Luck o’ the Irish


We might not celebrate St Patrick’s Day with parades or festivals, but South Africans have more than their fair share of Irish fare on DStv to join in the revelry. So whip up a batch of shamrock-shaped cookies and don your best green outfit as we round up the Emerald Isle’s finest offerings this March.

We might not celebrate St Patrick’s Day with parades or festivals, but South Africans have more than their fair share of Irish fare on DStv to join in the revelry.  So whip up a batch of shamrock-shaped cookies and don your best green outfit as we round up the Emerald Isle’s finest offerings this March.

What to watch

The Kids are Alright, Saturdays, M-Net, CH 101, 17:00

Centred around the large close-knit Irish American Cleary household and set in the 70s, this hilarious show features plenty of Irish attitude and Catholic guilt, as well as a good dose of nostalgia for a simpler time. Watch it on DStv Now.

Shameless S9, DStv Now

A whole lot less wholesome but still fiercely loyal nonetheless, the dysfunctional Irish American Gallagher family in this long running dark comedy/drama stick together through drug-use, depression, alcoholism, abortion and bankruptcy in Chicago’s South Side. Watch it on DStv Now.

It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia S13, Fridays from 22 March, M-Net, CH 101, 22:40

It doesn’t get more Irish than a show about a group of degenerate friends who own and run Paddy’s Pub, an Irish dive bar in Philadelphia. From catching thieving leprechauns to honouring fallen Irish policemen, this side-splitting and decidedly off-colour cult show features a group of borderline alcoholics out for every buck they can make.  Find out more.

Ray Donovan S6, Showmax

The family at the heart of this drama could be considered the Irish Sopranos, with crime and family commitment closely entangled. The Donovans from Boston are a tough-living Irish American family who relocate to Los Angeles, and the show’s dark take on Irish family dynamics has a deceptively funny slant. Watch it now.

Actors

Chris O’Dowd

This Irish national from County Roscommon stars in the critically acclaimed series Get Shorty. Described as “the hardest working Irish actor in Hollywood”, he’s also appeared in the hit movies Bridesmaids and Juliet, Naked.

Get Shorty, DStv Now

Ben Stiller

Of Irish decent on his mother’s side and Jewish on his father’s, the director and creator of Escape at Dannemora tells how his parents would serve green matzoh ball soup at their yearly St Patrick’s day dinner – sounds delicious!

Escape at Dannemora, Wednesdays, M-Net, 21:00 

Aidan Gillen

Hailing from Dublin, this BAFTA nominated actor can be seen in seasons one to seven of HBO’s Game of Thrones as the conniving Petyr “Little Finger” Baelish, and recently appeared in the Queen biopic Bohemian Rhapsody. 

Game of Thrones S1-S8, Showmax

Meryl Streep and Pierce Brosnan

Streep reportedly named her daughter Grace after her own great grandmother Grace McFadden (nee Strain), who emigrated to the United States from Dunfanaghy in the county Donegal.  Her Mamma Mia! Here we Go Again co-star Pierce Brosnan hails from County Meath in the south of Ireland, and the James Bond star claims he lost most of his accent when he moved to London at the age of 11 and tried to fit in with the locals.

Mamma Mia! Here we Go Again, Sunday 31 March, M-Net, 20:05

Colin Farrell

Another Dubliner, the True Detective star famously auditioned for the Irish boy band Boyzone when he was just starting out in showbiz, only to be turned down.

True Detective S3, Wednesdays, M-Net, 22:10

Tom Cruise

The A-lister discovered more about his Irish heritage when touring Ireland for the release of his film Oblivion, currently on Showmax. Cruise, whose full name is Thomas Cruise Mapother IV, was aware of his links with Cruises from Roscommon, but deeper research has showed that the Cruise and Mapother families had their roots in Ireland going back over 800 years to the time of Oliver Cromwell’s persecution of the Catholic faith.

Oblivion, Showmax

Saoirse Ronan

Born in New York to Irish parents, the Golden Globe winning star of Lost River, Brooklyn and The Lovely Bones appeared on The Ellen DeGeneres Show wearing a sign explaining the tricky pronunciation of her Gaelic name, after Dennis Quad referred to her as Shee-sha during the Golden Globe ceremony. It’s pronounced Sur-sha and rhymes with inertia, so now you know.

The Ellen DeGeneres Show, M-Net City, Weekdays at 17:00