Weekend Watch: Shergar and Into The West

Break out the green beer, colcannon and these two Irish horse flicks to prepare for St. Patrick’s Day!


Shergar (1999)

This film, starring Ian Holm and Mickey Rourke, begins with villains, linked to the Irish Republican Army, stealing champion racehorse Shergar in order to collect a $5 million dollar ransom. Stashing him in a nearby farmer’s barn, Shergar meets Kevin, our hero and horse enthusiast. After police refuse to pay the ransom, the villains plan to kill Shergar and send his decapitated head to the media. Obviously, Kevin can’t allow that to happen … so he and Shergar leave in the dead of night. What will happen next? You’ll just have to watch and see!

This movie was based on a true story, but is only one of the conspiracy theories surrounding the unsolved mystery of the true Shergar’s disappearance. In real life, Shergar was never found and no suspects were taken in to custody. Though the film was full of “destined horse boy meets horse” tropes, I enjoyed the ride. Although, honestly, Kevin should have just immediately returned Shergar to the authorities.

I give Shergar 3 Golden Horseshoes.


Watch the full movie here:

Into The West (1992)

Into the West, starring Gabriel Byrne and Ellen Barkin, is based on a story written by Michael Pearce. After following a Gypsy man home from the coast, a magical white horse bonds with the man’s grandsons, Tito and Ossie. The boys name the horse Tír na nÓg, after the Irish mythical land of eternal youth and beauty, and move him into their Dublin apartment.  Yep, I said apartment. Unfortunately, the Department of Health eventually realizes a horse should not be living in a high rise, so Tír na nÓg is taken from the family. High jinks and shenanigans ensue as the boys fight to get their horse back!

I really like this film. In fact, it’s one of my favorites. Judging by the cover, I thought it was going to be a silly kiddie adventure, but it wasn’t. It dealt with a lot of deeper themes: loss of a mother and wife, alcohol dependency, social unrest and the rights of Irish Travellers and Gypsies to their lifestyle in a modern world. The young actors playing Tito, Rúaidhrí Conroy, and Ossie, Ciarán Fitzgerald, were perfectly cast as innocent, albeit naive, boys who truly believe in magical horses. The Irish scenery was breathtaking and I love the soundtrack.

I give Into The West 3 ½ Golden Horseshoes.

Watch the trailer here:

Go Riding.

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