| Check out some of the magical moments from previous tours.
|Ride the whole coast of Ireland in ten days!.
|Our west of Ireland
tours take in some of the smallest, most remote, most scenic
but most importantly, safe roads in the country.
|We use proper aluminium touring
bikes with front end and rear bags for your stuff for the
wallet, SUN LOTION! Plus all our tours have their own support
| Here's a few movies we suggest
you watch before coming to Ireland....
|We have so many great pictures
from ours tours, here's your chance to use them as a screen
|Irish Movie Reviews
|Darby O'Gill and the Little People
See Sean Connery in his early years
one of Walt Disney's most personal pet projects, Darby O'Gill shows the effort
and care put into it. Even now the special effects hold up shockingly well.
Darby O'Gill is an estate caretaker, but in his advanced years he's more fond
of telling tall tales in the local pub about the wee folk than keeping the
grounds. A new man (a very youthful Sean Connery) is sent in to take his place,
and O'Gill doesn't know what will become of himself and his daughter. He snags
three spectacular opportunities, however, when he catches the king of the leprechauns.
This film is whimsical without being silly, supernatural without being outlandish,
and all and all a treat for the whole family.
I Went Down
Gleason at his funniest
one ex-con who owes a mobster a favour. Add one tough thug.
Give them a mission... well give them half a mission and
let them figure out the rest. That's the basic premise
of I Went Down, Ireland's latest offering about crime,
life and learning how to survive.
Peter McDonald plays Git Hynes, who is recently out of
prison when he falls into trouble with mobster, Mr. French
(played by Tony Doyle). To make things right, Git is teamed
up with Bunny Kelly (played by Brendan Gleeson of Braveheart,
Michael Collins, The Snapper and others) to go and retrieve
French's old friend, Frank Grogan. When this pair finally
gets to Grogan, the film really takes off. Git discovers
he is expected to kidnap Grogan. He didn't know from the
start? No, and that's part of I Went Down's charm. Deeds
that Git would never have done are thrust upon him at the
last moment. Grogan is a talkative hostage who works his
way into the hearts of his kidnappers, making this more
than just a simple job for them.
I Went Down has much the same feel as other UK films in
recent years (The Commitments, The Full Monty and Trainspotting
come to mind). As the hoods lurch from one misadventure
to another, the film takes unpredictable turns, keeping
us abreast of the plot as it happens in a fresh and entertaining
way. The film starts in a very different place from where
it ends, and you really can't tell where it's going to
go, until you're pretty much right there. Credit should
go to Conor McPherson for a screenplay that instils us
with empathy and concern, without taking the rough edges
off of the movie's characters. Equally important are the
strong performances that pull off this great script.
In the Name of the Father
This movie will touch you deep
the Name of the Father is about innocent people convicted
of crimes and sentenced heavily; even when their innocence
is known to the police (the real guilty person confesses),
there is a cover-up until it is exposed by a dedicated
The story is based on real-life happening, and in and
of itself it's not that spectacular. But it does serve
as a reminder of how the so-called "system of justice" can
be twisted, perverted, and made into a travesty to suit
certain people's needs.
It is, in particular, a story of the British system of
justice (or lack thereof) as the lawyer (I believe) says: "This
brings into question our entire system of justice".
And that it does. We have heard countless numbers of incidents
involving police brutality and injustice, but yet we turn
a blind eye for the most part because we rationalise by
thinking the system does more good than bad. But that's
not an excuse for continuing with an imperfect system.
In fact, at the end of the movie, it says that none of
the police involved in this case were disciplined! That
is completely ridiculous---law-makers and law-enforcers
are in no way beyond the law. But again, we know of several
instances (I have seen several instances personally) where
law makers do constantly break the law. I am quite sure
a lot of people, at some point in their lives, have been
through experiences that made them think about the legal
system. I suppose it does depend on your lifestyle, but
the point is that it shouldn't! As long as you're innocent,
you're innocent. You cannot be bullied into submission
(which happens during the movie).
But why should this not be? Is it not human nature to
want to be right all the time? Most people who accomplish
something usually are of the type that they form an opinion
about something and it takes a lot to shake that opinion.
We see this happen constantly, even in the scientific world
where researchers push their pet theories. Some people
even pervert the facts (sometimes incidentally, and sometimes
intentionally) in order to achieve their goals. It is these
sorts of people that we have in the legal systems around
the world. Some systems are worse than others, but the
basic problem is the same. So given this type of people
in our judicial and governmental, we are always going to
have cases of innocent people being persecuted. The system
will be proportionally twisted to the degree of corruption
in a society.
Personal philosophy aside, we need cases such as these
to be more open. I don't believe a cop's word should have
more weight than the testimony of 3-4 witnesses. Clearly
the jury system is flawed because in today's age it's hard
to believe that any jury would not be informed of the crime
and form their own opinions. Of course, the media doesn't
help things much either. We have recently seen at least
one case (and perhaps another) where the person was judged "guilty" by
certain organisations even before it was proven in court.
People who serve on the Jury should be more rigorously
chosen, based on their background and beliefs. In particular,
people who take courses in logic might help. Seriously,
in the movie, as people were being accused of certain crimes,
it was shown how ridiculous it was. Yet, the Jury, in the
heat of the moment, was easily swayed. A larger jury might
help. This can be mediated by computers, which I think
should be used to store information about cases and such
and this information should be available for all.
Finally, one of the main reasons that these people were
kept in prison even though they were found innocent is
because of a cover-up of the people in power. Such cover-ups
should be punished just as a common criminal would be (yes,
we saw this happen during the Iran-Contra affair). Such
cover-ups should not be allowed. The public should have
access to this information and it should be done in a complete
manner. That is, there should not be a superficial layer
of information just for the "public", but rather
any and all information should be made free. What problems
can this cause? Of course, the first issue that's raised
is the issue of national security. But I think this really
has little effect on most cases. I don't it mattered at
all in this particular case, and in general doesn't (pointing
to the numerous innocent persecutions simply due to age,
appearances, etc.). Some might object that this is an invasion
of the convicted person's privacy. When you take away a
person's freedom for a crime---I don't see why privacy
should be protected.
But all the latter solutions dance around the issue. It
hides what happens before cases come to court. There is
always injustice as what determines a person's actions
at a particular time is influenced by various unrelated
factors such as personal arguments and problems. In fact,
I've heard it said many times that the world would be a
better place if "men" weren't in charge simply
because it seems like they allow their hormones rule over
their better judgement. I've also heard remarks that people
in power are sexually frustrated and thus they end up acting
the way they do. Perhaps this has some truth to it, but
it doesn't matter. People in power are prone to commit
injustice, but it passes by unnoticed for the most part
since they do it under a thin veil.
The way such injustice can be eradicated is by demolishing
the current foundations of our existing systems that give
power over other subjective individuals and thus naturally
creating a system where everyone is judged equally and
fairly (albeit from a subjective perspective).
State is the name of the coldest of all cold monsters.
Coldly it tells lies too; and this lie crawls out of its
mouth: ``I, the state, am the people.'' That is a lie!
It was creators who created peoples and hung a faith and
a love over them: thus they served life. --Nietzsche, Thus
Into The West
The wee fella singing on Grafton street
.classic movie moment.
the West is the touching story of two young boys in search
of an easier and simpler life.
John Rielly, who's wife, Mary, dies while delivering their
second child, has been forced to bring up the two boys,
Tito and Ozzie, by himself. This has become an increasingly
difficult task as John has turned to the bottle to help
drown his sorrows. The young boys basically fend for themselves,
spending a lot of time with their grandfather, a "Traveller".
Their whole family has stemmed from Travellers, who are
similar to Gypsies, but when Mary died, John decided to
settle down with the boys.
One day the grandfather returns to camp with a beautiful
white stallion following him and his wagon. No one is able
to come close to the animal except for Ozzie, the youngest
boy. Around the campfire that evening the story of Teninok
is told. Teninok is an old myth about a land of eternal
youth, with the hero having a beautiful white stallion.
Ozzie believes this story and names the white horse Teninok.
That evening the boys bring the horse home to their apartment.
It isn't long before the authorities come and take the
horse away from the boys, as horses are not allowed in
the building. When John goes to the courthouse to get his
boys' horse back, he is denied the horse and is threatened
by one of the policemen. We soon find out that the policeman
that threatened John has actually taken the horse and sold
it to a wealthy horseman. Ozzie and Tito are crushed when
they realize that their horse is gone and are determined
to get him back.
One day as the boys are in the local store, they see their
Teninok on television being groomed for a prestigious upcoming
event. The boys take off to the stables where their horse
is being held and proceed to steal him back. Unfortunately,
they have been video taped in this act and now the whole
town is turned up-side-down in search of the boys and the
Animal action is throughout this period piece as the story
revolves around the horse, who is ridden much of the time.
In the beautiful opening and closing scenes Teninok is
seen galloping up and down the waters edge on the beach
at dusk. In one scene several riders are trying to get
their horses to jump over a bonfire in the campsite. All
of the horses approach the fire but refuse to jump. Teninok,
who has been standing at a distance, suddenly bolts towards
the fire with Ozzie on his back. He gallops across the
campsite, jumping and clearing the bonfire.
When the boys take Teninok to the apartment, they ride
the horse into the elevator and transport him to the second
floor, where he exits the elevator and enters the apartment.
One of the neighbours calls the authorities on the Reillys'
and reports them for having a horse in the apartment. When
the authorities arrive, they storm in and try to take the
horse. They also try to administer a tranquilizer to the
animal. Teninok goes wild. He runs around the small room
in circles, whinnying, rearing, jumping up on the furnishings
and breaking them, and finally kicking out one of the walls
with his back feet. Ozzie is finally able to control the
animal, who is lead out of the apartment building to the
waiting police transport vehicle. Teninok gets half way
up the ramp, then turns around and runs in the opposite
direction, jumping over a police car that is in his path.
Again, Ozzie sooths the horse and he is taken away in the
In one scene the boys are riding through the countryside
on Teninok when they see several fox hunters on horseback
with their dogs on the horizon. The boys take off, believing
that the men and dogs are after them. They run in and out
of the trees, jumping and leaping, finally stopping to
hide in the branches of one of the trees. The dogs approach
the tree and begin barking excitedly. The camera pans to
the left where we see that the dogs are actually barking
at a fox in the very same tree. The fox crawls out on a
branch and darts off, escaping immediate danger from the
hounds and allowing the boys and Teninok to escape also.
As the boys continue on their journey, they stop in a
small town for some rest and nourishment. They aren't old
enough to rent a room so they come up with a plan to sneak
into the movie house after it has closed and sleep there.
Ozzie goes into the movies, leaving Tito and Teninok outside
until everyone has gone. While Ozzie watches the movie,
a storm moves into town forcing Tito and Teninok to weather
the elements as they wait for their relief. Ozzie is finally
able to let the waiting pair into the theater. Once they
are inside they proceed to raid the snack bar. The three
of them eat popcorn and watch movies until they fall asleep.
When morning comes, a woman opens the theater. This awakens
Teninok, who is lying on the floor asleep. He whinnies
and nudges the woman who screams, awakening the boys. Tito
and Ozzie jump on Teninok's back and they flee the movie
house. As they run down the streets of the town, they jump
over a baby carriage being pushed by a woman.
They make it out of town safely, only to find that they
are being pursued by men with tracking dogs and men on
horseback. A chase ensues and the boys and Teninok find
a hiding place under a waterfall at the top of an incline.
The boys stay there until the men retreat.
They sneak out of the waterfall only to realize that they
are being searched for via helicopter. The helicopter circles
the wooded area where they are hiding and finally catches
a glimpse of them. Teninok bolts out of the woods and up
a steep ridge. They are surrounded by a steep drop. The
helicopter moves away and Teninok heads for the ocean.
The chase is now on. Police cars, helicopters and men with
dogs are all after them. Teninok, with Ozzie on his back,
heads straight into the water. He swims out until he can
no longer be seen. You see a woman's hand in the water
saving Ozzie and you realize the spirit of the boys' mother
had been in the horse. In one closing scene Teninok is
seen through the flames of a burning wagon like a vision.
Other animals are seen briefly throughout the film.
Collins in Ireland's most controversial, but interesting historical figures.
Watch this movie
hero Michael Collins invented urban guerrilla warfare.
Today we'd call it terrorism.
It's a dark legacy and an irony not lost on Collins' admirers,
although they insist he never endorsed killing innocents.
One admirer is Neil Jordan, writer-director of this film
about a savage but charismatic icon of Irish history.
The failed Easter Uprising of 1916 landed Collins in prison
along with his best friend Harry Boland (Aidan Quinn) and
Eamon De Valera (Alan Rickman).
As the British escalated efforts to crush the rebellion,
Collins created a fierce strike force to assassinate British
agents and enforce internal discipline. He also fell in
love with Boland's girl, Kitty Kiernan (Julia Roberts).
His tactics forced the British to the negotiating table,
but he could not win true independence. His failure touched
off a civil war that set him against Boland and De Valera.
The film suggests that, when the 31-year-old Collins was
assassinated in 1922, he was secretly trying to end the
Mr. Jordan has said he never imagined anyone in the lead
role but Liam Neeson. His faith was well-placed. Physically,
Mr. Neeson is sturdy and energetic as a street brawler,
with a face both boyish and haunted. Emotionally, he fills
the screen with restrained passion, a man who seems at
once on fire and in tears.
Mr. Neeson's performance is matched by the finely detailed
look and feel of Mr. Jordan's direction, and the melancholy
Dublin he has re-created.
My Left Foot
A true story, but not exactly easy viewing
Left Foot (1989) is a multi-award-winning film tells the
story of cerebral palsy victim Christy Brown (played by
best actor Oscar-winner Daniel Day-Lewis), who foiled his
devastating disease to the point where he taught himself
to write and paint with his left foot. Brenda Fricker and
Fiona Shaw play the strong women in his life.
Mitchum at, some say his best
Ryan's Daughter is David Lean's most underrated yet best work, far superior
to Lawrence of Arabia and Doctor Zhivago. New prints 35mm in Australia have
shown it's beauty and tenderness which the other two lack and provides audiences
a change to see this masterpiece as it should be seen, in the cinema. Ryan's
Daughter should and must be produced on DVD as it would be the only way to
view in your home.
Robert Mitchum gave his best performance and is often overlooked in favour
of the masterful and excellent British cast. Sarah Miles also reached her peak
with her turn as Rosy, women just don't get parts like this anymore. If you
love movie making and a superb love story with a reality edge, give it another
look or check it out for the first time, you won't be sorry.
I put Ryan's Daughter in my TOP 10!!
Put the Surround Sound on
.And turn it up!
Alan Parker sure can film a modern musical, with such classics as Fame, The
Wall and Evita among his credits. We can now add one more movie to that elite
list- The Commitments.
Based on a rollicking novel by Irish author Roddy Doyle, The Commitments crackles
with energetic performances by a young and virtually unknown cast of Irish
actors and musicians. Parker spent months auditioning local talent, eventually
putting together a believable mix of musicians who could act and actors who
could play instruments. With few exceptions, the music produced for the movie
was rendered by the movie cast themselves, which is quite a rareity in many
The movie centers around a young slacker from North Dublin named Jimmy Rabbite,
played by singer/actor Robert Arkin. Jimmy has aspirations of entering the
management side of the music business, but for now can only supplement his
unemployment check with under-the-table sales of cassettes and t-shirts. The
Rabbite family, whose adventures are chronicled in other Roddy Doyle novels,
are tolerant of Jimmy's ambitious nature, but quietly wish he would 'find himself'
sooner rather than later.
After agreeing to manage two wedding band performers, Jimmy senses an opportunity
to create a real band consisting of the talent surrounding him. After auditioning
what seems like an entire village of would-be rock stars, the nucleus of what
would soon become a band is formed. By a curious stroke of luck, a former session
trumpeter who has alledgedly played with all the great Soul musicians learns
of the band, and offers his services. Although a bit skeptical of the man's
musical history, Jimmy readily agrees to include him in the fold.
The movie then follows the band from its first frightfully bad rehearsal through
its final, triumphant showcasing at the local club. Led by an astounding lead
vocalist named Deco Cuffe (16 year old Andrew Strong in a breakout performance),
the band slowly develops a very tight sound, with many covers of songs by Otis
Redding, James Brown, Aretha Franklin and Wilson Pickett. The musical numbers
alone make this film worth watching over and over again, although some of the
numbers are cut for dramatic purposes.
The only movie that compares to The Commitments in terms of sheer energy and
rambunctious humor would be the John Landis film The Blues Brothers. Both movies
feature great Soul and R&B covers, with first-class musicians playing their
hearts out. But where the Blues Brothers became a car chase movie with music
thrown in, Parker keeps the Commitments low-keyed and introspective. Parker
gives us unflinching glimpses into the gritty, black collar lives of the band
members, which add a palpable atmosphere of desperation to their performances.
The dialogue is course and brutal at times, tinged with both savage humor and
complete honesty. These characters can see the handwriting on the wall, but
still maintain their own dignity right until the final curtain.
The Commitments will thrill you with breathtaking performances by both Andrew
Strong and the trio of female singers known as the Commitmentettes. If you've
ever wondered what really happened to that local band you once enjoyed hearing,
The Commitments is your movie. A love of music held these young people together
long enough to create magic but, as one character points out to a dejected
Jimmy Rabbite, success of the band was truly irrelevant. Their expectations
of life were lifted, and that is the true legacy of the Commitments as a band.
Truer words were never spoken
Do not get on the wrong side of The Bull McCabe
central character of this Irish tragedy set in the 1930's is Bull McCabe. As
his name implies, he's the strong and stubborn patriarch of a family that has
leased a grassy field where their cattle have grazed for many years. Passionate
about the land, McCabe regards this field as his birthright and his son has
harassed the widow-owner into relinquishing it. When the widow puts the land
up for auction, McCabe is confident it will be his at last, until an American
businessman seeking his Irish roots challenges McCabe for the field. The two
become locked in mortal combat and unleash a series of tragedies.
The Field opens and closes with graphic animal scenes. In the opening a dead
donkey is dropped from a cart over the edge of a cliff into the ocean. An underwater
close-up shows the donkey falling through the water. The donkey was not real,
but constructed of fiberglass. During the film's climax, cattle and sheep are
run over a steep cliff falling to their deaths on the shoreline below. This
scene was shot in cuts. A camera was set in a shallow two foot ditch and the
animals were filmed jumping over the ditch. In another shot, a few animals
were filmed in slow motion falling through the air. Another scene shows several
dead animals lying on the water's edge below the cliff. According to the producer,
these animals were sedated by veterinarians and recovered fully.
You'll laugh. And laugh
The Snapper refers to the baby of a young girl, who gets
pregnant during a drunken episode. The girl, who is a daughter
in an Irish family, has to bear the responsibility for
the baby alone, as the father is not around. The story
is empathic and takes you through, although in a somewhat
unrealistic way, the family's and society's reaction to
an unwed pregnant female. The family is, in general, supportive.
Her friends and neighbours aren't that supportive, particularly
when they find out who she was made pregnant by. It's a
funny movie with some good acting, and it was a refreshing
chance of pace from the action movies I have been seeing
this summer. Colm Meaney, who's Chief O'Brien in Star Trek:
The Next Generation, plays one of the lead roles. I highly
recommend seeing this one.
"You were drunk! How do you know he was Spanish Sailor?
He could've been a Pakistani Postman!" ---Dessie Curley,
in The Snapper
"The Van" is the last installment of the Irish
Barrytown chronicles that started with "The Commitments" and
continued with "The Snapper". It's the weakest
of the three, but that's like saying the Krups diamond
is smaller than the Hope diamond. Once again, cherub-faced
Colm Meany is along as Larry, in this funny, bittersweet
story about mixing friendship and business.
We pick up the story with Larry finding his best friend,
Bimbo weeping at the local pub. Bimbo's just been made
redundant, Brit-speak for laid-off. This leaves him with
a lump-sum settlement but no chance at future employment.
He turns into an emotional rag doll, so Larry takes him
under his wing, showing him the ropes of being unemployed,
things like golfing, rain or shine, and how to make an
informed decision when choosing which game show to watch.
Although Larry's long ago settled into his househusband
role, Bimbo chafes at it. He hits on the idea of a fish
and chips van with Larry as his partner. From distinctly
unpromising beginnings, both families pitch in, and before
you can say haddock, Larry and Bimbo are living if not
the good, at least the better life, feeding the masses
and outrunning the health inspector.
Armed with a ferocious good nature, Larry gets away with
occasionally acting as though he were sole proprietor.
It takes Bimbo's wife to stir things up. And this is the
where the film goes wrong. Credit screenwriter Roddy Doyle
with knowing that the story needed a conflict to keep going,
but he dropped the ball with this setup. When Bimbo's wife
announces that she doesn't like Larry and Larry doesn't
like her, it's a bombshell from left field. Maybe it worked
better in his novel. Still, Doyle and director Stephen
Frears, of "The Grifters" fame, have an unfailing
knack for capturing the quirky rhythms of Larry's adventures.
And watching Meany go from complacent drone to overbearing
oaf is a treat. Whether receiving commeupance for thinking
potato chips are a proper dinner for his granddaughter,
or delving into the mysteries of a deep-fried cod, his
malleable face is a three-volume novel of bemusement. Despite
its weak points, "The Van," did more than make
me crave french fries, it made me hope for another installment
of Meany in Barrytown.
© 1997 o Andrea Chase o Air Date: 6/18/97
Waking Ned Devine
Warning! Gratuitous nudity
in the tiny town of Tulaigh Mohr, population 52, has won
Ireland's seven-million-pound national lottery but the
question is who?
Such is the premise for "Waking Ned Devine",
a hilarious film that lightly explores the prospects of
sudden wealth. Filmed on the breathtakingly beautiful Isle
of Man, this charming film is blessed with a swift pace,
a strong story, gifted actors and a strict focus. (Are
you listening, Hollywood?)
Jackie, played by the robust Ian Bennen, salivates at
the idea of lining up the numbers just so. He and his wife,
Annie, played by the becoming Finnola Flanagan, dream of
the day when the jackpot is theirs and life changes forever.
The first half of the film is a process of elimination
as Jackie, Annie and their best pal, Michael, played by
the very game, David Kelley, go about deducing who the
lucky winner might be. Just to be sure that their position
is clear, they become the most generous and loving pals
to every town member suspected of being a closet millionaire.
After spotting a few pints and throwing dinner parties,
they bring suspicion upon themselves.
In the cinematic realm, there exist rare scenes that are
instant classics - you know upon first sight that a creaky
Hall-of-Fame door will open somewhere just to welcome this
sudden gem. In "Waking Ned Devine" there is such
a scene and it includes an old motorcycle and one very
flustered and very naked elderly gentleman. The audience
was literally screaming with hysterical laughter, myself
included. Bravo, David Kelley, for really giving us your
. . . everything.
There are two charming sub-plots in the film that play
nicely with one another. In one, two men vie for the hand
of a beautiful single mother, Maggie. The first is a shallow
ladies man and the other is an honest pig farmer. She loves
the farmer but can't quite get past the smell despite his
efforts with fruity soaps.
Then there is the nine-year-old boy, Maggie's son, who
strikes up a philosophical friendship with the young priest
filling in for the village's vacationing clergyman. In
a beautiful and subtle twist, the boy emerges as the wise
guide to the holy man's naÔve sufferings. In the
final scene, we learn more about the boy's background and
then it all makes complete divine sense.
The best thing about "Waking Ned Devine" is
that one can't decide what the best thing is. Clever and
unpredictable, funny and endearing, level and unpreachy, "Waking
Ned Devine" is a joy.