It was bound to happen and five years ago it did: a Father Ted fan convention.
If you’re already lost, you probably don’t care about TedFest… but you should. Why? Well, only because the mid-’90s sit-com around which TedFest is based is widely considered to be the best and most humourous insight into Irish culture that has ever been created to date, bar none, end of story.
If you don’t get Father Ted, you don’t get the Irish. Period
Now, if you’ve never seen the series, that’s ok. It’s available from Netflix and other such rental agencies, so you’d better go out and rent it straight away.
The basic premise of Father Ted was the story of three Irish priests (and one hardened housekeeper) who are exiled to the remote (and fictional) Craggy Island, where they live in a parochial house together and generally get up to no good. A family-style comedy, it centers around the title character, Father Ted Crilly, who generally feels surrounded by idiots, especially one Father Dougal McGuire, a young but very impish priest that Ted considers to be his penance for some past wrongdoing (to which we, the viewers, are never made fully privy). Father Jack is the third priest that joins them generally from a withered arm chair, where he spends most of his days downing too much whiskey and shouting barely intelligible obscenities at anyone who comes near him.
The outside shots of the priests’ parochial house were actually done at McCormack’s at Glenquin in County Clare.
Ironically, the series was rejected by Irish television and consequently aired only on British Channel 4 through the entirety of its three seasons. Nonetheless, the Irish take a great pride in Father Ted, which was incidentally acted by some of the finest comedic Irish actors ever.
So, what then, is this TedFest?
A fan convention created in 2007, TedFest celebrates all things Father Ted through a weekend-long series of strange events that include “Ted’s Got Talent” (a play on the pop show Britain’s Got Talent), a virtual confession box, a Craggy Island Kill Bill Festival, Matchmaking with Nellie, a Pirate Cruise and a Walking Tour to the Amish Community.
If you really want to know what any of that means, I suppose you will have to make the trek out to TedFest, which is held on Inis Mór, one of the Aran Islands off the west coast of Ireland (meant to be a nod to the fictional Craggy Island). The event runs from February 24-27, 2011.
by Megan Eaves