Waking Ned Devine


Ian Bannen-Jackie O’Shea

David Kelly-Michael O’Sullivan

Fionnula Flanagan-Annie O’Shea

Susan Lynch-Maggie O’Toole

James Nesbitt-Pig Finn

Paul Vaughan-Narrator

Adrian Robinson-Lotto Observer

Maura O’Malley-Mrs. Kennedy

Robert Hickey-Maurice O’Toole

Paddy Ward-Brendy O’Toole

James Ryland-Dennis Fitzgerald

Fintan McKeown-Pat Mulligan

Eileen Dromey-Lizzy Quinn

Kitty Fitzgerald-Kitty

Dermot Kerrigan-Father Patrick


Filmed on the Isle on Man, this 1998 movie depicts the quest of two friends for a lottery prize of almost 6.9 million Irish pounds. The movie was released under the title Waking Ned but was released in the United States with the title Waking Ned Devine.

Lifetime friends Jackie O’Shea (Ian Bannen) and Michael O’Sullivan (David Kelly) hatch a plot to discover who in their small village has won the Irish lottery. Jackie read the lotto results in The Irish Times and someone in their county had won. Since the only village in the county is Tullymore with a population of fifty-two, they assume that they can find that person without too much difficulty. They plan on finding the winner and becoming best friends in the hopes of sharing in the wealth.

They first are convinced that the lucky winner is Pig Finn (James Nesbitt) the local pig farmer. Pig Finn has been trying to marry Maggie O’Toole (Susan Lynch) but she refuses as long as he smells like pigs. Jackie and Michael meet Finn at the local tavern and buy him drinks. Jackie also brought him some “expensive, fruity soaps” to take home and try out to see if they would alleviate the pig smell and help him to finally marry Maggie. Jackie spent ten pounds on Finn at the tavern only to find out that the new sports car Pig Finn had been driving wasn’t his but belonged to his brother.

Jackie acquires a list of the regular lotto players and their next scheme is to invite all eighteen of them over to Jackie and Annie’s house for chicken dinner. At the dinner, Jackie, Annie and Michael try to find out who the winner is but it is all to no avail. Then Annie discovers that there is one chicken dinner left over. Someone didn’t show up. It was Ned Devine.

Annie makes up the chicken dinner and Jackie takes it to Ned Devine’s house during a violent thunderstorm. At Ned’s house, Jackie finds him dead in his easy chair in the dark in front of the television, holding the winning lottery ticket in his hand. The shock of winning had killed him.

Later that night, Jackie has a dream, a premonition as he calls it, that he’s in a boat with Ned Devine. He’s convinced that Ned wants him to claim the prize. That same night, Jackie and Michael go to Ned Devine’s house. Since Ned has signed the ticket, they need information to convince the lottery officials that he’s still alive so that one of them can claim to be Ned. Early the next morning, they go to the telephone call box to contact the lottery and make the claim.

They are at their favorite spot near the ocean as the lost lottery official shows up in a rental car and asks them where Ned Devine lives. Jackie offers to take him there. This leaves Michael all alone by the ocean with only one thing to do. He has to hop on Jackie’s motorcycle and try to outrace the lotto man and Jackie to Ned Devine’s house where he can pretend to be Ned.

Jackie employs many delaying tactics in getting the lottery official to Ned’s home. Michael beats them there and convinces the man that he is, in fact, Ned Devine. The official informs Michael that he’ll be back in a day or two to talk to people to make sure that Michael really is Ned. It’s all a formality he assures him.

Now Michael and Jackie are convinced they’ll go to prison unless they can get the townspeople to go along with their scheme. To do this, they divide the anticipated money into fifty-two equal shares. Everyone agrees to participate and to tell the lotto man that Michael is Ned. Everyone, that is, except for Lizzy Quinn (Eileen Dromey), a local wheelchair bound spinster with a chip on her shoulder who hates everyone.

We won’t give away the ending of the movie but let’s just say that Lizzy Quinn is silenced in a bizarre way while she’s on her way to telephone the lottery officials to turn everyone in and collect the ten percent reward.

There’s some great Irish music throughout this film. It is one of those quiet movies that you don’t hear too much about but is a great film when you see it.

Wav Sound Files (11KHz)

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Michael O’Sullivan: “Is this a fact, Jackie? A winner in the village?”

Jackie O’Shea: “In Tullymore itself, yes.”

Michael O’Sullivan: “And, uh, how many are living there now?”

Jackie O’Shea: “Well, there’s fifty-two precisely. You’re not one, I’m not one, and Annie’s not one. That leaves a total of forty-nine” (179K)

Pig Finn: “Come for a ride like the old days.”

Maggie O’Toole: “Finn, darling, you know I would if it wasn’t for the smell of them pigs”  (65K)

Michael O’Sullivan: “Jackie talked Mrs. Kennedy into giving us a list of the regular lotto players.”

Jackie O’Shea: “And there’s eighteen and each of those will be invited to a chicken supper. We’ll sit them down, feed them up, and during the night we’ll find the winner.”  (139K)

Annie O’Shea: “What sort of a game is this?”

Jackie O’Shea: “Shush, will you? Shush. Shush.”

Annie O’Shea: “Don’t you shush me.”

Jackie O’Shea:”Michael’s in there with the man from the lotto.”

Annie O’Shea: “You let Michael go in there on his own? Jackie, he’s never told a lie in his life.”

Jackie O’Shea: “Well, he’s making up for it now. So?”  (194K)

Jackie O’Shea: “So now if the lotto man comes to the village, you say that Ned Devine is alive and well and you point your finger to Michael O’Sullivan.”  (114K)

Woman: “How are we going to recognize the lotto man when he comes?”

Jackie O’Shea: “He sneezes.”

Woman: “Sneezes?”

Jackie O’Shea: “Sneezes. He gets hay fever when he’s in the country.”  (118K)

Annie O’Shea: “We’re missing one.”

Michael O’Sullivan: “But the village is already celebrating.”

Annie O’Shea: “It’s Lizzy Quinn.”

Michael O’Sullivan: “Lizzy Quinn, the witch. God, if the village finds out she’ll burn.”  (158K)

Lizzy Quinn: “Did you know that if you report a fraud to the lotto, you get ten percent of the winnings? But ten percent is six hundred and seventy thousand pounds.”

Annie O’Shea: “Oh, Lizzy. How could you bear to live in the village if you did a thing like that?”

Michael O’Sullivan: “The whole lot of us will be in prison.”

Lizzy Quinn: “Well there’s your answer. There’ll be no one here to be bothered by.”  (230K)




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