The internet has gone mad for two rowing Irish brothers – that’s rowing as in boats, not bickering – and their unpretentious, down-to-earth banter. Since the O’Donovan brothers, Paul and Gary, bagged silver in the men’s lightweight double sculls at Rio 2016, they’ve caused much mirth and merriment with remarks such as “What’s the craic? We’re in Rio. The background might look superimposed but it’s very real” and “I was there for an hour or two trying to take a pee into a cup”. GQ magazine declared them the stars of the Olympics, and it’s made us think it’s time to acknowledge the achievements of our many other well-known fraternal team-ups.
So here’s our Oh Brother! awards for 2016:
The Silver-tongued devils award goes to Gary and Paul O’Donovan
None of this "follow your dream" shite from the Skibbereen siblings. After winning Silver glory at Rio, they just wanted to talk about peeing, Nutella and pizza. When the BBC reporter approached them straight after their win, one of them was heard to mutter: "Be careful what you say to these lads." Their down-to-earth banter has made them internet sensations – even if some people couldn't understand their Skib lilt. Bet their chat-up lines are priceless.
The Clap Along with Pharrell awards goes to David and Stephen Flynn aka the Happy Pear
If the hit song "Happy" was written for anyone, it has to be identical twins David and Stephen Flynn. The owners of The Happy Pear restaurant in Greystones are an annoyingly happy pair – even though their diet includes kale, they still look like two cats that got the cream. And they're handsome and healthy to boot – making the rest of us pasty-faced men feel rather inadequate, not to mention guilty for our bad, non-Mediterranean diets and lifestyles. They've been called the Jedward of cooking, but not even the Grimes brothers are this irritatingly upbeat.
The I’ve Never Been to Meath Award goes to Bernard and Alan Brogan
The Dublin GAA stars have put their stamp on Croke Park (Bernard is the second-most followed GAA star on Twitter), and now the sporting brothers have got Co Meath in their sights. They've just bought the Pillo hotel in Ashbourne, Co Meath for €8m, another savvy move from a pair who have been playing the long game, building up a business empire that will secure their future post-GAA. The hotel serves guests going to nearby Tayto Park, so the Brogans will have no shortage of crisps to comfort them in case they get homesick.
The Back without a Bang award goes to Simon and Christian Stokes aka The Bang Brothers
The Bang Brothers were the ultimate Celtic tiger restaurateurs, with a foodie empire included Bang Restaurant, The Unicorn and Residence. But then it all went sour, and the brothers ended up with a 14.7m judgment against them. In 2012, the High Court disqualified the bankrupt brothers from being company directors until 2016. That ban expired last March, but don't expect a brash comeback anytime soon – there's still a financial mess to sort out – and quite a few people left with a bad taste.
The Brewing up a Telly Storm award goes to Joe and Steve Wall.
The Galway brothers are still packing 'em in with their band The Stunning, and writing new music as The Walls, but they're also making waves on screen. Steve has expanded his acting portfolio with roles in Moone Boy, Vikings and Silent Witness. Joe produces soundtrack music for many of his filmmaking friends, and he also teaches young musicians at BIMM. And the brothers have become masters at commercial tie-ins, getting their songs into movies, TV series and ads, and even preloaded on HTC smartphones.
The Digital Natives Award goes to Patrick and John Collison.
Becoming tech millionaires while still in their teens, the Limerick brothers – now in their 20s - are the hottest young guns in the fintech sector, and their online payments company, Stripe, is nipping at the heels of big players such as JP Morgan Chase and PayPal. The company is now valued at €4.5 billion, and has secured financial backing from the likes of PayPal co-founders Elon Musk and Peter Thiel. Bloody kids. 0
The Paying their Respects Award goes to Danny and Michael Healy-Rae
The Independent TDs from Kerry have redefined the art of parish-pump politics, rolling up their geansai sleeves and getting stuck into the issues that matter to their local constituents. Last month, Michael asked 115 Dail questions in a single day, most pertaining to hospital appointments for individuals. And on the topic of climate change, Danny was unequivocal: “Only God controls the weather.” Recently, they’ve been criticised for attending the funerals of people they do not know, and for sending “bereavement packs” to families. They’ve been accused of “coffin-chasing”, but Michael insists the brothers know everybody whose funerals they attend. It’s the Healy-Raes, for god’s sake – of course they know every single person in Co Kerry, dead or alive.
The Food and Shelter for All Award goes to Simon and Patrick Coveney
The Minister for Housing and the chairman of Greencore may have very separate careers – and disparate earnings: Patrick is said to earn 40 times the salary of his policitian brother – but both are singing off the same hymnsheet as far as the Irish economy is concerned. The Minister has been working tirelessly to sort out the country's housing problems - not to mention the water and waste charges hoo-ha – while the Greencore head – who predicted Britain's departure from the EU, and said the outcome would be bad for Ireland - has been working to minimise the effect of Brexit on the Irish food sector. Greencore have just taken advantage of the weak sterling to buy up UK food company The Sandwich Factory for €17.9 million. A roof over our heads and food on the table? That's pretty basic.
The Wakin’ Up the Force Award goes to Domhnall and Brian Gleeson
The Gleeson acting dynasty continues its conquest of the cinemaverse, with Domhnall set to reprise his role of General Hux in Star Wars Episode VIII, and Brian set to star with Hilary Swank and Channing Tatum in Steven Soderbergh's new heist caper Logan Lucky. Domhnall is also due to portray Winnie-the-Pooh author AA Milne, and Brian will star with dad Brendan in Assassin's Creed. Both brothers have just finished filming Darren Aronofsky's new psychological drama starring Jennifer Lawrence. The force is strong in these two right now; frankly, if your last name ain't Gleeson, don't bother coming to the audition.
The Twice Bitten but Still Not Shy Award goes to Jedward
Pop twins John and Edward Grimes brightened many a recession-ruined day with their Eraserhead hairstyles and uncanny ability to finish each other's sentences before they'd even begun them. But now that the economy is on the road to recovery, it seems we no longer need Jedward to make us smile in that post-modern ironic way. We've entered them for Eurovision twice, to no avail, and the brothers seem to be running out of reality shows and talent contests to gatecrash. These days, they can be seen tweeting their tuppence worth on the Taylor Swift-Calvin Harris feud. Where next for Jedward? We suggest going into politics – within minutes of being in office, they'd have that sugar tax Bill quashed.
The Easy Peasy Lemon Squeezy Award goes to Rob and Dave Kearney
Irish rugby stars Rob and Dave Kearney are at the peak of their powers in their chosen sport, but the brothers are not afraid to step outside their comfort zone and try other ventures, whether it's opening their Ballsbridge pub, The Bridge 1859, with fellow rugby stars Jamie Heaslip and Sean O'Brien, or their second pub, Lemon and Duke, soon to open in the city centre. They're also not afraid to fail spectacularly at other sports, making a series of videos for the National Dairy Council's Powered by Dairy campaign, in which they went head-to-head with some of Ireland's Olympic hopefuls, including boxer David Oliver Joyce and Paralympic swimmer Ellen Keane. And the O'Donovan brothers showed them how to "pull like a dog" to become winners at rowing. Not so easy.