Top 5 Derry Girls characters, ranked

If you haven’t been watching the hit Northern Irish comedy Derry Girls, then you’d want to catch yourself on! Here we rank the top 5 Derry Girls characters.

Derry Girls has become somewhat of a cultural phenomenon in recent years due to its popularity. Derry Girls is written by Lisa McGee and set in Derry, Northern Ireland, in the 1990s. So far, two series have been broadcasted to huge acclaim, and a third series has already been commissioned for 2020.

Derry Girls has been both hilarious and touching all at the same time, and as such has seemed to create a great resonance with the viewing public. This definitely is in no part thanks to the show’s excellent ensemble cast whose larger-than-life characters over the past two seasons have made us laugh and cry with their great performances.

After two great seasons, we have seen these characters grow and develop enormously, and here we will pay tribute to those who, in our opinion, are the top 5 Derry Girls characters.

5. Aunt Sarah – delightfully dozy

Aunt Sarah is one of the top 5 Derry Girls characters

As Orla’s mother and Erin’s aunt, Aunt Sarah (portrayed by Kathy Kiera Clarke) is the somewhat dim-witted but always glamorous member of the family. It’s easy to see where Orla gets it from, as Aunt Sarah, despite always seeming to not be fully clued into what is going on, effortlessly ends up stealing many scenes with her delightfully dozy behaviour.

4. Orla – living her best life

Orla is one of the top 5 Derry Girls characters

Orla, similar to her mother, is always completely away with the fairies. Played by Louisa Harland, Orla is without a doubt the most wholesome and innocent of the group as she enjoys the simple things in life, especially chocolate fountains.

One of her best moments was certainly her step aerobics routine performed in the school talent show to the soundtrack of Madonna’s ‘Like a Prayer’. Orla is no doubt always living her best life, as we all should.

3. Michelle – fierce and funny

Michelle is one of the top 5 Derry Girls characters

Michelle, similar to Granda Joe (see below), is a lovable meanie. Her straight-talking no-nonsense manner means that she is that friend who everyone needs to keep them in check every now and then. Not to mention she has without a doubt some of the most quotable lines of the series.

Portrayed by Jamie-Lee O’Donnell, Michelle is an absolute force to be reckoned with and can often inadvertently be the cause of many of the embarrassing situations that the Derry Girls group find themselves in.

From the offset, Michelle seems to completely despise her English cousin James, but deep down she indeed has a soft side as revealed at the end of season 2, when she (spoiler alert) informs James that he is part of their group.

2. Granda Joe – the lovable grump

Granda Joe is portrayed by Ian McElhinney

Ah, Granda Joe, he can be mean and grumpy, but under it all, he still has a good heart. Actor Ian McElhinney perfectly captures the role of the grumpy but still loveable Irish grandfather.

Granda Joe tends to disapprove of almost everything, from his brother (the most insufferably boring man around) to (most of all, it seems) his perfectly nice and normal, poor suffering son-in-law, Gerry.

However, Granda Joe does have a soft side when it comes to his daughters and especially his granddaughters. When Orla asks him to go to the school prom with her as he is her favourite man, he gladly accepts. He also has some of the funniest lines in the series!

1. Sister Michael – the not-so-bad bad guy

Sister Michael is a loveable antagonist

Sister Michael embodies somewhat of a loveable villain as she is the antagonist to the Derry Girls, often foiling their plans. Sister Michael, played by Siobhan McSweeney, is a brilliant character: she has a dry sense of humour, is not afraid to speak her mind to anyone, and always seems to hold contempt for everyone around her.

Sister Michael is the teacher every student fears at school as she doesn’t take crap from anyone; however, she does have a nice side deep down.

Derry Girls is full of great characters who all make it the special show that it is, but these 5 in our opinion are the very best of them.

Find Your Dream Hotel in Ireland

On the hunt for the ultimate hotel for your Irish adventure? Explore a curated selection ranging from the charming heritage of boutique accommodations in Dublin's vibrant heart to the tranquil luxury of rural retreats and the captivating coastal vistas. Start your search below to find the perfect stay with our trusted hotel partner.

Get featured on Ireland Before You Die

Do you want to get your Irish business more online exposure? Especially to those interested in travelling the best places in Ireland? Then why not get a dedicated feature on Ireland Before You Die. Find out more here.

Related Posts


Ireland Before You Die is supported by its audience. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more

Send this to a friend