- 16 Mar 23
From a nose-picking Taoiseach at a music festival to a child prodigy horologist, Ireland's seen it all.
This year's St. Patrick's Day festivities could easily prove the biggest the nation has seen, following years of Covid-19 lockdowns. To kick-off the festivities, we thought we'd revisit some of the most iconic Irish pop culture moments of the past decade, highlighting the greatest internet hits and reminding us of the fun that's (hopefully) yet to come...
That time the Irish government accidentally legalised a multitude of drugs for 24 hours.
On March 10th, 2015–now remembered fondly as "National Yokes Day"–the Irish Government unintentionally legalised a myriad of drugs including ketamine, ecstasy, crystal meth and magic mushrooms. This was due to a legal loophole found in the 1977 Misuse of Drugs Act, finding it unconstitutional and allowing for all 125 Class A drugs to be legalised for 24 hours, despite the government's best attempt to prevent it.
Every other place is making weed legal but Ireland go a step more and make yokesandshrooms legal #NationalYokesDay #tashp #touristattraction
— gavin sheehy (@SheehyGavin) March 10, 2015
When Leo Varadkar picked his nose (potentially just scratched but we choose to believe the former) at a UK music festival.
Back in 2021, Varadkar chose to go to Might Hoopla, an English music festival, while Electric Picnic was simultaneously happening in Co Laois. Amidst the pandemonium, another controversy arose in the form of an unflattering photo of the Tánaiste picking his nose. The image blew up on Twitter, inciting Varadkar's partner Matthew Barrett to write an open letter to The Irish Times in which he called the photographer a cyberbully and accused the photo dangerous and perverse.
Leo Varadkar has strenuously denied picking his nose at a U.K. music festival yesterday saying he was actually using his finger to try and evict the Sinn Fein members currently living ‘rent free’ in his head. pic.twitter.com/KwsGVHn7av
— Mallow News (@MallowNews) September 5, 2021
When ‘Frostbit Boy’ returned to fame by getting lost at sea.
County Derry native Ruairí McSorley first came into the limelight in 2015 when his distinctive Derry accent captured public attention in an interview with UTV about the snowy weather conditions at the time. His pronunciation of "you wouldn’t be long getting frostbit," became an internet sensation, cementing him to online fame by the name of "Frostbit Boy."
Audiences who thought they had seen the last of McSorley would be proven mistaken in 2021 when the then 24 year old had to be rescued at sea after apparently attempting to swim from Camp to Fenit Lighthouse and back. McSorley was rescued 14 hours into the attempt by authorities who claimed to find him just in his boxer shorts. "I have a bit of pain behind my legs, around the knee caps, it looks like I owed someone 100 grand, but other than that, I’m fine!" said McSorley who was found approximately four kilometres off the coast.
That time President Higgins' dog Misneach wanted attention.
In 2021 President Higgin's gave an interview for RTE celebrating the life of Tom Hickey. The video became an instant internet success, but not for its intended content. President Higgins' dog Misneach is seen throughout the video desperately clamouring for the attention of the official, pawing at the president's hands and biting at his coat as Higgins stoically proceeds. Well, whatever attention Misneach did not get from his beloved owner at the time, he got from audiences nationwide as the video became an overnight success.
just a reminder that the best content on the internet is anything starring Ireland’s president Michael D. Higgins and his Bernese mountain dog Misneach pic.twitter.com/VuRhXwajYa
— j.d. durkin (@jd_durkin) February 23, 2022
When Tommy Bowe spoke too soon in interview opening.
Ex-Ireland and Ulster rugby star Tommy Bowe spoke too soon during a 2021 Wednesday's Ireland AM. interview introduction for Irish writer Séamas O'Reilly. On the topic of his best selling book, Did Ya Hear Mammy Died? co-host Clare McKenna begins by stating: "Now, author Séamus O'Reilly was just five years old when he and his ten siblings–"
"Ten siblings?!" Bowe interjects, amused. McKenna continues to speak: "– sadly lost their mum."
Author Séamas O'Reilly has commented on the moment, tweeting: "I'd also like to reassure Tommy that there are zero hard feelings as my entire family and I think it's absolutely hilarious."
Proper David Brent stuff from Tommy Bowe here pic.twitter.com/V1KmiEeHDL
— Rudi Kinsella (@RudiKinsella) August 11, 2021
When Eamon Dunphy didn't realise he was on air.
Responding to a question from presenter Bill O’Herlihy on the level of expectation on the Brazil players, Dunphy referred back to Neymar’s second goal. “When Neymar was shaping up to take that penalty, I thought he was fucking dreading it," he said. "We're on air," he was reminded in response to the curse. "Oh, wait are we?" Eamon responded nervously, looking around. Meanwhile fellow panelist and former Germany midfielder Dietmar Hamann, slowly puts down his mobile phone.
When Teresa Mannion warned us to "not make unnecessary journeys" during Storm Desmond.
In a now widely famous weather announcement, reporter Teresa Mannion warned Galway's citizens about the dangers of going out during Storm Desmond. Mannion herself was standing outside in the wind and rain as she reported, unaware of the theatrical cadence her broadcast began to employ as the weather got worse around her. The phrase "don't make unnecessary journeys, don't take risks on treacherous roads and don't swim in the sea" became an instant global sensation.
When Aengus Mac Grianna was caught doing his makeup live on air.
It's now been a decade since RTÉ broadcaster Aengus Mac Grianna was caught doing his makeup on air. The iconic reporter is seen powdering his face, fixing his tie and checking his cuffs before someone in his earpiece tells him he's live. "What?" he asks curtly, with a corresponding deathstare.
That time Nadine Coyle said "flour" and people lost their minds.
The former Girls Aloud singer appeared on Channel 4's Sunday Brunch in 2010, where she assisted with some cooking tasks. During the taping, the host asks her if she likes cooking to which the Derry born star responds "I enjoy cooking–baking and stuff, working with four." He pronunciation of the final world garnered nationwide attention, with audiences asking themselves 'why does she pronounce it like that?' We demand respect for the Derry tongue.
I can’t stop thinking about how nadine coyle says ‘flour’ pic.twitter.com/flbM0Aaa4N
— scobi (@scobihughes) June 20, 2018
When that man slipped on ice on live TV.
On January 8, 2010, an unknown passerby became an internet sensation when he slipped and fell on ice in front of an RTÉ news crew. The man–who also banged his head on the wall–has never revealed his identity, alluding audiences still 13 years after the initial broadcast.
When Connell's chain from Normal People went viral.
During lockdown, a lusting fan made an instagram dedicated to the chain of Connell Waldron, the male lead of Sally Rooney's Normal People, played in the TV adaptation by Paul Mescal. The account was an instant success, gaining just 400 followers overnight. "I couldn’t stop looking at it, lusting after it, dreaming about it, thinking about it," said the account creator about the chain. "Connell Waldron's Chain" now has 143k followers on Instagram.
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When Ireland was represented by Dustin the Turkey at Eurovision 2008.
In 2008, the Irish people voted to do something never seen before–elect a puppet to represent them at Eurovision. The choice of Dustin the Turkey, while dictated by popular vote, incited controversy amongst the live studio audience at the precursing contest in Limerick, with some audience members uttering audible boo's. Dustin, performed by John Morrison, did not make it past the first semi-final stage of Eurovision.
When singers 'Jedward' joked about the queen.
Following the Queen's visit with previous Prime Minister Liz Truss, the twins took to twitter, writing: "Liz truss must have done something on that visit to the Queen!" This tweet divided audiences, with some finding it inappropriate for the pair to joke about the sovereign as she lay on her deathbed. "You pair are a disgrace," responded one twitter user. "This is someone’s mum, gran etc. Imagine how you’d feel if someone said something about your mum before she died!!!"
Liz truss must have done something on that visit to the Queen!
— JEDWARD (@planetjedward) September 8, 2022
That time Post Malone had the time of his life at a Dublin trad session.
Following a set at Longitude back in 2014, Post Malone decided to explore Temple Bar, heading to the Old Storehouse Pub where he played music alongside Irish dancer Jean Kennedy, banjo player Eddie Whelan and guitarist Mark Moylan. The American singer played 'Don't Think Twice' and 'It's All Right' amongst other songs.
That time the Twitter tried to (successfully) gaslight us (very willing participants) into thinking the Luas is free.
It all began back in 2021 when Carl Kinsella posted a now infamous tweet telling his followers that Dublin's tram system, the Luas, was free. "A long-term goal of mine has been to lead a disinformation campaign which claims that the Luas is free," Kinsella wrote. "So if anyone ever asks you, remember: the Luas is free." #FreeLuas quickly became one of the highest trending hashtags in Ireland, with people all over the country adding flame to the fire.
Even the Dublin airport's official Twitter account got in on the joke with a tweet that read "Luas is the Irish word for free." Eventually the joke got so big that some wondered if the Luas really was free, inciting Transdev Ireland–which operates the Luas system–to make a statement denying the claims.
A long-term goal of mine has been to lead a disinformation campaign which claims that the Luas is free until enough people believe it that they have no choice but to give in and make the Luas is free. So if anyone ever asks you, remember: the Luas is free.
— Carl Kinsella (@TVsCarlKinsella) August 5, 2021
Coolio's love of Dublin.
American rapper Coolio died recently, leaving fans globally in mourning. He will be remembered for his award-winning hip hop sound and for his love of Rathmines in particular. The artist's links to Dublin became widely publicised over the years, making many media appearances and collaborating with a number of local artists, of whom he befriended many. He once told the Irish Examiner that he would always go to Dublin after completing a European tour. He even found himself involved in Irish politics when he urged Diarmuid Connolly to end his exile and return to the Dublin panel in 2019.
When Matt LeBlanc became famous on Irish twitter for looking like an uncle.
Matt LeBlanc went viral on Irish twitter following the airing of the Friends Reunion back in 2021, however his internet fame did not actually spur from his famed role as Joey Tribbiani, it was for his hyper specific and apparent resemblance to an Irish uncle. A still of Leblanc sitting cross armed and smiling at the event captured everyones attention that year with viral captions like “well we ought to make a move who’s ready to rock and roll” from user @sarahlostctrl and "who's this lad ye do be listenin ta, Post Mahone is it?" from @MickLally_
‘And you paid for them jeans like that ya did, with all them holes already in them?’ pic.twitter.com/mpKFmuevfM
— spochadóir (@spochadoir) May 29, 2021
When John-Joe Brennan the worlds smallest horologist on the Late Late Toy Show.
John-Joe was invited to RTE's Late Late Toy Show in 2009 to discuss his Roald Dahl collection, but quickly turned the conversation towards his love of clocks after the host asked him what he'd like to do with his life. "I want to be a horologist," said the eight year old, dawning round glasses and a tweed coat. The host then handed John-Joe his own watch to examine. "It's a very good mark I suppose," said the child, holding the piece in his little hands. "Next to rolex..."
John-Joe quickly became a national treasure, beloved for his soft spoken and intelligent words.
When the Wild Mountain Thyme trailer dropped.
The 2022 romantic comedy based on John Patrick Shanley's play Outside Mullingar led to one of Irish Twitter's greatest days on earth, with outrageous attempts at Oirish accents flying around the place and costumes straight from the 1890s, despite Emily Blunt's character referring to modern day IVF treatments. Jamie Dornan, Emily Blunt, Christopher Walken and Jon Hamm...may shame be brought upon your families. Go collect your checks, we hope it was worth the slagging. Comedian Michael Fry, iconic creator of indie band hits out of viral internet moments, had his own take:
Wild Mountain Dew (2020)
((Wild Mountain Thyme only it’s Irish people pretending to be Americans)) pic.twitter.com/XKlVvvNTeT
— Michael Fry (@BigDirtyFry) November 11, 2020
When Séamas O'Reilly accidentally ended up in a room with his boss and the president while on ketamine.
Back before he was a professional writer, Séamas O'Reilly was another Irish student looking for fun on his days off. One particular day he decided to take ketamine with his friends–this particular ketamine was dyed green for St. Patrick's day, which is maybe not entirely important to the story, but also definitely is. After taking the tranquiliser, O'Reilly was summoned to work by his boss where he was told he would be serving the Irish President, Mary McAleese. Upon arrival, he was a disaster–sweaty, dizzy, eyes wild–and his boss took notice, asking him if had run to get there. He was then ordered to stand in the corner of a room and offer the President and friends a drink every fifteen minutes.
Got my days wrong and ended up alone in a room with my boss and the President of Ireland while I was on ketamine. https://t.co/gSjPY8WjKL
— The author, Séamas O'Reilly (@shockproofbeats) May 3, 2018
When Paul Mescal embraced the Irish language in a BAFTA's interview.
Paul Mescal publicly spoke in Irish for the first time at the 2023 BAFTA's in an interview for his Oscar nominated performance in Aftersun. “I’m sorry about my Irish — it was much better when I was in school,” said Mescal during the interview. “It’s slightly lost on me now.” This comes weeks after the BBC mistakenly identified the actor as English in a recent broadcast.
Nuair a bhíonn Gaeilge Dhún na nGall ag an scrúdaitheoir! 😅 #BAFTAs #EEBAFTAs pic.twitter.com/yrkRvS2NJS
— TG4TV (@TG4TV) February 19, 2023
Colin Farrell reacting to Brendan Gleeson's Irish fluency at the BAFTA's.
At the same award show, The Banshees of Inisherin star Breandan Gleeson showed off his own Irish, after reporters for TG4 asked him questions in the language. Gleeson responded remarkably well, blowing away fans with his attempts to speak the native tongue. "Credit to TG4 for putting them on the spot and the lads for responding so well," said twitter user @NiallMcintyre.
Brendan Gleeson 🇮🇪👏 #BAFTAs #EEBAFTAs pic.twitter.com/be8gBJUA4r
— TG4TV (@TG4TV) February 20, 2023
Let us know any of your favourites we may have missed!
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