Entertainment Banter

Thursday 18 July 2019

From brutal honesty to bare-faced lies - the most 'Irish Mammy' things ever

HIT: The quintessential Irish mammy, Mrs Brown, as portrayed by Brendan O’Carroll
HIT: The quintessential Irish mammy, Mrs Brown, as portrayed by Brendan O’Carroll
Mrs Brown: The classic 'Irish Mammy'?
'Mammy thought the jam was one of your five a day'

Sheena McGinley

Amy Huberman did the most Irish thing imaginable on Sunday. She helped another Irish mammy track down her teenage son who’s currently enjoying summer in New York. Leaving a comment under one of Amy’s NYC Instagram pics, one Yvonne Duffy said: “My son Sean is on his J1 in New York. If you see him can you ask him to facetime his mam more, thanks.”

The mum of two responded in kind, arranging to meet Sean for a spot of mammy facetiming and saying: “Jaysus the world is tiny and Yvonne he’s grand and washing behind his ears! Gowan the Irish sons!”

Between the mandatory Child of Prague burial out the back before a wedding in the hope of some sun — to such choice phrases as “Get up off that, you’ll get a cold in your kidneys!”, “C’mere ’til I murder ye!”, and personal favourite “It’s up in Nelly’s room behind the wallpaper” — we have all been there with Irish Mammies. Below are just some of the hats they wear on a daily basis, and how they’ve helped shape our lives as a result — for good or for ill!


An Irish Mammy will protect her offspring to the hilt. Look no further than Sharon Higgins, AKA Maura off Love Island’s mammy. She was quick to defend her 28-year-old daughter via the Longford Leader after she entered the Villa, like a tornado in a perma-state of titillation, saying of Twitter’s reaction: “So many people are judging her too quickly. But don’t judge her too quickly, because she has a heart of gold. She’d do anything for you.”

Read more: 'She never got plastic surgery ever' - Maura Higgins' mother defends her daughter on Love Island 

Sharon also clarified rumours surrounding her daughter’s slightly altered appearance, saying possibly the most Irish Mammy thing possible: “She never got plastic surgery ever. The only thing she ever got done — and she never hid it, she had it up on her own Instagram — was she got some lip filler because she had quite thin lips. And that was the height of it. So that’s the only thing. She never had plastic surgery ever. That’s terrible stuff.”

Mothers will also shield without you ever hearing about it. Saoirse Ronan said of her mam, Monica, in a recent interview: “I wasn’t unaware that there were people in the (film) industry who abused their power, or who were seedy or untrustworthy. But because of her, I was never a victim and I’m very, very thankful. I didn’t leave home at 19 all bright-eyed and bushy-tailed — I hadn’t been wrapped in cotton wool — but I had been protected.”


Another thing you can always count on your mammy to do is be ‘honest’, as in BRUTALLY frank regarding how you look. And you can’t do good for doing wrong... My husband’s appearance is under constant scrutiny. There is never a “You’re looking well!” It’s always, “You’re after getting terrible big”, which then swings to “You’re after losing a lot of weight. You’re running too much.” You. Can. Not. Win.

Graham Norton (Read-Only).JPG
Graham Norton with his mother Rhonda

It must be a Cork thing. Graham Norton’s mother’s reaction to the unveiling of her son’s National Gallery of Ireland portrait (created by this year’s Portrait Artist of The Year winner, Gareth Reid) was two disses for the price of one. Spinning on her heel to address artist Reid at the unveiling earlier this year, Rhonda said “Well, you didn’t flatter him, mind you.” Two birds, one mammy truth bomb right there.

Is it any wonder then that it’s been recently reported over 50 per cent of men on dating apps had their profile picture taken by their mother?


The archetypal Irish Mammy seems to have no end of limbs to offer. While they don’t make them like Bridget Fagan Brown anymore (mother of 23 children, 14 of which lived — one of which was the very talented Christy Brown, you know the rest, immortalised on screen by Brenda Fricker), mammies are usually on hand at a time of need.

Una Healy’s mother has been another pair of mitts since the singer’s split from Ben Foden last year. Speaking of the support mum Anne has given her, the 37-year-old singer said via Evoke.ie: “I’ve got great help, my mum’s amazing. I couldn’t do it without her. She’s there for me all the time, she’s like Wonder Woman, absolutely is. My mother, she’s the grandmother and she shares the responsibilities with me now ’cause Ben’s away so she’s there all the time now and she’s amazing.”


While there are professional nurses/mothers who have been known to work all the hours the universe can muster (look no further than Baz Ashmawy’s mum, Nurse Nancy), there is the myriad of mothers who fancy themselves as bona-fide health professionals.

However, there is truth in the adages mums prattle off, such as “don’t go out with wet hair, or you’ll catch yer death”. Niall Horan found out the hard way during the festive season of 2016 when he was struck down with a chest infection. Well, mammy Maura had warned him...

Maura, mother of Niall Horan, arriving at the baptism of her grandson Theo in Westmeath last month. Photo: Tony Gavin

At the time, the Mullingar native tweeted: “Should have listened to my mother years ago when she said ‘don’t go out with wet hair or you’ll get pneumonia’.”


Oh, the blatant lies, but they were always for our own good, don’t you know. Among the regular sentiments of duplicity — such as “Oh, ice cream vans only play that music when they’ve run out” and “Your face will stay like that if the wind changes” — there have been more impactful lies used for one’s own good. A school mum (who shall remain nameless) informed me she led her now 20-year-old son to believe he had a heart condition so he’d never take Class A drugs. He still believes that to this day. True story.

The thing with Irish Mammies is that we all believe we’re doing the best thing at the time. Sometimes it works out, and sometimes it doesn’t. But we all know the power of having one on our side when the going gets tough...


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