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Image / Editorial

The top 5 Barry’s Tea TV ads as decided by a tea addict


by Edaein OConnell
18th Jan 2020
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These ads are stories of love, loss and regret which all seemed to resurface in a person’s conscience once they had a cup of Barry’s Tea in hand


A colleague of mine directed me to an Irish Times article which explained the consequences of a no-deal Brexit on our supermarket industry. One of these ramifications is that Lyons tea (which is produced in the UK) could see a price hike of up to 20%.

However, I didn’t really care because I am a Barry’s Tea girl to my culchie bones. It’s better tasting tea and had better TV ads. While I pondered over my love of the Irish staple, I thought of those TV ads of yore and realised just how very privileged we were to have them on our television screens.

Related: 10 best places to go for tea and scones
in Ireland this weekend

If you’re Irish and can remember the late nineties and early noughties, you will know that it felt like RTÉ played those ads up to 50 times a day. These ads have become the Godfather series of our generation. The “is this a date?” line is now more famous in counties like Roscommon than any Robert De Niro quote ever.

They were stories of love, loss and regret which all seemed to resurface in a person’s conscience once they had a cup of Barry’s Tea in hand. This only adds to my theory that Barry’s Tea is some type of magical juju juice which forces you to contemplate every decision you have ever made while you try and watch an episode of Eastenders.

Thus, this reflection caused me to deep dive into the YouTube archive of Barry’s Tea ads and here are my top five.

1. Would you like some more tea?

This places first on the list because I wanted this to be a full-blown television drama. I wanted her mother to literally spill the tea. To tell her daughter of the man or woman who took that picture and explain why she was being so coy. There is so much secrecy, intrigue, deception and Irishness in the space of one minute that this advertisement puts Glenroe and Fair City to shame.

2. Is this a date?

How quintessentially noughties Ireland is this ad? The floppy hair of Matt, the indie fringe of the female protagonist, the charity ball and the Nokia phone are all staples of that moment in time. Reiterating the fact that Barry’s Tea marketing team really understand the zeitgeist of a generation. And it’s still the most quotable advert of all time.

3. Something Borrowed

Barry’s Tea; giving unrealistic expectations of men the night before their wedding to women in Ireland since 2002.

4. New York

Ah, the Irish, emigration and Barry’s Tea; how relatable can you get? A man called John O’ Brien and a pub called O’ Shea’s and then more tea. Excuse me while I go outside and sing Ireland’s Call. 

5. Free Time

A cult classic but an in-depth look at the Irish psyche and its relationship with the GAA. It depicts the time and effort that those in the GAA dedicate to their sport, which results in a minuscule amount of free hours. As always, Barry’s Tea is there to guide you in this realisation and will also provide you with the courage to tell someone you fancy them in a kitchen.


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