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22nd Dec 2023

10 Irish films to fight with your family during on Christmas Day

Fiona Frawley

Still from War of the Buttons. Two boys in school uniforms face a taller boy in a brown jacket accompanied by a little girl with red hair.

We all know that point every family gets to at about 9pm on Christmas night.

You’ve played happy families all day, even when your brothers girlfriend gifted you a soap set with a sell by date from 2016. You’ve made it through dinner, maybe even a tense game of Heads Up. Now it’s time to settle down and watch a film, during which you’re praying the interactions are kept to a minimum.

There are so many movies that aren’t technically about Christmas, but that you’ll always associate with watching on Christmas Day. Titanic, Sound of Music, any of the Harry Potters – all have been enjoyed countless times with a tub of Roses and can of whatever was on special offer during the Christmas Big Shop in hand.

If you’re looking for a bitta film inspo from closer to home, here’s a list of 10 great Irish films to watch with the fam over Christmas.

The Snapper 

An obvious but great one. In the goldfish bowl of Barrytown, the Curley family attempt to come to terms with their oldest daughter Sharon falling pregnant, and refusing to reveal who the father is. See also, The Commitments and The Van. Obviously.

War of the Buttons 

The children of Ballydowse and Carrickdowse engage in battles where they cut off the buttons, shoe-laces and underwear of their captured opponents. A classic.


A good one as long as your family have no issues with swearing and uncomfortable sex scenes. Vintage Colin Farrell stars in this dark comedy in which a series of coincidences and questionable relationships unite a group of people living in Dublin.

Falling For A Dancer 

Filmed in dreamy Beara, this tv movie follows 19 year old Elizabeth who falls pregnant and, to avoid the stigma of being an unmarried mother in rural Ireland, marries an older man and begins a new life in West Cork.

The Field 

The Bull McCabe has spent 30 years tending a rented field in rural Kerry. The field’s owner is a widow who, around the time of the 10th anniversary of the death of her husband, decides to sell the field. A rich American outbids McCabe, who then schemes with his son Tadgh to find a way to hold on to the land.

The Quiet Man 

A must over Christmas. After accidentally killing an opponent in the ring, boxer Sean Thornton (John Wayne) leaves America and returns to his native Ireland, where he falls for a spirited redhead (Maureen O’Hara) whose brother is contemptuous of their union.

Michael Collins 

Liam Neeson stars as Michael Collins, who we see lead a guerrilla war against the British, help negotiate the creation of the Irish Free State, and lead the National Army during the Irish Civil War.


A classic coming of age story set in 1979, where 13 year old Maeve Brennan tackles the painful terrain of being a teenager in suburban Dublin.

Angela’s Ashes

Because don’t we all love a bitta depression on Christmas Day? Based on the autobiography of Frank McCourt, the film follows Frankie and his family as they try against to escape the poverty endemic in the slums of pre-war Limerick.

Agnes Browne

Is mine the only dad who suggests watching this every Christmas? Left to support seven children alone after the sudden death of her husband, Agnes Browne (Angelica Houston) works her stall on Moore Street, is forced to borrow from loan sharks and has a boogie with Tom Jones.

What films do your family always reach for over Christmas?

Header image via Irish Cinephile


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