Do you already have your plans set for St. Patrick’s Day? If not, you may want to think about staying home and watching a few Irish films. There are plenty to choose from. Of course not all of them are worth their weight in shamrocks. With that said, here’s a quick look at five of my favorites:
“Darby O’Gill and the Little People”
Ok, so “Darby O’Gill and the Little People” may not be on everyone’s top Irish films list but I felt compelled to include it on mine. The film was released in 1959 and it starred a dashing, young Sean Connery. It was also the first Irish film that I ever remember watching. Thus, it has a special place in my heart. The storyline focuses on Darby, his family and a leprechaun known as King Brian. As a child, I laughed at Darby’s exchanges with the leprechauns and sobbed at his initial death. I also cowered in fear at the sight of the dullahan and the Death Coach. Those darn things gave me nightmares for at least a week. Nonetheless, I adored the movie then as much as I do now. The only real difference is, I no longer try and hide from the dullahan.
“The Magdalene Sisters”
“The Magdalene Sisters” is another film that I would suggest watching. However, it is definitely not suitable for families. The storyline is factual based and focuses on several women that were forced to endure a stay at one of Ireland’s notorious Magdalene Laundries. As such, much of the movie is emotionally charged and graphic. For me, the scenes displaying Sister Bridget’s treatment of the women were exceptionally disturbing. The film was released in 2003 and was directed by Peter Mullan.
The 1996 film “Michael Collins” made my list because of its storyline. The film is loosely based on the life of its namesake, who was a complicated and intriguing Irishman. Throughout his life, he played a significant role in Irish politics including serving as the Minister of Finance. He was eventually murdered in 1922 during an ambush situation. The film starred the likes of Julia Roberts, Liam Neeson, Richard Ingram and Aidan Quinn.
“The Wind That Shakes the Barley”
Keeping with the Irish War of Independence theme, you may want to think about watching “The Wind That Shakes the Barley.” The film takes a gritty look at life in 1920s Ireland and focuses on two brothers. Like some of the other films on my list, it is also not suitable for young audiences. I found several scenes to be brutal and gut-wrenching, including the execution of Damien. The film was released in 2007 and was directed by Ken Loach.
Would you rather watch a more light-hearted movie on St. Patrick’s Day? If so, I’d suggest that you consider picking up a copy of John Carney’s film “Once.” The story takes place in Dublin and focuses on a fledgling relationship between two people. Personally, I loved the scenery, the dialog and the music. Some of the best songs were “Falling Slowly” and “Once.” The film was released in 2007 and stars Marketa Irglova and Glen Hansard.
Source: Personal Experience
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