Top ten movies to watch before you visit Ireland – VIDEOS


Rolling green hills, fascinating history, romance, wit and the infamous Irish ‘craic’ – these are all thing to expect to witness firsthand on your vacation to Ireland. Whether you’re planning a trip or not though these movies will give you a taste of what Ireland has in store for you.

Let us know what other movies should be included.

The Quiet Man

This is definitely a favorite of the IrishCentral readers. This John Wayne and Maureen O’Hara classic movie was filmed in Cong, County Galway. The movie follows famous boxer (Wayne) who comes to Connemara, from the US, to live a quiet life. However local rivals and the Hollywood beauty O’Hara soon put a stop to that.

The small village of Cong in Galway has became a Mecca for all “Quiet Man” fans.

Michael Collins

Starring Liam Neeson, as Michael Collins, and Alan Rickman, as Eamon De Valera, this historic drama was filmed in the mountains of Wicklow and Dublin the movie tells the tale of the War of Independence and the Irish Civil War. Although it’s far from historically correct it’s a great movie with a great cast.

Angela's Ashes

So this one isn’t terribly upbeat but this movie gives an amazing snap-shot of Limerick during Frank McCourt’s childhood, according to him at least. The movie was so popular that it prompted an “Angela” tour of Limerick. 

Waking Ned Devive

Although this movie is actually filmed in the Isle of Man it is a great example of the Irish sense of humor, fun and community.

It also stars two great Irish actors Ian Bannen and David Kelly. It follows the story of two friends who try to scam a dead man. Comedic content right?

Devine, plays the lotto, wins and then dies. However he never cashes in the ticket. His village neighbors decide try and pull the wool over the authority’s eyes and claim the winnings.

The Wind that Shakes the Barley

This powerful drama, starring Cillian Murphy, tells the story of Ireland’s struggle for independence. The movie follows the career of a young rebel (Murphy).

The jury is still out on whether Ken Loach’s movie is historically correct but either way it had become one of the most famous Irish movies around the world.


Based partly on real events Pierce Brosnan’s movie focuses on a single father in mid-20th-century Ireland. Although this is a highly-melodramatic movie it also highlights the inequality and bigotry of Irish society during those years.

Darby O'Gill and the Little People

Okay so this is highly stereotypical and twee but it’s also a real feel-good Disney movie which is based on Irish myths and legends. Yes you’ve guessed it, the leprechauns.

Scary spots in the movie include ghosts, banshees and Sean Connery’s horrendous Irish accent.

The Crying Game

So just like “The Sixth Sense”, unless you’ve been living under a rock you probably know the ending to this movie. However there’s much more to this movie that Stephen Rea’s girlfriend turning out to be a man.

The movie follows the story of a British soldier who is taken hostage by Irish Republicans. The movies is dark, disturbing and also raises numerous questions about Northern Ireland.

Veronica Guerin

In the early 1990s Veronica Guerin, an investigative and campaigning journalist, took on Dublin’s drug lords. The criminals retaliated and killed her, sending a message to their enemies.

Starring Cate Blanchett, as Guerin, the movie is filmed in various locations in Dublin. Although the movie is particularly grim it is a great movie.

Guerin’s murder is still unsolved.

The Magdalene Sisters

This movie follows the sad lives of young girls in a Magdalene Laundry in Ireland. These young girls “in the care of the state” provided slave labor for decades. This movie exposed to the world one of the most disturbing institutions of 20th century Ireland.