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Saturday 14 December 2019

Tedfest comes to sombre end as fans raise glass to 'Fr Jack'

James Martin and Joe Hall at the 10th Tedfest on Inis Mór island, Co Galway, at the weekend. Photo: Hany Marzouk
James Martin and Joe Hall at the 10th Tedfest on Inis Mór island, Co Galway, at the weekend. Photo: Hany Marzouk

Daragh Small

After three days of high jinks on Inis Mór, this year's Tedfest ended on a sombre note as fans of 'Father Ted' learned of the passing of the legendary Frank Kelly.

Organiser Peter Phillips said festival goers were devastated by the news and yesterday raised a glass to their hero on the final day of the event.

"Father Jack will go down as one of the most famous Irish television characters of all time," he said.

"A couple of years ago we were looking at bringing him out to do a guest appearances but we couldn't get the dates and times to work.

"It was poignant that he died on the same day that Dermot Morgan died so many years ago. Tedfest is always on the last weekend of February, and the reason we do it is because it coincides with Father Ted's passing."

Phillips said Kelly would be fondly remembered and sadly missed.

"It's terribly sad news, a lot of people associate 'Father Ted' with Fr Jack. He was a very good character actor and we will raise a glass to him."

Among the hundreds of fans who travelled to the Aran Islands for this year's festival were German Doris Gerth and her partner, Australian John Bottrell, who met at last year's Tedfest.

Both had lost their spouses five years earlier and had little inkling they would find love on this Craggy Island. Gerth, from Cologne, said she was a late newcomer to both Ireland and 'Father Ted'.

"'Father Ted' was recommended to me because it was never on German TV. I watched it and I couldn't stop because it was so funny," she said.

She returned to Inis Mór with Bottrell at the weekend to celebrate the anniversary of their first meeting.

"We met on my first day of Tedfest last year. We talked and we had the same interest of photography, and we both like to travel a lot," explained Gerth. "His wife passed away the same year that my husband passed away too.

"Me and John decided to meet in Dublin after last year's festival, and when we said goodbye we were really good friends. But we sent a lot of emails and that was how it worked.

"I have been to Australia three times already, and John is coming to Germany this year too. And we will spend a couple of years in Europe travelling around," she added.

For Bottrell, this was his fourth Tedfest. "I come from Perth every year for it...I have always been a fan of 'Father Ted'.

"Myself and Doris met here in Tí Joe Watty's, she walked in the room and I noticed her straight away. I went up to her and asked her would she like a pint. And now we have both found a new life after losing our partners."

Irish Independent

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