Irish Language Movies: Global Recognition


Could some Irish language movies competing with the likes of Star Wars and Jaws?


I have yet to find a person not a fan of watching movies. Maybe it’s the feeling of being part in their world while watching. Or, maybe even escaping the struggles of real life for a little while submerging yourself in the romance we call movies. It’s just that thrilling!


Níor aimsigh mé duine fós nach lucht leanúna féachaint ar scannáin. B’fhéidir gurb é an mothú atá ann a bheith páirteach ina ndomhan agus tú ag faire. Nó, b’fhéidir fiú éalú ó streachailtí an tsaoil réadaigh ar feadh tamaillín agus tú féin a chur faoi uisce sa rómánsaíocht a dtugaimid scannáin air. Tá sé díreach spreagúil sin!


When I was a young kid, I loved watching sci-fi films. Back to the Future and The Matrix were just some of the plethora of movies that I watched. My parents even scolded me for not doing anything around the house, just watching movies without a care in the world.



Now that I have grown older, decisions to further expand my knowledge of movies have risen in my thoughts. In particular, Irish language movies, films, cinema, or whatever you prefer to call it have piqued my never-ending interests. What are some of the most interesting Irish Gaelic films? Is there one – or are there some – that can compete with the rest of the world’s movies? Let us delve deeper and discuss.


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Some Irish language movies to watch


We assume that many of the famous and critically acclaimed movies we watch comes from the United States. Let me tell you: that isn’t the case, at all. Harry Potter, the hit novel and film written by J.K. Rowling, is British. Another famous novel with a movie adaptation, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, is by no means American. It was created by the Swedish-born Stieg Larsson.


Can we, the Irish, hope to have movies of the same calibre as the ones mentioned above? One movie could stand out in the upcoming year. Let us find out and discuss.




In 2019, a movie called Arracht premiered. Fast forward to more than a year, it has since been chosen to represent Ireland in the Oscars for best international film.


The story started in 1845 on the peak of the Irish famine, also called the Great Famine or Great Hunger. Colmán Sharkey, a fisherman and family man, takes in a stranger at the behest of a local priest. Continuing with these lines, IMBD’s Macalla Teoranta also summarises it this way:


Patsy, a former soldier in the Napoleonic wars arrives just ahead of ‘the blight,’ a disease that eventually wipes out the country’s potato crop, contributing to the death and displacement of millions. As the crops rot in the fields, Colmán, his brother and Patsy travel to the English Landlord’s house to request a stay on rent increases that Colmán predicts will destroy his community. His request falls deaf ears and Patsy’s subsequent actions set Colmán on a path that will take him to the edge of survival, and sanity. It is only upon encountering an abandoned young girl that Colmán’s resolve is lifted. Just in time for the darkness of his past to pay another visit.


Those responsible for the choice


It was the Irish Film and Television Academy committee who chose one of the most well-made Irish language movies to represent Ireland. The said committee includes director Lenny Abrahamson, actor Ciarán Hinds, composer and the first female conductor at the Oscars Eímear Noone, producer Macdara Kelleher, actress Fionnula Flanagan and David Flynn from Paramount TV.


Additionally, the committee was headed by Irish Film and Television Academy CEO Áine Moriarty, who in delight, said: “What an honour to have Tom Sullivan’s remarkable film Arracht represent Ireland, with its powerful and striking cinematic visual from DOP Kate McCullough, who brings the audience into the heart of Ireland’s famine history.


“Dónall Ó Héalai’s brilliant and poignant central performance brings a gothic humanity to the storytelling that will resonate with audiences of any language.”


Tom Sullivan, the writer, said “I am overjoyed with the news that Arracht has been chosen by the IFTA selection committee to represent Ireland in the Oscar’s Best International Film category”.


Other Irish language movies


Now that we have discussed the Oscars hopeful movie, are there other Irish language films we should look out for? In other words, do you know any other famous movies in Irish? Let us state some examples. I will state the movie title with its summary as stated by IMDb:


Anois agus scannán dóchasach Oscars pléite againn, an bhfuil scannáin Ghaeilge eile ann ar cheart dúinn breathnú orthu? Is é sin le rá, an bhfuil aithne agat ar aon scannáin cháiliúla eile i nGaeilge? Lig dúinn roinnt samplaí a lua. Luafaidh mé teideal an scannáin lena achoimre mar atá ráite ag IMDb:


In America A family of Irish immigrants adjust to life on the mean streets of Hell’s Kitchen while also grieving the death of a child.

Hunger Irish republican Bobby Sands leads the inmates of a Northern Irish prison in a hunger strike.

Kings – A group of men reunite for a friend’s funeral.


There are many more where that came from. So, I encourage you to research and discover more of our Irish language movies!


Fluentirish’s thoughts on all of these


I, in particular, am very happy that there are many high-calibre Irish language movies we can all watch. This can help Ireland gain some global recognition like the Oscars. In addition, those who wish to learn Irish Gaelic can practice their skills. Aside from reading and listening to audio books and listening to podcasts (like ours), watch Irish language movies!


As for Irish language films competing with the best of the best movies worldwide, it is very possible. It is, after all, about the exposure and substance of the movie. The examples above prove this.


>>Which level?: Find out which level of spoken Irish you understand!