Mar14

Irish Mythology Films for St. Patrick’s Day

St. Patrick’s Day, the holiday we associate with green, clovers, leprechauns, beer, and the Irish, is this week! In the USA it’s just a holiday we speak of, but it’s interesting to think about how the country of origin perceives it, and what the holiday is really about. I know that it’s celebrated in honor Saint Patrick, the Roman-British missionary who spread Christianity in Ireland.

Pre-Christian Ireland though, had their own gods and beliefs. Last autumn I watched two films by Cartoon Saloon, an Irish animation studio, that were based a lot on Irish mythology. I was gonna publish this post back then, but did not get around to it. The great thing is that so many months later I think I still wanna go back to watch these films, because they were so good! I was drawn to them because of their stunning art.

The Secret of Kells

The Secret of Kells is about the making of The Book of Kells, a Christian illuminated manuscript of the gospels, four books in the Bible describing the life and death and resurrection of Jesus. Brendan, the main character, lives in a monastery and is an apprentice in the scriptorium. His curiosity has him chosen to work on the Book of Kells, and he needs to find gall nuts to make illuminated ink for it. He has to sneak around to do so because the abbot of the monastery has built a wall to protect them from the imminent Viking invasion. In the forest, Brendan meets a forest spirit who is afraid of a pagan deity that he does not believe in. But this deity possesses something that he needs to complete the book! How will Brendan complete the book and also stay safe from the Vikings?

Song of the Sea

The second film is Song of the Sea. Conor is a young boy who lives with his father and sister Saoirse at a lighthouse after losing his mother when his sister was born. Though Saoirse is six years old, she cannot speak. She discovers that she is actually a selkie, a creature that lives as a seal in the ocean and sheds its skin to become human on land. Conor and Saoirse’s grandma moves them to the city because she think it’s safer for them, but in fact in the city there are lots of estranged faeries looking for the selkie to sing a song that can return them to their realm. These faeries are also being hunted by the Owl Witch, so there’s only danger! Can Conor protect his sister? And how can Saoirse sing for the faeries if she has no voice?

You can watch these films for free with Amazon Prime! The Secret of Kells is also on Netflix!


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4 Comments to "Irish Mythology Films for St. Patrick’s Day"

Michelle wrote on 14th March 2016 at 11:28 PM

Being of Irish descent recently (my mother’s maiden name is McQuade, a very Irish surname) I know little about my ancestral home, but I’ll definitely check these films out 😀 Thanks for the recommendations!

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Tara wrote on 19th March 2016 at 10:57 PM

Sure wish I could watch them, but nope. Don’t have Netflix, and Amazon Prime videos are not available for people who live overseas even with membership. Don’t get me started on geo-blocking, man.

My dad’s actually half-Irish, but I don’t think he knows a lot of the Irish culture. He seems more familiar with his other root — German. Anyway, I wouldn’t mind learning more about Irish myths! My name also comes from Ireland, too, but apparently it also has Buddhist roots, too O_o

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Kya wrote on 20th March 2016 at 8:50 AM

Thanks for sharing this. I learned a few things that I didn’t know.

Song of the Sea is a really amazing movie. I watched it (last year I think) and thought it was so beautifully made and had a great story.

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Pauline wrote on 20th March 2016 at 2:25 PM

I’ve only just heard of these films, I can’t believe they aren’t that well known because the artwork is AMAZING! I’ll definitely go and watch them, I’m a sucker for great films with great artwork. I’ll learn more about pre-christian ireland!

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