10 of the Best Irish Female TV Characters Ever

Happy International Women's Day one and all. To celebrate, we thought we would acknowledge some of the best female characters to grace our screens here on our little island; some are iconic legends of Irish television, others are currently making their mark, while one, well one's a dude, but how could we leave dear old Mrs Brown off the list?

1. Biddy Byrne - Glenroe - Mary McEvoy

We may as well start with the original matriarch of them all. Biddy Byrne was an absolute staple of Irish television from 1983 until her untimely demise on Glenroe in 2000. One half of the farming power couple that was Biddy and Miley, she was one hell of a lady who knew her way around a milking parlour and was well able to handle any Glenroe resident who dared cross her path. We STILL can't believe Miley ever looked at anyone else.

2. Nicola Brennan - Fair City - Claudia Carroll

The feisty Nicola Brennan is actually on her way back to Carrigstown for a brief stint to no doubt rile things up a bit for the reunited Paul and Niamh. However, Nicola was causing trouble long before that, and was the original "soap b***h" in Carrigstown, having affairs and going head to head with her resident frenemy and real life bestie Niamh (Clelia Murphy). Oh and sidebar, Carroll is also a successful novelist in real life with her fourteenth book on the way.

3. JoJo Harte - Raw - Charlene McKenna

Unfortunately Raw finished up on RTE a few years ago, but for five seasons we were glued to this restaurant drama, and while it was a great cast it was the antics of JoJo that hooked us in. The drama for the young sous chef went beyond the kitchen with a complicated love life that involved falling for her best friend, then meeting the man of her dreams, then said best friend falling for her. Sure stop, we couldn't keep up. JoJo was a force to be reckoned with throughout and that's down to the acting chops of one Charlene McKenna who has since gone on to star in BBC and Amazon's Ripper Street.

4. Siobhan - Love/Hate - Charlie Murphy

While there were some damn great women in Love/Hate throughout, it was Siobhan who was undoubtedly the most compelling to watch. Her relationship with Tommy provided its ups and downs, but it was season three when Siobhan really came into her own when she was forced to deal with a rape and the subsequent murder of her attacker. Harrowing scenes to watch, but Murphy's ability to convey the raw emotion of it, guaranteed that Love/Hate would only be the first steps of a long career.

5. Patricia Hennessy and Bridget Kiely - Red Rock's Matriarchs - Cathy Belton and Denise McCormack

Okay so we couldn't choose between these two ladies as both are undoubtedly the heart of TV3's soap Red Rock. While set in a police station, it's the troubles of the community between rival families the Hennessys and the Kielys that's the real cause of drama, and no better women than Patricia and Bridget to lead their clans. We would not want to ever got on the wrong side of either of these two.


6. Bridget - Bridget and Eamon - Jennifer Zamparelli

This lady is just new to our TV screens, but fans of Republic of Telly will have seen Bridget in action as one half of Ireland's favourite eighties mammy and daddy, Bridget and Eamon. A woman known for her choppy-changy hair style, her chain smoking, and of course the mother of 6-8 children, Bridget is played by the talented Jennifer Zamparelli (formerly Maguire) who first made her mark on The UK Apprentice before heading home for a gig on Republic of Telly to mainly torture celebs with awkward questions on the red carpet. As well as playing the part of Bridget, Jennifer co-hosts 2fm's Breakfast Republic and is also the mother to baby Florence. She's some woman, as Bridget as might say.

7. Daisy O'Callaghan - The Clinic - Amy Huberman

Another great Irish drama that is sadly off our screen now is The Clinic, and long before Amy Huberman ever became Mrs Brian O'Driscoll, she was winning over viewers as bubbly receptionist Daisy. The cousin of clinic owner Cathy, it may have been good old fashioned nepotism that got Daisy the gig, but there really was no better woman for the job. You never really knew what Daisy was going to come out with and as we've seen with from the hugely talented actress since, you can always rely on Amy Huberman for good comedic delivery.

8.  Mrs Doyle - Father Ted - Pauline McLynn

That parochial house on Craggy island just wouldn't have been the same without the most hardworking housekeeper in Ireland, Mrs Doyle. If she wasn't making tea, she was convincing you to have a cup, and nothing could have got in the way of her devotion to those three priests. Except maybe a milkman...or Eoin McLove, but other than that. It's hard to imagine anyone other than Pauline McLynn playing the unforgettable Mrs Doyle, and it's worth remembering she was only in her early thirties at the time.

9.  Mrs Brown - Mrs Brown's Boys - Brendan O'Carroll

As we've said, yes she is played by a bloke, but Mrs Brown has become a force to be reckoned with, with her TV show gaining global success and a box office hit under her belt and a sequel on the way. Not to mention hugely successful live shows, and probably a football pitch full of awards at this stage. Whether you're a fan or not, Mrs Brown has become the bastion of the Irish mammy at home and abroad so therefore has earned her place on the list.

10. Debra Moone - Moone Boy - Deirdre O'Kane


It was always going to take one hell of a strong woman to keep order in the Moone household - between Debra Moone's hapless husband, her sulky teenage daughters and of course Martin and his imaginary friend Chris O'Dowd - she certainly has her hands full. While it's not often she takes centre stage with the overactive imagination of Martin to contend with, this staunch Mary Robinson supporter is the perfect comedy 'straight man' to all the rest of the Moone madness. And sure we've always liked Deirdre O'Kane ever since she stormed across the football pitch in her nightie to tackle her cheating husband in Intermission.

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