Joe Rooney celebrating Father Ted at Comedy Festival


From this week's Galway City Tribune

From this week's Galway City Tribune

Joe Rooney celebrating Father Ted at Comedy Festival Joe Rooney celebrating Father Ted at Comedy Festival

Comedian Joe Rooney will celebrate all things Father Ted at this year’s Galway Comedy Festival.

Those who’ve ever wondered about the meaning of the song titles on the scoreboard of Eurosong ’96, when Ted and Dougal bombed so spectacularly, or who was the famous musician who had a walk-on part in the iconic clerical sit-com need wonder no more.

Joe Rooney, who played the gurrier priest Father Damo in the hit 1990s’ series, will present A Celebration of Father Ted in The Loft at Seven on Saturday, October 29, as part of this year’s festival.

Father Ted is full of hidden meanings, in-jokes, witty symbolism, and humorous details, he explains. These can be easy to miss, but once discovered, will offer fans an even greater insight into the series.

“It will be an event that gives a good flavour of Father Ted,” says Joe. “There will be a quiz, a Lovely Girls Competition, slides and music, as well as stand-up. It will be very interactive.”

Joe has been a stalwart of the Irish comedy scene since the 1990s. Winner of Best Comedian at the 2017 Pure M Awards, he also starred as Timmy in the RTÉ sitcom Killinaskully.

Joe made his first appearance in season two of Father Ted, in the episode ‘The Old Grey Whistle Theft’ which was first broadcast in 1996. On that occasion, Fr Damo led the hapless Fr Dougal (Ardal O’Hanlon) astray with his bad-boy behaviour.

“I arrive at the show as Father Damo,” says Joe of his Galway gig. “It’s very easy for me to slip in and out of character. I’ll also be giving away whistles as the theft of a whistle is at the centre of that episode.”

Joe’s show will be an education on comedy-writing as he highlights the many hidden references in numerous episodes of the series.

“There is a lot of detail in Father Ted,” he explains.

Audience participation will also be a huge part of the show.

“I’ll get people up dancing,” says Joe. “I’ll get people up for the Lovely Girls Competition – which will not be gender specific. I’ll divide the room in two and both sides will compete in the quiz.”

At previous performances of these celebration shows, Joe has observed that many of the audience are young and “weren’t alive when Father Ted came out originally”. Nearly three decades on, the show’s iconic status remains undimmed and his insights will help explain why it continues to be so popular.

A Celebration of Father Ted with Joe Rooney will take place in The Loft at Seven on Saturday, October 29, at 7.30pm. The special guest will be Pat McDonnell who played Eoin McLove in the series. Tickets are on sale at



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