Each year, March 17 brings us St. Patrick’s Day – originally celebrated as the Feast of Saint Patrick, in honor of the patron saint of Ireland, and one of four national saint feast days in the United Kingdom. It is still celebrated as a public holiday in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland.
Over the years, St. Patrick’s Day has evolved from a religious feast day to a secular holiday in celebration of Irish heritage and culture. Just as Mardi Gras has been transformed from the final religious feast day before the start of Lent into a drunken celebration of parades and beads, so too St. Patrick’s day has largely been transformed in much of the world into a day of wearing green and drinking to excess – with an occasional parade and corned beef dinner.
If one looks past the “Kiss Me, I’m Irish” buttons and green beer, there is a great deal of legitimate Irish heritage and culture to celebrate. Raidió Teilifís Éireann (RTÉ), Ireland’s national public service broadcaster, which produces and broadcasts content for television, radio, and the Internet, did just that and came up with a list of 21 movies that define 21st century Irish cinema. As they say, “you won’t find any Quiet Men or My Left Feet on this list; instead, these are the movies that we think have had the biggest impact, both nationally and internationally, in defining 21st century Ireland on the silver screen.” Not that The Quiet Man (1952) and My Left Foot (1989) aren’t perfectly fine movies in their own right – they have four Oscars between them plus another eight Oscar nominations including Best Picture, Best Writing, and Best Director – but they represent Ireland’s cinematic past, not its future.
Many, but not all, of these movies are set in Ireland. In Bruges (2008), as the name implies, actually takes place in Belgium, while Brooklyn (2015) and In America (2002) both take place in New York, The Magdalene Sisters (2002) is set in Scotland, and Room (2015) is set in the United States, but exteriors were actually shot in Canada. The list includes a good mix of dramas, comedies, musicals, documentaries, and even one animated feature (2014’s Song of the Sea), so there’s something here for every taste.
Naturally, all 21 films are registered in EIDR. To find out more about them, follow the links below to the EIDR Web UI and then explore the myriad Alternate IDs associated with each record. They will take you to third party data sources such as IMDb, Amazon, AlloCiné, the Danish Film Institute, the Swedish Film Institute, Česko-Slovenská filmová database (Czech-Slovak film database), and אידיבי מאגר הידע העברי לקולנוע ישראלי ועולמי (The Hebrew Knowledge Base for Israeli and International Cinema).
21 Movies that Define 21st Century Irish Cinema
 Technically, there are three patron saints of Ireland: Saint Patrick (c. 5th century). Saint Brigid of Kildare (c. 451-525), and Saint Columba (521-597). While the best known of the three, Patrick is the only one who wasn’t actually Irish – he was English.
 The four countries (and their saints) that make up the United Kingdom are England (Saint George), Scotland (Saint Andrew), Wales (Saint David), and Northern Ireland (Saint Patrick). The Union Jack, the national flag of the United Kingdom, consists of three saint crosses overlaid on a field of blue: the red cross of St. George (“+”), the white saltire of St. Andrew (“X”), and the red saltire of St. Patrick (“X”). St. David’s yellow cross (“+”) isn’t represented because the current flag was created in 1801 and Wales had been absorbed into England in 1282.