13 entries to 1891 ‘Irish Times’ joke competition

#Creamofjokes: ‘Aye, Paddy, could you tell me the way to Shrewsbury?’

The Irish Times recently published an article online that revisited a weekly jokes competition held by the paper back in the late 1800s. Jokes were published in the weekly edition on Saturday, with the writer of the best one being awarded a cash prize. Below are the entries as published on Saturday, February 7th, 1891.

From the archives: The half-crown has been awarded this week to:

Mr John Curran, 92 Patrick Street, Cork for the following:

- Teacher to the class: "What is velocity?"

Bright youth: “Velocity is what a man puts a hot plate down with.”


- First lady: "Your husband wears his hair very short."

Second lady: “Yes, the cowardly wretch.”


- "Patrick," said the joker, "why don't you get your ears cropped; they are entirely too long for a man?"

“And yours,” replied Pat, “ought to be lengthened; they are too short for an ass.”


- The following took place in a church in Ceylon and was told by a person who hears it:

The clergyman was preaching on the subject of Faith, and during the discourse he said: “Brethren, faith is a very difficult subject to explain. It is better that I should give you an instance of it. Brethren, you see seated in the aisle my wife, and beside her my daughter: and why, brethren, do I say I believe she is my daughter? Because my wife has told me she is so. (A pause.)

That, brethren, is what you may call an instance if great faith

No author

- "Who made you?" inquired a lady teacher of a of a lubberly boy, who had lately joined the class

“I don’t know,” said he.

“Don’t know! You ought to be ashamed of your-self. A boy of fourteen years old. Why, there’s Dickey Filton, he’s only three, he could tell, I dare say. Come here, Dickey; who made you?

“God,” said the infant prodigy.

“There,” said the teacher triumphantly, “I knew he would remember.”

“Well, he oughter,” said the stupid boy. “’taint but a little while ago since he was made.”


- "Say, grandpa" said his fourteen-year-old grandson: "You are eighty years old and still as lively as a cricket. I s'pose when you were a young man you took good care of your health-went to bed with the chickens and up with the lark. Early to bed and early to rise was your motto."

“No, my boy,” said grandpa: “I did not follow that maxim. I went to bed at 4am and did not get up till noon.”

“Gracious, you must have been a wild one, grandpa.”

“No, I was night editor on a morning paper.”


- Clergyman to young lad who was preparing for confirmation: "Well, boy, can you tell me what is matrimony?"

“Yes sir,” was the reply

“Well, then, tell me what it is.”

“It is a place, sir, where married people have to spend some time before they can go to heaven.”


- Two Englishmen, who were travelling along Shropshire, wanted to know the way to Shrewsbury. They happened to see an Irishman in the distance, so one said to the other: "Coma and we'll make fun of Paddy and ask him the way."

When the Irishman came up one of them said to him: “Aye, Paddy, could you tell me the way to Shrewsbury?”

Paddy (indignant at being called that name): “How did you know my name was Paddy?”

Englishman: “Oh, I guessed it.”

“Well, guess the way to Shrewsbury,” said Paddy.


- A certain Scottish King who had conquered (as he thought) all the kings and kingdoms within his reach, called his minister one day, and inquired of him did he know of any kingdom he had not yet entered.

“Yes, my liege, the King and Kingdom of Heaven you have not yet visited.”

“You are right, sir,” said the King. “Well, you go straight to the King of Heaven, and ask him if He is willing to surrender His kingdom to me.”

The minister returned, and informed the king he saw the King of Heaven and His reply was that you were welcome to enter His kingdom as soon as you were prepared.

“Ah, man, and was the King of Heaven so civil?”

“I have stated the truth to you, my liege,” replied the minister.

“Well,” said the King, “go you back to the King of Heaven, and tell him that for his civility no Scotchman will ever set foot in his kingdom.”


- An Irishman found a sovereign in the street, which proved to be light, and he could only obtain 19s 3d for it. Soon after chance threw another in his way, but Pat exclaimed: "By the powers, I'll have nothing to do with you, for I lost 9d by the last one I found."


- The company marched so poorly and went through the drill so badly that the Captain, who was somewhat of an excitable nature, shouted, indignantly at the soldiers: "You knock-kneed, spray-footed galoots you are not worthy of being drilled by a captain. What you need is a rhinoceros to drill you, you wretched donkeys."

Then sheathing his sword indignantly, the Captain said: “Now, Lieutenant, you take charge of the company.”


- Counsel: "Then you think he struck you with malice aforethought?"

Witness (indignantly): “You can’t mix me up like that. I’ve told you twice he hit me with a brick. There wasn’t no mallets nor nothin’ of the kind about.”


- An Irish girl at play on Sunday being accosted by the priest, "Good morning, daughter of the Evil One," meekly replied "Good morning, father."


What do you think of this week’s entries? Can you do any better? Tweet us @irishtimes using #creamofjokes.