Sunday 25 June 2017

That's mad, Ted . . . fans pour in for annual Craggy Island festival

Robert Morgan, son of the late 'Father Ted' actor Dermot, having a cup
of tea with Geraldine Hobbs (Mrs Doyle) at Ted Fest on Inis Mor
yesterday
Robert Morgan, son of the late 'Father Ted' actor Dermot, having a cup of tea with Geraldine Hobbs (Mrs Doyle) at Ted Fest on Inis Mor yesterday

Aoife Finneran

AS Father Dougal once declared, there's nothing at all stupid about the annual all-priests five-a-side football match.

And for revellers attending the sixth annual Ted Fest this weekend, the battle for the Craggy Cup is no laughing matter.

Inis Mor, the largest of the Aran islands, has once again been temporarily rebranded "Craggy Island" as it plays host to 300 ardent fans of the cult hit TV series 'Father Ted'.

This afternoon, one of the festival highlights takes place on the beach, where Craggy Island's priestly soccer team takes on a visiting team from the Isle of Man for the Craggy Cup.

Fittingly, the director of the prestigious sporting event is one Rob Morgan, son of the late Dermot who played 'Father Ted' in the Channel 4 series until his death in February 1998.

"It's a great coincidence that the festival takes place around the anniversary of dad's death," said Mr Morgan. "On a weekend like this, I'd rather be out here celebrating his life instead of sitting at home mourning his death."

He added: "I can't say I'm the guardian of the memory of Ted or anything like that, but if an image of my father is used in connection with something I'd like to make sure that it's in a positive way and I know the organisers of Ted Fest will always do an incredible job in that respect."

Enthusiasm

He will be stepping into his late father's shoes tonight to present the annual Lovely Girls competition.

Enthusiasm for the festival is as great as ever, according to organiser Peter Phillips, with fans travelling from the UK and US to experience the world's only 'Father Ted' theme park.

In a gesture that would surely please Mrs Doyle, everyone in possession of a €150 ticket was greeted with a cup of tea as they arrived on the island.

With costumed priests, nuns and bishops mingling with the lesser-spotted spider babies, Pat Mustards and even a Holy Stone of Clonrichert, festival-goers are enjoying a jam-packed schedule of events ahead of tomorrow evening's parting "blessing".

And the good news for 'Father Ted' fans on the continent is that the festival is gearing up to conquer Europe.

Mr Phillips has plans to take Ted Fest to Poland for the European Championships, using the famous caravan featured in the holiday episode 'Hell'.

He explained: "We'd love to get a sponsor and align ourselves with a charity because we're bringing the caravan on the ferry to the UK and then on to Belgium, Holland, Germany and to Poznan in Poland.

"We'll have a mini Ted Fest every night. It's crazy, but a few years ago we managed to bring the Milk Float from the episode 'Speed 3' around Ireland in aid of Down Syndrome Ireland, so it can be done."

Irish Independent

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