But then again, maybe you wouldn’t.

I watched a LOT of Irish movies over the past few weeks, in the hopes of finding a few to recommend for a fun St. Patrick’s Day family movie night. But I found that many them made me want to throw myself into the pit of despair.

Now, we listen to a lot of Irish folk music. And quite a few of our favorite songs have very serious subject matter. But while the melancholy of the lyrics of most Irish folk music is tempered by the cheerfulness of the tune, the sadness of most Irish movies is tempered by almost nothing. Those are some DE-pressing movies. Well made, but just achingly sad, and not so great for family entertainment. (As you may remember, I have a thing against depressing entertainment in general.)

But I persevered. I kept watching. I even ventured away from my beloved Netflix Streaming over to Amazon Instant Video and <gasp> a DVD. Eventually, I found that I had watched quite a wide selection of movies. And it turned out that I had found films for just about any age or mood or occasion, from lachrymose adults to giddy preschoolers. Each with their own particular strengths and weaknesses. Here’s the down-low, with my favorites towards the bottom . . .

Run and Jump (2013)

Why You Might Want to Watch It: You like Will Forte of Saturday Night Live. He is very impressive in this dramatic role. You love the heartbreaking middle part of the romance in Jane Eyre, but aren’t so fond of the mysteriously exciting beginning part, or the slightly awkward happy ending.

Why You Might Not: You don’t enjoy sympathetic portrayals of the idea of teenage homosexuality (no actual relationships). You don’t want to spend the rest of your life terrified that your husband will suffer a stroke.

Appropriate For: Not rated but grown ups only, for lots of adult subjects and situations, and infrequent coarse language.

Where to Find It: I watched it on Netflix.

My Left Foot (1989)

Why You Might Want to Watch It: You appreciate Oscar-worthy acting. This movie has two extraordinary performances. You enjoy positive portrayals of growing up in a big family. That was by far my favorite part of this movie. Although Christy is severely disabled, he has a really charming relationship with his siblings, and his mother is really inspiring. But HE is kind of a jerk.

Why You Might Not: You don’t like fake Hollywood-ized happy endings. This movie totally has one. The real story of Christy Brown, while very impressive, is also very sad. You like to know whether or not you like a character. I never really could figure out if I did.

Appropriate For: It’s rated R, mostly for language.

Where to Find It: I watched it on Netflix.

In Bruges (2008) 

Why You Might Want to Watch It: You like dark, violent, slightly-comedic movies, but prefer them to have a low body count. You prefer that hitmen be remorseful. Kinda, sorta happy endings are your favorite. You’ve always wanted to see a medieval Belgian town.

Why You Might Not: You can’t handle an almost constant barrage of bad words. You don’t like bad guys, or drug use, or making fun of little people, or Colin Ferrell.

Appropriate For: Rated R for violence, murder, drug use, and lots and lots of language.

Where to Find It: I watched it on Netflix.

The Secret of Kells (2009)

Why You Might Want to Watch It: It is extraordinarily beautiful to look at, and you like that sort of thing.

Why You Might Not: You don’t wish to find yourself at the end, disappointed and bewildered to realize that this ENTIRE movie not one time mentions that this book that has the power to bring people together is THE GOSPEL. It takes place in an Abbey. Its main characters are almost exclusively monks. It is about The Bible. But it has no Christian themes whatsoever. It’s all pagan legends and Irish nationalism. I could handle a combination of Christian and pagan references, but I found it unacceptable that Christianity was excluded.

Appropriate For: It’s not rated. My guess it that it would be a PG, rather than a G. There are some mystical scary parts, and some war violence. But the reason I’m not going to put it on for my kids is that it’s missing its heart. And I’m super-disappointed about it because, visually, I’ve never seen anything else like it.

Where to Find It: I watched it on Netflix.

The War of the Buttons (1994)

Why You Might Want to Watch It: You like an old-fashioned dramatic BOY adventure story, about a war between the kids of two neighboring villages. You don’t mind swearing as long as it’s not in American.You’re okay with a long scene of many naked little boy backsides. You like a happy ending.

Why You Might Not: You DO mind swearing in what seems like it’s supposed to be a kids’ movie, even though it doesn’t really sound like swearing to American ears. There is also a scene of a heated family argument, that ends with watching the shadow of a boy being hided by his father.

Appropriate For: My family watched this one together. The boys loved it, the girls not so much. The whole thing is somehow really charming and really intense at the same time. It’s not rated, but it’s at least PG, maybe even PG-13 for its language, perilous situations, and the nudity thing (which was a really cute scene, actually).

Where to Find It: We watched it on Amazon. Only the French-made version is available on Netflix. I’m sure it’s still cute. But it’s much less Irish.

Waking Ned Divine (1998)

Why You Might Want to Watch It: You liked Weekend at Bernie’s but you wished it was about old Irish people. Or, you’re just in the market for a charming, silly movie.

Why You Might Not: You watched War of the Buttons, and really don’t think you’re up for any more naked Irish backsides. Because this movie has one, too. You don’t like movies that celebrate wrongdoing.

Appropriate For: It’s rated PG, but I’d say grown ups only. I’m sure some people would disagree with me, but I just don’t think this is a movie that would be enjoyable for or appropriate for kids. It’s got a lot of complicated adult themes like lying, and cheating, and having children out of wedlock. And I found the resolution of the “problem” of the movie to be really shocking and disturbing, although it is meant to be funny. Overall the movie is cute, but I was really uncomfortable with that particular part.

Where to Find It: I watched it on Amazon.

The Wind That Shakes the Barley (2006)

Why You Might Want to Watch It: You want to understand what all those Irish folk songs are really about. You always wondered what it would be like if Tommy from Peaky Blinders suffered some sort of head trauma and ended up a tenderhearted but very principled country doctor.

Why You Might Not: You don’t have a couple of hours to spare after watching it, to just curl up in a ball and cry.

Appropriate For: History buffs, Peaky Blinders junkies. It’s not rated, but I would guess it’s PG-13, for war violence and torture.

Where to Find It: I watched it on Netflix, but as of 2016 it’s not on there anymore. I’m not seeing it on Amazon either.

Leap Year (2010)

Why You Might Want to Watch It: You’re looking for a romantic comedy.

Why You Might Not: You’re looking for anything else but that.

Appropriate For: Women. It’s rated PG and is surprisingly sweet and wholesome, and I loved the ending. It’s actually an American movie about an American girl in Ireland, which would account for its lack of melancholy, I suppose. But a side plot is the main character’s plans to move in with her current boyfriend, which seems like it would be worm-can-opening for young people in my house. And it’s really not the husband’s kind of movie. So, for me, this is a sick-day, or girlfriends’ movie night, or husband-out-of-town-type watch.

Where to Find It: I watched it on Amazon, but as of 2016 it’s on Netflix too.

The Secret of Roan Inish (1994)

Why You Might Want to Watch It: You’re looking for a VERY Irish movie, full of stories and myths and legends. You think it would be nice to see a little girl go and live with her grandparents and have them turn out to be . . . nice.

Why You Might Not: I can’t imagine why you wouldn’t. It’s really sweet. And it has a no kidding happy ending. In an IRISH movie.

Appropriate For: All ages. The family watched this one together as well, and everyone liked it, though the boys thought it was a bit slow. It’s rated PG, but I can’t remember any language or scary parts.

Where to Find It: I ordered it on DVD
, it’s really cheap.

The Quiet Man (1952)

Why You Might Want to Watch It: You DO want to watch it because it’s just brilliant, and it’s John Wayne. There are so many great quotable lines in this movie.

Why You Might Not: It’s got kind of a Taming of the Shrew-thing going on, which might bother some folks. Maybe you just can’t do classic American cinema (shot on location in Ireland).

Appropriate For: It’s rated G, but it’s really not a movie for kids. There’s plenty of allusion to consummating marriages and whatnot. The husband and I watched it together on Valentine’s Day and really loved it.

Where to Find It: We watched it on Netflix.

Darby O’Gill and the Little People (1959)

Why You Might Want to Watch It: Oh you DO. You definitely do want to watch this. It’s got singing and dancing and fiddling and leprechauns, and perfectly hilarious special effects, and YOUNG SEAN CONNERY . . . SINGING.

Why You Might Not: I don’t know, maybe you hate cheesy old movies? Just don’t tell me about it. I want us to be able to still be friends.

Appropriate For: Our whole family watched it, even the preschoolers. The kids LOVED it, but it does have some pretty scary parts involving a spooky banshee. Anita had to move in very close next to Jack during that part. But if your kids can handle the scariness of the more intense Disney cartoons, they could probably handle this movie.

Where to Find It: We watched it on Amazon.

And that’s my honest opinion. But this is a sponsored post.

What have I missed? Do YOU have any favorite Irish movies?