St Patrick's Day - Films that celebrate Ireland and it's heritage

From a love-torn romance to a foot-stompin’ rock n’ roll classic, Irish culture has been celebrated beautifully in many films. In celebration of St. Patrick’s Day, our ODEON expert, Alex, gives his top picks of films that celebrate Ireland and it’s heritage.

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Our ODEON film expert recommends...

This week, our expert tips are from our Head of Film Insight, Alex.

He has worked for us at ODEON for nearly 20 years. He loves weepies, classics and films from different cultures. 

Favourite film: (all time) The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp / (recently) Paddington 2.

The Secret of Kells (2009)

In the remote Irish woods, Cellach (Brendan Gleeson) prepares a fortress for an impending attack by a Viking war party. Unbeknown to Cellach, his young nephew Brendan (Evan McGuire) -- who has no taste for battle -- works secretly as an apprentice in the scriptorium of the local monastery, learning the ancient art of calligraphy. As the Vikings approach, revered illuminator Aidan (Mick Lally) arrives at the monastery and recruits Brendan to complete a series of dangerous, magical tasks.

This is a beautiful, soulful animation by Cartoon Saloon (one of the most successful animation companies in the world), which tells the story of the Book of Kells. It's a gorgeously animated fantasy film, which is absolutely a delight for all of the family. 

Cartoon Saloon have received Oscar nominations for all of their four feature films, including this year’s brilliant Wolfwalkers.


Young Irish immigrant Eilis Lace (Saoirse Ronan) navigates her way through 1950s Brooklyn. Lured by the promise of America, Eilis departs Ireland and the comfort of her mother's home for the shores of New York City.

The initial shackles of homesickness quickly diminish as a fresh romance sweeps Eilis into the intoxicating charm of love. But soon, her past disrupts her new vivacity, and Eilis must choose between two countries and the lives that exist within.

John Crowley's romantic, beautiful and sad film became a favourite of many film fans thanks to its perfect casting and portrayal of a character torn between her family and the excitement of a new life in a new country. The amazing Saoirse Ronan has never been better than she is here. 

Watch this if you want to watch something that will make you laugh, cry and feel a little homesick.

aDAM AND pAUL (2004)

Adam (Mark O'Halloran) and Paul (Tom Murphy) are two young junkies living in Dublin and perpetually on the lookout for their next fix. During their search, they encounter various unsavory characters and make some futile attempts at petty theft. As their day progresses, Adam and Paul get into a good share of trouble as they do whatever they can to score heroin, eventually running afoul of an imposing thug -- who only drags them into more shady activities.

Lenny Abrahamson has gone on to make Hollywood classics like Room, but this, his debut film is his freshest, funniest and most inventive. It's a story about two Dublin drug addicts and the influences range from Samuel Beckett to Buster Keaton via a bit of Luis Bunuel.

Watch this if you want to watch a more honest, low-key and funnier version of Trainspotting.

The Commitments (1991)

Jimmy Rabbitte (Robert Arkins), a self-proclaimed promoter, decides to organize an R&B group to fill the musical void in his hometown of Dublin, Ireland. The band comes together but ends up consisting entirely of white musicians who have little experience with the genre.

Even though their raw talent and lofty aspirations gain the group notoriety, the pitfalls of fame began to tear at their newfound friendships as they prepare for their big show. Based on the novel by Roddy Doyle.

Alan Parker's brilliant, crowd-pleasing musical is guaranteed to put a smile on your face. One of the most era-defining films of the early 1990s, it's a love story to Ireland, rock'n'roll music and good times. 

Watch this if you want to tap your toe, sing your heart out and feel nostalgic for a cracking night out. 

Once (2007)

A vacuum repairman (Glen Hansard) moonlights as a street musician and hopes for his big break. One day a Czech immigrant (Marketa Irglova), who earns a living selling flowers, approaches him with the news that she is also an aspiring singer-songwriter. The pair decide to collaborate, and the songs that they compose reflect the story of their blossoming love.

Another film with music in its soul, this film set amongst the streets of Dublin is a small and intimate romantic drama with some gorgeous songs at its centre, as a pair of unlikely performers find each other and ultimately start to take the tentative first steps towards romance together. 

Watch this if you like acoustic guitar music, and a touch of on-screen romance. 

Do you have a favourite film to watch for St Patrick's Day?

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