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In brief

Quintessentially Irish : Prince Albert II stars in new documentary

The film features some of Ireland’s most beautiful landmarks and famous exports - and expats! © Vision films, screenshot from film

What do Prince Albert II, Usain Bolt, President Biden and Jeremy Irons have in common? Well, none of them were born in Ireland for one thing, but they all star, along with many other well-known cultural and political figures, in a brand-new documentary about the country.

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After his Quintessentially British, director Frank Mannion set out to capture what it means to be Irish. Far from the clichés of shamrocks and leprechauns, the film takes us on a tour of the Emerald Isle, showcasing its many fabulous sights, and exploring the origins of certain facets of Irish life, including horse racing, whiskey, Gaelic football, the Irish character, and, of course, Guinness. 

Influential, famous and sometimes surprising interviewees

The Irish certainly have a good rep’. They are universally recognised as fun-loving and friendly, which perhaps explains why so many people, including world leaders, are keen to claim a connection.

So, while some of the people featured in the film are Irish born and bred, others have more, shall we say, indirect links to the Emerald Isle.

Mannion enlists the help of some of the world’s most influential and well-known people, including Bond star Pierce Brosnan (a US citizen but born in Navan), Bob Geldof, Sharon Horgan, Oscar winner Jeremy Irons, and Prince Albert II of Monaco, who discusses the Irish heritage of his mother, Princess Grace, née Grace Kelly.  Did we say no shamrocks? OK, we forgot about the Sovereign’s tie…

No fewer than three heads of state contributed to the project. As well as Prince Albert II, the Irish President Michael D Higgins is interviewed. U.S. President Joe Biden , a proud Irish-American whose family, like the Kelly family, is from County Mayo, granted Mannion and his team exclusive access to the White House on St. Patrick’s Day, and they also filmed in the Prince’s Palace of Monaco and the Presidential Mansion in Dublin during Biden’s 2023 State visit.

Bet you’re still wondering about Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt … well, there’s a little spoiler in the trailer about his connection to Ireland. By the same token he could possibly claim a link to Monaco, but perhaps we’ll explore that another time!

A valentine to all things great and Irish

Frank Mannion, Director

Mannion says of his ‘valentine to all things great and Irish’ : “Quintessentially Irish reflects the modern reality that Ireland is much more than clichéd representations of leprechauns… The country has a renewed national self-confidence that is reflected in the thrilling mix of a new generation of artists and novelists.”  He also mentions the inward investment provided by location filming, for Game of Thrones among others, and by big tech. 

“There are 23 million Americans who claim Irish heritage and six million Brits with an Irish grandparent. They are our target audience… Hopefully, audiences will feel that Quintessentially Irish is the perfect film to watch this Saint Patrick’s Day,” he adds.  

The film is due to be released in American cinemas, as well as on major online platforms, just ahead of this year’s St. Patrick’s Day, but not until April in the UK and Ireland. A DVD release is also scheduled.