Movies That Induce Irish Catholic Guilt

As the Ides of March approach, it’s time for me to review my Kiss Me, I’m Irish Pinterest board. Even though I left my Catholic faith behind, the Irish guilt remains. It’s a burden that the Irish I meet seem to carry. I often feel the weight of years of my forefathers on my shoulders when I even think something wrong. And if I forget, all I have to do is cue up one of the following movies and it all comes back. I mean #firstworldproblems and all when I look at what my Irish brethren went through.

As St. Patrick’s Day approaches, I encourage you to sit down and watch one or two of these. I guarantee by the end you will be crying into your green beer. Consider it a small price to pay for getting March 17th as a free for all of kissing and wearing green!

Movie to Make

Angela’s Ashes: this reverse immigration story hits all the Irish sad points: alcoholism, the struggles between the Irish Republic and Northern Ireland, the heavy hand of the Church, depressing poverty. Let’s just say this isn’t the tourist version of green fields. If you don’t start crying, you have a stone cold heart. The book is even more depressing but one of the most beautiful pieces of writing I have ever read.

Gangs of New York: Okay, this movie is really about New York not Ireland but it touches upon the Irish immigrant experience like no other film. The scenes of the Irish coming off the boat and being conscripted into the Union army as Irish ballads play pretty much represents the sadness that produced the guilt even fourth and fifth generation Americans feel whenever they don’t go to Church on Sunday.

The Magdalene Sisters: Remember the guilt about not going to Church? This is the film you watch to make that guilt go away. It’s all about the subjugation of women in Ireland by the Catholic Church. If you were wild then you totally deserved to be turned into an indentured servant. See also: Philomena. Even if you never did your tithe; even if you are Irish Protestant, you will definitely feel guilty by association after watching either of these films. What can we do? It’s our way.

Once: But Kate, I can hear you saying, this is a LOVE story. Yes it is. But it’s an Irish love story, so of course the two star crossed lovers don’t end up together (even in real life they eventually broke up, Irish curse.) This is the film that will have you throwing your hands up in the air and thinking of course, the Irish are doomed, get me a whisky!

For some more traditional (and hopefully more happy) ideas for St. Patrick’s Day entertainment, visit a few of my favorite bloggers:


  1. I don’t think i’ve seen most of these. The Magdalene Sisters sounds really good.


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