Think Quizzo is only an American invention? It’s not. The team trivia game played in bars, churches and other venues may be all the rage now, especially here in Philadelphia, but its roots are planted firmly in Ireland.
The history of the game, known as Table Quiz or Pub Quiz in Ireland, harks back to the 1950’s and the introduction of television. Before most families could afford to buy their own TV sets, the pubs became the the place to go not only for eating, drinking and socializing—but also for calling out answers to the popular quiz shows of the day. Pub owners, never ones to miss an opportunity for bringing in more patrons, began offering their own live quiz nights. And thus a tradition was born.
So when the Commodore Barry Center AKA The Irish Center here in Philly was looking for fun and innovative ways to raise money for its fundraising campaign this summer, Marianne MacDonald and Tom Ivory came up with the idea to host a Quizzo night. Years ago, the Center used to host Quizzo games, but the crowd outgrew the ballroom’s capacity and moved to another location. The success of last Friday’s event, however, is poised to herald in a new era of Irish Center Quizzo nights.
“Coming up with the idea was easy,” Tom explained. “They are the go-to quick fundraiser for sports clubs and things like that in Ireland.”
The idea may have been an easy one, but the questions weren’t. Covering everything from history, pop culture, literature, sports, politics and movies, the ratio was split between Irish and American trivia. The most difficult category? Hands down, sports. The ratio was about 70% American sports to 30% Irish sports questions, but they were still brain busters.
But with a full house—there were 18 tables of six players each—the night was a rousing success and raised about $2500 for the Irish Center’s fundraising effort. The Plough and the Stars, one of Philadelphia’s most popular Irish pubs, not only donated $1,000 to the event but also provided six $50 gift certificates to the winning team. And that winning team was led by Siobhan Lyons of the Immigration Center. The team, named “Is Feidir Linn,” which is Irish for “Yes We Can,” lived up to its moniker.
“I think one of the hardest rounds was the round about Philadelphia,” Siobhan revealed. “Had it not been for Cathy Moffit, who was only supposed to be on our team as decoration, we would have been destroyed. It was pure fluke that we ended up as the Quizzo Dream Team.”
But there were plenty of prizes to go around—all donated by individuals and local businesses—and many teams were able to win for feats such as having a perfect score of ten out of ten for a single round. That particular accolade went to the third place team, The Withered Roses of Tralee, made up of Kathy Guerin Scriber, Demi Brooks, Vince Gallagher, Carmel Boyce, Mary Beth Phillips and Lori Murphy.
Tom and Marianne had a lot of fun coming up with those formidable questions, and have promised more Quizzo nights in the future.
“Yes,” Tom announced. “We will do it again. Definitely.”