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13 Best Irish TV Shows Of All Time

13 Best Irish TV Shows Of All Time

If you’re in search of the best Irish TV shows, you’ll find some belters below!

Although it’s the hit Irish movies that tend to get much of the focus, there have been some brilliant Irish TV series over the years.

From obvious choices, like Father Ted, to lesser-known Irish TV shows, like The Hardy Bucks, there’s plenty to get stuck into, as you’ll discover below.

The best Irish TV shows of all time

Irish tv series

Now, a quick disclaimer from the get-go – although this is a guide to the best Irish TV shows, it’s in no particular order.

Except, of course, for the top spot, which rightly goes to the mighty Father Ted series. Dive on in!

1. Father Ted

Father Ted

Father Ted is an Irish series that has amassed a cult following since it first aired way back in 1995.

The series follows three Irish priests (Ted, Dougal and Jack) and their long-suffering house keeper (Mrs Doyle).

Although it takes place on the fictional Craggy Island, many notable locations feature in the series, like Inis Oirr Island and Father Ted’s House.

It’s a timeless show with countless belly-laughs in every episode. And, while it only ran for 3 years, it’s widely regarded as one of the best Irish TV shows of all time.

2. Love/Hate

Love/Hate was the first real home-grown gangster Irish TV series to hit our screens.

It ran between 2010 and 2014 and ammassed a massive weekly following, mainly due to the many memorable quotes from Nidge and Co.

The show offers an insight into the Dublin criminal underworld and stars Aidan Gillen (John Boy), Tom Vaughan-Lawlor (Nidge) and Robert Sheehan (Darren).

Love/Hate ran for 5 seasons and recieved a clatter of awards. If you’re looking for great Irish dramas that’ll have you hooked from the get-go, give this a bash!

3. Derry Girls

Derry Girls

While there have been several new Irish series released in the last 5-or-so years, none have received such whirlwind success as the brilliant Derry Girls.

Penned by the brilliant Lisa McGee, the show is set in Derry during the mid-1990s during a time of political turmoil.

The show follows five teenagers (4 Derry Girls and young lad from England, James) as they attend a Catholic School in the city and get caught up in many-a-misdemeanour along the way.

Although there’s plenty of very funny moments in the show, the reality of life in Derry during The Troubles can be seen throughout.

If you’re looking for funny Irish shows to get stuck into this weekend, this is one of very few Irish shows on Netflix.

4. The Fall

Back to the Irish dramas, next, with the critically acclaimed The Fall, starring Jamie Doran and Gillian Anderson.

The series is set in Northern Ireland and it follows Anderson (DSI Stella Gibson) as she attempts to apprehend a serial killer operating in the city (Doran).

Doran plays a very convincing family man that plays doting dad by day and hunter by night.

The Fall is a psychological thriller and it has many twists and turns throughout.

5. The Young Offenders

The Young Offenders

Arguably of the best Irish TV shows to hit our screens is the excellent Young Offenders, starring Conor MacSweeney and Jock O’Keeffe.

Set in Cork City, the show follows two loveable idiots as they navigate school life, home troubles and money troubles.

The two lads constantly find themselves caught up in trouble and then battle with the consequences of their actions.

The Young Offenders film was released in 2016 and, at the time of typing, it’s one of the highest scoring movies on Netflix Ireland according to Rotten Tomatoes.

6. Normal People

Few Irish dramas have received global attention like Normal People. It was created for BBC 3 alongside RTE One and Hulu.

The show is based on the novel of the same name by Sally Rooney and it stars Paul Mescal (Connell Waldron) and Daisy Edgar-Jones (Marianne Sheridan).

The story follows the pair from their final year in school in Sligo to their move to Trinity College in Dublin.

The plot revolves around the pair’s complex relationship and the many ups and downs they encounter.

7. Mrs. Brown’s Boys

Mrs. Brown’s Boys

Produced by BBC Scotland in partnership with BocPix and RTE, Mrs Brown’s Boys is one of the best Irish TV shows in terms of audience reach.

It was penned by Brendan O’Carroll, a comedian from Dublin, and it started its life on the radio before moving to the stage.

The series follows Agnes Brown (O’Carroll) and her often hectic family life in Finglas in Dublin.

The show has gone from strength-to-strength, racking up over 9.7 million viewers during its Christmas day release.

8. Glenroe

If you’re after old Irish TV shows, look no further than cult-classic Glenroe.

One of several Irish drams from the 90s, Glenroe ran from 1983 to 2001 and it was the first show on RTE to have subtitles.

It’s set in the fictional village of Glenroe in Wicklow (Kilcoole) and it follows members of the Byrne and McDermott families along with the village’s many quirky characters.

I’ll be honest, this is one of the few Irish TV series in this guide that I could never take to, but plenty love it!

9. Ballykissangel


First aired in 1996, Ballykissangel is a drama that was produced by BBC Norther Ireland that ran for 6 years.

The plot follows Father Peter Clifford, an English Catholic Priest after he takes up a position in the rural community of Ballykissangel.

It stars Father Frank MacAnally (Niall Toibin), Father Clifford (Stephen Tompkinson), Father O’Connell (Don Wycherley) and Father Sheahan (Robert Taylor) along with pub landlady Assumpta Fitzgerald (Dervla Kirwan) and villager Brian Quigley (Tony Doyle). 

10. The Hardy Bucks

Arguably one of the best Irish TV shows if you’re looking to get an eyeful of small-town-mischief is The Hardy Bucks.

The Hardy Bucks started its life on Youtube and was styled to be a documentary of life in Castletown (Swinford in Mayo).

Despite making it onto RTE in later years, the show never got half the credit that it deserved.

Constant one-liners, great storylines and plenty of mischief made this an absolute joy to watch. You can find most of the episodes on Youtube!

It started as a 6-part webisode series but after winning the 2009 Storyland competition, it continued for four series and 32 episodes.

11. Kilinaskully


We’re off to another fictional village next! Kilinaskully is a great little comedy series that documents life in a small Irish community.

Comedian Pat Shortt wrote the show, in which he portrayed multiple characters, alongside actors Jack Walsh and Joe Rooney (from Father Ted fame).

A good chunk of the show is set in Jacksie’s pub, as the three lads discuss life, budding relationships and local rivalries. 

This is another one that has most of its episodes uploaded to Youtube.

12. Moone Boy

Moone Boy is one of the few new Irish series in this article that I’ve never seen, despite hearing endless praise for it.

Moone Boy is a comedy that was co-written by and stars Chris O’Dowd. It’s said to be a semi-autobiographical story about O’Dowd’s childhood in Boyle in Roscommon.

Set in the 1980s and early 90s, Moone Boy follows Martin Moone (David Rawle) as he navigates the ups and downs of ‘growing up’.

O’Dowd plays Martins imaginary friend who’s quick to offer advice and encouragement.

13. Smother


We’re going to round off this article with one of the newest Irish drams – Smother.

Written by Kate O’Riordan, Smother follows Val Ahern (Dervla Kirwan), a protective Irish mother who attempts to investigate what led to her husbands death.

Betrayal, secrecy and family issues make this a tense watch at times.

Smother was filmed in Lahinch in Clare and it showcases the areas dramatic coastal scenery.

What great Irish TV series have we missed?

best Irish tv shows ever

I’ve no doubt that we’ve unintentionally left out some brilliant Irish TV series from the guide above.

If you have a show that you’d like to recommend, let me know in the comments below!

FAQs about the best Irish TV programmes

We’ve had a lot of questions over the years asking about everything from ‘What are some good new Irish series?’ to ‘What Irish dramas are worth a look?’.

In the section below, we’ve popped in the most FAQs that we’ve received. If you have a question that we haven’t tackled, ask away in the comments section below.

What are some famous Irish TV series?

Three of the best Irish TV shows that have racked up fame are Father Ted, Mrs Brown’s Boys and the new (and excellent!) Smother.

What are some good old Irish TV shows?

Some notable old Irish TV shows are Ballykissangel, Glenroe and, of course, the incredible Father Ted. Just keep in mind that, while you’ll see regular reruns of Father Ted, the other two are rarely shown.

What is the longest running TV show in Ireland?

The Late Late Show is the longest running TV show in Ireland, having first hit our screens in 1962.

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Saturday 2nd of December 2023

Derry girls the best thing since sliced bread absolutely brilliant


Friday 13th of October 2023

The series of the two older men who have been best friends forever called "still game" is definitely worth a mention!! Hilarious!!! Loved it!!!

Keith O'Hara

Friday 13th of October 2023

I love still game but it's scottish!

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