The most Irish thing ever? Ballyhaunis Three identified in quick time

Twitter reunites phoneless Mayo men with their New York holiday photograph

Ballyhaunis Three: Seán Tighe, Bernie Waldron and John Devaney in New York. Photograph: @CBones705/Twitter

Ballyhaunis Three: Seán Tighe, Bernie Waldron and John Devaney in New York. Photograph: @CBones705/Twitter


It’s a social-media tale of our times, and one that cheerfully fulfils the cliche that all 147 people in Ireland know each other.

Around 5pm on Sunday, a Twitter user named Christina posted that when she was in New York last week “these three Irishmen asked me to take a photo of them, but none of them had phones. ‘you’ll take the picture and we’ll find it someday.’ so if by some strange turn of events anyone knows these guys, here’s their photo.”

We can predict what happened. Within an hour the trio had been identified as Seán Tighe, Bernie Waldron and John Devaney from Ballyhaunis, in Co Mayo.

And in the meantime the crack had exploded on Twitter.

“It took about 2 hours! Mayo is a very small place indeed.”

“That’s Leo Varadkar, Simon Coveney and Michael D Higgins. I’ll pass this on to them.”

“Save the Ballyhaunis Three.”

Danny Morrison, the writer and former republican prisoner, tweeted: “They’re three illegals and have been arrested as a result of your irresponsible tweet. We’re crowd-funding for lawyers as we speak.”

“Mayo men on tour!”

“Now they have an alibi... clever work gents!”

“If only mayo could find Sam as easily.”

“Just as well they weren’t trying to hide!”

There was also the only-in-Ireland angle.

“This is the most Irish thing ever.”

“The Irish don’t mess around. We know how to network.”

“Six degrees of separation but in Ireland it’s about two degrees max.”

Before midnight Christina posted: “most definitely did not expect to be able to ID these guys as quick as everyone did. I’m blown away and honestly so happy with the power of social media”.

Beats sending a postcard.