Ted Fest 2010

March 22, 2010

Ted Fest came home last night when, four years after it was launched

on neighboring island Inis Mor, the annual fan convention that

celebrates all things Father Ted was brought to Inis Oirr. Featured in

the shows opening credits Inis Oirr has always felt that it had the

stronger claim to be the “Real Craggy Island” so after years of

backbiting, threats and multiple football matches the issue was

finally put to rest with a second sitting being held on the island

this weekend.

The rivalry started when festival founder Peter Philips wondered what

the other Islands thought about what was going on in Inis Mor during

the inaugural Ted Fest in 2006. “A journalist got a quote from someone

in Inis Oir, one of those great, understated quotes where they said

they thought Inis Mor had pulled a fast one on them and they weren’t

impressed” says Phillips. “ And that boiled up.24 hours later the Aran

Islands were at war and a mate of mine was in tour with his band in

New Zeeland sent me a text saying ‘you’re on the six o clock news

here’. It was insane, but ultimately brilliant for the festival.”

A football match was arranged to settle the dispute, with footballers

Tony Cascorino & John Aldridge coaching the opposing Islands. Inis Mor

won 2-0 but the dispute rumbled on, with Inis Oirr wanting a rematch

so they could shake off their newly earned moniker “Rugged Island”. At

one stage they threatened to do their own version of Ted Fest but

peace talks were held on the neutral Inis Man and it was agreed a

second sitting would occur this year.

“We looked at it and we realized there was enough interest in the

festival to have another weekend in Inis Oirr” Phillips says. “It was

a two-weekend festival as it was but it felt a bit like Butlins

holding two sittings in the one place. Waving one group off as another

group came in.”

The whole idea came to Phillips, a Welsh filmmaker, when he found

himself stranded in the middle of a civil war in Sri Lanka, not long

after the Tsunami. “I met this Irish man Fergal McGrath when we were

both helping out this art therapy group and we ended up keeping

ourselves sane by talking about Father Ted.

“ I run an Elvis festival in Wales and we both thought it would be

great if we could do something like that for Father Ted”.

They agreed if they ever got back to Galway they would meet up and

put their plan in action but they never imagined it was going to be

any thing more than a bit of craic with like-minded people.

The end of February was chosen as they were both available and it also

marked the anniversary of Dermot Morgan’s passing. Since the premise

of Ted Fest was to create Craggy Island they ended up on Inis Mor. “We

wanted to run it in winter to get the cold, windswept look that Craggy

Island projects” Phillips says.

“Once Christmas is over the island goes into hibernation. So it

brought a bit of life to the place, it was good for the local economy

and was great craic.”

Now in its fourth year it’s spawned a sister festival in Australia,

and attracts fans from as far a field as Russia, Canada and Japan.  It

respects the legacy of stand up comedy in the history of Father Ted

and presents the Toilet Duck award to the best new Irish stand up and

this year they’re on the hunt for the Loveliest Horse in Ireland. The

winning filly will receive a marketing contract, becoming the face of

a range from Cork clothing company Hairy Babies and will also get

their own QVC TV show.

There’s the Lovely Girls competition, Teds Got Talent (won last year

by a Johnny Logan tribute act backed by four Maurois doing the hacka)

& the Loveliest Couple Contest, the winners of which are married by

“Father “ Dara Molloy.

Those attending the second sitting this weekend will also have a

chance to get themselves featured on a Father Ted box set. “This guy

rang us up and told us that he has a light airplane and he has offered

to fly over The Plassey while we are down at the nun’s picnic so were

going to reshoot the opening credits.”

For every person headed to Aran with a ticket there’s one who’s

headed for the craic, creating almost a fringe festival feel. “The

natives come home with a pile of mates and as the ticket holders move

from one place to the next there is still a crowd of people doing

stuff in the last location and the location before that. “

He believes they’ve achieved their goal of bringing the fictional

island to life concluding, “On the first night of Ted fest there is a

fancy dress party and there are lots of people dressed up as nuns,

bishops and Mrs. Doyles. I mean it’s a big party. But by Saturday it

morphs and the illusion of Craggy Island becomes a reality.”

Ted Fest Second Sitting

Inis Oirr 4-7 March 2010



Daily sailings from Ros a’ Mhí10.30 & 18.30

Daily flights from Connemara Airport 09.00, 10.30 & 1630


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