Top five Father Ted episodes

Best Father Ted episodes for first timers

Although produced by a British company, Father Ted is as Irish as it comes. From cultural references, to comedic style, Father Ted captures an Ireland that to some may seem unimaginable, but to others, very familiar. The show is loved by many across the nation and accurately regarded as a magnificent caricature of a particular kind of Ireland” by The Guardian.

Father Ted follows the lives of three priests living in Craggy Island; Ted, a chain-smoking man who would give up everything for fame, money, and America; Dougal, a simpleminded man who loves to rollerblade; Jack, an alcoholic whose vocabulary mainly consists of drink, feck, arse or girls, and finally Mrs Doyle, their housekeeper who loves making tea for the priests and any guest that visits their house. 

As the series is considered a hit, with an overall rating of 8.6 on IMDb, it might be hard to know where to begin watching. Here is a list of five of the best Father Ted episodes that might be a good place to start.

 5. Night of the Nearly Dead

In this episode, Mrs Doyle wins a competition which allows her to meet presenter, Eoin McLove, whose character is a parody of real-life singer and presenter, Daniel O’Donnell. Mrs Doyle shares the good news of her winnings with a friend, who consequently tells another person, and the news eventually gets out.

Eoin McLove is a superstar to middle-aged and older women, and so when word gets out, they all rush to meet him in zombie-like fashion. Eoin and his assistant, Patsy, are eventually trapped in the priest’s house overnight as the women try to break in to meet their sweet Eoin. After dawn breaks, Mrs Doyle reminds the women that their husbands will be awake soon and wonder where their breakfast is, and so the women leave and Eoin McLove is finally free.

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Mrs Doyle with tea.
4. Cigarettes and Alcohol and Rollerblading

When Father Ted receives a phone call from Father Dick Byrne, Father Ted’s apparent nemesis, telling him that he and the other priests of Rugged Island will be giving up their vices for lent, Father Ted insists that he and the Craggy Island priests will be doing the same. Ted, to quit smoking, Jack must quit alcohol and Dougal to give up rollerblading.

After all three are found breaking their sacrifices, Father Ted decides they need help and calls upon a Catholic service who send Sister Assumpta. Assumpta’s methods for helping the priests include making them spend a significant amount of time in baths full of ice, dragging them around by a tractor and replacing their mattresses with bricks. Due to her harsh methods, the priests decide to head to Rugged Island. As they arrive outside, they discover that Dick Byrne along with the other priests of Rugged Island have broken their promises.

The priests then return home only to find that Sister Assumpta has also broken her Lenten promise as they catch her devouring a basket of chocolate eggs. As a resolution, Father Ted agrees to forgive her only if she uses her methods on Rugged Island, which she does.

3. Good Luck, Father Ted

When Ted is contacted by a producer of a television show and asked to be part of an interview, his excitement is soon overshadowed by a fear of embarrassment by the other priests, and so he tells the producer that he is alone on the island. On the day of the interview, Ted tells Dougal to take Jack for a walk, while Ted meets the reporter at a funfair, which is being held at ‘The Field’.

Father Ted soon discovers that Dougal and Jack are also at the funfair on the ‘whirly-go-round’. To prevent the producers from discovering his lies, Ted tries to send the two priests elsewhere and as he does, Father Jack runs away, forcing Ted to search for him.

Ted eventually finds Jack, and as he sits down on a bench, he is lifted into the air as the bench turns out to be ‘The Crane of Death’, one of the rides at the funfair. While in the air, the reporter has mistaken Dougal for Ted, and so Ted’s interview transpires into Dougal talking to the reporter about ‘Spider Baby’ , one of the attractions at the fair.

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Dougal holding a television screen.
2. Kicking Bishop Brennan up the Arse

Father Ted loses a bet which has a very worrying forfeit, he must kick Bishop Brennan up the arse and have photographic evidence. To do so, Ted gets Bishop Brennan to visit by telling him that an image that looks just like him has miraculously appeared in Ted’s house. As Brennan bends over to look at the image, which turns out to be a painting of a man wearing a bishop’s hat, Ted kicks him, leaving Brennan in a catatonic state.

Bishop Brennan leaves Craggy Island and heads to the Vatican after the incident, still in a catatonic state. Brennan eventually comes out of the catatonic state and returns to Craggy Island to confront Ted and seek his revenge. When he gets there, Father Ted convinces him that it didn’t happen, only for a giant picture of the incident to arrive outside the house and ruin his attempts.

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The home of the three priests of Craggy Island.
1. A Song for Europe

After discovering his nemesis, Dick Byrne, will be partaking in the Eurovision Song Contest, Father Ted decides that he along with Dougal will write and perform a song on the show. The pair come up with a song called “My Lovely Horse”, which they perform in front of Mrs Doyle and Father Jack, who shoots the guitar once the song is over.

Just as Ted’s about to give up hope, Dougal plays him a song by a Norwegian band which he thinks would work well with the lyrics to “My Lovely Horse”. When Dougal tells Ted that everyone in the band was killed in a plane crash, including everyone that recorded the song and the people involved in the copywrite, Ted decides their original music with their own lyrics.

On the night of the completion, threatened by Dick Byrnes performance, Ted goes backstage for a smoke. While backstage, he hears the Norwegian song being whistled by a man and then playing in a lift. Afraid he will be caught, Ted and Dougal resort to playing the original version, and despite it being a poor performance, they go on to win as Ireland’s entry. However, they do not win the overall contest.

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Ted and Dougal in their beds

Ireland has changed a lot over the past twenty years ever since the show first first aired, but elements of Father Ted still echo through to present day Ireland, and for people that aren’t from Ireland, it could give a great insight to the nation. From it’s love of a cup of tea, to embedded religious institutionalism, the show portrays an Ireland that although quite serious at times, is able to laugh at themselves and have the craic.


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Dara Thornton
Dara Thornton

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