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Dublin: 9 °C Saturday 24 August, 2019

10 brilliant Irish institutions we wish would make a comeback

Bosco for Late Late host 2017.

<3 Source: Leon Farrell/Photocall Ireland

FROM QUESTIONABLE IRISH DATING shows to ghoulish childhood snacks, many of our most beloved Irish institutions have long since disappeared from our screens and shelves.

Here we try to whittle down the ten that we’d most like to see make an overdue return into our lives.

1. Popstars

LOUIS WALSH POPSTARS LAUNCH Source: Gareth Chaney/Photocall Ireland!

It was the show that first brought a denim-clad Louis Walsh into our lives, along with the fairly unsuccessful winners, Six (though we will always secretly enjoy There’s A Whole Lotta Loving Going On).

It all culminated in a moment that arose when, after a frantic but fruitless passport search, a young Nadine Coyle finally broke down off camera to Linda Martin and admitted that she was only 16, disqualifying her from the competition. Who’s the real winner these days? (Louis probably…)

2. Banshee Bones

In a childhood menu of corn-based crisps that included Chickatees and Snacks, this was a staple at every picnic. Sadly, it was confirmed around this time last year by DailyEdge that Largo Foods were no longer manufacturing Banshee Bones.

Although people now claim that a particular supermarket brand’s salt and vinegar rice cakes are a decent equivalent, it is doubted we will ever taste another Banshee Bone. What ever will we feed the next generation of Irish children?

3. The Den

Source: doublezwynne/YouTube

A beloved institution for multiple generations of Irish kids, The Den started way back when in 1986 and continued until a dark day on September 19, 2010 when it had its final broadcast.

By that stage however, Ian Dempsey, Ray D’Arcy and the rest of the crew (Dusty, Socky, Charly and Zuppy) had moved onto their own programmes. It was the golden era of children’s TV in Ireland. 

4. Fat Frogs

print-16-752x501 Source: HB Ireland

Growing up in Ireland, there were your standard Loop The Loops, Brunches, Feasts, and of course stape 99s, but Fat Frogs were the hard hitters. And every year, diehard fans ask if HB Ireland will bring Fat Frogs back.

Three summers ago, other HB favourite Funny Feet returned to our local newsagents’ freezers following an online poll, so this year it could be the one we finally experience their triumphant return.

5. Father Ted

Source: Hat Trick/YouTube

Arguably our greatest Irish export of all time (and definitely our funniest), the dialogue from Father Ted is responsible for so many catchphrases most Irish people use on weekly basis. The show even inspires an entire festival every year held on Craggy Island (um, Inis Mór).

Although Dermot Morgan’s tragic death a day after filming the final episode means any further instalments will never be the same, we would love to check in with Father Dougal, Father Jack and Mrs Doyle one final time.

6. Paisean Faisean

Source: hornybadgerfilms/YouTube

Like an earlier, lower budget version of First Dates Ireland, this was one of the few shows that would ever get us listening to Irish outside of a classroom, the premise being that the hopefuls looking for love would woo with their (quite often awful) taste.

The male contestants would be handed a wad full of cash and, well, 100% of the time they would seek out most tasteless and worst put together outfits, while the female contestants tried to pick the least terrible outfit and hope for the best. It was innocent, cringe-worthy and just kind of lovely.

7. Bosco


Last year, even the most hardened reporters in TheJournal couldn’t hide their genuine delight when Irish treasure and beloved kids TV star Bosco visited the office.

Giving an exclusive and very honest interview about the future of children’s television, Bosco only made it about 900 times more obvious that he should be immediately given hosting duties on a talk show, perhaps The Late Late. Someone give that brilliant puppet a job.

8. B*Witched

Source: BwitchedVEVO/YouTube

Some once saw B*witched as Ireland’s answer to The Spice Girls, but for an entire generation of girls, Shane Lynch’s twin sisters and their happy-go-lucky pop hits were so much more. Weeks of our lives were spent learning the dance routine to C’est La Vie.

Although they’re set to tour this year in Australia, we are hoping for their homecoming return to the 3Arena (OK, maybe a slightly smaller venue).

9. Glenroe


As an Irish TV staple from September 1983 to May 2001, anyone with a bit of sense would be in on a Sunday night watching Glenroe’s newest episode, and catching up on all the shocking events filmed in the sleepy village of Kilcoole, Co Wicklow.

The show centred on important things at the time like affairs of the heart and religion, and even inspired a 2015 RTE documentary revisiting entitled Well Holy God It’s Glenroe.

10. I’m Mike Murphy From RTE

Source: Windmill Lane Post/YouTube

Years before we had Trigger Happy TV and Punk’d, Mike Murphy was pranking the Irish public in his show I’m Mike Murphy From RTE, a hidden camera show that is still funny decades later.

On another one of his hidden camera shows The Live Mike, while filming outside Trinity College, Gay Byrne famously told the Eurovision presenter, “do you know the meaning of f*** off?”. Nowadays, Mike Murphy is 75 but we reckon he’d still be up for the job of conning the public and making gas television in the process.

The McMór from McDonald’s is back in town. Back to run the show in the biggest, and most definitely the tastiest, comeback of the year. Made with a potato-flaked bun, 100% Irish beef and bacon, leafy greens, a great big dollop of Ballymaloe Relish and Charleville Cheese, was there ever any doubt that the McMór would be back to run the show? It’s the return of the Mac alright! The return of the McMór.

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