As It Happens

Meet the Flemings, the internet-famous Irish family who freaked out over a bat

As It Happens host Carol Off touches base with the Fleming family of Ballymacelligott, Ireland, whose efforts to rid their kitchen of a rogue bat have gone viral.
Maureen, Derry (Batdad) and Tadhg Fleming, the Irish family who had a bat in their kitchen. (Tadhg Fleming)

This story was orginally published on Sept. 17, 2017.

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When Tadhg Fleming saw his dad in the kitchen sporting a soccer uniform while chasing a bat with a tea towel, he immediately grabbed his phone and started filming.

"I seen him in my shorts with the socks up to his knees and he just got a tea towel, a small little tea towel, that you knew he wasn't gonna catch the bat with that," Fleming, who makes comedy videos in his tiny Irish town of Ballymacelligott, told As It Happens host Carol Off. "And I just said, 'Oh my God, I gotta get this on.'"

The ensuing footage shows Derry Fleming — a.k.a "Batdad" — chasing the winged creature around the kitchen while his wife and son look on and the panicked family dog Basil pees on the floor.

"Oh my God, it was absolutely nuts," Tadgh said. "It was just pure chaos."

That chaos is punctuated intermittently by Tadhg shouting "Get 'em, Derry!" and scolding his mother, Maureen, for hiding behind a glass door.

Maureen, Tadhg said, was responsible for letting the bat into the home in the first place.

"And she was putting my dad off as well," Tadhg said. "He was looking at her watching him try to catch the bat and I'd say he was under pressure because the bat was panicking around the place."

'Maureen, will you stop looking in the door?' Tadhg shouts at his mother. (Tadhg Fleming/YouTube)

Moments after lambasting his mom for hiding, Tadhg also retreats behind a separate windowed door.

"I was trying to man up myself, but no, it wasn't working," he admitted. "I was caught up. I was panicking myself. I was petrified of the bat."

The full Fleming family, complete with Tadhg's sisters Sadhbh and Maryann, who missed out on the the bat-venture. (Tadhg Fleming/Facebook)

So with Tadhg, Maureen and Basil all out of commission, it's left to Batdad to be the hero Ballymacelligott deserves.

"Of course, like, I had to protect the family, like. We thought it might be a vampire bat," Derry said with a chuckle. "I'm the man of the house. I had to protect my family at all costs, even riskin' my own life."

Tadhg turned his Snapchat footage into a YouTube video, which has been seen more than a million times. (Tadhg Fleming/YouTube)

Eventually, Derry swaps the tea towel for a bath towel, and ends up trapping the bat. The intruder was released, unharmed, into the Irish countryside.

The video has since been viewed more than a million times. 

"I'd say I put  Ballymacelligott on the map. I'd say it'll be visited by everyone now to visit Batdad," Tadhg said. "But it's crazy how mad it's gotten, really. I didn't even expect the whole thing to take off like this."