Hands down, the best Irish movie ever made was The Commitments. It had soul, it had passion, it had MUSIC! The early 90’s movie (can we call it a classic yet?) won BAFTA’s for best film and best director and it produced one of the greatest soundtracks of all time.
While this is an excellent movie to celebrate with on St. Patrick’s day it probably should not be what you screen for the family while you munch on yummy green food.
Luckily there any many Irish movies that are perfect for kids. These movies have heart, silliness, luck, and some even have tap your feet music. Find a movie and start a new tradition!
As a bonus I have included some of my favorite Irish films that I know you will love (after the kids are in bed, of course)!
The Ultimate List of Irish Films for Kids:
1. Darby O’Gill and the Little People
Darby O’Gill wants nothing more than to find a pot of gold but the King of the Leprechauns won’t let that happen. This film seriously withstands the test of time. It was one of my Mom’s favorite movies when it came out and I loved watching it with her when I was a kid. I’ll be showing it to my almost four year old for the first time this year.
2. Luck of the Irish
This film premiered on the Disney channel 12 years ago. The movie tells the tale of just your average, every day teenager who discovers that he is actually 1/2 leprechaun.
3. The Gnome-Mobile
If your family is fan of Mary Poppins they will immediately recognize the same sibling duo in The Gnome-Mobile. The story is about two children and their lumber tycoon Grandfather that suddenly find themselves helping a gnome find a bride. (history note: This was one of the last films personally produced by Walt Disney)
4. The Secret of Roan Inish
Fiona is a young girl that moves to a small fishing village to live with her grandparents. The movie weaves in classic Irish lore of “selkies” (seals that can shed their skin and are human). Fiona becomes certain that her younger brother who had gone missing is actually being raised by the selkies.
5. The Secret of Kells
This is the story of Brendan, a 12-year-old Irish boy, who fights Vikings so that the Book of Kells (a magical illustration of the Bible) can be completed and protected.
6. A Shine of Rainbows
Eight-year-old Tomás has it rough being bullied and mocked at the orphanage where he lives. He is thrilled to be suddenly adopted by a kind and loving woman and her not so kind and loving husband. The movie quickly reminds us that love conquers all.
7. Finian’s Rainbow
A leprechaun follows an Irishman who stole his pot of gold to the United States. This 1968 musical stars Fred Astaire and was directed by Francis Ford Coppola. For a special treat watch the very amusing trailer for the film.
The kids in bed? High five! Now check out these awesome Irish films just for grownups:
8. The Commitments
This 1991 film tells the story of a young musician Jimmy Rabbitte, who forms a soul band in Dublin with other working-class youth, only to discover they don’t have much experience in that genre.
9. Waking Ned Divine
After someone wins the lottery in a small Irish village, two friends Jackie O’Shea and Michael O’Sullivan set out to meet with the winner, hoping he will share his wealth. But when the two reach the home of the winner Ned Devine, they find him dead from shock.
10. In the Name of the Father
Starring Daniel Day-Lewis, this film tells the story of an unemployed Irishman Gerry Conlon, living as a thief in the 1970s. When the IRA leaders come looking for him, Conlon flees to England, only to be accused of an even harsher crime.
11. Angela’s Ashes
Originally a bestselling autobiography, Angela’s Ashes recounts the life of Irish expat Frank McCourt as he and his family try to escape poverty.
This Irish musical romance tells the story of a vacuum repairman, who has aspirations of becoming a singer-songwriter. While performing in the streets of Ireland, the repairman meets a woman, also an aspiring singer-songwriter, and the two collaborate on making music.
13. The Matchmakers
The Matchmakers features Marcy Tizard, an assistant to Senator Jon McGlory, who fears he will not win the next election. In an effort to boost his popularity with the public, Marcy travels to Ireland to find McGlory’s family, to show his Celtic roots. However, when Marcy arrives in Ireland, she finds the town of Ballinagra have begun their matchmaking season.