10 best Irish TV shows of all time: Ranked

From the comfort of our own homes to worldwide fandom, Irish acting and producing has reached incredible heights, and we’ve managed to find a place for the best Irish TV shows of all time.

From the comfort of our own homes to worldwide fandom, Irish acting and producing has reached incredible heights, and we’ve managed to find a place for the best Irish TV shows of all time.

Ireland is known for its arts scene, and has made a considerable splash on the film and television scene. It’s difficult to pick just ten of our favourite Irish TV series – needless to say if we had more slots, a little red-haired fella named Bosco would have definitely made the cut.

Anyway, here are the ten best Irish TV shows of all time.

10. Fade Street – introducing Ireland’s sweetheart

Fade Street – introducing Ireland’s sweetheart
Vogue Williams (right). Credit: mamawelluk / Instagram

Fade Street was Ireland’s answer to The Hills. This has to be one of the best Irish TV shows for the simple fact that it introduced us to the nation’s sweetheart, Vogue Williams. It followed a group of young Dublin socialites across two seasons before dying a swift death.

Turns out the reality show format didn’t translate too well to an Irish context – arguments on subjects such as “who will go to Oxygen” left viewers laughing rather than on the edges of their seats.

9. Fair City – ahead of its time

Fair City actors Bryan Murray and Una Crawford O’Brian (both left). Credit: thomasconnollysligo / Instagram

Look, it’s not cool to admit that you watch Fair City – but clearly everyone does. Why else would it still be going strong 22 seasons later? The Dublin-based soap has had its fair share of drama since 1989.

The residents of Carrigstown are still going strong and delivering quality storylines several times a week. Ever ahead of their time, Fair City very nearly showed the first gay kiss ever on Irish TV in 1996 – until the characters were rudely interrupted.

8. Glenroe – Sunday night sorted

Credit: blathnaidt / Instagram

The Glenroe theme tune triggers an involuntary fear response in every 90s kid in Ireland – it signified the end of the weekend every Sunday night.

The happenings in the sleepy Wicklow village kept us amused as a nation from 1983 all the way up to 2001 – and that scene with Miley and Fidelma in the hay bales will never leave our collective consciousness.

7. Bachelor’s Walk – a criminally underrated Irish TV show

Bachelor’s Walk
Bachelor’s Walk, in Dublin. Credit: commons.wikimedia.org

This Irish comedy series is criminally underrated. It follows a group of misfits in a house-share on Dublin’s Bachelor’s Walk – hilarity ensues.

Thankfully, RTE have started airing re-runs of the hit series as of April 2020 – introducing a whole new generation of chuckle enthusiast to one of our favourite Irish TV series of all time.

6. Mrs Brown’s Boys – fans in high places

Credit: colin.andrew.mus / Instagram

Brendan O’Carroll has toured the world as the iconic Agnes Brown, and fans were only crying out for the Dublin matriarch to get her own show.

This Irish TV series has been on air since 2011, and follows Agnes and her loveable motley crew of a family. Celebrity guests are often spotted making cameos – Mrs Brown has fans in high places!

5. Moone Boy – three seasons of Irish craic

Some of the Moone Boy cast. Credit: deirdreokane123 / Instagram

Chris O’Dowd based this Irish comedy series on his own experiences growing up in a small town in Roscommon. It follows young Martin Moone and his imaginary friend Sean (played by O’Dowd), and is equal parts heart-warming and gas. If you haven’t seen it yet, you’re in luck – you have three whole seasons to binge on.

4. Can’t Cope, Won’t Cope – one of the best Irish TV shows of all time

Dublin City, where the show is based.

Another horribly underrated Irish comedy show. This one follows two Irish career girls sharing a flat in Dublin, and is a perfect mix of hilarious and pensive.

It questions at what point the Irish party lifestyle morphs into a problem, and how far we can get with the attitude of everything being a joke. Just don’t watch it hungover – it’ll give you the fear.

3. Derry Girls – a Netflix favourite

Derry Girls Mural.
Mur MurThe Derry Girls mural. Credit: geograph.ie

It’s hard to imagine a life without Derry Girls, but this Irish comedy show only came into the world in 2018. The distinctly Irish humour and nostalgic 90’s soundtrack have catapulted this series straight into the hearts of fans worldwide.

The cast even have their own mural on the streets of Derry, for heaven’s sake. It’s no wonder it’s so high on our list as one of the best Irish TV shows of all time.

2. Father Ted – a cult classic

Father Ted street art.
Credit: William Murphy / Flickr

This cult classic just never gets old. No matter what corner of the world you go to, you’ll find a Craggy Island fan trying to twist your arm into a cup of tea.

If you haven’t watched this iconic Irish TV series, we’ll have to insist that you get off this website right now and cop yourself on and join the ranks of the many fans in love with Father Ted.

1. Love/Hate – gripping crime drama

Credit: wikipedia.org

Love/Hate may be the series title, but when King Nidge and his band of merry men first graced our screens in 2010 it was nothing but love at first sight and it is no surpirse it is the best Irish TV show.

This gripping Irish TV series examined the drama behind the scenes of a fictional Dublin drug gang, but the storylines rang so true that the nation was collectively gripped to their screens for the whole five seasons.

Many Irish series have tried to achieve the same heights since – but there will only ever be one Love/Hate.