Ross O'Carroll-Kelly

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Ross O'Carroll-Kelly
Statue of Ross O'Carroll-Kelly, Easons Headquarters, O'Connell Street, Dublin
First appearanceSunday Tribune column, January 1998
Created byPaul Howard
PublisherSunday Tribune, The O'Brien Press, Penguin Books, The Irish Times
Media typepaperback, audiobook, newspaper column, stage play
In-universe information
OccupationStudent, estate agent, rugby coach, reality TV star, biomedical waste disposal, mobile paper shredder operator
FamilyList of Ross O'Carroll-Kelly characters
SpouseSorcha Eidemar Françoise O'Carroll-Kelly (née Lalor)
ChildrenRonan Masters, Honor O'Carroll-Kelly, Brian O'Carroll-Kelly, Jonathan O'Carroll-Kelly, Leo O'Carroll-Kelly
  • Charles O'Carroll-Kelly (father)
  • Fionnuala O'Carroll-Kelly (mother)
  • Erika Joseph (half-sister)
  • Rihanna-Brogan Masters (granddaughter)
ReligionLapsed Catholic

Ross O'Carroll-Kelly is a satirical fictional Irish character, a wealthy South County Dublin rugby union jock created by journalist Paul Howard.[1][2] The character first appeared in a January 1998 column in the Sunday Tribune newspaper and later transferred to The Irish Times. The series comprises twenty-one novels, three plays, a CD, two other books, a weekly podcast, and the newspaper column, as of 2023.[2]

Works in the series[edit]


Medium Title Release Plot
Newspaper column Ross O'Carroll-Kelly Sunday Tribune, January 1998 – July 2007 The life and loves of Ross
The Irish Times, 1 September 2007 – present
Novel The Miseducation of Ross O'Carroll-Kelly
(revised edition titled The Miseducation Years)
Sunday Tribune, 2000 Ross's last two years at Castlerock College and his Leinster Schools Rugby Senior Cup victory
Novel Roysh Here, Roysh Now… The Teenage Dirtbag Years
(revised edition titled The Teenage Dirtbag Years)
Sunday Tribune, 2001 Ross's first year at UCD and holiday in the US
Novel The Orange Mocha-Chip Frappuccino Years The O'Brien Press, March 2003 Ross's parents force him to fend for himself as an estate agent
Novel PS, I Scored the Bridesmaids The O'Brien Press, April 2005 Ross and Sorcha get married
Spoken-word album The Twelve Days of Christmas Magpie Productions Ltd, November 2005 A comedy album about the lead-up to Ross's Christmas
Novel The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nightdress Penguin Books, June 2006 Ross discovers that he is a father
Novel Should Have Got Off at Sydney Parade Penguin Books, May 2007 Sorcha falls pregnant
Play The Last Days of the Celtic Tiger Premiered at the Olympia Theatre, November 2007 Plot is similar to that of This Champagne Mojito Is The Last Thing I Own
Mock travel guide Ross O'Carroll-Kelly's Guide to (South) Dublin: How To Get By On, Like, €10,000 A Day Penguin Books, May 2008 A mock-travel guide to "SoCoDu."
Novel This Champagne Mojito Is the Last Thing I Own Penguin Books, June 2008 Ross's father is imprisoned and his assets seized.
Novel Mr S and the Secrets of Andorra's Box Penguin Books, October 2008 Ross becomes coach of the Andorra national rugby union team.
Compilation Ross O'Carroll-Kelly and the Temple of Academe Penguin Books, February 2009 Contains The Miseducation Years and The Teenage Dirtbag Years
Book of mock-interviews We Need to Talk About Ross Penguin Books, June 2009 A book of mock-interviews in which characters from the series discuss the protagonist.
Novel Rhino What You Did Last Summer Penguin Books, September 2009 Ross goes Stateside to win Sorcha back. While there, he ends up starring in a reality TV show.
Novel The Oh My God Delusion Penguin Books, 7 October 2010[4][5] Ross faces genuine poverty as the Irish economy nosedives.
Play Between Foxrock and a Hard Place Premiered at the Olympia Theatre, 15 October 2010[6] Ross's parents sell their house, and the O'Carroll-Kelly family fall victim to a tiger kidnapping.
Novel NAMA Mia! Penguin Books, 6 October 2011 Ross sees a turning point in the recession, for himself at least.
Novel The Shelbourne Ultimatum Penguin Books, 27 September 2012 Ross refuses to change his ways, while all around him are affected by the Recession.
Novel Downturn Abbey Penguin Books, 26 September 2013 Ross becomes a grandfather; Honor shows she's Ross's daughter.
Play Breaking Dad Premiered at the Gaiety Theatre, 25 April 2014[7] The year 2022. Ross is horrified upon meeting Honor's new boyfriend, who is very similar to a young Ross.
Novel Keeping Up with the Kalashnikovs Penguin Books, 11 September 2014 Sorcha is pregnant again and Ross must come to Fionn's rescue.
Novel Seedless in Seattle Penguin Books, 15 September 2015 Ross is forced to get neutered.
Novel Game of Throw-ins Penguin Books, 8 September 2016 Ross plays for a struggling Seapoint rugby team.
Novel Operation Trumpsformation Penguin Books, 21 September 2017 Charles aims to emulate Donald Trump; the triplets take up soccer.
Play Postcards from the Ledge Premiered at the Gaiety Theatre, 25 October 2017[8] In 2029, Ross revisits his childhood home and old memories.
Novel Dancing with the Tsars Penguin Books, 13 September 2018 Ross and Honor aim to win a dance contest.
Novel Schmidt Happens Penguin Books, 9 September 2019 Ross is unexpectedly contacted by the national team coach.
Novel Braywatch Sandycove, 3 September 2020 Ross is hired to coach a school in Bray.
Compilation RO'CK of Ages Sandycove, 1 April 2021 Compilation of Irish Times columns, 2007 to 2020.
Novel Normal Sheeple Sandycove, 19 August 2021 Honor goes to the Gaeltacht; Ross takes up Gaelic football; Charles as Taoiseach attempts to seize even more power.
Novel Once Upon a Time in… Donnybrook Sandycove, 1 September 2022 Ross becomes manager of the Ireland women's rugby team.
Novel Camino Royale Sandycove, 17 August 2023 Ross and his rugby teammates walk the Camino de Santiago; Sorcha wants a divorce; Sorcha's sister may be pregnant with Ross' baby.
Novel Don't Look Back in Ongar Sandycove, 29 August 2024 Ross returns from the Camino with Sorcha seeking an divorce and Ronan working for Hennessy.


The novels are written entirely from Ross's first-person perspective, written in an eye dialect representative of the intonation attributed to affluent areas of South Dublin, commonly called "Dortspeak" (after the DART, a rail service covering the Dublin coast). This accent is one of the primary targets of satire in the columns and novels. Due to the wide variety of esoteric slang used in the novels, a glossary ("ThesauRoss") appears as an appendix to Ross O'Carroll-Kelly's Guide to (South) Dublin: How To Get By On, Like, €10,000 A Day. Though the basic idioms are derived largely from standard Hiberno-English, the South Dublin accent as represented by Howard has distinctive features:

  • "Car" is written as "cor", "Arts" as "Orts", "star" as "stor", "fuck" as "fock", and "right" as "roysh".
  • The "aspirated T" or "soft T" prevails: "right" becomes "roysh", "DART" becomes "Dorsh".
  • A form of rhyming slang is used: A taxi is a "Jo Maxi" (or simply a "Jo"), a face is a "boat race", breasts are "top tens" (Top Ten hits – tits) and a love-bite is a "Denis" (Denis Hickie). Ross often refers to having an "Allied Irish" (Allied Irish Banks: "wank"). "Padraig Pearse", "fierce".
  • Other forms of wordplay (occasionally employing equally obscure references) are also common. For example, a girl who has "fallen to the communists", has "Munster playing at home" or has won a "starring role in a period costume drama" is (or is speculated to be) having her period.
  • Ross, in particular, describes women by comparing them to female celebrities. For example, "A total Ali Landry", "A bit of a girl-next-door vibe, if your next door neighbour happens to be Cheryl Tweedy".
  • Ugly women are often referred to as "moonpigs" or "swamp donkeys".

Although the main satirical targets of the columns are affluent South Dublin dwellers, elements of working-class culture (sometimes called skanger culture) are also parodied, again, primarily through language.

  • Common exclamations include "Ah Jaysus!", and "(Wat's de) Story, bud?" (meaning "How are you?").
  • The 'th' sound becomes a 'd' sound: "Wudja looka dat young fella over dare" ("Would you look at that young man over there").
  • "The Herald" becomes "De Heddild", "aren't" becomes "arden't", and crime figure "The General" becomes "de Generodle".
  • Working-class people are sometimes referred to by Ross as "Howiyas" (based on the Dublin accent rendering of "How are you?"), and the women as "Jacintas", "Anitas" (pronounced as Anee-eh) or "Natalies" (names perceived to be common among working class Dublin women).
  • The term "steamer" is a phrase used by Ross referring to a guy who "bats for the other team" or "drives on the wrong side of the road" i.e.: is homosexual.

Eye dialect is also used to portray the accents of people from Northern Ireland, "culchies" (rural people), and foreigners.


Cultural impact[edit]

Ross O'Carroll-Kelly was something of a craze in Ireland,[9] and his name has become a byword for all that is perceived to be wrong in Celtic Tiger Ireland. Though it is largely viewed as satire, there are those who view Ross O'Carroll-Kelly as a role model or an idol. Paul Howard has claimed some people have imitated Ross's friends pastime of driving through disadvantaged areas in expensive cars, shouting "Affluence!" at passers-by and throwing €5 notes out the window.[2] Following Ross's move to The Irish Times, the Irish Independent began a similar column, OMG! featuring a female counterpart to Ross, in its Weekend supplement on 22 September 2007.[10]


  1. ^ Interview with Paul Howard, Robert Ryan,, retrieved 18 January 2010
  2. ^ a b c Spawning a bundle of 'Rosser' wannabes, top snob takes to stage, Irish Independent, 31 August 2007, retrieved 9 April 2009
  3. ^ Ross O'Carroll-Kelly - Books - Keeping Up with the Kalashnikovs Archived 27 November 2013 at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ Ross O'Carroll-Kelly - Home
  5. ^ Ross O'Carroll-Kelly (27 September 2010). The Oh My God Delusion. Penguin. ISBN 978-1844881758.
  6. ^ [1] Archived 14 September 2010 at the Wayback Machine
  7. ^ "ROSS O'CARROLL KELLY 'BREAKING DAD'- MUST END THIS SAT 24th". The Gaiety Theatre - Irish Theatre in Dublin. Retrieved 4 August 2014.
  8. ^ "Ross O'Carroll Kelly Postcards from the Ledge set for Gaiety Theatre run".
  9. ^ "Man Friday, Roysh!". RTÉ One. 2 November 2007. Retrieved 24 October 2010.
  10. ^ "OMG! The weekly diary of Cathy, a southside Yummy Drummie". Irish Independent. 3 November 2007. Retrieved 5 February 2017.

External links[edit]