Dublin for Expats - Secrets and Guide for living & working in Dublin

Father Ted is not funny - Irish Humour guide

[fa icon="calendar"] Jun 2, 2016 10:18:05 AM / by Prateek Sharma


Before moving to Dublin, most of my appeals to help me acquaint with Irish culture were responded with video links to episodes of Father Ted - a very consistent response from the Irish I knew across the world.


Every Irish person (who grew up in Ireland) – would claim that watching Father Ted would make anyone somewhat Irish in addition to guaranteed laughs.


So there I was, staring at the screen for 3 straight hours – back to back episodes – waiting for ONE single opportunity where I could laugh or even giggle.


Funny Quote, Dougal - Sorry Ted. I was concentrating too hard on looking holy.

Funny Quote Dougal - God I've never seen a clock at 5 a.m. before!

Father Ted: Dougal, you can't sit around here watching television all day - chewing gum for the eyes!
Dougal: Oh no thanks Ted, I've got these crisps, here.


My reaction to all such ‘funny moments’ in the show ---->

Father ted funny scene-  


I have discussed and validated this with other foreigners in Ireland as well – consensus – Father Ted is mildly amusing, but FUNNY? – No Way!

Surprisingly, a majority of foreigners/expats living in Ireland find the show ‘Mrs Browns Boys’ extremely entertaining and funny.

So this brings us to the bout – Father Ted Vs Mrs Browns Boys.

father ted funniest sceneMrs browns boys funny scene  

There is a clear demarcation of humour lines here – None of the Irish I spoke to, spoke anything positive about Mrs Browns Boys. It is surprising since the show is a massive hit and is completely sold out OUTSIDE Ireland. An Irish comedy show that has so many takers outside the country but none within.


Father Ted revolves around 80s parish life in County Clare, something most foreigners would have very little knowledge on – so it’s safe to assume that one of the major reasons for the disconnect is the absence of anything to relate to or be nostalgic about. Irish sarcasm and humour is also an acquired taste/art and is not for everyone (German/Scandinavian alert here!)


On the other hand – Mrs Browns Boys is set in the 2000s, in Dublin city centre and the humour is more universally accepted – slapstick (and laced with a few tacky fart/shit jokes from time to time). Even though the Irish claim Mrs Browns Boys is akin to toilet humour – it still resonates amongst the expats who find references to O’Connell Street, Kildare and Dublin City nuances more relatable and humorous.

Humour in Ireland 


Irish humour has traditionally been full of sarcastic references, a bit of dark and is similar to the British – generally of better quality in terms of content and sophistication. If you want a good example for that – the Colin Farrell & Brendan Gleeson movie ‘In Bruges’ is a brilliant example.


Dark humour ireland   Brendan Gleeson best scene


But remember, the expat community in Ireland is diverse – with a majority of them not being native English speakers – expecting them to have a cup of tea while sitting in front of the telly and revel in the humorous glory of Father Ted will always remain an unfulfilled dream in every Irishman and Irishwoman’s mind.

expats in ireland

So Yeah, I’ll stick to my stand here and refuse to watch any more episodes of Father Ted.

Mrs Browns Boys? I’d hang out with those lads anytime! Funniest Irish show we know!

Thank god we are all on the same page when it comes to Game of Thrones – Peace out.


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Topics: Irish humour, humour in Ireland, what is funny in ireland

Prateek Sharma

Written by Prateek Sharma