Academic and filmmaker directs Irish film with stellar cast

Actor Pierce Brosnan

Senior Lecturer in Film Distribution and Marketing Frank Mannion has directed the full-length documentary, Quintessentially Irish, which explores what is means to be Irish.

The film, which had its UK première at the MAC at the weekend, has a star-studded cast including actors Pierce Brosnan, Andrew Scott and Jeremy Irons, philanthropist and musician Bob Geldof, Derry Girls’ Siobhan McSweeney and Olympic Gold medalist Usain Bolt and his Irish sports agent Ricky Simms. It also includes a cameo from musician Niall Horan.

Watch the trailer

Following the UK première at the MAC, Frank hosted a Q&A exploring Birmingham’s role in the development of the film.

Frank said: “Birmingham is the most Irish place in the UK, with more than 2% of the population claiming Irish heritage.

“It is also home to a rich Irish cultural scene, with the St Patrick’s Festival, the Pairc Festival and the Birmingham TradFest being popular annual events. I hope that Quintessentially Irish will surprise people with unexpected stories of Irishness around the globe.”

Major Heads of State including Irish President Michael D Higgins, US President Joe Biden and Prince Albert II of Monaco also feature in the film, with exclusive footage from inside the White House and the US Capitol on St Patrick’s Day, to the Palace of Monaco and the Irish Presidential Mansion during the State visit of Joe Biden in April 2023.

Rory Guinness, the great-great-great grandson of Guinness founder, Arthur Guinness and business tycoons John Magnier and Dr Michael Smurfit, alongside conservationist and filmmaker Randal Plunkett (Lord Dunsany), London Mayor Sadiq Khan, Grand National winning jockey Rachael Blackmore, trainer Aidan O’Brien, actor and singer Jessie Buckley, actor Brendan Gleeson, best-selling writer Emma Dabiri, Celebrity Masterchef winner Riyadh Khalaf and Masterchef judge Anna Haugh also explore their heritage throughout the film.

The documentary, which was created by Swipe Films, has been released in the United States where it was described as a “lush valentine to everything great and Irish” by the Mail and "fast paced and entertaining" by The Sunday Times.

It is the third film directed by Frank, after his acclaimed debut, Sparkling: The Story of Champagne, featuring Stephen Fry and sleeper hit Quintessentially British with acting legends Ian McKellen and Judi Dench. Quintessentially Irish is screening in cinemas and available to stream in the UK and Ireland. Pictured: Actor and Irishman Pierce Brosnan

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