Not too many movies have been specifically made about St. Patrick's Day, but here are a few fun options for kids and families. Watching The Secret of Kells around St. Patrick's Days has become a tradition in our family. My kids were fascinated to learn about Ireland and Vikings, and they tried their hands at creating a page for an illuminated manuscript.
Photo © New Video Group
In this exquisitely animated tale set in eighth century Ireland, Viking raiders threaten to destroy the monastery where young Brendan has lived since the Vikings killed his parents. Brendan lives with his uncle, Abbot Cellach, and he is not generally allowed to leaeve the monastery walls. One day, a newcomer called Brother Aidan arrives and introduces Brendan to an important illuminated manuscript. With help from a wood fairy named Aisling, Brendan defeats the pagan god Crom Cruach and works to help get the manuscript completed. This film has some very scary scenes, and so is recommended for kids ages 7 and up. With Celtic looking patterns, and Irish setting and historical roots, it's not only a fascinating story, but also a great way to celebrate St. Patrick's Day and learn about things like Vikings, monasteries and illuminated manuscripts.
Photo © Disney
Darby O'Gill (Albert Sharpe) is a man with the Irish gift of gab who finds himself face-to-face with the magical little people, the leprechauns, in an underestimated Disney classic. Unexpectedly, one of the old storyteller's tall tales comes true when he captures the King of the Leprechauns, who must grant him three wishes. Unfortunately, all the wishes backfire in amusing, and sometimes frightening, ways.
Hallmark movie. A businessman (Quaid) rents a cottage on the magical Emerald Isle which happens to inhabit leprechauns and fairies. One night at a party, a young leprechaun falls in love with a fairy princess. Their forbidden romance starts a war between the mythical communities. The businessman is chosen by the Grand Banshee (Goldberg) to help bring peace to the island which propels him into a wondrously fantastic adventure. NR
Molly and her father have inherited a house in Ireland nicknamed "Misfortune Manor"(a house that brings misfortune to all residents). Soon Molly discovers a leprechaun living in the house, and she befriends him. Unfortunately he has no luck because he hasn't eaten a four-leaf clover in over a hundred years. When the bad luck begins to rub off on Molly, she gets into all kinds of trouble. She soon turns things around by growing a four-leaf clover so the leprechaun can use his magic. Rated G.
Twenty years after its opening on Broadway, the musical FINIANS RAINBOW made its debut on film thanks to Francis Ford Coppola. The movie stars Fred Astaire as Irishman Finian McLonergan, who steals a pot of gold from the leprechaun Og (Tommy Steele) and, with his daughter Sharon (Petula Clark), brings it to Rainbow Valley in the fictional southern state of Missitucky.
Although this DVD doesn't have clovers or leprechauns, Riverdance displays wonderful Irish dancing that will be fun and inspiring for kids. The Riverdance phenomenon has seen the show performed all over the world. This documentary on the popular musical follows its evolution, from its beginnings in Dublin up to its global success in places as diverse as New York City and Geneva.
30 minutes long, this movie is a "Rankin and Bass Productions Animagic" holiday special made for ABC television. Although it's technically a Christmas movie, it centers on Ireland and Leprechauns.
A man gets more than he bargained for when he tries to build a theme park on top of land that's secretly the home to friendly Leprechauns. Rated PG for some frightening moments and mild language.