Another March, another Begorrathon begins … our annual celebration of Irish writers, poets, musicians, filmmakers and whoever else we can think of.
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Putting together this year’s photo collage for our Facebook badge was both a lot of fun and highly difficult – who do you include and who do you leave out?
For each person included here, there are at least ten we could have chosen. Some of the faces and names here will be very familiar; others not so much (a good excuse to head to the bookshop to check them out).
Here then, are this year’s Begorrathon poster boys (girls):
Maeve Binchy – still probably Ireland’s most beloved writer
Paul Muldoon – after the death of Seamus Heaney, Muldoon has assumed the mantle of greatest living Irish poet. The poet, editor and electric guitar enthusiast serves as the Poetry Editor for ‘The New Yorker’
Claire Hennessy – the YA author made a marvellous debut with ‘Nothing Tastes as Good’ receiving rave reviews. She also co-edits the literary journal Banshee
Conor McGregor – love him or hate him, the UFC star is impossible to ignore
Father Ted – the greatest Irish TV comedy ever made. If you want to understand what it is to be Irish, you really need to watch this series. It’s absurd and silly and hilarious, and it can tell you so much about the country. At the very least, you’ll get the strange references to the Lovely Girls Contest and My Lovely Horse that Irish friends keep making
Liz Nugent – the award-winning crime writer is poised to become an international superstar when ‘Lying in Wait’ (my favourite thriller from 2016) gets the inevitable big-screen treatment
Kate O’Brien – historically, Irish women writers have got short shrift. Anthologies tend to pick work by the boys – Yeats, Joyce, Beckett, Wilde, Heaney, Shaw, Swift and so on, and pay lip service to the likes of Elizabeth Bowen and Edna O’Brien. Recently, however, there has been a noticeable attempt to restore Irish women writers into the Pantheon. For more on this, check out Cathy’s post on the subject.
Seamus Heaney – at this point what can be said about ‘Famous Seamus’ that hasn’t been said before? His untimely death still saddens us. Cathy has an amazing job in Seamus Heaney HomePlace helping to ensure his legacy
The Undertones – ‘Teenage Kicks’ was John Peel’s favourite song of all time. He was so blown away by it that he played it twice in a row – something he’d never done on his radio show
George Best – aptly named: arguably one of the world’s greatest footballers
Brian Boru – this memorable image of the ancient high king by sculptor Rory Breslin is in the gardens of Saint Patrick’s Church of Ireland Cathedral in Armagh
Liam Neeson – Ballymena’s favourite son is Hollywood’s go-to geriatric action star
Father Jack – Frank Kelly’s immortal turn as the legendarily drunken, lecherous old priest helped make ‘Father Ted’ so feckin’ memorable
Ruth Negga – Hollywood’s newest Irish star
Van Morrison – sure, he’s a curmudgeonly old bollix, but then again … this
Lisa McInerney – her novel ‘The Glorious Heresies’ is winning so many awards and garnering so many great reviews, you’ve probably already convinced yourself that you’ve already read it even if you haven’t
Anthony Cronin – the poet and man of letters just died recently. His contribution to the Irish arts scene is legendary: Aosdána – seen by some as an elitist institution, by others as a vital lifeline for artists – was his inspiration
Galia Arad – for the past few years the American singer-songwriter has made her home in Dublin
My Lovely Horse
Samuel Beckett – playwright and pal of André the Giant
Phil Lynott – the Thin Lizzy forntman was arguably Ireland’s first certifiable rock star
Maeve Kelly – another woman writer whose work is being rediscovered
Generic Irish child – honestly, I’ve no idea who this kid is. I was Googling ‘Irish people’ and her photo popped up on Pinterest. She’s awfully cute, though. She’s probably Ukrainian
Stephen Rea – I was at something a while ago in Dublin and the actor was standing next to me. He’s just as rumpled in real life as you’d expect
Bono – rock star, activist, gobshite
Terry Wogan – the Irishman who became a British institution
Cecelia Ahern – the novelist has found a whole new group of fans with her YA debut, which is receiving very good reviews, so maybe we can stop blaming her for Gerard Butler’s atrocious accent in ‘P.S. I Love You’
Michael Fassbender – that rarest of things, a movie star who’s also a truly accomplished actor. I still don’t want to see ‘Assassin’s Creed’, though
Eve Hewson – Bono & Ali’s daughter found stardom in Soderbergh’s ‘The Knick’ (if you’ve never seen ‘The Knick’, go watch it now)
Colin Farrell – when he burst on to the scene, we thought he was just gas with his boozing and his smoking and his general ‘Fuck You’ attitude that seemed like a throwback to someone like Mitchum, and then he was everywhere and making shitty films, and we were all sick of him, but then he was the best thing in the second season of True Detective and he spoke out in support of marriage equality and we started to like him again, and then he got rave notices for The Lobster, and we started to love him again. In the upcoming ‘The Beguiled’
Pierce Brosnan – still one of my favourite Bonds, even if the Bond films he was in were a bit naff
Anne Enright – Ireland’s current Laureate for Irish Fiction. ‘The Gathering’ made Cathy’s 100 Irish Books list – deservedly so; it’s a fantastic novel (even if Enright thinks that Booterstown is in Dublin 4, a mistake that took me right out of the book)