Pot o’ Gold: 17 Irish Heroes


Hey everyone! Happy Saint Patrick’s Day!St-Patricks-Day-Flowers.jpg

So like I mentioned before, I wanted to do something to honor Saint Patrick’s Day but I didn’t really feel it was possible to do 17 posts about Irish-themed films as I wasn’t sure I could think of 17 films. Instead I decided to do something similar to the Chinese New Year Post and I am going to honor 17 awesome Irishmen and women from books and movies.

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17)Joseph Donnelly from Far and Away

Joseph Donnelly (Tom Cruise) is a poor Irishman, who after his father’s death could no longer pay the high rent. After his family farm is burned down, he goes off to take his revenge on the landlord Daniel Christie. That attempt fails, and by some strange coincidence he finds himself being a valet to Christie’s daughter Shannon on her voyage to America. What was thought as being a temporary arrangement becomes more permanant, as all of Shannon’s things are stolen and she finds herself becoming dependent on Joseph for survival. With the two masquerading as brother and sister they start working in the factories to earn enough money to buy land West. As the two continue to work in America they find out that their road West wil not be an easy one.

Why Joseph is awesome:

Now I love Tom Cruise in everything he is in; as I find him to be a superb actor and very good-looking. So of course I loved him in this. Besides the fact that he is played by Tom Cruise,  Joseph is a great character. Joseph is an amazing guy because of his patience and compassion. He cares for the spoiled Shannon, which is no easy feat. If I was Joseph I would have left that mean and spiteful thing to fend for herself. However, he eagerly tries to make her happy and when they reach their lowest point and Joseph cannot provide for her, he returns her to her family; sacrficing his love and happiness to save her life.

Besides that, he is hilarious. His “I do not wish to fight you” lines always leave me rolling with laughter. Plus you gotta love a tough scrapper.

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16)Fiona O’Shea from The Widow of Larkspur Inn

After the death of her husband, newly-widowed Julia Hollis finds herself being evicted from her home and losing everything. Her only option is to move herself and her three children, Philip, Adele, and Grace to the country side and turn the old Larkspur Inn into a lodging house. Aided by her butler and joined by her trusty maid and friend Fiona O’Shea, she sets out to try and secure a good life for herself and her family.

Why Fiona is awesome:

While Fiona isn’t the main character, she is one of the best ones in there. Fiona is a girl that has had many trials and tribulations, yet still has a caring, sweet demeneaor and a heart of gold. At a young age her father traded her to another man for a goat. Even though Fiona was legally married, her role in the household consisted of her being more of a slave than a wife. Forced to cook, clean, and care for his children; Fiona only hangs on through her faith in Christ. After she loses her child, Fiona bravely takes off for England in hopes of a better life. There she serves under Julia, becoming more than a servant; a best friend. Giving up the security of a job, she follows Julia to Larkspur Inn, knowing that without her help there Julia would never survive.

There at the hotel she becomes head housekeeper and cares for everyone who comes through the doors; helping all to feel loved and welcomed. She even goes to see the Keegans, and Irish family that is shunned by almost the entire village for being Irish and Catholic.

Through her kindness and compassion she is able to heal one of the lodgers, Mr. Ambrose Clay, an actor who suffers from depression. While the two love each other, Fiona remains true to her vows, and instead of risking any destruction to the progress made in Mr. Clay’s case; she leaves Larkspur Inn. Throughout the whole book Fiona’s compassion and selfishness makes you want to be just like her. In the end her husband dies and she and Mr. Clay are able to be reunited with each other and their old friends.

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15)Kyle Johnson from Luck of the Irish

Disney plays this film every March 17th, and I am so glad as it is hilarious. Kyle is the golden child; captain of the basketball team, straight-A student, and Lady Luck always seems to be smiling down at him. However that all changes when Kyle’s lucky coin is stolen from him. He then discovers that his mother’s family are leprechauns and that coin held their family luck, also allowing them to walk about the Earth looking like normal humans. With his mom shrinking, and him becoming shorter and more leperchauny ever minute, he sets out to track down the thief and restore his family luck.

Why Kyle is awesome:

I must confess that when I first watched this movie back in 2001 I had the hugest crush on Ryan Merriman, Smart House was one of my favorite DCOMs. Besides that, I always thought Kyle was cool because of how he grows as a person when things are no longer easy for him; we see a real strength of character and a heart of gold. When he finds the stolen coins, instead of taking them all, like his granda’ suggests, he just takes his, even though he could have been very lucky and wealthy. Then there are his mad dancing skills he exhibits in the competition against the evil Seamus McTiernen. But most of all it is when he passes the basketball to his friend in the last game, instead of making the shot he gives his friend the glory, something the old Kyle never would have thought of doing. Plus you have to admire his wittiness to sending Seamus  to Lake Erie, Ohio instead of Lake Eire, Ireland.

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14) Sean Thornton from The Quiet Man

The Quiet Man tells the story of Irish-American born Boxer Sean “Trooper Thorn” Thornton (John Wayne), returning to Ireland to regain his family land. What no one butFather Lonergan knows is that Thornton killed a man in the ring, and decided to give up boxing and fighting for good. While in Ireland Thornton falls for the feisty, traditional Mary Kate Danagher (Maureen O’Hara). Thornton wants to date her, but has to go through all the traditional methods of courtship, something extremely foreign to him.

Why Sean Thorton is awesome:

Just going to get it out of the way, but the fact that he is played by John Wayne earned him a spot on this list. But seriously, Thornton is awesome because while he feels all the rules of courtship and hoops he has to jump through are silly, he still does them because he loves Mary Kate and knows that it is what she wants. He lays down his pride to make her happy. Later when her brother is being spiteful and withholds  her dowry, he goes out to purchase everything she wanted with his own money. What an amazing guy! Of course Maureen O’Hara plays a spitfire who cannot see the goodness of Thornton’s actions as clearly as us movie audience members.

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13)Gerry from P.S. I Love You

After Holly’s husband Gerry dies of a brain tumor, she becomes so depressed that she doesn’t want to live anymore. To her surpise she begins recieving letters from Gerry, these letters that encourage her and eventually help her heal and move on in her life.

Why Gerry is awesome:

Besides being super sexy Gerald Butler, Gerry is the ultimate husband. How amazing is it that he spent so much of his last moments constructing all these messages to send his wife to help her after he was gone. Such a selfless man to be considering her needs above his.

Plus he also is an amazing singer! As if Phantom hadn’t told us that.

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12) Tom Branson from Downtown Abbey

Irish chauffer that wins the heart of the Earl’s youngest daughter Sybil. Hotheaded and very into politics and speaking his mind on the subject.

Why Branson is awesome:

At first I disliked Branson. Sybil was my favorite character and I felt that he wasn’t good enough for her as he was an anarchist and trying to free Ireland from the English’s rule through violence. But after the two marry and Sybil dies in childbirth I began to like him better. He became more subdued and realized that his destructive thoughts might not really be the best thing. He helped Matthew with the reforms on estate, utilizing his farming skills and helping the home flourish. One of the best things he does though, is stay with the family so they have full acess to baby Sybil. I mean it would have been so easy to be selfish and take the baby far away, but he knows that the rest of the family is hurting for their missing member and while Baby Sybil will never replace the hole her mother left, she can help repair it.

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11)Micky Ward from The Fighter

The Fighter is based on the story of Micky Ward. It chronicles his desires to become a big-time boxer, the struggle with his brother’s drug addiction, the trials of having his mother manage him, attempts at staying connected to his daughter, his developing relationship with Charlene Fleming, and his journey to reach the top.

Why Micky is awesome:

Ignoring the fact that he is played by Mark Wahlberg, Micky’s story is something that everyone can connect to. We all have the dream to make something of ourselves and here we have a man who kept trying and eventually did it. He had some hard times, he almost gave up, but in the end he kept on swingin’. The only travesty is that this film failed to win the oscar (I mean it was much better than The King’s Speech) along with the evil academy completely snubbing Wahlberg by nominating everyone but him. He totally should have recieved a nom.

I highly recommend it as it is a great movie with one amazing soundtrack.

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10)  Blarney Kilakilarney from A Leprechaun’s Christmas Gold

Blarney Kilakilarney is the leprechaun narrator of A Leprechaun’s Christmas Gold. In the film, young cabin boy, Dinky Doyl is shipwrecked on an uncharted, Irish, Leprercaun-filled island. As it is Christmas he searches the place for the perfect tree to cut down for his celebration. Unwittingly, when he chops that tree down he releases Old Mag the Hag, the evil banshee after the Kilakilarney clans’ gold. The wee folk with the help of Dinky must find a way to stop her.

Why Blarney Kilakilarney is awesome:

First of all Blarney is adorable. Look at his wee little spectacles and adorable little face. Besides that, he is kind and caring. Even though Dinky manages to make plenty of screw-ups, Blarney is merciful and doesn’t parade his mistakes or criticize him.  He’s the type of person one is always eager to have as a friend.

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9)Reilly O’Reilly from The Luck of the Irish

Reilly O’Reilly is the granda’ of Kyle in Luck of the Irish. To read about the plot of the film see above.

Why Reilly O’Reilly is awesome:

Well besides being a 200 year old leprechaun, he traveled to America a poor immigrant and worked hard to establish a sucessful potato chip factory. Not to mention he can play the flute, has a trunkful of shoes to repair, and glorious white beard that Gandalf and Dumbledore would be jealous of, and loves to follow rainbows. True he had a disagreement with his daughter over her marriage, but that all gets resolved in the end. Besides, he helps Bonny be able to play basketball by securing her an internship at his factory and getting her father off her back.

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8) Father Charles “Chuck” O’Malley from Going My Way

Going My Way tells the story of the young Priest, Father O’Malley clashing with the older Father Fitzgibbon in trying to help the church, Saint Dominic’s. At first Father Fitzgibbon hates the way Father O’Malley is running things, but in time sees that what Father O’Malley is doing is actually helping the church be stronger.

Why Father O’Malley is awesome

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, having this particular actor play the part just made the film. Bing Crosby is amazing as Father O’Malley, not just because of his singing voice but how he is able to put such excitement and energy into the chracter.  Father O’Malley not only cares for the children in his choir and the parishoners; but also for the older Father Fitzgibbon. He is there for everyone and always lends a helping hand.

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7)Banshee AKA Sean Cassidy from X-Men

Banshee is an Irish mutant that has a sonic scream that enables him to harm other’s auditory systems and create vibrations. These vibrations enable him to fly as they help propel him upward. He first joins the X-Men in 1975 when Xavier is recreating the team. Replacing Angel, the BeastIceman, and Marvel Girl  with Banshee, SunfireWolverine,  StormNightcrawlerColossus and Thunderbird. Only  Cyclops is the remaining original member. He later meets up with Dr. Moira MacTaggert and falls in love with her.

Why Banshee is awesome:

Being an X-men automatically makes you one of the cool crew. I mean if you haven’t read the comics then you can’t really understand how Banshee’s character is so likable. He’s just one of those characters you fall in love with. But stick to the orginal comics, the newer ones and alternate demensions always screw up the things you love.

They managed to do a pretty good job of representing him in the new X-Men movie, X-Men: First Class. My only problem was that they made him too young.

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6)Priest Vallon from Gangs of New York

While only in the first few minutes of the film, Priest Vallon sets up the rest of the plot. It is the year 1846 and the “Natives” (American born) are about to have a West Side Storyian type rumble with Dead Rabbits (Irish Catholic immigrants). The leader of the Natives is Bill the Butcher (Daniel Day-Lewis who I absolutely adore) and the leader of the Dead Rabbits being Vallon (Liam Neeson who is also amazing). Battle ensues and Vallon is killed by The Butcher. Vallon’s son Amsterdam (Leonardo DiCaprio) vows to avenge his father’s death.

Why Priest Vallon is awesome:

Hello, its LIAM NEESON! Dare I really say more? No, but really even though we only have a few minuets of him in the film, throughout it he is revealed to be an honorable man, kind, compassoniate, and super tough. Even if Amsterdam and Bill didn’t sing his praises throughout the film, you would still get the same sense of what a great man he is from those few scenes of him.

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5) Mr. Connors from Behind the Waterfall

Behind the Waterfall is a Feature Family Film, a company that creates film fit for the whole family. The movie is about two siblings, Tommy and his older sister Becky, who are sent to stay with their aunt for the summer after the death of their father. While they are there they met Irishmen Mr. Conners, who Tommy is convinced is a leprechaun and can bring their father back. With Mr. Conners’ help, the two kids come to terms with their father’s death and are able to move on.

Why Mr. Conners is awesome:

For an older man who really enjoys his privacy, he puts up with a lot of Tommy’s silly notions. He becomes a father figure to him and helps him see that while he can’t bring his father back, he can always carry him in his heart. Plus when Tommy is convinced that he is a leprechaun, Mr. Conners kind of plays along. By the end of it, he has you wondering if he really is a leprechaun or just an elderly man.

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4) Matthew Murdock AKA Daredevil from Daredevil 

Matthew Murdock is a young Irishman growing up in Hell’s Kitchen, New York City. After an encounter with radioactive substances (they fell off a moving truck) he loses his sight. From there on he is mentored on how to see the world through his other senses, gaining super sensitivity. After the death of his father he becomes a lawyer by day and superhero extradonaire by night.

Why Matt Murdock AKA Daredevil is awesome:

Well it’s DAREDEVIL! How is he not cool? Grew up in Hell’s Kitchen and despite that neighborhood and blindness, he is able to become a lawyer and superhero. While he can’t see, his other senses have heightened making him  truly terrible foe. I mean how much cooler can you get?

He totally does the whole Clark Kent thing too, but in a much less annoying way. (Pretends to be helpless so no one suspects his other identity.) Only Marvel could come up with a character this amazing. (I love DC, but in comparison Marvel has some much better superheroes.)

I must admit that though I absolutely love Ben Affleck, the Daredevil film was not as good as it could have been. Ben was amazing as Matt, but some of the other characters were poorly portrayed. And I hate how they kill off his amazing villain. I hate it when they kill off these super-awesome villains in the first movie! I mean, hello, don’t you think it would be better to keep them alive so they can be in the sequels?

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3)Stephen the Irishman from Braveheart

Braveheart tells the story of William Wallace‘s fight for freedom. After an English lord tries to rape his wife, and kills her; Wallace starts a rebellion against King Edward I of Englad (AKA Edward Longshanks). 

Why Stephen is awesome:

Stephen is an Irishman that Wallace comes across in the woods. While at first he seems a little addled he proves his mettle by killing an assain trying to murder Wallace. He ends up one of Wallace’s right hand men and is one the best and hilarious characters in the movie. One of the best scenes is when he convinces the conscripted Irishmen to fight on behalf of Scotland instead of England. King Edward I sends out the Irishman, and is extremely surprised to find that instead of fighting they are cordially greeting the Scottish.

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2) Marty McFly from Back to the Future 

I love Marty! Marty is sooooooooo awesome! The only reason he isn’t number one is because how could I put anyone over Saint Patrick in a Saint Patrick honoring post? That makes no sense.

Anyways, so Back to the Future is about a guy, Marty McFly, who accidentally goes back in time in a time machine built by his friend Emmet “Doc” Brown. When he gets there he accidentally changes the future by causing his parents to not meet. Now he has to get them back together so he can exist in the future.

Why Marty is Awesome:

Well first of all, Marty is played by Michael J. Fox, I mean already his level of awesomeness is through the roof. Michael J. Fox is just gorgeous and has an amazing voice. But I digress, well Marty is the essence of cool. He plays guitar, has his own band, wears great clothes, etc. He also is loyal friend and great guy. Others may see Doc as crazy, but Marty looks past all the rumors and befriends the eccentric guy. He is also brave, willing to take down those stronger than him and do some crazy stunts in order to protect the people he loves.

Now he isn’t without his faults, but that just makes you love him more as he just seems so real. He hates being disrespected which does cause him to do some stupid stuff. He also can give up easily on things, or try to take the easy way out; but these are all things he is working on. By the end of the trilogy we see a lot of growth in him as he has learned how to be a better person.

As you may have guessed by now, I love this film. It is my absolute fav so Marty is high in my best fictional guys list.

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1) Sucat AKA Patrick from Time Cat

So of course Patrick has to be number one on the list, after all the day is named after him. I mean how could I not put him first?

So the story of Time Cat is that Gareth, the cat, takes his master Jason on nine adventures through time. They travel from the ancient Egypt all the way to Colonial America. Along the way they stop in Ireland 411 BC

Why Patrick is Awesome:

In the story Patrick was a slave brought to Ireland and is one of the few to stand up to the evil magician Lugad, trying to control the king and retain a high position by utilizing the superstitions of the area to his best advantage. He’s smart, educated, brave, but also loyal. He saves Jason and Gareth from being killed and goes off to help everyone in Ireland.

“It’s a curious thing,’ he said, ‘but I have come to love this country even as a slave…I understand now what I must do…I shall go into the world…I shall learn and bring back what I learn. There shall be no more meed for magicians then.”–Time Cat, pg 70.

The real Saint Patrick actually did those things, going throughout Ireland teaching the gospel and helping educate people. In many of his sermons he used the three-leaf clover as a symbol of the Holy Trinity, that’s why it became such a symbol on his day. March 17th was when he died, and that is why we honor him, although it has lately become more as an excuse to get as drunk as you want.

I hope you all have a great holiday, and don’t forget to wear green! I always do as there are many out there who like to pinch the non-wearers.

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For the Previous holiday post go here.

For more on Back to the Future go to At the End of the Rainbow

For more on Braveheart go to My Favorite Movie Lines

For more on Downton Abbey go to There Are Some People…and Then There’s Me

For more on Far and Away go to It’s BACK

For more on Gangs of New York go to Episode IV: A New Favorite Movie Lines List

For more on X-Men go to Push All the Buttons!

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