Ant and Dec swapped London for Leitrim for their new TV show as they drank pints and poitin with the locals.
The Britain’s Got Talent hosts travelled around the county, stopping in Drumshanbo and Drumkeeran to film a new history programme.
The 41-year-old pair, two of the highest-paid TV entertainers in the UK, were in Leitrim after tracking down Ant’s family roots.
A source told the Irish Mirror: “The series is set to air next year and researchers visited Leitrim in recent months but locals had no idea who would be coming to film.”
Despite growing up in Newcastle, in the north of England, Ant and Dec – full names Anthony McPartlin and Declan Donnelly – both have Irish heritage.
The Saturday Night Takeaway presenters’ families hail from Derry but moved to the UK city around 50 years ago.
The source added: “They did DNA samples a few weeks ago and were able to trace Ant’s roots back to Drumkeeran and to a former parish priest called Fr James McPartlan, who built the local church and died about 150 years ago.
“It is believed there was even a reunion of McPartlins in one of the local pubs for filming, with Ant getting to meet some of his distant relatives.
“His surname is a common one in the area although it’s spelt a few different ways.
“Ant and Dec got on with everyone like a house on fire.
They were happy to take selfies with everyone and even get behind the bar in a few pubs to pull some pints.
“One local was so pleased about the lads visiting their village they gave them a bottle of poitin as a gift which the crew later sampled.” One pub Ant and Dec filmed in was Wynne’s Bar in Drumkeeran, which is run by Barry Wynne and his family.
Barry’s brother Dessie said everyone had been sworn to secrecy but they still had a great time with the comedy duo.
Dessie said: “They were very good craic – they’re two very nice fellas, very ordinary. We had them in behind the counter and they pulled a few pints with us.
“You’d never expect to meet celebrities like Ant and Dec, especially not in somewhere like Drumkeeran. They were in with us for about 40 minutes on Wednesday and came back again today [Thursday] to do a bit more filming around the village.
“We don’t know what they were filming. It’s all been kept fairly secret.
“The were very interested in the history of the area and wanted to see what an Irish pub was like in the evening time.”
Ant and Dec also called into Berry’s Tavern in Drumshanbo on Wednesday and owner Nessa Campbell admitted she was starstruck.
She added: “It was a great pleasure for me, the town of Drumshanbo and indeed all of Leitrim. As the news filtered through the town a big crowd gathered on the High Street and there was great excitement.
“They were two perfect gentlemen and their crew were lovely too. It was an honour to have them and hopefully they’ll be back for a pint again.