Though the Celtic Tiger has died a horrid death, its still surviving citizens are determined to entertain themselves despite the trauma – and what better (or cheaper) way than taking in a movie?

The Irish movie-going public went to the movies – or the cinema, as they say – in record numbers during 2010.  Though the Irish population pales in comparison to the U.S., Irish people on average catch a film 4.5 times a year, compared to the American average of 4.3, with 18 million tickets were sold in Ireland for 2010.

"The cinema is ingrained in our culture. The figures have climbed quite steadily in Ireland and there was a big jump in the early 2000s," Eoin Wrixon of Carlton Screen Advertising told the Sunday Tribune.

Forgetting one’s troubles for a couple of hours is also easily solved by taking in a flick, Wrixon pointed out.

"It's escapism," he said. "Everyone is feeling the impact of the recession but the cinema is a relatively cheap night out. It definitely has the feelgood factor. You are locked away for those few hours focusing on the silver screen."

Leading the Irish pack for 2010 was James Cameron’s top-grossing film of all time, Avatar, which netted more than €6 million in box office receipts in Ireland. Close on its heels was Toy Story 3 with €5.7 million in sales, and "Shrek Forever After" with €4.3 million.

Believe it or not, the super-stinker Sex and the City 2 was lapped up by Irish fans, finishing in sixth place for the year with €3.2 million in sales, beating out "The Twilight Saga: Eclipse" in seventh and "Iron Man 2" in ninth.