For those who don’t know what it is, paddywhackery is the practice, mainly by American studios, whereby Irish people are portrayed as backwards but kind-hearted sorts, who’ll invariably be wearing Aran sweaters, have a pint of stout not too far away, and will greet their neighbours with phrases like ‘Top of the Morning to ya!’, or ‘Begorrah tis it yourself!?’ Some people get exasperated by this kind of stereotyping, but I’m all for it as it’s hilarious. So ahead of St Paddy’s Day here are our favourite instances of paddywhackery.
Darby O’Gill and the Little People
Darby O’Gill is pretty much an unwatchable film – think about how difficult it would be to describe the plot of it to a Martian – but saying that young Sean Connery is hilarious in it, as these two videos show. I love in particular how relaxed he seems to be that he’s discussing his love life to the King of the Leprechauns in his dreams, as if that is commonplace for him.
Key Quote: “Faith I know I cant sing a lick, but when I’m roaring like Dorans brood it works up a killing hunger in me’
Two Shillelagh O’Sullivan – Bing Crosby
I’m fully aware that most people will scroll on down when they see a Bing Crosby song, but they shouldn’t because this one’s a gem. In 1956 Crosby released his album ‘Shillelaghs and Shamrocks’ which I suppose is his tribute to the country of his ancestors. Some of the songs on that album include ‘Who threw the Overalls in Mrs Murphys Chowder’, ‘Its the Same Old Shillelagh’ and ‘With my Shillelagh Under My Arm – I’m not making any of those up – but this one, Two Shillelagh O’Sullivan, is the best. Its a hard song to explain, but I for one think it should be the new national anthem – its both hilarious, ridiculous and catchy and the lyrics would put the fear of God who dares oppose the Irish. All things considered it’s genuinely one of my favourite songs.
Key Quote: ‘At throwing a rope around his calves – he was a mighty man, at drawing his two shillelaghs now – the fastest in the land”
This Old Beamish Ad
I guarantee that if Beamish re-released this ad today, sales would go throw the roof.
Key Quote: Sound Man Brendan!
The Quiet Man
My friend Peter would never forgive me if I left the Quiet Man out of a list like this, and whats not to like – Its two aul lads knocking lumps out of each other of a Sunday afternoon. Isnt that what Ireland’s all about?!
Key Quote: Go awwway, ya trrrrrrrraitor ya!
Errol Flynn here, with the most unconvincing Antrim accent I’ve ever heard in 1939 western Dodge City, which is actually a pretty good movie as 1939 westerns go. I actually know his whole spiel here off by heart, but by the time I’ve worked up the courage to use it in practice whilst talking to ladies, I’m invariably very drunk and can only remember the gist of it and will splurt out something like “Dads pig ate all the fucken flowers”. You’d be surprised at how successful saying even that little bit is though.
Key moustache: Errol Flynn’s moustache.
These final two videos aren’t strictly paddywhackery but they are very good:
This Old Harp ad
This man clearly is an alcoholic, seeing that he can’t write a few sentences of a letter without mentioning the phrase ‘Pint of Harp’ five times. Nevertheless, he’s bang on the money about Sally O’Brien’s gamey eyes.
This Old Bank of Ireland ad
This is an ad released in the 1970’s by Bank of Ireland for one of its international locations – it never really clarifies where exactly – and is complete with an incredible Michael McDonald style tune. Much like the Beamish ad, if Bank of Ireland were to re-release this ad again you can easily imagine it doing very well.