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Last Updated: Thursday, 25 January 2007, 10:17 GMT
Peace plan for Craggy Island row
Dermot Morgan
The festival is being held nine years since Dermot Morgan's death
The organisers of a Father Ted festival have come up with what they say is an ingenious solution to decide who is the real Craggy Island - a five-a-side football tournament.

Inis Mor, the largest of the three remote Aran Islands off County Galway, is planning a three-day "Friends of Ted" event.

However, residents of Inis Oirr, the smallest of the islands, were up in arms as they believed they had a bigger connection to the Channel 4 comedy.

One of the organisers, Peter Phillips, said they got a flash of inspiration from an episode featuring the All-Priests Five-a-Side Over-75s Indoor Challenge Football Match.

And unlike in the show, the losers won't have to kick any fearsome bent-over bishops.

"We thought they could play each other and the winner could be Craggy Island for 12 months while the runner-up could be Rugged Island, and they could play again next year on a home and away basis," he says.

Dermot Morgan, Ardal O'Hanlon, Pauline McLynn and Frank Kelly
Dermot Morgan, Ardal O'Hanlon, Pauline McLynn and Frank Kelly
Mr Phillips, who is from Wales, says he has "some sort of diplomatic immunity" in the territorial dispute between the warring islands.

He says he and three friends from Galway decided last year to have a Father Ted celebration on the last weekend of February, to coincide with the ninth anniversary of the death of Dermot Morgan.

"We decided to find a Craggy Island, bearing in mind that in the show it's an amorphous mass of all the islands off the west coast of Ireland, if you listen to the programme's writers," he says.

"We looked at a couple of islands, and Inis Mor welcomed us with open arms when we were over last November."

We only thought it would be half a dozen people at the most - we didn't realise it was going to turn into what it did
Peter Phillips
Mr Phillips says they have been amazed by the controversy, which saw one Inis Oirr B&B owner accuse Inis Mor of "trying to pull a fast one".

"We didn't think we'd need a transparent bidding process like the Olympics to appease all the islands which didn't get the event," he laughs.

"We only thought it would be half a dozen people at the most - we didn't realise it was going to turn into what it did."

Inis Mor was given an off-season cash injection as dozens of Father Ted fans rushed to book hotels, hostels and B&Bs for the festival which runs from 23 - 25 February.

The Friends of Ted event features an array of themed events associated with the comedy series, such as the Father Jack Cocktail Evening, the Father Dougal Breakfast Movie Charades, the Lovely Girls Contest and Charity Auction and A Song for Europe.

Also featured on the bill are the Toilet Duck Comedy Awards, Crazy Golf, Hide A Nun and Seek, Ludo Aerobics, Buckeroo Speed Dating and a Ferrero Rocher Quiz Night.

The organisers hope to limit the event to 100 lucky fans and a proportion of ticket sales will go towards Croi, the West of Ireland Cardiology Foundation.

Frank Kelly as Father Jack
Drink! Feck! Girls! - Frank Kelly as Father Jack
Father Ted is set on the fictitious Craggy Island but was shot at various locations in County Clare such as Ennis, Kilfenora, Ennistymon, and Kilnaboy.

The parochial house is at Glenquin, near Kilnaboy. All interior scenes were shot in London.

Written by Arthur Mathews and Graham Linehan, Father Ted ran for three seasons on Channel 4 between April 1995 and May 1998.

Dermot Morgan died aged 45 on 28 February 1998 after he suffered a heart attack at his home just 24 hours after finishing the recording of the last episode of Father Ted.

More information on the Friends of Ted festival is available on www.friendsofted.org.

Craggy islands row over Father Ted
22 Jan 07 |  Northern Ireland

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