Cinema for St.Patrick’s Day

Here we are at the weekend of St. Patrick’s Day, which has been covered well by my colleagues this week or in the past. By the time St.Patrick’s Day officially hits on Sunday, it will be almost anti-climatic here in the USA, where parades for the event took place last Saturday… I have no idea why.
The religious reason of the day is not significant here, and the revelry might get out of hand, so let me offer something in the middle, for those of you who wish to indulge in things Irish, without leaning too far one way or another: movies.

Now there are many movies which feature Irish people or ‘the times and the troubles’ that are probably not worth your time or your trouble. If you do care to see any ‘times and the troubles’ movies, I highly suggest “Michael Collins”, followed by “The Wind That Shakes the Barley”. But, in warning; these are not feel-good movies.

For ‘feel-good’ movies you cannot beat one. I tip my hat to my friend Jeff , our Hound, who last year presented info on the most loved movie about Ireland, “The Quiet Man”. (, where I even added my two-cents).
That is THE movie about Ireland in anyone’s book.
Although you cannot tell many stories about Ireland without showing the sad flaws that came from many of the conditions that have plagued the isle, some movies are less flattering to the place and the people than others. One has to admit that the English did not do right by them, nor did the rest of the world during the great famine. And, as the only Catholic here, I will say that the Church has more than its share of blame,( during the famine and since.) I can’t speak for all but I don’t see how the world can pick on the Irish for being what they often consider ‘lazy and ignorant’ when the education of Catholics was illegal for many years under the Penal Laws. People were often forced off their farms and out of their homes. Work was not to be found and in many places, even if work was to be found, no native Irish,(Catholic Irish), were hired. That is the last of my preaching on history, but too many movies, even those popular like “Darby O’Gill and the Little People” and “Far and Away” are just not kind to the people of the Old Sod.(“Far and Away is particularly annoying to me. It is one of those movies with no truly likeable characters. Only Cruise’s young man has any scruples at all.)

But on to where I was headed at the start of this.
You can go Waking Ned Devine” if you want an adult laugh with warmth of Ireland, or find “The Nephew” and [“This Is] My Father” for some adult drama also with warmth. But if you want a nice bog-fire-in-a-cottage warm feeling, I suggest two family movies: “The War of the Buttons and “The Secret of Roan Inish“, both which feature children in the lead roles.
I know these are not commonly known films. “The War of the Buttons” was a French film that was re-written and re-worked to fit Ireland. It starts with a rivalry between schoolchildren of the country and the shore and the ones of the next town and things snowball from there. “The Secret of Roan Inish” is a beautiful tale involving a seafaring family who has lost its soul when they moved to the mainland. It is a fantasy involving the possibility of “Silky” blood in the family. (Silkies are said to be seals that can shed their skin and become like humans.)
I try to run Irish movies for St. Patrick’s Day at my house. The minimal amount I usually do are these two, and “The Quiet Man”.
And I’ll add one more for good measure, although good luck finding it. I saw it on TV twice, and that was some  years ago. “Sally and St.Anne” is not an overtly religious movie, but rather an excuse for a quaint comedy about an eccentric but loveable Irish-American family. It stars a young Ann Blyth and Edmond Gwynne, familiar faces among many others from older movies and TV shows,( such as Frances Bavier, aka “Aunt Bea” , Hugh O’Brien, John McInyre and Jack Kelly, who were former big names in westerns).

And one more message, from me to you… one sent to me this week by an old friend, a Protestant.

I pray these wishes for every one of you! I hope you take a moment to listen and enjoy the scenery… have a wonderful day, on the feast of St. Patrick.


About Tonette Joyce

Tonette was a once-fledgling lyricists-bookkeeper, turned cook/baker/restaurateur and is now exploring different writing venues,(with a stage play recently completed). She has had poetry and nonfiction articles published in the last few years. Tonette has been married to her only serious boyfriend for more than thirty years and she is, as one person described her, family-oriented almost to a fault. Never mind how others have described her, she is,(shall we say), a sometime traditionalist of eclectic tastes.She has another blog : "Tonette Joyce:Food,Friends,Family" here at WordPress.She and guests share tips and recipes for easy entertaining and helps people to be ready for almost anything.
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9 Responses to Cinema for St.Patrick’s Day

  1. jeff salter says:

    Thanks for compiling that list of Irish-based movie plots/stories. And thanks for mentioning my blog last year about The Quiet Man.
    I have not heard of any of those other films except Michael Collins, which I have yet to see, and “Far & Away” which I think I’ve seen most of (if it’s the one where Cruise is a bare-knuckle boxer).
    Yes, the history of Ireland has lots of tragedy, upheaval, and interference from other powers. I wonder how they would have fared if left to themselves and not conquered by the British and whoever else. I’ve never understood how supposed Catholics and supposed Protestants could kill each other over control of their society/economy/government. For those violent segments, I can’t imagine much actual religion in evidence.


  2. No, you are right Jeff, it isn’t religion; it’s politics. By far and wide the Protestant Irish in Ireland,(as opposed to American Irish), are descendents of people transplanted,( English and Scot Protestants,) by the British government in times past, in several waves.Land was taken from the natives and given to those who would be subservient to the government, jobs were given only to those who would be subservient; ‘their’ people.The Irish language was banned, and, as I said, for a time, education of native Irish folk was illegal. Although the “Protestants” are a minority in Northern Ireland to this day, the “Catholics” are discriminated against openly. I use quotation marks because, as I agreed, it has little to do with religion.Many, people for centuries have not been acting as Christians when it comes to Ireland.
    American Irish Protestants, on the other hand, are often descendents of Irish transported to the New World early on or later, and landed in the South. They were alone, without clergy and it was the Protestant traveling missioners, (through Appalachia it was often Methodist ministers alone on horseback), who met the spiritual needs of the settlers. When the English needed warm bodies to populate the spreading English colonies started in Virginia, which spread to North Carolina and into what would be Kentucky and Tennessee, they fairly forcibly loaded boats with prostitutes, thieves and street urchins, along with any young Irish folk who were not making themselves useful enough, (who often fell into the categories I mentioned). The English cleaned up the streets of London and gave themselves colonists. If you ever wondered why the situations in that part of America has always been harsh, now you know.They went from bad to worse, many of them, with nothing in a difficult new land with no support…save after a while, an occasional traveling minister.


  3. Iris B says:

    Eeek – I don’t think I know any of the above movies! But talking about movies about Irish, the movie “My left foot” comes to mind and “Brigadoon”, but I think that’s more Scottish ???


  4. lots of good choices there. Michael Collins is actually my favorite of the bunch and before you say it’s because of Mr. Rickman, it really isn’t. It’s because the ensemble cast is so great together, the chemistry between them all is palpable and the cinematography is exquisite. Alan is merely a bonus in this one.


  5. Oh, I know you have discernment,Jillian…that IS a good movie and I don’t say that just because just because it stars Liam Neeson,(some of his I won’t even see. And “Satisfaction”? How badly did he need the rent, for heaven’s sake???). Alan was superb in “Michael Collins”; although I can’t say I have EVER seen Alan turn a bad performance. I do many of his lines from M C around here! (“We’ll see who is ‘The Big Fella'”;)Even the young people are good in that movie.(I could say the same for “Rob Roy,” as well). Son#2 used to make sure every potential friend of his saw “Michael Collins. He would bring in guys right away and girls after a little while to watch it; we’d judge how relationships were going. One night I was sitting in bed and I heard voices.My husband came in and I asked if #2 son had come in.He said yes, with Girlfriend-at-the-Time.They were going to watch” Michael Collins”. I said,”it’s about time!”. He answered, “She hasn’t seen it yet?!” I’m still laughing.


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