The fictional Craggy Island was the primary setting for the Father Ted.
Craggy Island is ostensibly a bleak, desolate community with no redeeming features whatsoever and where nothing ever happens, populated by various lunatics, a small Chinese community and one Māori. The weather is often harsh and just about every house and business is shoddily built. As testament to the island's enduring unpopularity, the Irish state have given the British government permission to use the island's coast for dumping nuclear waste. The island isn't mentioned on any map and is frequently used by sailors as a navigational device (because, in the words of Father Ted Crilly, the general consensus is that, if you're heading away from the island, you're heading in the right direction).
Despite there rarely being any news of note, the island has its own broadsheet, called The Craggy Island Examiner. Because they never have anything worth writing about, the staff usually blow up any small event or piece of gossip into a major scandal, such as when a peeping tom's whistle was stolen. The 'story' helped make way for a full-colour pullout on whistles as a way of exploiting the bored locals' excitement (one resident even remarked that Craggy Island was becoming like [Boyz n the Hood]). However, Ted was once seen reading an edition with the alarming headline: "Crazed Murderer Still on the Loose"; it was implied in the episode that this person may be Tom, an insane man who persistently observes the coast wearing his "I Shot J.R." t-shirt, usually while sporting a gun. A bizarre fact about the island is that in poor weather conditions the roads are "taken in" and stored in a warehouse.
The only remotely modern places on the island are an Internet café, a cinema, a lighthouse, an isolation tank, an aviary, a greyhound racing track, and a golf course, although the latter consists only of a small strip of concrete and a windmill. One scene in the Christmas special depicts the downtown as having multi-storey buildings and a developed commercial district with well established businesses such as McDonald's. There are also several significantly unimpressive landmarks (see below), such as "The Field". The island has a long-running feud with its almost identical counterpart, Rugged Island, which is ministered to by Ted's arch nemesis, Dick Byrne.
The island apparently gets a fair amount of snowfall. Father Ted notes in Grant Unto Him Eternal Rest that it is snowing again and the snowfall depicted in the episode is considerable. He also assumes that it's snowing all over the island.
Craggy Island is the home of various demented idiots.
- John O'Leary and Mary O'Leary -
- Tom -
- Sergeant Hodgins -
- Mr. Benson -
- Pat Harty -
- Paddy Jordan -
- Michael Cocheese -
- Mrs. Glynn -
- Mrs. Sheridan -
- Giant Reed and Hud Hastings -
- Jim Halpin -
- Pat Mustard -
- Gerry Gleason and Mrs. Gleason -
- Picnic Man and Picnic Woman -
Craggy island posseses many interesting creatures, many are unique variants of their mainland counterparts. Given the harshness of life on craggy island, many are aggressive And troublesome.
- Giant Crows - Bigger than their mainland counterparts, they also have a unique tendency to make their nests using glasses, and also sometimes hunt humans in large numbers.
- Ants - Craggy Island is apparently overrun with big, red ants. Dougal's desire to point out their return to Ted suggests that they are dangerous.
- Rabbits The rabbits on the island are drawn to Jack Hackett and appear in huge swarms.
- Super Intelligent Hamsters - Dougal McGuire had one that could ride a bike.
- The Beast -
- Other, less notable forms of fauna are sheep, horses, goats, cats, a spider in a pram, Rottweilers, typical stuff.
Places of note
- Holy Stone of Clonrichert: Formerly at Fermanagh but moved to Craggy Island (as it was not doing very good business) the holy stone is the main attraction of the island following its upgrade to a Class II Relic after someone was lured there (which Dougal and possibly the Church mistook for 'Cured'), coupled with the case of an Englishman growing a beard when he touched it. It was briefly removed following an altercation between Father Jack and a Bishop, where Jack presumebley assaulted the Bishop with the relic and lodged it into the Bishop's anus. The filming location providing a backdrop for the holy stone was the Cliffs of Moher, one of Ireland's most popular tourist destinations. ("Tentacles of Doom") Ted admits to not knowing why the stone is holy and claims it is just a kind of general holiness that supposedly gave Dougal of moment of serenity which Dougal himself described as "a great buzz".
- The Field: While not actually a field, the area has fewer rocks in it than most other places on the island. The field also hosts Fun Land, a yearly carnival sporting unimpressive 'rides' such as Freak Pointing, The Whirly Go Round, The Pool of Terror, The Crane of Death (Apparently called-so because the year before a young man died while he was on it), Goading the Fierce Man, Duck Startling, The Spinning Cat (watching a fake cat which had been attached to a record player spin around) and The Ladder, the last simply being a ladder propped against a wall. It was filmed in Portrane, Co. Dublin.
- The Craggy Island Crazy Golf Course: The course consisted of one hole with the easily discarded obstacle of a windmill. ("Entertaining Father Stone")
- The Picnic Spot: Even bleaker than other parts on the island, the picnic spot is home to a few deckchairs, a sign, and a list of rules, which includes no swearing. The spot is watched by Mr. Benson and his whistle. Its only regular visitors are an aggressively territorial couple who drive away anyone else wishing to sit at the lone picnic table. They do, however, abide by the 'no swearing' rule religiously, telling Father Ted to 'fup off' and calling him a 'backstard', 'grasshole' and 'pedrophile'. (Old Grey Whistle Theft)
- Vaughans: A pub located in town that is visited by many of Craggy Island's Chinese residents. (Are You Right There, Father Ted?)
- O'Leary's: Another pub. The threshold of this pub is the site of the mysterious Mud Angel. Legend had it that every Friday night, about closing time, the mysterious figure of a man appeared in the mud outside the pub. It was later revealed to be one of Father Jack's various drunken antics, rolling in the mud in a drunken stupor.
- John & Mary's: A small shop, which provides services ranging from groceries to book-makers to record sales. It is run by John and Mary O' Leary who are regularly involved in domestic violence moments before the priests enter the shop, only to portray the picture of marital bliss when in public. The shop went through various forms throughout the series though this may be the result of the O'Leary's redecorating the shop or it may be that they moved to a new premises.
- The Magic Road: This was seen or mentioned only in the episode Hell. When Ted and Dougal were on holidays taking about the places of interest they can go to and according to Ted is where the normal laws of gravity have no meaning, as they mentioned the Magic Road it showed Father Jack Hacket at the bottom of the road rolling up the slope.
- St. Kevin's Stump: This was one of the many places of interest that Ted and Dougal discovered on their annual holiday. However, after walking over to the rock opposite the stump, they stumbled across married couple Mr. and Mrs. Gleeson having sex.
The "real" Craggy Island
The real Craggy Island seen from helicopter shots is Inisheer. The actual parochial house used in the series is on the mainland in County Clare, near Carron, in the Burren. Vaughan's pub, where Ted is confronted by a crowd of angry Chinese in "Are You Right There, Father Ted?", is also located in Kilfenora.
The football match at Ted Fest is used to award the honorary title of Craggy Island to the winning team.