5 unmissable Irish Films

Film making as a craft is embedded into the Irish culture much like the poetry of the land. Irish people love nothing more than turning their hand to artistic adventure. Throughout the varied landscape of Ireland, you will hike and cycle by many famous film locations. From Game of Thrones and Star Wars to Harry Potter, some of the world’s most renowned directors have chosen the lush green landscape of the Emerald Isle. These films are blockbusters but not exactly quintessential Irish. For this reason, we put together 5 unmissable Irish films for you to enjoy:

  1. Hunger

There are lots of films about this famous time in Ireland’s history. The story of Bobby Sands an Irish revolutionary, I.R.A member and politician is harrowing. Fighting for the right to be recognised as a prisoner of war by the British state in Northern Ireland, he embarked on hunger strike with some of his compatriots. This film has won many awards and is an interesting introduction to Irish History.

  1. The Commitments

‘The Commitments’ is set in North Dublin in the late ’80s when unemployment was rife. The lead character Jimmy Rabbitte puts together a group of local misfits to form a band inspired by 1960’s African- American soul. The film is based on a book by Roddy Doyle, famed for his true to life Irish wit and clever depictions of Dublin’s characters. You will visit Dublin on The Wicklow Way.

  1. The Secret of Kells

Ireland has become famous for animation recently so it would be criminal not to include an animated film.  The film is based on a young boy, Brendan, and his adventures around a monastery. It takes visual inspiration from The Book of Kells, a famous Irish book and now a tourist attraction. This one is as wacky as it is gorgeous. It’s great for adults and children alike.

  1. Brooklyn

This is the most modern film on the list and based on a book by another stupendous Irish writer, Colm Toibin. Emigration has always been an integral part of Ireland’s history and many Irish fled to New York during the 1800s. Some of these people were escaping the great famine. Brooklyn tells the story of a small-town Irish girl trying to make her way in the big apple.

  1. The Wind that Shakes the Barley

This is another film that depicts a difficult time in Irish history. It takes place during the War of Independence and The Irish Civil War, when Ireland was fighting against the occupation of British forces. Directed by renowned filmmaker Ken Loach, this is an absolute must-see.

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  1. By Maria

    Thank you for the suggestions Thomas, great films too!

  2. By Thomas Malone

    Understand it is hard to narrow the list down to just 5..I have seen these films. But I think “Black ’47” should be on the list. Although combined with an action adventure story to get people in their seats to watch it, I think it would help educate travelers about some of the injustices and horrors faced by the people during the famine, (aka “An Gorta Mor”, Great Hunger). The immigration of the Irish during that period and after reshaped the history of the US and the world. Having visited Ireland now on at least 9 occasions, I think this event still reverberates throughout Ireland’s landscape and in the makeup of the’ people. If we were to add a few other films, certainly “The Field” and “Michael Collins” should also likely make the list.

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