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"Guess who's dead?": Ardal O'Hanlon explores death notices in new show tonight

Why are we so death-obsessed?

AS A NATION, it seems safe to say that we are pretty preoccupied with death and all the rituals that surround it.

In Guess Who’s Dead, Ardal O’Hanlon examines Ireland’s obsession with death, exploring the phenomenon of the death notice in all its forms and asking what it is about the Irish psyche that attracts us to death.

Are we particularly morbid or nosy or sociable?

Among other things, O’Hanlon examines the origins of the traditional newspaper death notice (they were Victorian, don’t you know?) and looks at how radio death notices became appointment listening, particularly in rural Ireland.


Source: Loosehorse/Vimeo

He also notes that we Irish are peculiar in our fondness of death, highlighting the differences between how Irish people and English people receive the news of a death.

They just don’t get it.

There’s also a pretty essential discussion on how we Irish skirt around death with uniquely Irish/vague expressions like, “Sure, he’s better off” and “Sorry for your troubles.”

Guess Who’s Dead airs tonight on RTÉ 1.

In the meantime, let’s remind ourselves of that time Father Dougal did a funeral.

Source: Mike Hunt/YouTube

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About the author:

Amy O'Connor

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