10 Irish movies & series to improve your listening
Who said learning English can’t be fun ? Fluency comes along with practice, and listening plays a key role in the process. For this reason, we selected for you a bunch of Irish movies and series that will help you in getting familiar with the Irish accent – as well as getting to know more about the history and culture of the Emerald Island.
As you can guess from its title, this film is set in Belfast. We are following a working-class family during the 1960s, a complicated time in Northern Ireland known as “The Troubles”. The story is shown from Buddy’s perspective, a 9 year-old boy who sees his life turned upside-down from the constant violences between Catholics and Protestants happening in the city. It is a brilliant black and white production, very aesthetic and political, which gives us an insight on how life was for Irish people during those complex days.
2) Normal People
Based on Sally Rooney’s best-selling novel, Normal People is a TV show that follows the story of Marianne and Connel, two high school students from Sligo. Even though they are coming from different backgrounds and don’t really seem to have anything in common, a very special bond will develop between the two of them. Paul Mescal and Daisy Edgar-Jones are embracing their characters perfectly and deliver a truly beautiful performance which shows both the fragility and beauty of human relationships.
3) My left foot
This film unveils the true story of Christy Brown, an Irish painter, writer and poet. Christy was born with cerebral palsy in 1932 into a poor Dublin family of 15. What makes this story deeply moving and inspiring is that through his passion for art, this man found the strength to overcome his disability. It was indeed impossible for him to walk and talk, and the disease made him suffer a lot. Despite all of that, he never gave up and started painting with his left foot – the only body part he was able to fully move.
4) The quiet girl (An Cailín Ciúin)
For anyone interested in learning the Irish language, this one is definitely for you! The dialogue is indeed mostly in Irish. This drama is set in the rural Ireland of 1981, where we follow the life of Cait, a nine-year-old girl who was raised in a dysfunctional family and discovers for the first time how it is to live within a loving home. This is a stunning film, very moving and poetic. Moreover, the music, the landscapes, the language – everything creates a unique atmosphere which enables us to fully dive into the story.
This one is an Irish crime/drama series which revolves around a family – the Kinsellas – involved in crime and gang rivalries in Dublin. After the murder of one of their members, they are starting a war against a powerful drug lord, Eamon Cunningham, leader of an influential international cartel. Kin is a gripping story that certainly won’t leave you indifferent. Besides, it was shot in Dublin, so you will be able to enjoy the scenery of our beautiful city.
6) In the name of the father
This film is based on the true story of the Guildford Four – four young people who were wrongly convicted of bombings carried out by the Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA) on October 22nd 1975. Through this film, we follow their fight to be recognized innocent. The story focuses mainly on Gerry Conlon, a young man coming from Belfast, who is accused by the London police to be the instigator of the Guildford terrorist attacks. Under pressure, the policemen will make him sign false confessions, and this will lead not only to his own imprisonment – but to the accusation of some of his close friends and relatives. This is undoubtedly another great film which gives an insight into the period of the Troubles and the terrible events that occurred during that time.
7) Derry girls
This TV-show follows Erin and her friends in the Northern Ireland of the 1990s. While they are growing up in a world surrounded by armed policemen and check-points, they also have to deal with the teenage everyday-life struggles. It features witty and endearing characters, which make the story very funny and catchy. On top of that, it will undoubtedly make you more familiar with the Northern-Irish accent!
8) The wind that shakes the barley
Starring the brilliant Cillian Murphy, this film traces the story of Damien, a young man who abandons his medicine career and joins his brother in the fight for Irish independence when joining the Irish Republican Army (IRA). It is set in the countryside of the county of Cork, where we witness a union of peasants forming itself to fight against the Black and Tans. These English troops were sent to muffle the rebels’ voices, and this led to many violent and traumatic episodes, which are well transcribed in this film. The wind that shakes the barley won the Palme d’Or at the 2006 Cannes Film Festival, and it is easy to see why it is considered to be one of the best Irish movies up to now.
9) The Banshees of Inisherin
Set in the 1920s on an isolated island off the Irish west coast, this film is about the complexity of human relationships, loneliness and loss. The main character, Padraic, is devastated when his best friend Colm suddenly decides to end their relationship. This decision comes along with dramatic consequences for both of them. If you like slow everyday-life movies, you will definitely like this one. Furthermore, it features gorgeous Irish scenery. The Banshees of Inisherin received eight nominations at the 80th Golden Globe Awards – the most achieved by any film since Cold Mountain in 2004. In the end, it won three: Best Motion Picture, Best Actor and Best Screenplay.
10) The Commitments
Adapted from Roddy Doyle’s novel, The Commitments is set in the 1990s North Dublin and follows Jimmy Rabbitte – a young music fanatic who aspires to bring soul to the Dublin music scene. Therefore, Jimmy decides to form his dream-band consisting of friends and talented people he met along his way. Even though it is a fictional story, it is so enticing it almost feels like it is true. This film is filled with life, energy, great music and passion. It will certainly be good craic for anyone watching!
And here we go – we reached the end of our Movies & Series recommendations ! We hope you’ll find something that matches your taste and that you’ll enjoy.