The 30 Best Irish Movies to Watch on St. Patrick's Day

From 'Belfast' to 'Leap Year'

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For some, St. Patrick’s Day might mean a few drinks at the local pub. Others might cue up some Irish tunes or whip up a meal from Ireland. But once you’ve downed all the hot whiskey and apple cakes, you'll probably need a little time to unwind. And what better way to do this than by watching the best Irish movies?

Thanks to streaming services like Max and Prime Video, there are many entertaining options, ranging from charming rom-coms (like Once) to insightful documentaries about Ireland’s history (ahem, The Irish Pub). To spare you the trouble of sifting through hundreds of titles, we've selected the best of the best, including the Oscar-nominated comedy-drama, The Banshees of Inisherin, and the star-studded Wild Mountain Thyme. Keep reading for 30 of the best Irish movies you can stream on St. Patrick’s Day and beyond.

1. The Banshees of Inisherin (2022)

  • Who's in it: Colin Farrell, Brendan Gleeson, Kerry Condon
  • Rating: R

By the looks of the trailer, one would assume that this movie is quirky and humorous, but there’s more to it than meets the eye. Set during the end of the Irish Civil War, the tragicomedy follows Pádraic, a man who struggles to accept that his lifelong friendship with his neighbor, Colm, is falling apart. With such strong performances and hard-hitting themes, we can see why it scored nine Oscar nominations.

2. The Irish Pub (2013)

  • Who's in it: Liam Aherne, Willie Aherne, Bobby Blackwell
  • Rating: PG-13

Grab a pint of Guinness and take a virtual trip to the Emerald Isle with Alex Fegan’s documentary, which dives into the history of Irish pub culture through interviews with pub owners and patrons. Each pub has its own, fascinating story, and it's impossible to not be drawn in by the charming people.

3. Belfast (2021)

  • Who's in it: Caitríona Balfe, Judi Dench, Jamie Dornan
  • Rating: PG-13

This poignant coming-of-age tale follows the everyday life of 9-year-old Buddy and his working-class family in Belfast, Northern Ireland, during the late ’60s—at the beginning of The Troubles. The film, which tackles important themes like tolerance and family, boasts a beautiful soundtrack and a stellar cast.

4. Cardboard Gangsters (2017)

  • Who's in it: John Connors, Fionn Walton, Kierston Wareing
  • Rating: R

Raw and authentic, this crime film follows a group of young, small-time drug dealers as they try to get into the big leagues of the drug trade in Darndale and make more money. Unfortunately, these wannabe gangsters get more than they bargained for. The movie thoughtfully addresses toxic masculinity, brotherhood and revenge.

5. Michael Collins (1996)

  • Who's in it: Liam Neeson, Aidan Quinn, Stephen Rea
  • Rating: R

Allow us to introduce Michael Collins, an Irish revolutionary, soldier and politician who led the Irish Republican Army and played a key role in helping his nation gain independence from Britain. Neeson shines as the Irish leader in Neil Jordan’s captivating biopic, which was nominated for two Academy Awards and a Golden Globe.

6. Darby O’Gill And The Little People (1959) 

  • Who's in it: Albert Sharpe, Janet Munro, Sean Connery, Jimmy O'Dea
  • Rating: G

If you're up for some magic and adventure, then you'll appreciate this fun fantasy about an old storyteller trying to secure a pot of gold. His biggest obstacle? A 21-inch leprechaun and trickster named King Brian. Prepare for all the laughs.

7. Flora and Son (2023)

  • Who's in it: Eve Hewson, Jack Reynor, Orén Kinlan
  • Rating: R

Flora is a single mom with a big problem: regardless of her efforts, her rebellious son can't seem to stay out of trouble. Fortunately, though, not all hope is lost. When she stumbles upon an old guitar, Flora teams up with an L.A.-based guitar teacher and learns to play, finding her voice and bonding with her kid along the way.

8. Sing Street (2016)

  • Who's in it: Ferdia Walsh-Peelo, Lucy Boynton, Maria Doyle Kennedy
  • Rating: PG-13

In '80s Dublin, a teen named Conor moves to a new school and struggles to adjust. But things start to look up when he spots the girl of his dreams. Determined to win her heart, he enlists the help of a few pals and forms a new band. Will his plan work?

9. Ordinary Love (2019)

  • Who's in it: Lesley Manville, Liam Neeson
  • Rating: R

Following several years of marriage, Joan and Tom's relationship is put to the test when Joan is suddenly diagnosed with breast cancer. Aside from Manville and Neeson's effortless chemistry, Ordinary Love raises important questions about mortality, grief, fear and survivor's guilt.

10. Wild Mountain Thyme (2020)

  • Who's in it: Emily Blunt, Jamie Dornan, Jon Hamm
  • Rating: PG-13

We love a star-studded, guilty pleasure rom-com about star-crossed lovers. In this case, a farmer named Rosemary falls for her neighbor and childhood friend, Anthony, a misfit farmer who doesn't seem to reciprocate her feelings. However, his feelings change when he learns that his dad plans to sell the family's farm.

11. Hunger (2008) 

  • Who's in it: Michael Fassbender, Liam Cunningham
  • Rating: NR

Here's your opportunity to get insight into the 1981 IRA Hunger Strike at Maze Prison in Northern Ireland. Steve McQueen's first feature film details the events that led up to the strike and its aftermath, while also shedding light on the final weeks of Bobby Sands, an Irish Republican Army activist who led the strike. It's powerful and moving, though not for the faint of heart.

12. Philomena (2013)

  • Who's in it: Judi Dench, Steve Coogan, Michelle Fairley
  • Rating: PG-13

Inspired by true events, the Oscar-nominated drama film tells the story of a London-based journalist who agrees to help an Irish woman named Philomena Lee, who was forced to give up her child for adoption after being sent to a convent by her father. Both Dench and Coogan deliver stellar performances in this touching drama, which tackles issues like teen pregnancy and social disparity.

13. Once (2007) 

  • Who's in it: Glen Hansard, Markéta Irglová
  • Rating: R

When a struggling musician has a chance encounter with a working mom in Dublin, they start to bond over their past experiences and fall in love. Directed by John Carney, the Oscar-winning musical drama boasts a charming cast, a poetic backdrop and catchy tunes, like like "Falling Slowly." (FYI, Bob Dylan loved this film so much that he invited the two leads to join him on his world tour.)

14. The Wind That Shakes the Barley (2007) 

  • Who's in it: Cillian Murphy, Liam Cunningham, Pádraic Delaney
  • Rating: NR

Set during the Irish War of Independence and the Irish Civil War, this compelling drama follows Damien and Teddy, two County Cork brothers who join the Irish Republican Army to fight against the British. Rebecca O'Brien, who produced the film, revealed that the purpose of the film was to explore this dark period in Irish history. She said, “It's about the civil war in microcosm...It's not seeking that sort of biographical accuracy, but rather, will express the themes of the period. This is the core of the later Troubles, which is why it's so fascinating to make.”

15. The Magdalene Sisters (2002) 

  • Who's in it: Geraldine McEwan, Anne-Marie Duff, Nora Jane Noone
  • Rating: R

Set in 1964, this eye-opening drama revolves around three teenage girls who endure harsh treatment after being sent to Catholic-run Magdalene asylums (secret institutions that were designed to house "fallen women"). Fair warning, it's not the easiest watch, due to the horrific abuse the women have to endure, but the film does a phenomenal job of shedding light on the history of Catholicism in Ireland.

16. Nocebo (2022)

  • Who's in it: Eva Green, Mark Strong, Chai Fonacier
  • Rating: NR

If you're a fan of haunting psychological thrillers, then this Filipino-Irish film will do the trick. Directed by Lorcan Finnegan, Nocebo tells the story of Christine, a children's fashion designer who starts to suffer from a mysterious illness. However, a new nanny who claims to have supernatural powers arrives, and when she tries to help Christine, a disturbing secret is revealed.

17. My Left Foot (1989)

  • Who's in it: Daniel Day-Lewis, Brenda Fricker, Alison Whelan
  • Rating: R

Based on Christy Brown's 1954 memoir, My Left Foot centers on the Dublin native as he grows up with cerebral palsy, having control of just his left foot. Despite his condition and being born into a poor family, Christy is determined to make it as an artist and writer. The film earned an impressive five Oscar nominations, thanks to strong performances and positive messages about mental health.

18. Waking Ned Devine (1998)

  • Who's in it: Ian Bannen, David Kelly, Fionnula Flanagan
  • Rating: PG

In a charming little Irish village, Ned Devine passes away shortly after he wins the lottery. After the news of his big win gets out, three of the townspeople join forces and scheme to get the prize money for themselves. With so many comedic twists and compelling oddball characters, Waking Ned is required viewing for fans of Bill Forsyth's Comfort and Joy.

19.  In The Name Of The Father (1993)

  • Who's in it: Daniel Day-Lewis, Emma Thompson, Pete Postlethwaite
  • Rating: R

Inspired by the true story of Gerry Conlon and the Guildford Four, the film tells the story of a young man who gets wrongly convicted of bombing two pubs in London, which killed four British soldiers and a civilian. Following its release, In The Name Of The Father became the second highest-grossing film in Ireland and got nominated for a whopping seven Academy Awards.

20. Bad Day for the Cut (2017)

  • Who's in it: Nigel O'Neill, Susan Lynch, Józef Pawlowski
  • Rating: NR

Donal, an Irish farmer, is shocked to wake up one morning and discover that his mother has been killed. When he sees the murderer drive away, he embarks on a mission to get revenge. Although this edge-of-your-seat crime thriller is pretty intense, it includes some funny moments to lighten the overall tone.

21. Intermission (2003)

  • Who's in it: Cillian Murphy, Colm Meaney, Colin Farrell
  • Rating: R

Think Love Actually, but with an Irish setting and an edgy twist. After John, a Dublin resident, breaks up with his girlfriend, she pursues a romantic relationship with an older, successful banker. But John has second thoughts about their split and decides to get revenge on the banker by robbing his bank, with the help of his pal, Lehiff. Unfortunately for them, a local detective might be onto their plans.

22. The Snapper (1993)

  • Who's in it: Colm Meaney, Tina Kellegher, Ruth McCabe
  • Rating: R

Sharon Curley, a 20-year-old Irish woman who lives at home with her Catholic family, becomes the talk of the town when she gets pregnant. Even more chaos ensues, however, when the identity of the father comes to light. Aside from tackling the ups and downs of an unplanned pregnancy, the charming comedy also explores complicated parent-child dynamics.

23. The Van (1996)

  • Who's in it: Colm Meaney, Donal O'Kelly
  • Rating: R

Based on Roddy Doyle's novel of the same title, The Van follows Brendan, a young man who joins forces with his best friend, Larry, to launch a restaurant on wheels after getting laid off. The business starts off successfully, but over time, their work dynamic puts a strain on their friendship.

24. Leap Year (2010)

  • Who's in it: Amy Adams, Matthew Goode, Adam Scott
  • Rating: PG

After four years of dating, Anna Brady decides to follow an Irish tradition and surprise her boyfriend, Jeremy, by traveling to Dublin and proposing to him on Leap Day. During her journey, however, she deals with many bizarre setbacks and crosses paths with the charming Declan—an Irishman who just might be her soulmate.

25. The Last Right (2019)

  • Who's in it: Michiel Huisman, Naimh Algar, Samuel Bottomley
  • Rating: NR

In this bittersweet comedy, a New Yorker named Daniel wakes up on his flight to Ireland and discovers that an elderly passenger has died in the seat next to him. He's even more surprised to learn that the man listed him as his next of kin, leaving him in charge of the corpse of a stranger. When Daniel decides to drive the deceased passenger across Ireland, it turns into a chaotic road trip that involves his autistic brother and a young mortician.

26. The Luck of the Irish (2001)

  • Who's in it: Paul Kiernan, Timothy Omundson, Ryan Merriman
  • Rating: G

This classic DCOM, which blends humor and fantasy elements with Irish culture, revolves around Kyle Johnson, a 15-year-old basketball star who loses his lucky pot-of-gold charm and learns that he's part human, part leprechaun. To prevent the thief from gaining control of all the leprechauns, Kyle must track him down and defeat him.

27. Gold (2014)

  • Who's in it: James Nesbitt, David Wilmot, Kerry Condon
  • Rating: NR

At the request of his dying father, Ray returns to his hometown to reunite with his estranged wife and daughter after 12 years. He gets the surprise of a lifetime, however, when he sees that they've built a new life with his former high school teacher.

28. The Secret of Roan Inish (1994)

  • Who's in it: Mick Lally, Eileen Colgan, John Lynch
  • Rating: NR

After being sent to live with her grandparents in a small Irish village, 10-year-old Fiona starts to investigate a local legend about her ancestor getting married to a Selkie (or a seal who can turn into a human). She also suspects that her baby brother, who was washed away at sea as a baby, is still alive and being raised by the sea creatures.

29. Rosie (2018)

  • Who's in it: Sarah Greene, Moe Dunford, Ellie O'Halloran
  • Rating: PG-13

In this sobering drama, a hard-working mother strives to protect her children and maintain a solid family unit when they suddenly become homeless. The film, which marks director Paddy Breathnach's feature film debut, tackles social injustice and offers an eye-opening look at the Dublin housing crisis.

30. Evelyn (2002)

  • Who's in it: Pierce Brosnan, Aidan Quinn, Alan Bates
  • Rating: PG

Based on the true story of Desmond Doyle, Evelyn tells the story of 9-year-old Evelyn, a young girl who's sent to live in a church-run orphanage when her mother leaves her drunk and irresponsible father. She's forced to live under harsh conditions, but not all hope is lost, because her dad is determined to clean up his act and regain custody of his kids.

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