On St. Patrick’s Day, after you’ve eaten your corned beef and cabbage and drunk your green beer, why not settle in for a movie that sweeps you away to Ireland? In 2014 I put together a list of movies set in Ireland, perfect for St. Patrick’s Day viewing. Since then, there have been quite a few more good movies set in the Emerald Isle, so I thought an update might be in order. Here are 10 movies to add to your celebration of all things Irish.
- The Banshees of Inisherin. On a tiny island off the coast of Irelend in 1923, two lifelong friends find themselves at an impasse when one abruptly ends their relationship, with alarming consequences for both of them. This film was one of the highlights of 2022, nominated for multiple awards for cast and crew alike.
- Wild Mountain Thyme. Headstrong farmer Rosemary Muldoon has her heart set on winning her neighbor Anthony Reilly’s love. The problem is, Anthony believes he’s inherited a family curse, and remains oblivious to his beautiful admirer. Stung by his father’s plans to sell the family farm to his American nephew, Anthony is jolted into pursuing his dreams.
- Belfast. A semi-autobiographical film written and directed by Kenneth Branagh, which chronicles the life of a working class family and their young son’s childhood during the tumult of the late 1960s in Northern Ireland.
- Song of the Sea. When Saoirse and Ben’s mother mysteriously disappears into the ocean, the two children go on an epic journey to find out the truth about her, and in the process, discover mystical secrets about both their mother and Saoirse herself. The film takes inspiration from the mythological Selkies of Irish folklore, who live as seals in the sea but become humans on land.
- My Left Foot. Born with cerebral palsy, the 10th of 22 children of a Dublin bricklayer and his wife, Christy Brown was doomed to life as a vegetable by physicians in 1932. His strong-willed mother’s love and faith encouraged him to overcome this label. An astounding story of an artist who defeated a physical disability, degrading stereotypes, and poverty to fulfill his dreams.
- Michael Collins. The life of an Irish man whose dreams inspired hope, whose words ignited passion, and whose courage forged a nation’s destiny. His powerful gifts sparked the fierce battles that led to the Irish Republic that exists today, but his unshaken confidence in those gifts led him to become a victim of the very men he inspired to fight by his side.
- Once. A Dubln street musician and a young mother discover each other’s talents and push one another to realize their dreams. The soundtrack from this film won a Grammy award, and the song “Falling Slowly” won an Academy Award for Best Original Song.
- Albert Nobbs. A woman (Glenn Close) passes as a man in order to work and survive in 19th century Ireland. Some thirty years after donning men’s clothing, she finds herself trapped in a prison of her own making.
- Waking Ned Devine. When Ned Devine dies from shock after winning the lottery, two longtime friends, Micheal and Jackie, discover the body and agree Ned would want them to benefit from his good luck. They embark upon an outrageous scheme to claim the ticket but first they have to get all the townsfolk to go along with their plan.
- The Wind That Shakes the Barley. Set during the Irish War of Independence (1919–1922) and the Irish Civil War (1922–1923), this drama tells the fictional story of two County Cork brothers who join the Irish Republican Army to fight for Irish independence from the United Kingdom. It takes its title from the Robert Dwyer Joyce song “The Wind That Shakes the Barley”, a song set during the 1798 rebellion in Ireland and featured early in the film.