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Mel Gibson, "Braveheart"

A look back at some of the best movies to come out of Ireland - SEE POLL

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Mel Gibson, "Braveheart"

Dublin features in many films but the most acclaimed was My Left Foot by the leading Irish director Jim Sheridan. Daniel Day Lewis was inspiring as the multi-talented Christy Brown.  The film won two Oscars and remains the most successful wholly Irish-produced film. After seeing the film and then wandering around Dublin’s streets, it is easy to see how successful the city’s regeneration has been in the last decade.

The incredibly ornate Crown Liquor Saloon (a former Victorian gin palace) in Belfast was at the centre of the action of Carol Reed’s 1947 suspense drama Odd Man Out starring James Mason. Divorcing Jack was also filmed in the city in the late 1990s. Jim Sheridan’s film trilogy about the troubles in Northern Ireland (In the Name of the Father, Some Mother’s Son and The Boxer) were shot partly in Belfast. The opening scenes of Neil Jordan’s The Crying Game were shot in South Armagh.

In recent times, there has been a vibrant home-grown film industry both north and south of the border, and you could come across a film crew anywhere as you travel about the country. This is manifest in the growing international reputation of the many annual film festivals held in the major Irish cities.

Irish fiction has translated to film with great success. Maeve Binchy’s bestseller Circle Of Friends was filmed in picturesque Inistioge in Co. Kilkenny. The novels of James Joyce have graced the screen with much acclaim and success. Filmed in Dublin, the most popular is undoubtedly John Huston’s last film, The Dead. The setting was an old Georgian house that has recently been renovated as a tourist attraction and is situated on the Liffey just beside the appropriately named James Joyce Bridge.

In Angela’s Ashes, the film of the book by Frank McCourt, the city of Limerick was actually portrayed by building a set on Benburb Street near Collins Barracks in Dublin. Limerick is decidedly more prosperous than depicted in the film, as it has become the Silicon Valley of Ireland with a thriving computer and technology industry.

Dublin’s streets were also the setting for Alan Parker’s wonderful uplifting movie, The Commitments. This hilarious film was adapted from the novel by Dubliner Roddy Doyle. It doesn’t really provide an insight into the Irish music business, which is resoundingly more professional than depicted. You are unlikely to encounter a manager the like of Jimmy Rabbite or the notorious philanderer, Joey the Lips Fagan, at one of the live music venues in Dublin, but you can always shut your eyes and dream. The music will be good and it is likely it will have soul.

Contacts:

For walking tours on sites featured in The Quiet Man film, contact Margaret & Gerry Collins, Quiet Man Walking Tours;
Tel: 094 954 6089;  www.quietman-cong.com.

The House where James Joyce set his book The Dead is at 15 Usher’s Island, Dublin;
Email: info@jamesjoycehouse.com, web-site: www.jamesjoycehouse.com.

For tours of Wicklow film locations, contact: Wicklow Film Commission;
Tel: 0404 20176, Email: wfc@eircom.net.

Film Festivals:

Dublin International Film Festival is in February.
Email: info@dubliniff.com, web-site: www.dubliniff.com
Belfast Film Festival is in June.
Email: info@belfastgfilmfestival.org, web-site: www.belfastfilmfestival.org
Cork Film Festival is in October.
Email: info@corkfilmfest.org, web-site: www.corkfilmfest.org
Derry film festival is in November.
web-site: www.foylefilmfestival.com

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