Ireland is a land of ancient history and magic. A place where the joy of music and dancing exists alongside hardship and survival. Its people have retained their identity with their homeland through wars for independence, religious wars, civil wars, starvation, poverty, and oppression. Ireland’s a land that enchants and fascinates. Ireland has given the world poets, artists, scientists, revolutionaries, athletes, saints, musicians and more.

Related: Brooklyn Movie Review: A Beautiful, Heartwarming Film

If you ask most people which place in the world they would like to travel to, Ireland is almost always at the top of the list. Even people with no real connection to Ireland often find themselves with an interest in the country. With St. Patrick’s Day coming up, I thought it would be fun to compile a list of films which celebrate not only Ireland but also its’ people. So, if you are yearning for a little bit of Ireland (North and South), look no further than this list.

30 FILMS CELEBRATING IRELAND

(in no particular order)

1.  The Quiet Man (1957)

The Quiet Man (1952) - A Cinematic Love Letter to Ireland

John Wayne and Maureen O’Hara star in this quintessentially Irish film about an American boxer returning home to the small Irish village of his birth. Wayne’s character falls for O’Hara but must contend with her hard-headed brother while adjusting to cultural traditions foreign to him. Filmed in Ireland, this features some absolutely gorgeous cinematography and also some native character actors.

Content Note: Physical aggression between spouses is shown and there is a fight at the end.

Where to Watch: Airing on TCM March 17 at 7:00 PM CST. Rent or buy on Amazon, Youtube, Google Play and Vudu. Purchase on DVD.

2.  Leap Year (2010)

Leap year Road-Trip Romance

Photo Credit: Universal Pictures

Leap Year is a delightful romantic comedy. Amy Adams stars as a woman who follows her boyfriend to Ireland thinking to propose to him on Leap Year day. However, thanks to bad weather, she’s forced to hire a local Irish man (Matthew Goode) to drive her to Dublin. Their road trip through the Irish countryside tests their contentious relationship as they continually meet with disaster.

Content Note: PG

Where to Watch: Stream on Starz. Rent or buy Amazon, Google Play, iTunes or Vudu. Purchase on DVD.

3.  P.S. I Love You (2007)

List: Thirty Films that Celebrate Ireland for St. Patrick's Day

Photo: Warner Bros. Pictures

After her husband dies, Holly begins receiving letters from him giving her tasks to complete to help her grieve. One of those involves a return trip to Ireland where they first met. Accompanied by her girlfriends, Holly retraces the steps in her relationship with Gerry. Adapted from the novel by Irish author Cecelia Ahern, this movie stars Hilary Swank, Gerard Butler, Lisa Kudrow, Kathy Bates, Harry Connick Jr. and Jeffrey Dean Morgan in a unique and poignant story.

Content Note: PG-13

Where to Watch: Rent or buy Youtube, Google Play, iTunes and Vudu. Purchase on DVD.

4.  Tonight’s the Night (1954) aka Happy Ever After

Jasper O’Leary (David Niven) inherits the Irish estate of a distant relative much to the consternation of the locals. They conspire together to kill him. Meanwhile, Jasper seeks ways to bleed the estate dry. This British made film is a bit more obscure but it’s surprisingly funny and entertaining.

Where to Watch: Airing on TCM March 17 at 5:00 PM CST

5.  Brooklyn (2015)

30 Remarkable Movies About Ireland to Watch for St. Patrick's Day

Photo: Fox Searchlight Pictures

With few prospects in Ireland, Eilis is persuaded to emigrate to New York City in the 1950s. Though she desperately misses home, she learns to adjust thank to her fellow female boarders and a relationship with an Italian immigrant. As the title implies, this film is mostly set in Brooklyn, New York. However, there are scenes at the beginning and ending set in Ireland. This picture really captures the emotions of the immigrant experience.

Content Note: PG-13

Where to Watch: Rent or buy on Amazon, Youtube, Google Play, iTunes and Vudu. Purchase on DVD.

6.  Ondine (2009)

30 Remarkable Movies About Ireland to Watch for St. Patrick's Day

Photo: Magnolia Pictures/Paramount Vantage

This Irish film is part gritty fairy tale and part romantic drama. After a fisherman rescues a young woman from the sea, his daughter is convinced that she’s a magical selkie. Ondine stars Colin Farrell in an unusual role and keeps the viewer guessing as to whether or not the rescued woman is indeed magical or only human.

Content Note: PG-13

Where to Watch: Stream on Hoopla or Tubi TV. Rent or buy on Amazon, Vudu, and  iTunes. Purchase on DVD.

7.  Circle of Friends (1995)

30 Remarkable Movies About Ireland to Watch for St. Patrick's Day

Adapted from a novel by Maeve Binchy, it stars Minnie Driver, Chris O’Donnell, Colin Firth, Alan Cumming, and Saffron Burrows. As the title implies, Circle of Friends follows the ups and downs of three young women in their friendship and other relationships.

Content Note: PG-13

Where to Watch: Purchase on DVD

8.  The Wind that Shakes the Barley (2006)

List: St. Patrick's Day Films

Covering the years of the Irish War of Independence and the Irish Civil War in the 1920s, it explores the relationship of two brothers during these conflicts. This well-regarded movie is the highest grossing independent Irish film to date. It stars Cillian Murphy as one of the brothers and looks to be an absolutely heart-wrenching drama.

Content Note: This film is not rated. However, there is a brief sex scene, many scenes of war violence and lots of profanity.

Where to Watch: Rent or buy on Amazon or iTunes. Purchase on DVD.

9.  Far and Away (1992)

30 Remarkable Movies About Ireland to Watch for St. Patrick's Day

An Irishman immigrates to America with his landlord’s aristocratic daughter in this Ron Howard romantic drama. Though the majority of the film is set in America, early scenes depict the land and culture of Ireland. This is also one of three films to co-star former husband and wife Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman.

Content Note: PG-13 for language and sensuality

Where to Watch: Rent or buy on Amazon, Youtube, Google Play, iTunes and Vudu. Purchase on DVD.

10. Laws of Attraction (2004)

Photo: New Line Cinema

This underrated romantic comedy stars Julianne Moore and Irishman Pierce Brosnan. The two play opposing divorce attorneys representing a contentious celebrity couple seeking a divorce. Moore and Brosnan are tasked with traveling to Ireland to dispose of the couple’s estate there. After a night of drinking, they wake up to discover they are married. Laws of Attraction reminds me a bit of the classic Adam’s Rib where Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy play married attorneys representing opposite sides of the same case.

Content Note: PG-13 for sexual content and some language

Where to Watch: Rent on Vudu, Buy Vudu, iTunes. Purchase on DVD.

11. Ryan’s Daughter (1970)

30 Remarkable Movies About Ireland to Watch for St. Patrick's Day

Photo: MGM

A young Irish wife has an affair with a British soldier during World War I. This is a loose re-telling of the Madame Bovary story although it’s set in Ireland. It’s directed by acclaimed director David McLean and stars famous classic film actors Robert Mitchum and Trevor Howard. John Mills also co-stars (father of Disney favorite Hayley Mills) and won an Oscar for his efforts.

Content Note: Rated R for two sex scenes.

Where to Watch: Airing on TCM March 16 at 1:30 AM CST. Rent or buy on Youtube, Google Play, iTunes. Purchase on DVD.

12. The Boys & Girl of County Clare (2003)

List: St. Patrick's Day Films

Photo: Samuel Goldwyn Films

I discovered this film while researching for this list. This comedy about two Irish brothers who direct competing Celtic bands in a 1960’s music festival looks both charming and humorous. Not to mention it stars a young Shaun Evans long before he became Endeavour.

Content Note: R for a nude swimming scene, language, and sexuality.

Where to Watch: Rent or buy on Amazon. Purchase on DVD.

13. Young Cassidy (1965)

30 Remarkable Movies About Ireland to Watch for St. Patrick's Day

Photo: MGM

Long before Maggie Smith played the Dowager Countess in Downton Abbey, she was a sought after star in films like this biopic drama about Sean O’Casey. Rod Taylor and Julie Christie also co-star in this movie about the popular Irish playwright who wields his pen as a weapon for the causes of Irish nationalism and social issues.

Content Note: This film is not rated, but I don’t remember anything overly offensive. Christie plays a prostitute, but her work is implied rather than shown. There are also some scenes of mob violence.

Where to Watch: Airing on TCM March 17 at 3:00 PM. Purchase on DVD.

14. Captain Lightfoot (1955)

30 Remarkable Movies About Ireland to Watch for St. Patrick's Day

Photo: Universal Pictures

This Technicolor Douglas Sirk directed film is about a pair of Irish rebels who act as highwaymen, fight duels and have adventures. It was filmed in Ireland and stars Sirk favorite Rock Hudson in the title role. The film trailer looks gloriously cheesy with Hudson playing swashbuckler in brightly colored satin.

Content Note: No rating, but most likely corresponds to a G or PG film.

Where to Watch: Stream on Youtube. Purchase on DVD.

15. Beloved Enemy (1936)

A British noblewoman falls in love with an Irish rebel during the Irish War for Independence against Britain. The film is loosely based on real-life leader Michael Collins and stars David Niven, Merle Oberon, and Brian Aherne.

Where to Watch: Unfortunately, this one is not readily available, but is worth watching. It has aired on TCM in the past.

16. Finian’s Rainbow (1968)

List: St. Patrick's Day Films

Though it’s not filmed or technically set in Ireland, the movie is one that often comes to mind when thinking of Irish themed films. This fantasy/musical involves an Irish thief who steals a pot of gold and a leprechaun desperate to recover it. It stars the aging Fred Astaire and Disney actor Tommy Steele in a film sure to entertain the whole family.

Content Note: G

Where to Watch: Airing on TCM March 16 at 4:15 CST. Rent/buy Youtube, Google Play, iTunes and Vudu. Purchase on DVD.

17. Love, Rosie (2014)

List: St. Patrick's Day Films

Photo: Lionsgate

This is the second film on this list adapted from a Cecelia Ahern novel. This one features Sam Claflin and Lily Collins as childhood friends who should be more. Unfortunately, life’s circumstance keeps them apart although they remain friends. Part of this movie is set and filmed in Dublin as well as other parts of Ireland.

Content Note: R for language and sexual content.

Where to Watch: Stream on Netflix. Rent or buy Amazon, Youtube, Google Play, iTunes and Vudu. Purchase on DVD.

Related: Film Review: Love, Rosie – A Decade Long Love Letter

18. The Luck of the Irish (1945)

List: St. Patrick's Day Films

Photo:20th Century Fox

This one stars the gorgeous Tyrone Power and Anne Baxter who played Nefretiri in The Ten Commandments.  Power is a journalist traveling to Ireland only to find that the leprechaun and the beautiful woman he met there follows him back home to New York. The two disrupt his life although one does so mischievously while the other does so innocently.

Where to Watch: Rent on Youtube or Google Play. Buy on Amazon, Youtube, Google Play, Vudu. Purchase on DVD as part of the Tyrone Power Matinee Idol Collection.

19. Once (2007)

30 Remarkable Movies About Ireland to Watch for St. Patrick's Day

Photo: Buena Vista International

Two struggling musicians meet on the streets of Dublin, Ireland. The two bond over music. This film is famous for introducing the song “Falling Slowly” which won an Oscar for Best Original Song. The two leads are played by musicians, not actors.

Content Note: R for language.

Where to Watch: Rent or buy Amazon, Google Play, iTunes, Vudu. Purchase on DVD.

20. The Secret of Roan Inish (1995)

30 Remarkable Movies About Ireland to Watch for St. Patrick's Day

Photo: First Look Pictures

With a premise similar to Ondine, Roan Inish is the story of a young girl who lives with her grandparents on a tiny island. She believes the tales of a selkie ancestor and also that her baby brother once stolen by the sea has returned. This one is based on a children’s book called Secret of the Ron Mor Skerry. Various IMDb reviews label it mystical, charming, whimsical, heartwarming and full of wonder.

Content Note: PG

Where to Watch: Purchase on DVD

21. This Is My Father (1998)

List: St. Patrick's Day Films

I love time-slip stories like this one. A middle-aged American widower goes searching for his roots and family history in Ireland. The film alternates between his present-day search and 1930’s Ireland as it tells his parent’s story. It stars familiar faces like James Caan, Aidan Quinn, John Cusack, Colm Meaney, and Brendan Gleeson.

Content Note: R for language and sexuality, although nothing graphic is shown.

Where to Watch: Purchase as an individual DVD or as part of the Big Screen Romances DVD collection.

22. Tristan & Isolde (2006)

List: St. Patrick's Day Films

Photo: 20th Century Fox

Adapted from a medieval legend, it features the two title characters as star-crossed lovers. One is an Irish princess, the other is in line to Britain’s throne and their two countries are at war. As you may guess, this does not end in a happily ever after. But it’s an entertaining drama with talents like Rufus Sewell, Mark Strong, Sophia Myles, James Franco, and Henry Cavill.

Content Note: PG-13 for violence and battle scenes as well as some sensuality.

Where to Watch: Rent or buy on Amazon, Youtube, Google Play, iTunes and Vudu. Purchase on DVD.

23. The Matchmaker (1997)

List: St. Patrick's Day Films

Photo: Gramercy Pictures

I haven’t seen this one, but it was recommended by another Silver Petticoat writer. Janeane Garafalo stars as a Senator’s aide who travels to Ireland to research her boss’s heritage. She arrives just in time for the Matchmaking Festival and becomes the focus of attention. This sounds like a bit of a naughty romantic comedy.

Content Note: Rated R for excessive language.

Where to Watch: Purchase on DVD.

24. The Field (1990)

List: Thirty Films for St. Patrick's Day

As anyone who has ever seen Gone With the Wind will be able to tell you, a connection to and even ownership of land is important to an Irishman (or woman). When the land a farmer’s family has worked for generations goes up for sale, he determines to buy it. But when an American bids against him, events are set in motion that lead to tragedy.

Content Note: PG-13

Where to Watch: Purchase on DVD.

25. Darby O’Gill and the Little People (1959)

30 Remarkable Movies About Ireland to Watch for St. Patrick's Day

Photo: Walt Disney Productions

Long before he became famous as James Bond, a young Sean Connery co-starred in this lesser-known Disney film. Part adventure, part fantasy, it involves a friendship with a leprechaun king, a little romance, a little magic and a lot of fun. We reviewed this one several years ago and recommend it.

Content Note: G

Where to Watch: Stream on Hoopla. Rent or buy on Amazon, Youtube, Google Play, iTunes and Vudu. Purchase on DVD.

26. Into the West (1992)

List: St. Patrick's Day Films

Photo: Miramax Films

This family film starring Gabriel Byrne, Ellen Barkin and a host of Irish actors sounds both whimsical and delightful. A magical horse appears to two young boys in a Dublin slum. They form a connection with the animal dreaming of becoming cowboys some day. When the horse is taken from them, they embark on an adventure which only the imagination could dream up.

Content Note: PG

Where to Watch: Stream on Hulu and Hoopla. Purchase on DVD.

27. Philomena (2013)

List: St. Patrick's Day Films

Photo: Pathe

Steve Coogan and Judi Dench co-star in this film about a journalist who helps an older woman search for the son she was taken from her. Their investigation takes them back to Ireland where the search begins. This is a rather serious film about loss and forgiveness.

Content Note: PG-13 for language and sensuality

Where to Watch: Rent Vudu, Buy Youtube, Google Play, iTunes and Vudu

28. Waking Ned Devine (1998)

30 Remarkable Movies About Ireland to Watch for St. Patrick's Day

Photo: Fox Searchlight Pictures

An elderly Irish man wins the lottery then quickly dies from the shock of it. Members of his small village decide to keep his death a secret, claim the money in his name and share it amongst themselves. But first, they must fool the lotto claim inspector. Those who appreciate character ensemble films should really enjoy this special comedy.

Content Note: PG

Where to Watch: Rent/buy Amazon, Youtube, Google Play, iTunes. Purchase on DVD.

29. Michael Collins (1996)

30 Remarkable Movies About Ireland to Watch for St. Patrick's Day

Photo: Warner Bros.

In listing Irish films, I couldn’t forget this one about the real-life Irish revolutionary, Michael Collins himself. Collins not only helped lead the fight against the British in the 1920s but was himself a symbol and revered by the Irish people. He also helped establish the Irish Free State. It stars Liam Neeson, Aidan Quinn, Julia Roberts, Alan Rickman, and many other familiar names and was nominated for two Oscars.

Content Note: R for violence and language.

Where to Watch: Stream Vudu. Rent/Buy Youtube, Google Play, iTunes and Vudu. Purchase on DVD.

30. Shake Hands with the Devil (1959)

List: St. Patrick's Day Films

Yet another film covering the events of the Irish War for Independence against the British in the 1920s. This one stars James Cagney, Glynis Johns and Michael Redgrave in a story about a young Irish-American who finds himself drawn into the conflict through his relationship with his former professor.  Further complications arise when he also falls for a British woman. This one was filmed on location in Dublin.

Content Note: Though not rated, I would guess that nothing graphic is shown in this classic film.

Where to Watch: Airing on TCM March 24 at 6:00 PM CST. Rent or buy on Amazon.

BONUS MOVIES ABOUT IRELAND

What are some of your favorite movies about Ireland to watch for St. Patrick’s Day?

Featured Photos: Republic Pictures, Fox Searchlight Pictures, Savoy Pictures, Warner Bros. MGM and Pathe

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