Celebrity Fittest Family review: Happy Pears come up smiling and win it for Donncha

The celebrity version of the show provided enjoyable viewing and raised thousands for various charities
Celebrity Fittest Family review: Happy Pears come up smiling and win it for Donncha

 Ireland's Fittest Family: Happy Pear.

It's not scientific but if you're on the couch suffering from the 'meat sweats' after days of turkey, ham, and spiced beef and still maintaining that vegetarians and vegans are weak, feeble or anaemic then you can't have been watching Ireland's Fittest Family Celebrity Special.

Billed as four famous families and one stinking swamp — the show pitched four celebs and their families against each other. The winning team got
€10,000 for their chosen charity — and the 'non-winners' got €1,000 for their charity.

It's a format that will be familiar to fans of the regular Fittest Family series: the four coaches are Donncha O’Callaghan, Anna Geary, Davy Fitzgerald, and Derval O’Rourke, along with presenter Mairead Ronan.

Grainne Gallanagh competed to raise funds for Alone Donegal
Grainne Gallanagh competed to raise funds for Alone Donegal

First up was Grainne Gallanagh. She was a model, a Miss Universe finalist, she was a Dancing with the Stars contender, and she's now a nurse so it's safe to say that she's a bit of an all-rounder. She competed with her brother-in-law, Diarmuid Foley; and her cousins David Gallanagh and Chris O'Donnell

She actually had been hoping to get Davy Fitzgerald as her team's coach: "I want Davy but I'm kind of afraid of when he screams — he's always roaring." She's willing to put up with the roaring though to raise funds for Alone Donegal.

Donncha O'Callaghan has been outed previously as a fan of sausage rolls so did we detect a hint of disappointment when he discovered he was partnering with The Happy Pear who are known for their vegan food and early morning swims? If so, he very quickly got over it when he saw how fit, enthusiastic and energetic they are.

Another contestant — Sinead Quinlan from Cork— noted that "sure those lads came out of the womb ready for this like".

And sure enough, they had Donncha hoiked up into a handstand/tumble in jig time.

David and Stephen Flynn teamed up with their brother, Darragh, and Andrea Moloney (15), their cousin from Clare and their chosen charity was Hometree which they said is "all about reforesting Ireland".

Donncha seemed to be in awe of the Flynns when he noted that "they look like they do this purely for the fun" and said "it's actually infectious being around them, you turn into a Happy Pear".

Neil Delamere and his team competed for The Alzheimer Society of Ireland
Neil Delamere and his team competed for The Alzheimer Society of Ireland

Comedian, Neil Delamere, who proudly claims to be descended from Vikings, reckons he's been in training for the bog challenge simply by virtue of being from Offaly. He and his team, his niece Emily Delamere; his brother-in-law James Russell; and cousin Rosie Tobin, are coached by Derval O'Rourke and their chosen charity is The Alzheimer Society of Ireland.

The Quinlans don't stay looking this clean for long! (see below)
The Quinlans don't stay looking this clean for long! (see below)

Sinéad Quinlan, comedian, Den presenter and actor, roped in her brother Eamonn; her first cousin, Maria O'Neill, and Maria's husband, Tom, for the challenge. And it's not clear if she's being optimistic or pessimistic when she notes that Maria is a radiographer who'll look after them if there are any broken bones.

Her chosen charity is Cork Simon Community — and she didn't just pick the organisation at random, she's worked as support worker with them for five years.

Sinéad and her team are the clear winners — if the challenge is getting coach Anna Geary to go full-on pure Cork accent. Unfortunately, they are not the overall competition winners and are the first eliminated.

Top marks for getting the fab nails and eyelashes through the bogs and swamps of Hell & Back at Kilruddery Estate, Wicklow, unscathed though.

Sinead Quinland and team get stuck into the bogs and swamps
Sinead Quinland and team get stuck into the bogs and swamps

There are bruises, lost shoes, roaring, and lots of squelching through gunge. Family members are dragged unceremoniously along the top of glutinous mud. Contestants with cool designer stubble end up with murky green beards made of swamp vegetation and neon yellow t-shirts are never going to be the same again.

They all smiled and said they enjoyed it but hot water bottles and blue lips make it a hard sell on a day when it's easier to loll around and just polish off the leftover Celebrations and Quality Street.

Team Delamere is eliminated right before the final
Team Delamere is eliminated right before the final

The Delameres were eliminated next leaving Donncha's Flynns versus Davy's Gallanaghs in the final.

Despite giving "a great account of themselves", according to Davy, the Gallanaghs were defeated by the Happy Pear and their team. 

The Gallanagh team go up against the Team Flynn in the final
The Gallanagh team go up against the Team Flynn in the final

It looks like a combination of Donncha's motivation and the Happy Pears' sheer exuberance just works magic. Donncha went for visualising to win: "Before ye start, think of all four of ye up on the top of the ramp at the end and your kids going nuts."

And the Happy Pear and team just seemed to be in their natural element — they smiled all the way and just ploughed into it all with 100% energy. A win for Cork, a win for Team Flynn — and a win for spirulina, cacao and tofu. 

Shout out to:

Neil Delamere - a man of the swamp
Neil Delamere - a man of the swamp

  • Anna Geary helpfully roaring "Do you need a bit of a hand? Eamonn give em a hand if they need it".
  • Mairead Ronan's white jacket — just what you need in a swamp. Though her leather shorts might actually be the perfect gear.
  • The tufts of swamp salad on Neil Delamere's beard — mmm, not.
  • Sinead Quinlan cheerfully admitting that she was destroyed after the bog challenge: "Oh my god, I saw the light at one point and thought 'this is me gone'."
  • Darragh Flynn for some reason doing the full breaststroke through the swamp — with his mouth open and going underwater and all.
  • And the Happy Pear who declared that the swamp was like "swimming through a spirulina shake" — so we're not sure whether we're more turned off spirulina shake or bogs now. 

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