Irish Themed Movies:  Watch These for Insights into Irish Culture and Customs!

Now Showing: The Irish in Cinema!!  In these Irish themed movies, you will observe a common thread – the Ould Sod (Old Country) itself is a major character in the story.

Irish Expressions - Irish-Themed Movies.  Photocredit:  Bigstock.

It is not just the breathtaking, rugged and lustrous beauty of the Emerald Isle but the  sense of place itself. We Irish are proud of our homeland.

It then comes as no surprise then that Irish films are well-known for their cinematography, artistry and direction coupled with the sheer personal grit that is often associated with the Irish people.

Ireland in Cinema

Although Ireland has a relatively recent history in the international filmmaking scene, it has made several important contributions.

Notable Irish directors like Neil Jordan and Jim Sheridan are among the established Irish directors.  Liam Neeason and Colin Farell are established A-list actors, while Damien O’Donnell, Kirsten Sheridan and Lenny Abrahamson are the fast-rising stars.

Modern-day directors and producers of Irish themed movies continue to produce films that depict the triumphant, tragic and romantic stories of Ireland.

Irish-Themed Movies - Colin FarrellColin Farrell

Films About Ireland

Irish themed movies often deal with the admirable characteristics of the Irish people even in the midst of hardships like famine, civil war and national strife.

Indeed, the drama of the characters in this list of Irish films is perfectly complemented by the drama of the landscape, be it in cities or in countryside.

Here are a few of the films about the Ould Sod and modern Ireland, showing the gritty side of Irish history, as well as a fierce pride in Irish heritage.

The Wind That Shakes The Barley (2006)

Movie poster with Cillian Murphy - The Wind that Shakes the Barley.

The Wind That Shakes the Barley (2006, directed by Ken Loach) is an Irish war drama set during the 1919-1921 Irish War for Independence.

It tells the story of two brothers from County Cork, Damien and Teddy O’Donovan, who join the fight for Irish Independence from the United Kingdom via the Irish Republic Army.

The story ends in tragedy as Teddy is forced to give the execution order for Damien.

Bloody Sunday (2002)

Movie poster - Bloody Sunday.

Bloody Sunday (2002, directed by Paul Greengrass) tells the story of the 30 January 1972 Bloody Sunday shootings in Derry, Northern Ireland.

The made-for-television film is shot through the perspective of Ivan Cooper, the central organizer of the march that ended when British Army paratroopers instantly killed 13 demonstrators in a hail of bullets.

Man of Aran (1934)

Movie poster - Robert Flaherty's Man of Aran.

Man of Aran (1934, directed by Robert J. Flaherty) is actually a fictional documentary depicting the times and lives of islanders on the Aran Islands, a group of 3 islands off Ireland’s western coast.

The characters are portrayed living in pre-modern conditions although it should be noted that a few situations are fabricated for dramatic effect.

Irish Themed Movies: Films By Irish People

While not all of the terrific Irish themed movies are made by Irish men and women, many are. A few of the best modern-day films by Irish directors, producers and actors include:

Ordinary Decent Criminal (1999)

Movie poster - Ordinary Decent Criminal.  Images of Kevin Spacey, Linda Florentino and Colin Farrell.  Names misaligned with faces.

Ordinary Decent Criminal (1999, directed by Thaddeus O'Sullivan) is the story of Martin “The General” Cahill, a famous Dublin criminal.

The emphasis of the movie is on the “ordinary decent” because Cahill was known to dish out good advice but he was a notorious robber.

Dead Bodies (2003)

Movie poster - Dead Bodies.  Starring Andrew Scott and Kelly Reilly.

Dead Bodies (2003, directed by Robert Quinn) is a dark comedy showing contemporary life in Dublin.

The four young adults go through life without direction – squandering their time in pubs, in deadbeat jobs, and in meaningless relationships.

The good side of the story reflects the strong bonds of friendship among the four characters even in the midst of betrayal from others.

Brooklyn (2015)

Movie Poster - Brooklyn. Picture of Saoirse Ronan.

Brooklyn (2015, directed by John Crowley) is a beautifully filmed story of an Irish immigrant to the US, who must ultimately choose between home in Ireland and the new life she has built in America. 

A winner of multiple film festival awards and nominated for 3 Oscars, Brooklyn is one of our favorite Irish films to date.

Loved This!  What's Next?

At Irish Expressions, our our goal is simple: to provide you with a unique Irish experience, on demand, wherever you are in the world.

If you have enjoyed our section on Irish trivia and traditions, you have probably been exposed to many of the most entertaining ways to express your personal Irish side!

Will that entice you to visit Ireland - or to return if you have already been?  We hope so!  

But even if that is not possible, you can still enjoy the magic of Ireland in these pages.  Check out the links at the top of this website for simple instructions on how to sing Irish songs, use Irish words, enjoy Irish food, and much more!

Want More Irish Traditions?

It is probably obvious - at Irish Expressions, we love Irish traditions!  Expressing ourselves through Irish-themed activities gives us a deeper sense of connection with Ireland, wherever in the world we happen to be!

Over the years, we have created many free, downloadable Irish games, puzzles, recipes, songbooks, travel guides, party plans, and much, much more.

These are immediately available to you - completely free of charge.

Just scroll to the bottom of the page and share your email address to get instant access!

Your Personal Irish Expression

One way to share your love of Ireland is by displaying your family coat of arms (family crest).  A very personal symbol of the stories and accomplishments of your ancestors can adorn clothing, kitchenware, wall art, personal accessories and so much more. 

Want to have a look?  Our friends at House of Names can help! 

Tap the button below and see your family crest for free!

Search for Family Name Button

Want to Feel More Connected to Ireland?  Here's How!

At Irish Expressions we believe everybody – well almost everybody! - has an "Irish side."  So how nice would it be to have access to a fun, free Irish experience, on demand, wherever in the world you happen to be?

Over the years we have compiled many free, downloadable resources including lyrics, recipes, games, jokes, blessings and much, much more.  Would you like to receive them ALL for FREE?  Simply share your email for instant access!


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A Note from Bruce

If you would like to see more from Irish Expressions, you can find us on Facebook and Pinterest. You can also communicate with us using our contact form here. 

And of course you can always reach out to me directly at

However you choose to connect, we would love to hear from you!  Meanwhile, thanks for visiting!  I hope that we will meet someday, in person or online, and you can tell me about your own connection to the Emerald Isle.

Until then, best wishes -

Bruce Grady, and the team at