Wanderly Wagon

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The Wanderly Wagon in 2010

Wanderly Wagon was an Irish children's television series which aired on RTÉ from Saturday 30 September 1967[1] until 1982. Wanderly Wagon followed human and puppet characters as they travelled around Ireland visiting interesting locations, rescuing Princesses and generally doing good. The original premise of the show expanded to follow the characters to magical lands of Irish mythology, and into outer space.

Don Lennox and Jim O'Hare came up with the idea of Wanderly Wagon when Lennox was giving O'Hare a lift home from work. O'Hare was recalling a recent family holiday spent on a horse drawn caravan in County Cork. Lennox became the first producer [1] of Wanderly Wagon and O'Hare designed the wagon, the flying Sweet shop and the show's costumes.

Various episodes were written by Neil Jordan, Carolyn Swift, Pat Ingoldsby, Martin Duffy and Frank Kelly, who also played several characters on the show.

The Wagon itself could fly. Using chroma key special effects, the Wagon was shown hovering in midair, landing in various magical lands, and even traveling underwater.

The series developed a tradition of transmitting a Christmas Day show from a Dublin children's hospital every year. The original wagon used when filming the opening scenes of Wanderly wagon is on display in The Little Museum of Dublin [1] on St. Stephen's Green in Dublin.


  • Rory - originally the lead character. Played by stage actor Bill Golding. Golding left the series in its middle years.
  • O'Brien - a bumbler played by Eugene Lambert, who was also the puppeteer and ventriloquist for the animal characters.
  • Godmother - a sensible mother-figure played by Nora O'Mahoney.
  • Judge - a dog. He was the voice of reason and good sense, a moral conscience to the rest of them (he also starred in television road safety advertisements). To this day, Judge is held in great affection by people who remember him - many of whom can still sing his song, "I Am the Flying Dog"
  • Fortycoats - a gruff, bearded character in a costume made of ragged swatches of many different materials, he owned a flying sweetshop. An occasional character who later had an eponymous spin-off show. Originally played by Bill Golding and later by Fran Dempsey.
  • Mr Crow - a crow who lived in a cuckoo clock. Crow was a sarcastic fellow with a cutting sense of humour.
  • Foxy - a fox who lived in a barrel on the side of the wagon and spoke with an American gangster style accent.
  • Four moon mice who lived in the attic.
  • Doctor Astro, a recurring villain played by Frank Kelly
  • Sneaky the Snake, Doctor Astro's sidekick, also voiced by Frank Kelly
  • Maeve the Witch, a mischievous witch, whose attempts at villainy always ended in failure
  • Squirrels, two squirrels who sounded remarkably like Bosco.


  1. ^ a b Hourihane, Anne Marie. Sunday Tribune. 11 August 2002.

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