Neil Delamere’s Viking heritage ensures he has no fear of change

Alan Owens


Alan Owens

NEIL Delamere is going through a change, he says. Not on an Operation Transformation-type scale, but professionally and personally he is indulging in a slight “restructuring”.

NEIL Delamere is going through a change, he says. Not on an Operation Transformation-type scale, but professionally and personally he is indulging in a slight “restructuring”.

This, you see, is the name of his new show, an ideal one for January, it seems.

Delamere will, we are told from the accompanying press material, “come to terms with the changes in the country, the world and more importantly his own living arrangements. Handy hints on how to handle the UK traffic police will be dispensed as well as sage advice on why not to pour olive oil in your ears”.

“It is called Restructuring and the first thing people ask is why? I suppose a lot of things fell under that general title,” the Offaly born comic tells City Life with a smile when we meet him.

“I kept hearing the word on the news all the time that we have to restructure our debts, our civil service, our public sector - the whole country. So I was thinking about that and the last few years have been a personal restructuring as well (for me). I know that sounds like something they would say on Operation Transformation; “we’ve started a journey” - they are always starting a journey and crying on that show,” he roars.

“But in personal terms I am moving house and I am moving slightly, trying different things career-wise, trying documentaries, so everything is being restructured, so it was a kind of a catch all title that seemed to fit.”

A restructuring then for the time of year that’s in it, out with the old, in with the new. It appears to be going well for him, tours up and down the country, an IFTA nomination for his recent television documentary which saw him explore his Viking roots, and an increasing level of exposure in the UK television market, appearing on BBC and Channel 4 comedy programmes with increasing regularity.

“I have done bits and pieces in the UK, it obviously has a greater range of shows you can do, in terms of radio and tv,” he says carefully. “It’s something I am interested in keeping going, I would love to do more work there, I have begun to dip my toe a bit more in it now, I was just so busy in Ireland for a long time, but now I think it is time to maybe broaden the focus a little bit more, in the same way that everybody is doing at the moment.”

But he won’t move to the UK, not for the time being anyway, that would be too much of a restructuring.

“I have no intention of living there, Ireland is my home and will be for the foreseeable future. But it is handy that you can always nip across! We slag off Ryanair, but without them lots of people wouldn’t have the careers that they do,” he laughs.

The aforementioned documentary, The Only Viking In The Village, showed a cerebral side to Delamere while he retained his comic charm and it is clearly something he is keen to pursue further.

“I would like to do more of them, particularly since nobody else in this country seems to be doing documentaries that are historically accurate, while you are still getting the knowledge in bite sized chunks,” he explains.

“Digestible history is a new phrase maybe. One of the academics on the show itself emailed us afterward and said she really enjoyed it - and they are sometimes a hard bunch to please - and what stood out to me was she wrote that it was the best piece of “stealth learning” she had seen in a long time.”

A documentary examining St Patrick and his myth is in its planning stages, as is a comedy radio show for RTE, but Delamere will not abandon his first love, live performance, one he has a considerable reputation for.

“I think most comedians would say the same thing and that would always be live work, that is your first love really, not to be too corny about it,” he says.

“It is the thing you do most, it is the thing that drives you and when you think of a good joke or something interesting happens to you in life, you immediately think, oh I want to talk about that on stage, I want to talk to people in a room about it.

“Also all comedians are megalomaniacs, so on stage you get to control everything! You are the editor, director, choreographer, everything rolled into one - it appeals to that Mussolini-esque part of my personality,” he laughs.

Neil Delamere performs in the UCH this Saturday night at 8pm. Tickets available from