Friyays: June 22

Friyays: June 22

Greetings, all! It’s Dr. Hinson coming to you for my 5 Friyays this week! As you read this, I am currently on a wee vacation in Ireland before attending a conference in Belfast next week, so I’ve written this list a few days in advance. For this edition of Friyays, I am sharing my top 5 movies set and filmed in Ireland.

One of the greatest lessons I learned while spending 5 years abroad is the necessity of learning about and understanding cultural differences. Film and TV can be a great educational tool, especially when you’re planning travels of your own. So from a person who spent 5 years living on and traveling around this island, these are my top 5 films.

The Matchmaker (1997)

This brilliant film is peak 1990s rom-com material. Filmed in the small fishing village of Roundstone, Co. Galway, it’s stunning for it’s scenery alone. But the reason I love this film is that it recognizes and then pokes fun at all the stereotypes Americans have of Ireland. It follows a young American woman as she travels to Ireland to find her politician bosses Irish ancestry and she lands in the middle of a matchmaking festival (which really do happen). It’s smart, funny, and endearing, difficult to find these days, but well worth the watch.

Once (2006)

You may have already guessed that I am a fan of any film that disabuses people of some of the more romantic, and unrealistic notions about Ireland. Enter, ‘Once.’ A movie filmed for 3,000 Euro on hand-held cameras around Dublin. Starring Glen Hansard of the Irish band The Frames and Marketa Irglova, it tells the lovely and sad story of a couple of musicians who fall in love through making music. It’s gritty and honest, and it shows life in Dublin outside the tourist bubble. It is meant as a visual album, and the music is excellent.

Brooklyn (2015)

Though most of this film takes place in Brooklyn, it is bookended with visits to Ireland. It garnered some praise during Oscar season, mostly for Saoirse (pronounced Seer-Sha) Ronan’s heart wrenching portrayal of a young woman who immigrates to America to find a better life and is constantly pulled between worlds, and dreams, and homes. Cannot recommend this enough, just make sure you have tissues.

Sing Street (2016)

Set in Dublin in the 1980s, this delightful film is about a young man who struggles to find himself at a Catholic run boys school. He turns to rock music, spurred by his older brother, and forms a band. You can guess the rest of the coming of age plot, but it is full of great tunes, good laughs, and poignant lessons. Pure joy from start to finish and a great soundtrack. (Subtitles advised)

The Wind That Shakes The Barley (2006)

I would be remise, as an expert on conflicts in Ireland, not to include a film that dealt with the complex web of history, politics, identity, and violence in Ireland. This film tells the story of two brothers from Cork, during the Irish War of Independence (Anglo-Irish War, 1919-21) and Irish Civil War (1922-23). Teddy and Damien O’Donovan grapple with the rapidly changing political landscape and their allegiances to country and family. There are many brilliant films about the conflict in Northern Ireland, but that would be a totally separate list for me. (Subtitles advised)

That does it for my 5 Friyays this week. The films in this list share lessons about Ireland, Irish identity, culture, and history, but also universal lessons that all people can identify with, which all good art does. Dr. Donnelly will be back next week with her Friyays and after my trip to Ireland I will return to my regular lists of 5 topical news stories or items of interest. Till then, dear readers, happy watching!

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