You haven’t really had the proper of experience of Clare’s Wild Atlantic Way and Burren National Park until you’ve stood at the gates of Father Ted’s Parochial House and kicked your friend up the arse. Really, you haven’t! If you’ve never seen or heard of Father Ted then two things must be stated;
- You’re probably very confused right now.
- You’re in for a treat once you start watching the show!
Father Ted was filmed largely around Kilfenora and Kilnaboy in County Clare, but it did also feature the Cliffs of Moher, the Ailwee Caves, the Cascades at Ennistymon and a local community centre in the same town. The show appeared to be set on a small island off the west coast of Ireland called Craggy Island and it focused on the lives of three priests and an over-worked housewife. Since it aired in the late 90’s it has very much become a classic in much the same way as Fawlty Towers or Fools and Horses have.
With West Coast Cycle Tours you will not only see the Father Ted House, but you’ll also get the perfect photo at the gates! Check out our Instagram page to see some great pictures of our groups kicking each other up the arse!
So, for the fans and the soon-to-become-fans, here’s some Father Ted trivia and facts to impress your friends!
- Dermot Morgan, who played Ted in the lead role, was cast after previously playing ‘Fr. Trendy’ in RTE’s ‘Live Mike’. The part was originally to go to co-author Arthur Mathews, however he felt he hadn’t enough acting experience.
- Ireland’s Largest Lingerie section which featured in the Christmas Special ‘A Very Christmassy Ted’ is actually Dunnes Stores Shopping Centre in Ennis. There really should be a sign or a plaque!
- As mentioned earlier, the Father Ted House is in County Clare. More specifically, it is in Glenquin near Kilnaboy, one of the most scenic areas in the Burren National Park! And yes, a family does live there. The story of its selection is a typically Irish one! A chance conversation in a Kilfenora pub in 1993 while the writers and location manager were looking for an iconic house got them steered in direction of Glenquin and the rest is history!
- Mrs. Doyle, the housemaid, was never actually referred to by her first name and whenever a character did say her name there was a timely beep, cough or dropping of plates. However, in the script she is named as Joan.
- The show Father Ted introduced the word ‘feck’ to the world. Well, it popularized it anyway!
- In all there were 25 episodes. 3 series of 8 episodes each and a Christmas Special.
- All music in the show was written by Neil Hannon and performed by him and his band ‘The Divine Comedy’. These songs include both songs for Europe, ‘My Lovely Horse’ by Fr. Ted Crilly and Fr. Dougal Maguire and the epic ‘The Miracle is Mine’ by Fr. Dick Byrne and Fr. Cyril MacDuff and also the theme tune itself. Lyrics were later added to the theme tune and it was released as ‘Songs of Love’.
- Fr. Noel Furlong was played by successful chatshow host Graham Norton. The famous Riverdance caravan scene he featured in was filmed at the caravan park just next to Fanore Beach in County Clare. You’ll see it as you cycle by. It always gets a laugh out of visitors!
- The Very Dark Caves are in fact the Ailwee Caves in Ballyvaughan, County Clare.
- The scenes inside the house were not actually filmed there, but rather in a studio. However, the ‘Cigarettes, Alcohol and Rollerblading’ episode did feature the interior of the house itself. The scene where Fr. Ted and Fr. Dougal look in the window to see Fr. Dick Byrne and co. enjoying their forbidden Lenten vices uses the actual house’s living room. Learn more about the Father Ted House.
- The ‘Over 70’s Priests’ Indoor Soccer Tournament’ was filmed in the local community centre in Ennistymon. Many a 5-a-side match has been played there with lads channeling their inner Fr. Romeo Sensini!
- There is an annual Father Ted Festival held in Kilfenora and Inis Oirr. There are fancy dress competitions, a ‘Lovely Girls’ event and all manner of Ted-esque craic!
- The writers, Graham Linehan and Arthur Mathews, have revealed their favaourite episode to be ‘Kicking Bishop Brennan Up The Arse’. With West Coast Cycle Tours, you can recreate that famous scene during your tour!!
- Sadly, Dermot Morgan (who played Fr. Ted) passed away just 24 hours after filming the final scene for the final episode ever. The show’s writers and crew had already agreed to go out on a high and finish the show after the third series, however edits were made to the final scene which now features a montage of the show’s highlights. Eighteen years to the day, Frank Kelly (who played the alcoholic Fr. Jack) passed away too. The show lives on though and seems to be as popular now as it ever was, if not more so. They just don’t make them like they used to…
If you’d like to take a cycling, walking, and sight-seeing tour of Clare’s Burren and Wild Atlantic Way then get booking! Get the proper local experience! Ah go on, go on, go on!
-Enda (May 2016)