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How the 'Ireland Simpsons Fans' Facebook page became the best place for Irish memes

A place where nothing can possiblie go wrong.

ISFtwo Source: John Maguire/Ireland Simpsons Fans

THE INTERNET – AND especially Facebook – is not short on generic fan pages dedicated to The Simpsons and the recycled jokes we all know and love (before Season 10 though, please).

But in a small corner of Irish Facebook there is a place that combines classic Simpsons gags with on point Irish cultural and current affairs references.

Through the glorious vehicle of memes

7UP Source: Ireland Simpsons Fans Facebook

Ireland Simpsons Fans is a Facebook group with over 11,000 members – and in the past few months the number of fans has been growing at a particularly high rate.

The rules are pretty simple: the member posts have to be Simpsons-related and an original meme – and they tend to focus on Irish politics, a social quirk or some just something gas.

A few excellent memes from this week gives you an idea of what ISF produces on a daily basis

magners Source: Adam Hough‎/Ireland Simpsons Fans

“Ryanair announce new measures to speed up boarding”

7UPtwo Source: Greg Bowler/Ireland Simpsons Fans

And this meme in response to Stephen Donnelly moving to Fianna Fail

7UPthree Source: Gareth Walker-Ayers/ISF

Needless to say, you need to have a very good grasp of old Simpsons references to get what’s going on.

The founder of ISF Jack Leahy works for the Union of Students in Ireland, and it was there that the genesis of the page sparked in January of last year, as he tells DailyEdge.ie:

I half-jokingly posted in the popular UK Simpsons II page suggesting it was time to reclaim our sovereignty and establish an Irish group. That group exists to perform largely the same function as ours, only is full of what you might call shitposts. Two of the most enthusiastic responses were from two of my colleagues in Belfast.

At the next USI meet up, ISF was born:

So our next encounter was at a USI National Council meeting in IT Sligo in January and, having found ourselves at a loose end, we just decided to go for it. We added 50 other students’ union hacks and they added all their friends and we had 300 within a day.

It was just the outlet we were all waiting for

7UPfour Source: Adam Hough/Ireland Simpsons Fans

It’s a generational thing, as Jack explains:

What I learned from UK Simpsons II was that people are just like me, in the sense that they have spent most of their lives looking at current affairs through the prism of Simpsons references.
So all of a sudden people had this outlet for all the times they thought of Mayor Quimby whenever Bertie Ahern got in trouble, and so forth. In a sense that’s the idea behind the characters – they’re supposed to be bizarre versions of the identifiable, otherwise they wouldn’t be funny.

Anything and everything is fair game

7UPfive Source: Liam Robinson/ISF

The more cutting, the better

7UPsix Source: Donal Costello/Ireland Simpsons Fans

The focus on Irish events and references is what keeps the page ticking over, and one of its most interesting aspects:

One thing that fascinates me is how the group’s content has remained primarily about Irish things, despite things like Trump’s election and Brexit. I think we saw more about Stephen Donnelly joining Fianna Fáil than we did about Brexit. For a lot of people, the Simpsons has become a frame through which they understand things. It’s fascinating.

From Gerry Adams to Arlene Foster and Tayto to Cáca Milis – just when you think there aren’t any more Simpsons references that work, another A+ meme will be along to prove you wrong:

7UPseven Source: Ireland Simpsons Fans Facebook

The page goes through waves of popular memes – each inspiring the others – but it hadn’t seen anything like a period of ridiculously prolific activity in January of this year.

The week of Pintman

Back in 2015, Paddy Losty – aka Pintman – was disovered by Publin.ie deep in the pages of a book called ‘Dublin pub life and lore’ by Kevin C Kearn.

He “put away thirty pints or more in a day”:

pintman Source: Publin/Kevin C Kearn

He became something of a cult Irish internet hero, but it was only last month that he became an irrepressible, unstoppable meme on ISF

pintmen Source: Ireland Simpsons Fans Facebook

“My name is Paddy Losty, being a pintman has ruined my life. I’m 31 years old!”

7UPeight Source: Klaus McCabe/Ireland Simpsons Fans

Over a four day period, Pintman dominated – resulting in Jack and his fellow admins putting a ban on Pintman:

On one particular evening there was a new one every few seconds, it was chaotic! That kind of content could only ever appear on this page, and it brought out some serious creativity. In the end we decided to encourage people to set up another group for it so that it didn’t consume us and that group now has over 2,000 members, many of whom never had anything to do with ISF.

And thus Pintman Pintposting was born.

For a dedicated Irish Simpsons fan with even a passing interest in current affairs or history it’s the go-to place for pure gold

ISFone Source: Tom Oliver/Ireland Simpsons Fans

It’s hard to think Sinn Féin’s move into Simpsons memes hasn’t been ~influenced~ by the growing popularity of ISF - like this post they shared last month

sinnfein Source: Sinn Fein Ireland

Jack could never have dreamed that it would have more than 11,000 people and such an active community:

I have to say when it started I really thought this thing had a ceiling of around 1,500. I had distant dreams of getting 1,916 members in the centenary year.

And it’s just getting better and better:

I’m constantly taken aback by the wit of the contributors. They’re so sharp, and they know so much about the content of episodes.

We, as one, should welcome our new ISF meme overlords.

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More 18 things that would happen if The Simpsons was set in Dublin>

More An Irishman’s joke BBC breaking news ticker has become a huge meme>

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About the author:

David Elkin

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