‘Black 47’ Kicks Off Virgin Media Television’s Season of Irish Film

Virgin Media Television is to broadcast a season of Irish Film, including IFTA winning hits ‘Black 47’ and ‘Cardboard Gangsters’, as part of its continued support of Irish Film and Drama, to coincide with the Virgin Media Dublin International Film Festival.

The season of Irish Film starts this Friday and features a host of acclaimed Irish movies includinga Circle of Friends, Watermelon, as well as supporting new and emerging Irish talent with previous Royal Television Society Ireland Student Award winning short films Starry Night, Looking For and Backwater. Last year’s Virgin Media Discovers Short Film winner, Innocent Boy, directed by John Connors, will also feature.

Bill Malone, Director of Content, Virgin Media Television said: “Supporting Irish film and drama has been a key strategy for Virgin Media Television and our season of Irish film celebrates Ireland’s remarkable success in this industry internationally.

“This season of Irish Film provides the opportunity to broadcast new and emerging short film-making talent side by side with some of the most successful Irish films of recent years. Supporting the Irish creative sector is vital, particularly now during these challenging times.”

Below is the full list of VMTV’s season of Irish programming: 

Black 47

Freddie Fox, Hugo Weaving and Barry Keoghan in Black 47, directed by Lance Daly.

Friday 26th February, Virgin Media One at 9.30pm
(2018) This must-see revenge thriller picked up an award for the Best Feature at last year’s IFTAs. Set in Ireland during the Great Famine, the drama follows an Irish Ranger who has been fighting for the British Army abroad, as he abandons his post to seek revenge on those responsible for the death of his family. Starring Stephen Rae, Hugo Weaving, and James Frecheville.

Hugo Weaving and James Frecheville in Black 47, directed by Lance Daly.

Jimmy’s Hall

Sunday 28th February, Virgin Media Three at 10.15pm
(2014) Jimmy’s Hall tells the true story of Leitrim farmer Jimmy Gralton, the only Irishman deported from his own country. His crime was to build a dance hall where he encouraged the local community to learn, to argue and to dream, but above all to dance and have fun.

As the hall grew in popularity its free-spirited reputation brought it to the attention of the church and politicians who forced Jimmy to flee and the hall to close. A decade later, at the height of the Depression, Jimmy returns from the US.

Seeing the levels of poverty and oppression, the activist in him reawakens and he looks to re-open the dance hall that led to his deportation. Starring Barry Ward, Francis Magee and Aileen Henry.

Circle of Friends

Jack (Chris O’Donnell) and Benny (Minnie Driver) in Circle of Friends. (Picture: Frank Price/Arlene Sellers)

Tuesday 2nd March, Virgin Media Three at 11pm
(1995) A classic Irish romantic drama directed by Irish filmmaker Pat O’Connor, and based on the 1990 novel written by Maeve BinchyaCircle of Friends is set in Dublin, as well as in the fictitious town of Knockglen in rural Ireland. The story centres on a group of university students in 1957 who grapple with conflicts between their physical desires and religious upbringings.

Nan (Saffron Burrows), Eve (Geraldine O’Rawe) and Benny (Minnie Driver) in Circle of Friends. (Picture: Frank Price/Arlene Sellers)

The Playboys

Wednesday 3rd March, Virgin Media Three at 10.05pm
(1992) A romantic drama about a young, freethinking woman who scandalises her provincial Irish village in the 1950s by having a child out of wedlock, and refuses to name the father. Starring Aidan Quinn, Robin Wright and Albert Finney. 


Anna Friel (Claire) and Jamie Draven (James) in a scene from Watermelon.

Thursday 4th March, Virgin Media Three at 11pm
(2003) A romantic comedy drama, inspired by the best-selling novel by Marian Keyes, of what happens when a tangled web of deceit pitches one woman, two men and a baby into a romantic minefield. Starring Anna Friel. 

Cardboard Gangsters

Friday 5th March, Virgin Media One at 9.30pm
(2017) The highest grossing Irish film of 2017, directed by Mark O’Connor and starring John Connors (Love/Hate, King of the Travellers) in the lead role as Jay Connolly, as a group of young Cardboard Gangsters attempt to gain control of the drug trade in Darndale, chasing the glorified lifestyle of money, power and sex.

Mark O’Connor director of Cardboard Gangsters shooting in Belcamp Lane. (Picture: Bryan Meade)

Starry Night

Friday 26th February, Virgin Media One at 11.30pm
With her future hanging in the balance, Cara has a choice to make – abandon her sisters, and pursue her dream in London? Or sacrifice herself, so that one day they too might stand a chance?Starry Night was led by a team of women both on screen and off, with almost all of the roles – in all departments – filled by incredible young women at the start of their careers.


Tuesday 2nd March, Virgin Media One at 11.30pm
(2016) In the depths of rural Ireland, Tommy has done everything to look after his sick father, succumbing to a life of isolation in the process. However, letting go proves to be more difficult than he had ever imagined.

Looking For

Friday 5th March, Virgin Media One at 11.25pm
(2019) In a world where love is revealed by glowing rings, a lonely young woman struggles to fill what’s missing in her life, before discovering things are not as simple as she had thought. Starring Eleanor O’Brien and Mike Walsh.

Innocent Boy

Friday 5th March, Virgin Media One at 11.35pm

(2020) 2019 Virgin Media Discovers Short Film Competition Winner, Innocent Boy is a story about a young deaf Traveller boy’s love of his horse and the freedom he feels riding him unsaddled, in a silent world of unconditional acceptance. 

This stands in stark contrast to the world he knows when he turns on his hearing aid, a world of toxic masculinity, bullies, and his deep insecurities with the people he loves, who see him as different, a poor “auld innocent boy”.

Tune in to Virgin Media Television from Friday 26th February to Friday 5th  March for a week of great Irish movies and film shorts.