Blather presents ‘Ireland’s Greatest Wits’

shakespeare.jpgYesterday, the lion’s share of British media outlets ran with the story that a recent poll, conducted to figure out who was Britain’s greatest wit, placed the writer Oscar Wilde at the top of a list of ten auspicious names. And indeed he was a funny chap. There’s a slight issue though: Oscar Wilde was not British. Oscar Wilde was (drumroll) Irish. But no matter; let’s not get hung up on semantics. In the interest of furthering Anglo-Irish relations, and generally educating the great unwashed, now humbly submits its list of Ireland’s greatest wits for your perusal and comment.

Now, before we begin, we understand that there may be some confusion surrounding precisely what ‘Ireland’ is. So, in order to help our geographically-challenged cousins in the UK, we’ve decided to place this helpful map here to provide some simple pointers. You ready? Good. Take a look (don’t rush yourself now, it’s not a test) and when you feel good and prepared take a look at that blob on the left. You see that? That’s Ireland. Ire-laaaaaaand. Where Irish people live. Still with us? Great.
Now you see that big shape on the right? That’s Britain. Bri-taaaaaaaain. Where British people live. That’s right – they’re two separate countries. For sure, you chaps in Britain own that bit in the north of Ireland (go ask your Mum and Dad) but the bit down south? Yep – that’s a separate country. Has been since 1922. No, seriously like. Honest now. It’s called (you might want to write this down) ‘The Republic Of Ireland‘. It has its own flag and anthem and all. Hell they even speak a different language in parts of it. It doesn’t have the Queen on its money. It doesn’t have (shock! horror!) royalty at all.
Ah but sure, what’s a small misunderstanding about nationality between friends, eh? So, in the interest of cross-border relations, we now humbly offer our list of the ten greatest Irish wits. Here it is:
10. J. K. Rowling. For her sterling work in convincing everyone that she deserves plaudits for helping fat kids read more books, Rowling has rightly been called ‘Ireland’s greatest living chancer’. Laugh? We nearly shat ourselves.
9. Emily Bronte. Manically-depressed graveyard worrier from Fermoy, Co. Cork. Her epic work ‘Wuthering Heights’, charting the adventures of a roving potato-salesman during the Great Famine, is a real barrel of laughs.
8. Spike Milligan. It says ‘I told you I was ill’ on his gravestone. In Irish. Also had an Irish passport. Therefore, was Irish. Q. E. D.
7. Charles Darwin. Born April 1st, 1815, Clontarf, Dublin. Best-selling ‘Limerick’ and bawdy ale-tavern songwriter. Winner of ‘Greatest Irish Beard’ award 1845-49.
6. Banksy. Wexford-born satirical graffiti artist, known for his famous artworks spray-painted over the vomit stains of visiting English hen nights in Dublin’s Temple Bar and now sold for up a million quid to Soho-dwelling wankers with angular glasses and coiffed hair.
5. Ben Elton. Gobby, machine-gun mouthed satirist from Nobber, Co. Meath. Enjoyed success in the 80s when he co-wrote the groundbreaking RTE show ‘Blackadder’ following four generations of a scheming Cork family, but now pens musicals re-hashing the back catalogue of Galway rock-band ‘Queen’.
4. Charles Dickens. Belfast-born Dickens combined vibrant characterisation, uproarious dialogue and a healthy dose of the clap to chronicle the daily lives of Mullingar’s late nineteenth century pornographers.
3. J.R.R. Tolkien. Born in Donegal, Tolkien’s career as a Trinity College Dublin professor was coupled with a strong desire to re-write what he saw as the ‘lost mythology’ of Ireland. His opus, ‘The Lord of the Rings’ addresses this directly, with it’s 8,000 page chronicle of a Belfast midget’s journey to Scotland and back.
2. Salman Rushdie. As Irish as Kenneth Branagh.
1. William Shakespeare. Cavan-born playwright and poet, widely recognised as the world’s greatest literary genius. His masterwork ‘Hamlet’ charts the rise and fall of a Cork footballer and his titanic struggle to come to terms with ending up as Sunderland manager, working for a six foot chicken.
We realise of course that our list might upset some folks, as all such lists are prone to do. Please feel free to submit your own suggestions.
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Yay! Ireland finally leaves British Isles behind

Damien DeBarra was born in the late 20th century and grew up in Dublin, Ireland. He now lives in London, England where he shares a house with four laptops, three bikes and a large collection of chairs.


  1. Just wiping up the sarcasm dripping from my screen in order to type a response…
    Britain isn’t a country. England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are countries. Britain is an island.
    Your geographically challenged cousin.

  2. “I am not English. I am Irish, which is quite another thing.” Oscar Fingal O’Flahertie Wills Wilde, interview with Pall Mall Budget, 1882.

  3. Another clue is obtained from the great mans full name;
    Oscar Fingal O’Flahertie Wills Wilde.

  4. No, he wasn’t English, but the article never said he was. It said British, and he was a British citizen.

  5. Dear Chris,
    There is no such a thing as a British citizen, ye only have commoners. Citizens belong to places like the, Republic of Ireland, an evolution since the great and glorious French revolution.
    Chris, perhaps you can enlighten me, is Philip’s family name, really Frankenstein and is Mr Al Fayed, telling the truth ? I am researching it, for one of my forthcoming blog sagas.

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