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If we were all this cute, it wouldn't matter what we gave - even picked flowers from the garden. Image: Germany, May 1966 AP Photo/PA Archives
Mammy's Day

Mammy's Day gifts: the good, the bad and the, eh...?

“I’m grand, sure I don’t want anything.”

MOST OF US probably used up our good present ideas (as well as the money) for Christmas and if you have a mother with a birthday in January or February, we’re sorry.

Because tomorrow is Mother’s Day, the hardest of the gift-buying occasions.

Irish mammies always say they don’t want anything…but God forbid if you turn up empty-handed. Although, coming up with blanks might have been better than some of the things we’ve tried to pass off as thoughtful over the years.

Presenting the worst of our Mother’s Day ideas:

We were undecided whether to put this in the best or worst category. On the one hand, can you name an Irish mother who doesn’t have a fondness for Ronan Keating? But on the other hand, Ronan Keating.

I can’t remember whether it was for her birthday or Mother’s Day, but I bought my mother a bootleg copy of Boyzone’s ‘Said and Done’ album on tape once at a racecourse.

Taking imitation flowers to a whole new level.

I’m fairly sure I DREW my mother a picture of some flowers one year.

It’s the thought that count, yeah?

The meal I’m going to cook for her tonight. I burn pretty much everything.

Nothing says ‘I love you, Mum’ like a copy of Mills & Boon No. 321.

A well-thumbed second-hand saucy book that I got at my national school book sale for 50p. I was 7 and I didn’t know it was saucy but the ripped bodice on the cover illustration should have given it away.

When pampering becomes dangerous.

I tried to make my Mum tea for Mother’s Day when I was young but the kettle (full of that heavy water – not the soft stuff) was too weighty for me and I poured scalding water all over my wrist. I needed to go to the hospital/local doctor and had to change the dressings a couple of times a day.

This wasn’t technically a Mother’s Day story but we had to include it.

This is off topic, but I once bought some photographs of flowers from a guy in the George’s Street Arcade for my boyfriend’s Granny because she wasn’t allowed flowers in the hospital.  (Trying to impress the family, you know how it goes.)

Little did I know that the he had written an, eh, let’s say inappropriate poem on the back of one of them, which was then discovered by the family as they passed the cards around the hospital room and read it one by one. I’ll never forget the look on her face.

Although, sometimes we got it right:

Everyone knows Irish mothers love a good walk.

My mum doesn’t really go in for Mother’s Day – she’s disdainful about bought cards, gifts and other amazing things like that. However, she gets extremely happy at the prospect of walking about on grey, windy, bitterly cold beaches… so I generally put myself through that.

Sometimes practical presents are really sweet. This does not mean you can buy your mother an iron or an ironing board, or an apron, or anything completely housework related, OK?

My sister and I had one of those fold-up Stira stairs installed in my mother’s house when she was out because she used to climb up there on a rickety old stepladder.

Mothers are the best so they deserve the best.

Getting all of the family together in one house and cooking a big, proper Sunday meal from scratch. And there was a strict rule that nobody could make plans for the evening and scarper. Lovely family evening.

Here at, we came up kind of short in the ‘good’ category – a huge collective sorry to our poor parents. So we had a search around the web for some people who can put us to shame. It didn’t take long.

Tracy from New York told

An ad in Newsday wishing me a happy first Mother’s Day.

Tracy’s family wins.

And then these are just in the ‘confusing’ category:

When a present for her is kind of a present for you.

I once bought my Mum plane tickets to come visit me in Liverpool….

We want to believe this lie.

When I was 9 or 10, I was panicking about what to give her. I couldn’t draw, so a nice card or painting was out, plus I’d played my trump card by writing her a poem for her birthday (I used to whack out poems for pretty much every family occasion). I had no money, so I got a plastic bag from Superquinn or Crazy Prices, tied it up with a ribbon and told her it was a bag filled with love. MORTO. She said it was one of the best presents she ever got, which I think is the sweetest lie anyone has ever told me.

And we really hope it was Crazy Prices.

Finally, are you supposed to embarrass your mother on Mammy’s Day? It seems a tad unnecessary.

There have been years when I’ve gotten her nothing (eep), but the time I got her tickets to go see the Harlem Gospel Choir and they dragged her on stage to dance with them was the best.  I refused to join her and she was stuck up there for ages absolutely MORTIFIED.
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