'When I'm in Cork, I feel at home': Why Bosco loves Leeside

Paula Lambert usually prefers to let her best friend do the talking, but ahead of her show with Bosco at the Everyman Outdoors at Elizabeth Fort tomorrow, the veteran puppeteer spoke with Donal O’Keeffe.
'When I'm in Cork, I feel at home': Why Bosco loves Leeside

Bosco entertaining the young and old. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

“The first thing I ever worked on in television was when I was seven, on Murphy agus a Chairde. There was a talking tree and I used to work that,” Paula Lambert says.

“The great Cork actor, Chris Curran, used to supply all the voices on that show.”

Murphy agus a Chairde was the brainchild of Paula’s father, legendary puppeteer Eugene Lambert, and it ran from 1963 to 1968. Paula then played one of the mice on children’s television show Wanderly Wagon, before graduating to playing the squirrels, Squirrel agus Squirrel Eile.

Wanderly Wagon ran from 1968 to 1982, and it made the Lambert Puppet Theatre a beloved household name.

After that, Paula became most associated with Bosco, with the show running until 1996.

“I’ve always toured, first with my dad’s theatre, and then with my own,” Paula says. “All through the Troubles, we toured every town and village in the island of Ireland,” the Dublin native says.

Lambert says she can’t wait to get her puppet theatre fully back on the road, and she looks forward to her shows tomorrow in Cork’s historic Elizabeth Fort.

“The first shows I ever did on my own were with Bosco, in the Father Mathew Hall in Cork, so I always feel, when I’m in Cork, that I’ve come home.”

  • Bosco plays the Everyman Outdoors in Elizabeth Fort tomorrow.

Bosco, Ireland’s favourite five-year-old (since 1979), talks to ‘The Echo’ about their love of Cork.

Hello everybody! I’m so excited to be coming back to Cork! It’s been such a long time since I was there. Cork is one of my favourite places in the whole world. I love that everybody is so friendly and kind and very funny.

I love the man shouting ‘Echo, Echo, buy The Echo!’ And now I’m in The Echo!

I hope the Echo man knows I’m in The Echo. I hope he says, ‘Echo, Echo, buy The Echo with Bosco in The Echo!’ You know, I once got my photo taken with the Echo Boy statue.

I love going to the Everyman. It’s called the Everyman Palace, and that’s because it really is a real palace.

This time, I’m going to do my Everyman show in Elizabeth Fort. I’ve never been there before, but I think it’s like a castle, so I’m going from a palace to a castle.

I love everything about Cork, especially Fota, because it’s just the best place.

You never know who you could meet! You could be walking around, minding your own business, and you could bump into a wallaby, or a peacock, or maybe even a Patagonian mara!

The giraffes and the cheetah are always running around, the ostriches can be very nosy, and they don’t like the colour red, so I always have to wear a hat when I go to say hello to them.

Bosco pictured with reporter Donal O'Keeffe
Bosco pictured with reporter Donal O'Keeffe

One thing I love about Cork is walking along by the River Lee and seeing how many fish I can spot or how many seagulls trying to eat them, and I love watching all the rowers rowing by. I love the lovely church up high in Cork, up the hill, with the Goldy Fish on the roof.

How did the Goldy Fish get up there? I hope the seagulls don’t try to eat him!

I love listening to all the bells that ring out in Cork, and the big hills.

I don’t really like climbing up the big hills, but I love running down them.

Sometimes people say, ‘Bosco, are you a boy or a girl?’ and I just say, ‘I’m a Bosco! I’m just me!’

Or sometimes, people say, ‘Bosco, how can you be just five, because you were five when my mom was five and now my mom is loads of fives and you’re still just five?’ and I always say, ‘I’m Bosco and I’m just a bit magic.’

It’s lovely to be back doing shows. It was a bit scary when I first heard about the pandemic, because I was on tour, and then all my shows were cancelled.

Bosco and the Echo boy in Cork City. Pic: Donal O'Keeffe
Bosco and the Echo boy in Cork City. Pic: Donal O'Keeffe

I didn’t like hearing about people getting very sick and dying, so I understood why I had to stay at home in my box. I never really get bored, because I always have so much to do, like painting and drawing and making márla, and I love being outside and making up stories about my garden and all the little creatures that live there.

But I did worry about everybody in the world and especially people I love. I really missed all my pals and I really and truly missed doing my shows.

I watched Kellie in the Olympics. She is amazing and lovely.

She cares so much about people and she wanted to make everybody happy and, oh boy, she did! Hakuna Matata! And Paul and Fintan rowing got gold, too! And Emily, Fiona, Eimear, and Aifric got bronze rowing, like Aidan in the boxing. I’m so proud of Team Ireland!

Oh, I’m so excited to be back in Cork, and I hope to see all the boys and girls at Elizabeth Fort on Sunday!

  • Bosco plays the Everyman Outdoors, at Elizabeth Fort, at 12.30pm and 3.30pm on Sunday. Tickets, €10, at 

    the Everyman website.

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