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The 21 “Most Irish” Moments of 2021

Words: Eva O’Beirne
Artwork: Paul Smith

Its the end of 2021 – can you believe it? Between takeaway pints and clubbing at 5 in the afternoon, this year has been a fever dream of restrictions, antigen tests and political blunders which make for some class memes and horrific memories. As 2021 wraps up, we’ve compiled the best moments that defined our little island for you to look back on.

21

These groovers from the Late Late Toy Show

There’s nothing like knowing nightclubs are closed indefinitely and watching a bunch of primary school children dancing to a techno set on national TV. Despite the doom and gloom, DJ Calum and Hype Man Jack from this years Late Late Toy Show instantly made our year with their groovy moves and hype sign.

We had to give a shout out to their reaction to Ave Maria naturally.

20

Frosbit boy stranded at sea, saved by dolphins

If they ever need to remake Castaway, we know who to call. As a teen, he warned us about Derry’s harsh winter and as an adult he survived 12 hours stranded at sea. In August, Ruairí McSorley or ‘Frosbit Boy’ made headlines again as he was rescued off the coast of Kerry. What makes this ordeal iconic you ask? Frosbit Boy was surrounded by a pod of dolphins when rescuers finally located him.

Image: Twitter
19

Hello Mísneach!

2020 was crap enough and the thought of Michael D. Higgins losing Síoda, one of his beautiful Bernese Mountain dogs was almost too much to bare. But in March 2021, the world said hello to Mísneach. Meaning ‘courage’, this little pup has provided us with some much-needed serotonin.

Image: Richard Chambers on Twitter

From when his first appearance that broke Irish Twitter to the time he attempted to chew off the president’s hand during an RTÉ interview, Mísneach’s arrival had to make our top moments of 2021.

@presidentirl

President Michael D. Higgins giving a tv interview

♬ original sound – President of Ireland
18

Kojaque x Fair City

You know you’ve made it when you’re name dropped on Fair City. The Dublin soap opera has an interesting script to say the least but we love to see local Dublin talent being acknowledged on TV.

17

Katherine Zappone being left on read

We’ve all been there. You really like someone and you fall into the trap of double texting them. But you’d hardly triple text, would you? Or text them for months on end with no response?

According to Katherine Zappone, this is exactly what you should do. Except instead of liking someone, she reply guy-ed her way into a job that didn’t exist….apparently?

16

Brides protesting outside the Dáil

Don’t get me wrong, we all love a good wedding. But is dressing up in a wedding dress, waving signs saying ‘Love is not cancelled’ and protesting about your wedding reception in front of the Dáil really the best idea? Hun, there’s people that are dying.

15

Wally the Walrus

Hot mammal summer or what? Wally the walrus went on his grand tour of Europe, stopping off in Kerry to destroy a few boats, as you do. Truly living his best life, he was eventually gifted a floating couch to stop him boarding and sleeping on docked yachts and dinghies.

Image: Richard Chambers on Twitter

We wouldn’t be surprised if this walrus impression ends up on Reeling in the Years.

14

The last music session outside Charles Byrne Musik Instrumente

In a beautiful but bittersweet gesture, former customers and music lovers gathered outside the Charles Byrne Musik Instrumente to have a musical send-off for the iconic store. Over 150 years old, the shop was the oldest-family owned music shop in Ireland until October of this year.

13

Irish dad reacting to shit pints

Ah Shit London Guinness. What would we do without you and the smug satisfaction we get from knowing our pints at home are marginally better? Cork-based musician Yenkee delighted us with a video of his dad reacting to the page and we can’t get enough of it.

12

Nuns break Covid restrictions to attend exorcism of the Dáil….and then get over 70 grand

It sounds like a story from Waterford Whispers but it genuinely isn’t.

Two nuns who broke COVID guidelines to attend an exorcism of the Dáil in raised over €77,000 after being ordered to leave their compound. Mother Irene Gibson and Sister Anne Marie attended an exorcism in Dublin when travelling to other counties was prohibited.

In their GoFundMe, they described themselves as “zealously faithful to the True Catholic Faith according to Holy Tradition prior to Vatican II”.

11.

Tommy Bowe Jumping the Gun

This clip genuinely never gets old. There’s so many layers.

Did Tommy not know what was being discussed that morning? Did he forget? Could he not read the teleprompter? Does he wake up in a cold sweat at night thinking about “ten siblings?!”

Séamas O’Reilly seems to have found the whole thing hilarious, so at least we can look back and laugh.

10

Leo picking his nose at a festival….in the UK

There’s being the deputy prime minister caught at a festival abroad amongst all the Electric Picnic and restrictions drama and then there’s being caught picking your nose in public. Not even a can or pint in hand.

Whatever about politicians having a public vs. private life, up the nurses.

09

Stephen Donnelly take a chance on me, jump on a trampoline

Stephen Donnelly and his trampolines live in my mind rent free. Even though he gave this infamous interview back in August of 2020, it repeatedly came back to haunt him in December during Storm Barra.

Our Minister of Health everybody.

08

“Please use social media to tell the world you’re having a great time”

Perhaps the most dystopian thing to occur on this island. During the Kilmainham pilot festival, attendees were encouraged to document their experiences online with #selfies of them having the #lolz.

Although the gig was a success, with over 3,500 people attending, there is something so bizarre about the government asking you to tell the world you’re enjoying yourself.

Image: Craig Hughes on Twitter
07

#FreeLuas

When enough people come together, change can happen. Or they’ll give Sally the LUAS Twitter account supervisor a breakdown at the very least. In August, Carl Kinsella started a movement that will be remembered for years to come. It had one simple goal: to make the LUAS tram service free.

It quickly spiralled out of control but sure, wasn’t it amazing to see Dubliners united. There’s even a theory going around that #FreeLuas has caused the company to employ more ticket inspectors. Rats.

06

“Up the Ra” – Nigel Farage

There’s nothing like tricking a far-right Brexiteer into supporting Irish republicanism. Farage offers pre-paid personalised birthday greetings in video clips on the social media platform Cameo and one feenian appears to have paid him to support the 32 county cause.

When asked by the Daily Mail if he does support the IRA, Farage replied: “Are you joking? I had a face-to-face death threat from them.”

As of October 2021, a personal message from Nigel Farage costs 90 euro. 

05

The most passive aggressive thumbs up emoji in Irish history

The thumbs up that was heard around Ireland. When the news broke in January that Stephen Donnelly had apparently ghosted the Chief Medical Officer, Tony Holohan, I don’t think too many of us were surprised. But it was the brutality of Donnelly’s eventual response that caught us off guard.

The response came after Holohan tried to correct the Minister for Health for spreading misinformation on national radio about the R rate in Dublin. Donnelly had claimed it was decreasing when it had done the opposite.

04

The South William Street Karate Kid

Picture the scene. Its June 2021. A bit too warm. South William Street is a hub of pints and outdoor dining. Outside Cowboys and Angels, the fight of the year is about to kick off. An unexpected hero is about to steal hearts and roundhouse his way to stardom.

We can only imagine what utopia we’d be living in if that waiter had landed that kick.

03

Matt Le Blanc as an Irish uncle

Enough time has passed that we can start laughing at these again. The Friends reunion took Twitter by storm, but it was Matt Le Blanc’s ‘Big Irish Head’ energy that especially appealed to the Irish audience.

For a moment back in the summer, I feel we all had too much of Matt as an Irish uncle, but now its the holidays and the memes are simply too relatable not to re-share.

And now with the Phoebe and Paul pandemonium, we have an updated version to laugh at.

02

Going to Level 3.5 of a 5 level plan

There’s nothing more Irish than a ‘sure it’ll be grand’ type plan. Except you wouldn’t think we’d use one in a pandemic. In April, the Government treated us to Level 3+…or was it Level 3.5…Level 4 minus?

Announced alongside a fun “outdoor theme” for the summer, we do love how the country has stayed committed to the five level plan. Oh wait.

01

“First of all, forget about takeaway pints”

Sometimes Micheál is a man of the people. He knows our priorities. But here he told us to forget about them. Horrendous.

Realistically, it was takeaway pints that saved many pubs through the past two years. Unfortunately, we might be heading back that way with current restrictions forcing pubs to close at 20:00.

But our collective commitment to pints will never falter. In sickness and in health, we need to protect our culture.

Image: Eva O’Beirne on Twitter

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