THEY MIGHT BE LIMERICK’S unlikeliest new cultural ambassadors – and surprise contenders for the Christmas number one spot – but it might have turned out that the Rubberbandits are, in fact, not from Limerick at all.
The group’s latest release, Horse Outside, has accrued 1.7 million views on YouTube – making it the most popular video on RTÉ’s channel by a considerable distance – and currently stands atop the iTunes download charts, but the Munster outfit might not be from the city portrayed in their madcap videos.
The Irish Daily Mail claims to have uncovered the duo – and says it believes the two, far divorced from their outward characters as being from the rougher parts of Limerick, are actually well-dressed middle-class people… from Shannon, in Co Clare.
Attempts to find their true identities, however, went in vain: “a raft of phone calls” made by the paper to clubs and promoters in Limerick were all met with the chuckles of insiders who declined to offer any comment.
Blindboy Boat Club said earlier this week that he was “from Limerick through and through” – despite his insistence that he knew so little about rugby that he often became confused as to whether that game was the one played with the round or oval ball.
The revelation came as the duo – complete with supporter dressed in a Willie O’Dea rubber mask – continue their PR offensive yesterday at Leinster House, while the tongue-in-cheek portrayal of Limerick featured in the Horse Outside video also made the airwaves when offended locals called Liveline yesterday.
Limerick callers said the video was “promoting something [drugs] that destroys lives” and that it was “absolutely demeaning” – prompting DJ Blindboy of the group, and the actual Willie O’Dea, to call up in defence of the song.
Continuing the line-blurring between Limerick and Clare, Broadsheet.ie notes that Madeline Mulqueen – the model posing as a bridesmaid in the Horse Outside video, who is actually from Limerick – was named the Face of Clare 2010 by readers of The Clare People earlier this year.
When the Mail contacted her seeking hints on the Bandits’ identities, she jokingly insisted:
I was bridesmaid at my best friend Amanda’s wedding. I was wondering why the cameras were there.
The two also denied they were in competition to seek the Christmas number one slot – being the biggest challengers to X Factor winner Matt Cardle – telling the Irish Times that they had “never heard of it. We don’t know nothing about it.
“We thought we saw it once but it might have been that One Foot in the Grave.”
The men might remain masked for the coming weeks, however – claiming that the rubber bags over their faces are, in fact, a ruse to avoid the attention of RTÉ presenter Marty Whelan, to whom they claim to owe money.
The popularity of Horse Outside, meanwhile, has caused such an interest in the band’s back catalogue that five of their other contributions to the Republic of Telly TV series now rank among the ten most watched videos on RTÉ’s YouTube channel.