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10 Extraordinary Movies Set In Dublin That Will Inspire You To Visit!

10 Extraordinary Movies Set In Dublin That Will Inspire You To Visit!

Dublin has a lot to offer for both national and international filmmakers. The city is known for being full of pub culture and good craic, and is both a friendly and progressive city. It is also well known for its historic attractions such as Georgian Architecture. So it will come as no surprise that there are so many wonderful movies set in Dublin.

If one wants to see the best that the fair country of Ireland has to offer, one only has to visit the cheerful city of Dublin. There one can experience the country’s culture: from its rich history of art and literature to its many exquisite dishes and drinks. If one is in the mood to see what the country has to offer in terms of nature, one can simply travel for a few minutes before reaching the Irish sea or one of its many parks and reserves.

10 Extraordinary Movies Set In Dublin That Will Inspire You To Visit!

While there are many great things that the joyful city of Dublin has to offer, one can’t not talk about its nightlife – one could say its “pub life”. The place is filled with tons of charming little pubs and bars where one could take a sip of some of the best beverages on the continent. The Dubliners are so good at having fun on a night out that they have their own word for it.

Of course, one cannot visit Dublin on a whim. That’s what movies are for: to get you a taste of what you’ll see and do when the time to book your ticket comes. So, if you want to get a feel about what going out in Dublin and feeling what the craic is about, take a look at these films. You’ll get acquainted with this unique city where there is always something happening: whether it be a cheerful romance in the streets or a happy comedy in the bars. And if you work your way through our best Ireland films too!

These films set in Dublin have narratives that rely on their settings as much as their main protagonists, and as a result, spectators get a glimpse of this iconic city through the director’s eyes. To honor the concept of cinematic travel, we have also assembled lists of our favorite films shot in some of our all-time favorite travel destinations: Edinburgh, Berlin, Toronto, Prague, Vermont and of course, Hollywood.

Wondering where to watch? It depends on where you live in the world and which streaming services you have. We link to the streaming service we watch on in each case - be it Netflix, Amazon Prime, Apple TV+, or elsewhere.

You can get one month free of Amazon Prime (or a 6-month trial for students) of Amazon Prime and also get immediate access to FREE Two Day shipping, Amazon Video, and Music. While you won't be charged for your free trial, you'll be upgraded to a paid membership plan automatically at the end of the trial period - though if you have already binged all these, you could just cancel before the trial ends.

Apple TV+ also has a one-week trial, and Hulu has a one-month trial (which can be bundled with Disney!). Another option might be using a VPN to access Netflix titles locked to other regions. Netflix is now available in more than 190 countries worldwide and each country has a different library and availability. US Netflix is (understandably) one of the best. 

While we wish everything could just be in one place - for now, it seems these are the best streaming platforms to watch on.

10 Extraordinary Movies Set In Dublin That Will Inspire You To Visit!
10 Extraordinary Movies Set In Dublin That Will Inspire You To Visit!
10 Extraordinary Movies Set In Dublin That Will Inspire You To Visit!

Girl with Green Eyes (1964)

Girl with Green Eyes is a coming-of-age before coming-of-age films were a thing. The film was directed by Desmond Davis, a famous British filmmaker, but the creative mind behind its story and characters was Edna O’Brien.

This Irish author is known to be one of the best writers of her generation and that shows clearly in this film. Not only did she write the novel the film is based on (The Lonely Girl), but she also wrote the screenplay adaptation. In it, she tells a partly biographical story about a young girl and her romance with an older man.

Girl with Green Eyes follows Kate Brady (Rita Tushingham), a young woman living in one of Ireland’s many rural countrysides. After she graduates from her convent, she decides that it’s time to go to

the city and become the woman that she wants to be. What kind of woman is that? She doesn’t know.

As she arrives in the city, she finds that people there think and act very differently than her, particularly when it comes to relationships. Trying to blend in, she begins to be more flirtatious and inviting toward men.

When she meets Eugene Gaillard (Peter Finch), an older writer, she becomes quickly infatuated with him. She decides to do just like the other girls and approach him herself in one of the many cozy bookshops that are characteristic of the city.

They become friends and then lovers, but very soon Kate finds that she can’t give Eugene what he wants and that Eugene hasn’t been telling her the whole truth. Girl with Green Eyes is a captivating film that carefully deals with the touchy subject of age gaps in relationships. And you’ll want to hear what it has to say.

The Commitments (1991)

The Commitments is a captivating musical that will surprise you with its catchy lyrics and amazing cast of characters. The film tells the story of a group of young workers from Dublin who get together in order to pursue their passion of playing soul in a band.

While the plot was adapted from a book by Roddy Doyle, much of the film’s greatness comes from the fact that it was directed by Alan Parker. Having directed such musical classics as Melody, Fame, and Evita, it could be said that Parker was the perfect man for the job.

The film is set in Northside, the northernmost part of Dublin, where many factories and worker homes used to be. It follows Jimmy (Robert Arkins), an Irishman who, while proud of his heritage, wants to pursue his passion for African-American soul music.

As you may imagine, there aren’t many other people that share his dream. So, he decides that he’ll make a band with his musically talentless friends. None of them knew how to play, but they are eager to participate. There is a little bit of hope since Jimmy manages to enlist a veteran trumpeter known as “The Lips” (Johnny Murph). The Commitments will see this rag-tag group of musicians trying to make it.

Perhaps what’s most surprising about The Commitments is that it didn’t garner as much praise as other forward-thinking and irreverent musicals, like Rocky Horror Picture Show. Like the latter, The Commitments had a rough start: it wasn’t very well received either by people from Ireland or by people from the United States.

With time it became an undisputable cult classic. However, critics did really enjoy the film. It won four of the most important BAFTA Awards as well as an Academy Award nomination.

My Left Foot: The Story of Christy Brown (1989)

Now comes one of the most interesting stories on the list. And it’s completely real! Adapting the memoir of the same name that Christy Brown wrote back in 1954, the film tells the story of this unconventional artist who managed to overcome his illness in the best way he could.

It’s an inspiring story, one that it’s filled with both laughter and tears. Upon its release, it quickly became one of the most-watched Irish movies ever to be made.

My Left Foot tells the surprisingly unknown story of Christy Brown (played by Daniel Day-Lewis), a man born in 1932 with cerebral palsy. For those unaware of this harsh illness, this meant that he could neither walk nor talk.

He could, however, use his left foot, which he found incredible uses for. For instance, he used his foot to communicate with his mother (Brenda Fricker), writing with a pencil between his fingers. During his youth, Christy found out that he could use his foot to paint.

It was this discovery that changed his life forever. He went to Dublin’s school of arts and became one of the city’s most recognized artists. His works are exhibited even to this day, are and a must-see for any tourist visiting the city.

There is no doubt that the highlight of this film is the performance of its main characters. Of course, Daniel Day-Lewis’ work is excellent, as always. After all these years of seeing him act one can become accustomed to his talent, but it’s always nice to see him tackle such a challenging role as that of Christy Brown.

Brenda Fricker also gave an incredibly human performance that at times outshone that of Day-Lewis himself. It’s no surprise to learn that both of their performances won them that year’s Academy Awards.

Once (2007)

Once is one of the most charming movies ever made in the city of Dublin. It’s very cheaply made, with most of it being filmed on location with amateur-level filming equipment. Yet it manages to convey much more than your average run-of-the-mill Hollywood movie can.

And that’s thanks to John Carney, the writer, and director of the film. While he had worked on a couple of films before, with Once he managed to fascinate both audiences and critics alike.

Once follows two unnamed characters, known in the credits simply as guy and girl. The guy (Glen Hansard) owns a hoover repair shop with his father, but his true passion is music: he busks every day on Grafton Street, one of Dublin’s most famous shopping streets.

There he meets the girl (Markéta Irglová), an immigrant from the Czech Republic who, like him, loves music. The two of them begin to develop a special relationship around music: they become closer and closer, meeting each other’s families, including the girl’s daughter.

They finally decide to record the songs that they have been working on, a task that forces the guy to find other buskers to help him. In the end, they manage to make a demo disk that features their best songs. The two of them have done what they set out to do, but their feelings are still left unresolved.

What makes this movie so great is the fact that Hansard and Irglová weren’t just actors, but a musical duo and a couple who had been together for quite some time before the film.

The two of them are incredible artists, managing to capture so many emotions in the film’s soundtrack (which they composed). It’s no surprise that the standout song of the film, “Falling Slowly”, won Best Original Song at the Academy Awards.

Sing Street (2016)

After the success that was Once, John Carney worked on several projects. He returned to musicals with the 2013 film Begin Again, which got him some praise but not as much as Once. Years later, he decided that he wouldn’t only return to musicals, but also to his home city. Sing Street marks Carney’s return to Dublin and it couldn’t be better.

This time, he used his expanded budget to set the film in the eighties, a time of much political turmoil in Ireland. In case you weren’t aware, it wasn’t until 1998 that the bloody conflict between North and South Ireland was resolved.

Until then, Christians and Protestants fought against each other with much rage and little compassion. Living in the country during that time was rough, with much fear surrounding terrorist attacks. The film doesn’t directly address these conflicts, but always keeps them in the back of the character’s minds as a looming threat that makes them want to live the moment even more.

Sing Street is set in south Dublin, in one of the more well-to-do districts. Conor’s (Ferdia Walsh-Peelo) family, however, isn’t doing so well: one night, his father tells him that he’ll have to change schools in order to save money. This means that Conor will go from being a student in one of the city’s most prestigious schools to a small and cheap Christian institution.

In the school, he meets Raphina (Lucy Boynton), one of the most beautiful students there who’s also an aspiring model. In order to get a chance to spend time with her, she asks her to model for one of his band’s music videos. The problem is: that he doesn’t have a band. He quickly gathers his newly made friends and enlists them in a band that will give him a chance with Raphina.

The Delinquent Season (2018)

The Delinquent Season, by playwright Mark O’Rowe, is a touching romantic drama that features some of the best actors and actresses that Irish cinema has to offer. For once, the male parts are played by two of the most sought Irish gentlemen: Cillian Murphy (Inception, Peaky Blinders) and Andrew Scott (Sherlock, Fleabag).

In terms of the film’s actresses, they don’t fall behind: Eva Birthstile (Ae Fond Kiss…) and Catherine Walker (Versailles). It is a must-watch for anyone interested in visiting the country, for it will show you a clear picture of the country’s best-regarded stars.

The film follows these two pairs of acting talents as they play the roles of married couples that aren’t doing as well as other people seem to think. We see each of the marriages having dinner in a little Dubliner restaurant: there we find out that none of them are truly happy with the people they are supposed to spend their lives with.

Chance will have them that Jim (Murphy) will meet Yvonne (Walker) and the two of them hit it off. There’s nothing bad about it: they’re just happy to have found someone to talk to. The Delinquent Season manages to portray cheating couples like no other film does: with much kindness and empathy.

Michael Collins (1996)

A list of the best movies set in Dublin wouldn’t be complete without tackling the cinema of Neil Jordan: this now retired Irish director has established himself as one of the best in the country, winning tons of awards from all over the globe.

This list includes an Academy Award for his 1992 thriller film The Crying Game. However, while not a recipient of any Academy Award, Michael Collins is recognized by many as the best film he ever made.

The film follows the titular Michael Collins, a key figure in Ireland’s fight for independence from the British Crown. Even though he only lived to be thirty-two, Collins was a ruthless politician and brave soldier who fought for the rights of the Irish people to be the masters of their own country.

This meant that not only had he a chair in the self-declared Irish Republic of 1919, but he also fought on the southern front against the British. He died, in fact, during an ambush during the Irish Civil War.

In Michael Collins, he’s portrayed with much admiration both by the director and the film’s main star. Consecrated Irish actor Liam Neeson embodies all the might of Collin’s bigger-than-life persona in one of his best performances ever.

Nora (2000)

When it comes to Dublin, there is one artist that shouldn’t be left unmentioned. That artist is the great literary genius that was James Joyce. It’s not easy to describe what made Joyce so special or where his influence was so powerful in modern literature.

He was one of the first to push the literary genre in a post-modern direction. He introduced new narration techniques, like the stream of consciousness, which were not seen before. Much of what he did was experimental and unique.

A Dubliner first and foremost, Joyce portrayed the city where he lived, the city that he was in love with, in many of his works (most notably in the 1914 short-story collection by the name of “Dubliners”).

Nora, by Pat Murphy, tells the story of Joyce’s (Ewan McGregor) fiery relationship with Nora Barnacle (Susan Lynch), the woman who would be his muse during most of his life. The film begins when the two of them first meet, on one of Dublin’s many cobblestone roads in 1904.

While, at first, she wasn’t at all interested in him, Joyce was immediately captivated by her. Nora is a must-watch for any fan of literature, for it will offer you a window into the mind of one of the most forward-thinking writers ever to live.

Albert Nobbs (2011)

Albert Nobbs, by Rodrigo García, tells a moving story that, while fictional, is representative of the struggles of many transexual people all over the world. That’s why, even though it isn’t the best of movies, it deserves a place on this list. To show that Dubliner artists care about the LGBT people within their nation.

As said before, the film didn’t enjoy the best reception by audiences and critics, mostly due to directorial choices by García, but its performances were very highly praised, with the main actresses earning nominations at the Academy Awards.

Adapting a 1927 George Moore book of the same name, Albert Nobbs tells the story of a butler by the name of Albert Nobbs (Glenn Close), who works in one of Dublin’s most famous hotels: the Morrison.

Quickly in the film, we’re introduced to the fact that Albert was born female, but has spent the last decades of his life presenting as a man. The film is centered around the figure of Albert, but we mostly see him through the eyes of other two employees: boilerman Joe (Aaron Johnson) and maid Helen (Mia Wasikowska).

The film does a wonderful job at dealing with its touchy subject, particularly for 2011 (years before, for example, movies like The Danish Girl came out).

Frank (2014)

What better way to end this list with one of the best Irish movies in recent years? Frank is a truly unique movie that can’t be simply described. It’s equal parts musical, comedy and drama, with all of its pieces being arranged in a very weirdly fascinating way.

The film was directed by Lenny Abrahamson, a great Irish director who got international recognition thanks to his 2015 film Room, starring Brie Larson. Although this latter film earned him several Academy Award nominations and much professional success, Frank is the film where Abrahamson truly showed his capabilities when it comes to storytelling.

The film centers around the titular Frank (amazingly played by Michael Fassbender), a man who wears a paper mâché mask all the time. However, he’s not the protagonist of the film. That would be Jon, a young amateur musician who witnesses the attempted suicide of a young man just like himself.

He saves him from drowning and accompanies him to the hospital. There he meets Don, who tells him that he is a friend of the suicidal man and also the manager of his band, the Soronprfbs.

A few days later, Jon finds himself playing in the band as a replacement for the man who tried to kill himself. It’s there that he finally meets the enigmatic figure that is Frank.

They play together and although one of the members of the band storms off at the end, Jon is happy with their performance. He becomes a full-time member of the Soronprfbs, which means that he’ll have to travel with Frank and the rest to to Ireland, where they will spend some time writing their songs.

Frank is a film that dives deep into the darker things that take place amid the creative process. It deals with themes of mental illness and the pursuit of success at all costs. But it does so in a subtle and engaging way.

It’s a must-watch for any music fan, for it features some great songs that will stay with you long after you’ve heard them.