May the Road Rise Up to Meet You...

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! I’m especially fond of this holiday because I do have more than a little Irish blood, something that an inordinate number of people in the U.S. can claim. In fact, it seems that, on March 17, everyone claims to be Irish. Why else would they be chugging all the green beer?

In choosing these movies, I decided to concentrate on the romantic image that we have of Ireland and why we have fun celebrating every St. Paddy’s Day.

  • The Quiet Man (1952) – John Ford may be better known for his westerns and cavalry movies, but this slice of early 20th century Irish life is my favorite of all his movies. John Wayne stars as Sean Thornton, an Irish-born American who returns to his family home. Maureen O’Hara plays Mary Kate Danaher, the girl who captures his heart. It’s a story of family, tradition, community – and love at first sight. THE movie to watch on St. Patrick’s Day.
  • The Secret of Roan Inish (1993) – Based on the Irish legend of selkies, seals who can shed their skin and become human, this is the sweet story of a young girl searching for her missing brother, who may or may not have a connection with the selkies. John Sayles directed.
  • Secret of the Cave (2006) – A young American boy on vacation in Ireland becomes caught up in a mystery that has haunted a village for years. Patrick Bergin stars is this family film about faith, courage, and compassion.
  • Darby O’Gill and the Little People (1959) – Classic Disney movie about a man who captures the Leprechaun king and finds that all that the Little People can be tricky. Albert Sharpe, Janet Munroe, and a young Sean Connery star in this fun fantasy.
  • Riverdance (1994) – What started as a 10-minute production for an awards show became a worldwide phenomenon. The story of the Irish people told in song and dance. Michael Flatley, the choreographer, and Jean Butler were the original stars. Bill Whelan composed the stirring music. I confess that I love this show and could not pass up the chance to mention it.

Since there are so many of Irish descent in the world, I’m wondering what other movies and TV shows do you think of when Ireland comes to mind.