Sásta Lá Fhéile Pádraig or Happy St. Patrick’s Day for all my non-Irish speaking readers. In honor of the holiday weekend, I’ve compiled a list of some of my favorite Irish films I think you will all enjoy well after the kegs of green beer have been emptied and the last Irish potato has been eaten.
From dramas to romance, here are a few beautiful films set against the stunning backdrop of the Emerald Isle.
The Quiet Man
What It’s About: A retired American boxer travels to the Irish village he was born in to claim his family home and start a new life and find new love.
Why You Should Watch: The Quiet Man and St. Patrick’s Day go together like Santa and Christmas and fireworks and the Fourth of July. This timeless tale of romance, friendship, and redemption has captured the hearts of millions. From the brilliant performances of John Wayne and Maureen O’Hara to the breathtakingly beautiful shots of the Irish countryside, it is no wonder that this iconic classic film’s fan base spans generations. You’ll want to watch it again and again well past the end of March.
What It’s About: When bad weather strands her on Ireland’s west coast, a young American woman teams up with surly yet charming Irishman, so she get to Dublin and propose to her boyfriend on leap day.
Why You Should Watch: If rom-coms and Hallmark Channel-style love stories are your jam, Leap Year is the film for you. It is chock full of witty banter, will-they-won’t-they tension, and a running gag about a suitcase named Louie. With sparks flying from the moment they meet, you’ll be rooting for Anna to kick her current bland beau to curb for Irish hottie Declan. Okay, the film gets some flack for its lack of knowledge about Irish geography, but it makes up for it with charm and serious dose of fluffy goodness.
The Secret of Kells
What It’s About: A young boy, who apprentices scriptorium of the local monastery, is tasked by a master illustrator to complete an ancient yet unfinished magical book in the face of a pending barbarian attack.
Why You Should Watch: To put it simply, The Secret of Kells is a stunning piece of animation. Heavily influenced in the artistic style of early Irish monks, this film expertly blends fantasy and history to weave a tale about how the iconic Book of Kells was created. Throw in a lovable forest sprite and boy trying to find his purpose and you have a movie that is so much more than a kids’ flick.
What It’s About: A good-hearted priest wrestles with his cynical community and his own soul when he is threatened by a parishioner during confession.
Why You Should Watch: Calvary is a haunting film that grapples with the human condition. Every character, including the threatened priest, is seriously messed up in their own way. They lie. They deceive. Some are just really crappy people. Yet, you can’t help but root for all of them to somehow see the errors of their ways. Throw in a seriously dark mystery and you have a film that will leave you thinking long after the credits stop rolling.
The Secret of Roan Inish
What It’s About: A young girl is sent to live with her grandparents in quiet fishing village where she begins to unravel her family’s mysterious connection to a mythical Irish creature.
Why You Should Watch: Despite being set in the real world, The Secret of Roan Inish tells the story of the of the mythical selkie (aka Irish seal people) in such a way that you will be if they actually exist. Plus, Little Fiona is a super sweet little girl that will endear herself to you from opening credits to closing credits.
Waking Ned Devine
What It’s About: After a neighbor dies right after winning the lottery, a quirky village bands together to convince the claim inspector his is still alive, so they can cash in and split the money.
Why You Should Watch: Who doesn’t love a cast of quirky yet lovable characters who band together to pull off a hair-brained scheme? Not only is it impossible to not root for this cohort of townsfolk as they try to pull one over on the outside inspector, your heart will be warmed with the little connections everyone has with the deceased Ned. You’ll laugh. You’ll cry. You’ll be singing The Parting Glass for days.