Today in 1952 one of Ireland's most beloved comedians, who died at the age of just 45, was born in Dún Laoghaire, south Dublin. He rose to fame with TV show like Scrap Saturday but it was the Chanel 4 sitcom about Irish priests, "Father Ted", that made him internationally famous.
Over twenty years ago, a British TV station Channel 4 introduced us to Father Ted Crilly, Father Dougal McGuire, Father Jack Hackett and Mrs. Doyle. Irish comedy was never the same again and, over two decades on, the show still remains relevant. It wasn’t all about the comedy, however, and there were a few valuable pearls of wisdom thrown in amidst the laughs.
Today, given the day that's in it, IrishCentral takes a look at the best life-lessons we gained from our trips to Craggy Island.
1. Always plan an escape route (1996 Christmas special)
Whether you’re going to a family dinner with boring Uncle Frank, going on a blind date or taking a trip to your local department store, always ensure you know the easiest escape option. Nobody wants to happen across eight priests in the lingerie department.
2. Make sure you confirm all the facts before signing the dotted lie ("Going to America")
So you’re going to be living it up in the LA hills, chilling by a pool and drinking cocktails all day? Did we not mention the violent gang culture? It’s right there in the small print! Ted should probably have clarified these facts before he got as far as the airport runway, as we all should with any major or minor life decisions.
3. Be careful what you wish for ("Entertaining Father Stone")
You’ve picked the wrong place to sit at the dinner table and ended up listening to the never-ending story from the man with the most monotone voice in existence. You pray to God to do anything to put you out of your misery. Are you so sure about that? You’d suffer from life-long guilt if they were suddenly struck by lightening like poor, boring Fr. Stone. Just grin and bear it until the coffee comes along and you can move without causing offense.
4. We can all overcome our fears ("Flight into Terror")
If Father Ted can overcome his horrible fear of flying and save a jet full of priests by climbing out onto the wheel of an inflight plane to carry out repairs, surely I can see a spider without crying and calling my parents. Nope. Maybe not.
5. Beware the fan-girls ("Night of the Nearly Dead")
The One-Directioners and Beliebers have nothing on the avid fans of the original Irish female heartthrob - Eoin McLove. Beware the terror of coming between an Irish Mammy and her need to mother a baby-faced crooner.
6. Far away hills are not always greener ("New Jack City")
You always think you’ve reached the lowest low until you realize just how much worse things can get. Despite being the bane of Ted’s day-to-day existence, Father Jack was a perfect angel compared to his one-time replacement Father Fintan Stack, played by Brendan Grace. Ted was happy to return to pastures old – at least Jack could be soothed with a drink.
7. People love controversy ("The Passion of Saint Tibulus")
Rather like "50 Shades of Gray," “The Passion of Saint Tibulus” would never had attracted quite so much attention if it weren’t for two handcuffed priests rooted outside the cinema with shouts of “Down with this sort of thing.” Proof that sometimes it works wonders just to ignore things until they go away.
8. Sometimes it’s better to just share the bill ("The Mainland")
It’s a great feeling to be able to treat your friends to dinner or a day out, but if their pride gets in the way, maybe it’s just best to split the bill evenly and avoid any awkward arguments (or an arrest).
9. Never, ever refuse a cup of tea
10. You never realize what you have until it’s gone
Just 24 hours after filming the last episode of series 3, the world lost actor Dermot Morgan who played Father Ted Crilly. Despite the critical acclaim and widespread popularity of the show when it first aired and Morgan receiving a Best Actor BAFTA for the role in 1998, it’s only as time progresses that we see its true comedic value. Twenty years on, and countless reruns later, there’s rarely a time where you’ll pass on the opportunity to watch a show you know almost word for word and not laugh just as hard as you did the first time you saw it.
What other life lessons can we take from Father Ted? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below.
*Originally published in April 2015.