was the first comedy series funded entirely by RTE to screen in Britain.
4. Hardy Bucks
Mockumentaries became all the rage in the 2000s thanks to BBC’s hit The Office. Hardy Bucks started as a web series in 2008 before making the leap to television screens beginning in 2010. It’s often been compared to the Canadian mockumentary series Trailer Park Boys both in the production style as well as its subject of working-class young men in a small town.
3. Moone Boy
Chris O’Dowd is one of Ireland’s most recognized comic actors and for this 2012-2015 show, O’Dowd reached back into his own life of growing up in Boyle when creating Moone Boy. The semiautobiographical show introduces Martin Moone, whose imaginary friend Sean “Caution” Murphy (played by O’Dowd himself), who helps Martin navigate his childhood. Other children in Boyle have their own imaginary friends (played by guests from Johnny Vegas to Steve Coogan) that interact with each other for hilarious results.
2. Mrs. Brown’s Boys
Comedian Brendan O’Carroll brought his drag matriarch Agnes Brown to television screens with this dysfunctional family sitcom starting in 2011. The character and the situations surrounding her family have been amongst O’Carroll’s most successful works, bringing awards and accolades from the public, even though it was never the critics’ favourite. Oftentimes, the show takes a “leave it in” approach to filming mistakes and improvisation, making it different from other filmed comedies.
1. Father Ted
Perhaps the patriarch of all popular Irish comedies is Father Ted, created by Graham Lineham and Arthur Matthews that took a satirical look at the priesthood in Ireland. Set on the fictitious Craggy Island, it followed Fathers Ted Crilly, Dougal Maguire, and Jack Hackett as well as their parochial housekeeper Mrs. Doyle. Unhappy with his exile to the remote parish, Ted constantly schemed to get himself into a better situation and often took Dougal and Jack along for the ride. Arguably Ireland’s most successful TV comedy, it earns its spot at the top of this list for its massive influence.