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Jimmy's Hall - Ireland

I'm planning a trip to Ireland next year and am doing my best to learn all about it in advance of the trip. As part of that effort, I watched this film over the weekend and found it well worth the time.

As luck would have it, I also attended a class on Ireland at the Rick Steves Travel center in Edmonds on Saturday, where the class leader mentioned that most foreign visitors have little sense of Ireland's history, the discrimination and hard times that its people went through, and the legacy of those times that still has an impact on many Irish people.

This movie, a historical drama based on true events, was enjoyable in its own right but certainly helped me better understand what some Irish people went through during the Great Depression, struggling with the church, British occupying forces, and overcoming historic discrimination. Beautifully shot and with some great music, it reinforced my interest in going. Worth a look to help you "get it" about some of Ireland's history.

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Watch "Black 47" on Netflix. Very dark, powerful film about the Hunger, commonly known as the "potato famine." I quite frankly don't know why it is called a famine, because only one crop failed. There was an abundance of grain, dairy and meat raised in Ireland during those years and exported for profit. Unfortunately, the potato was the one crop the poor native Irish could raise cheaply and exist on. It truly was a starvation, not a famine, and it is a black mark on the English occupation of Ireland. In Gaelic it is known as "An Gorta Mor," the Great Hunger. Saw "Jimmy's Hall" at the Abbey Theater Dublin this Summer. Gives a good perspective on the times.