If you're looking to binge on some Netflix this weekend in honor of the Oscars 2017, why not put an Irish spin on your viewing stream and watch films or TV shows that have been made in Ireland or that star some of our best acting talents. There are plenty of choices available as if we do say so ourselves, as a nation we've created some great stars and some great films in our time. Just look at all the Academy Award hopefuls Ireland has this year!
To get you off on the right foot, we've compiled this list of some of the best movies and TV shows on Netflix with an Irish link. Enjoy!
1. Frank (2014)
This film may not be for everybody but Lenny Abrahamson's "Frank" features Michael Fassbender (unfortunately with a mask over his head for the majority of the film) in a remarkable story of a flamboyant, larger than life and extremely temperamental band front-man, Frank, who spends his whole life wearing a fake head.
Irish actor Domhnall Gleeson (son of Brendan) plays an aspiring musician who joins Frank and his relatively unstable and haphazard motley crew of musicians in this witty and quirky film that deep down is an incredible insight into the lives of those struggling with their mental health and trying to get by on the fringes of society.
A fantastic performance from Fassbender, in particular, who uses his voice and body to put in a wonderful performance.
2. The Secret of Kells (2009)
This stunning Oscar-nominated feature will enchant viewers young and old. The work of Kilkenny-based animation studio Cartoon Saloon, "The Secret of Kells" draws upon The Book of Kells, Ireland’s venerable and most famous illuminated manuscript, for both its unique animation style and its plot. Set in the eighth century in the Abbey of Kells, it centers on a boy named Brendan whose uncle, the Abbot Cellach (voiced by Brendan Gleeson) watches over Kells with a well-intentioned but stern eye, intent upon building a wall high enough to keep out the Viking invaders. Having narrowly escaped a Viking attack on Iona, Brother Aidan (Mick Lally) and his cat Pangur Bán arrive in Kells, seeking a safe place to complete the Book of Iona illuminated manuscript. Against Abbot Cellach’s wishes, Brother Aidan soon enlists Brendan’s help, which results in him venturing into the forest outside of Kells’ walls, where he meets a spirit named Aisling. Danger of the snake-like pagan deity and the Viking variety ensues as Brendan must choose between obeying his uncle and protecting the book.The animation is simply breath-taking - unlike anything else before this film, or since.
3. Whitey: United States of America v. James J. Bulger (2014)
If you're having courtroom drama withdrawal after finishing off docuseries "Making a Murderer," this may be the answer. Although this telling of the infamous life of the South Boston crime boss doesn't involve the lovely Johnny Depp, acclaimed documentarian Joe Berlinger takes on the tale of James "Whitey" Bulger including interviews with those involved in his sensational 2013 trial.
4. Sing Street (2016)
Many would think of the 1980s in Ireland as a particularly bleak time with plenty of unemployment and ferries loads of Irish people making their way to England to work. Sing Street does nothing much to dispell that idea or the nature of Catholic Church-run schools in Ireland at the time but it also manages to get that point across through music, song, and fantastic rebel nature that showed that Irish people were striving to pick themselves up.
Following the journey of a high school band in Dublin, a band simply established so its front man (played exquisitely by Wicklow actor Ferdia Walsh-Peelo) could get a girl, Sing Street is at it heart a tale of love - finding romance, falling out of love, and the strength of brotherly love - and it also has some great tunes and fantastic '80s outfits. What's not to love! The film also stars Aiden Gillan of Game of Thrones fame and Jack Reynor.
5. Philomena (2013)
The outstanding "Philomena", based of true story book of the same name, is not an easy watch at times but essential viewing to understand the horrorific history of children in Ireland being unwillingly given up for adoption in the US by the Catholic Church, leaving single mothers in Ireland wondering of their chidren's fate, even when they marry and have further children.
Starring Judi Dench and Steve Coogan, the character Philomena (played by Dench) may seem lie a typical friendly Irish Mammy but her experience is, unfortunately, one experienced by too many women in Ireland. She teams up with a floundering journalist (Coogan) to find the son she was forced to give up for adoption 50 years previous. Tissues and someone to hug are extremely neccessary for her tale.
6. The Commitments (1991)
Another musical classic set in Dublin in the 1980s but with a slightly darker and less PG humor than Sing Street. After scouring Dublin to find musicians with soul, an aspiring band manager builds a band of locals with tons of raw talent - yet zero experience.
The result is plenty of drama and laughs with this adaption of a Roddy Doyle classic tale showing off Irish comedy at its best. Get ready to sing along with all the classics such as "Mustang Sally" and "In the Midnight Hour."
7. The Irish Pub (2013)
A documentary that looks at one of Ireland's best exports: A solid Irish pub.
This film takes a loving look at the traditional Irish pubs and the people who run them, highlighting the friendships they share with their ever loyal customers.
8. The Fall (2013)
This BBC miniseries thriller has been a game-changer in terms of how Northern Ireland’s capital is portrayed in popular culture. Corruption, local politics and sectarian violence still lurk in the background, but the series’ main focus is a hunt for a serial killer that could take place in almost any city in the world.
Gillian Anderson (of X-Files fame) stars as Detective Superintendent Stella Gibson, who is brought over from London to investigate a murderer (played by a terrifying and at times uncomfortably sympathetic Jamie Dornan) who is targeting young professional women around Belfast.
The series is smart, challenging and tricky, with just the right melding of sub-plots and red herrings to keep viewers constantly guessing. "The Fall" is also one of your last chances to see Belfast-born-and-raised Dornan in action before he became famous for playing the rich, dominant and frequently naked Christian Grey in the "50 Shades of Grey" film.
All three seasons of the thriller are now available to stream on Netflix.
Have we missed your favorite? Let us know in the comments section, below.