Limerick crowd had to dry tears of laughter after Dara Ó Briain’s tea towel joke

Donal O’Regan


Donal O’Regan

Barbara Hartigan's watercolour portrait of Dara O Briain
A COUNTY Limerick artist could clean up after comedian Dara Ó Briain tweeted to his 1.85m followers about her tea towel.

A COUNTY Limerick artist could clean up after comedian Dara Ó Briain tweeted to his 1.85m followers about her tea towel.

Dara performed to a packed University Concert Hall last week. One of those in the audience was Barbara Hartigan, who has had portraits signed by everybody from Bill Clinton to Mother Theresa. The Castleconnell lady handed her portrayal of Dara to staff for him to autograph.

“I always feel a bit mean because you wave a portrait in front of them, say would you sign that and take it away again. So I always include something to say thank you and I thought the tea towel would be the most appropriate as it is of Limerick,” said Barbara, who recently unveiled her latest tea towel featuring 10 well-known landmarks in the city.

She added: “After the interval Dara came out and said, ‘Ye’re all back. We’ll get going again. In some places I go a person might send me back a little bottle of wine or a bottle of bubbly and do you know what I got here - a f***ing tea towel!’

He held up the tea towel and it got a great laugh in the concert hall. He didn’t identify me thankfully but it was the funniest thing ever!” said Barbara.

After the show Dara tweeted: “Thanks Limerick! Particularly for the tea towel. And that dinosaur we’d never heard of before. And Lamp. #youhadtobethere”

This reporter tweeted Dara asking if he could send on a photo of him with the tea towel. He kindly replied: “Ha! I’m on the road to Killarney, I’m afraid. The famous tea towel is safely packed away!”

Dara signed the portrait for Barbara with the words, “Can I draw on more hair?” He is the latest addition to her collection of over 65 paintings of well known faces. He joined Joe Dolan, Brendan O’Carroll, Billy Conn-olly, Imelda May and many more.

“He was so clued in on Limerick. Sometime people come to concerts here from outside the country and it is like, ‘Thursday where am I ... This must be Ireland’.

“And that’s if you are lucky. Sometimes they will even say it is Britain. That can happen,” said Barbara.

Dara, on the other hand, did a whole sketch about Limerick and the giant Granny’s visit. “He was here in Limerick when she was here and he spoke about how he couldn’t drive his car around. He said he has relations here and referred many, many times to parts of Limerick.

“Some people said they were from Newcastle West and he thanked them for driving in. You got the impression it wasn’t just another tour night and I got such a kick out of it when he brought up the tea towel!” said Barbara. She has already sold over 300 tea towels, after they were a huge hit at the Castleconnell Craft Fair. “They have gone all over the world. Within a day of the story being in the paper a couple of weeks ago I got an email from a lady in Cincinnati who wanted four,” said Barbara. They are available from She was inspired to design them by her life-time of great pride in being a Limerick woman.