Comedy legend Billy Connolly has always been a huge admirer of Ireland and its people. In his early career he often performed folk tunes with Irish musicians.
He went on a tour of Ireland which was broadcast on television in the early 2010s and is now available online. The first video begins with Connolly riding into Dublin on a small boat along the River Liffey.
He jokes that it is one of the most famous rivers in the world because of the global reach of the Irish drink Guinness, which is referred to as Liffey Water by some.
He explained that when he was too famous to go out in his native Scotland, he would often travel to Dublin for the weekend to enjoy some downtime with his friends, including Irish music legends Christy Moore and Paddy Reilly.
As Connolly’s boat arrives at the dock, he shares some local knowledge as he describes a young man as a ‘gurrier’, an Irish word which he says means a ‘wise-ass kid’.
Connolly laughed that the boy had helped them dock the boat earlier but fell out with them after they water splashed him, and so he hurled insults at them as they left.
Once Connolly enters the city, he explains a little about his own Irish heritage and admits he always feels a ‘little tingling in his heart’ that tells him he is where he belongs.
His journey takes him to the Anna Livia monument in Croppies Memorial Park, which features a female statue underneath a waterfall, symbolising the spirit of the River Liffey.
Connolly jokes: “The Irish have a wonderful disrespect for everything. They call the Spirit of the Liffey the ‘wh*re in the sewer’ or the ‘floozy in the jacuzzi’ which I absolutely love, I love that disrespect, it’s right up my alley.”
Connolly also enjoys a trad session with some local musicians in the pub, before talking a little about the Easter Rising and the significance of the GPO.
The video ends on a poignant note as Connolly visits Kilmainham Gaol and sees the actual cells where the Rising leaders were held before they were executed.
Connolly is respectful and interested in his surroundings throughout his journey and creates a warm atmosphere which makes it a great video to watch.
Take a look for yourself.