Update: Although the documentary itself seems to be unavailable for purchase, the book upon which it is based, Emeralds in Tinseltown: The Irish in Hollywood, can be purchased at Amazon.

The Holidays are here! And our first present has arrived.

This Saturday, Christmas Day, at 10:00pm, TV3 in Ireland will telecast The Irish in Hollywood, a new documentary.

The Irish in Hollywood summons up a cavalcade of legendary Irish stars, directors, producers, designers, writers, entrepreneurs, villains and beloved heroes who strode through a century of Hollywood history. This special TV3 documentary will tell for the first time the story of the Irish immigrants who were monumental figures in Hollywood from the earliest days. The stories of this rich cast of Irish Hollywood legends, including interviews from Pierce Brosnan, Gabriel Byrne, Anjelica Huston, Brendan Gleeson and Saoirse Ronan, charts a journey through the history of Hollywood from its genesis as the movie capital of the world in the early 1900s. Pivotal Hollywood milestones will unfold as the back-stories of these legendary Irish artists who were pioneers, founders and the creators of the town and the industry they call….The Movies!

An article in The Irish Television and Film Network tells us a bit more about Gabriel Byrne’s involvement:

Paul  [film-maker Paul Howard] was very much struck by the depth of knowledge many of his interviewees had as to the Irish heritage in Hollywood. One, in particular, surprised the filmmaker immensely: ” One of the things about Gabriel – and it was one of the most amazing interviews that I have ever done – was that we sat down to interview him about his life and career in Hollywood, but he went way beyond that,” he tells us. ” Gabriel was very knowledgeable – knowledgeable to such a degree that he could form very credible opinions on our topics.”

If we can manage a way to watch it, I am sure we all will be sipping our hot toddies around the TV, warming ourselves to the history of the Irish on the big screen in America. And it will be more interesting than another round of It’s a Wonderful Life, if you ask me!

Note: the ITFN article reports the film shows at 9:00 pm; the TV3 online Guide says 10:00 pm. Be forewarned.



  1. Great news. Wish I could see the Irish documentary but guess there is little chanche for that just now, here I am in Norway. Hope someone will see it and report back to the rest of us about it.
    I think the Irish must be proud of all the wonderful writers and artists they have shared with the world. I am not surprised about that Paul Howard is especially impressed by Gabriel.
    Gabriel is an extremely talented and intelligent man, among many other things, as we all know here in Byrneholics country.

    Thanks for sharing, Stella.

  2. This is great

  3. Well, unfornatelly I can’t watch the Irish documentary, cause I’m in Brazil, but I wish someone who will see it can report for us later. By the way, Merry Christmas for all Byrneholics and of course a great Merry Christmas for Mr. Byrne. I ask to God everyday that He can bless you every moment in his life.

  4. This is a great documentary. Extremely informative about the Irish in Hollywood and it’s history. It will probably be a great library piece. I see it’s based on the lovely book – Emeralds in Tinseltown…written by Bernadette 0’Neill and Steve Brennan. Their research on this is just brilliant. And I hear that they did all of this research,and tailored all the questions for the interviewees (including the lovely, and as Bernadette remarked, generous Gabriel). Their dear friends Anthony Slide and Harry Sloan (I hear) were in touch with Bernadette as they had seen the cut before airing with congratulations on their termendous work over the years, in not only writing the book, but producing the documentary. As both said to her “we would not be interviewed by anybody else” “we opened the door to Steve and Bernadette only because we trusted them completely”. (Unfortunately Steve did not live to see the documentary, as he sadly passed away last year),

  5. May I be the first to say, ‘Well it’s about time…!’ ;) I feel that the Irish are among the most misunderstood out there. People think they are just about drinking and partying – what a bunch of nonsense!! Now I am starting to get into pre-Christian Irish mythology – and let me tell you that these people were SMART, they were AWARE OF THE NATURE OF THINGS and their stories rivaled the best among Storri Sturluson’s compilation of the PROSE EDDA.
    And one day, I AM TELLING YOU right now, Ireland WILL RISE AGAIN and take its rightful place of power in world affairs.
    The children of Lir will see to that…

  6. Stella:

    Did anyone manage to forward you a copy of this yet? I’ve spent 20 mins digging online to no avail. XO (thinking of you)

    • Not yet. A forum member is working on it though, so stay tuned. Also, I think this documentary may see more play later in the year (cross your fingers for that!). Happy New Year to you, TwoMoons.

  7. alva harris

    I see the documentary went out again on Thursday night. It was great watching it again – and of course the lovely Gabriel, in the intense heat, with his sunshades on! I am sure he was very proud to be a great part of this book/documentary – Emeralds in Tinseltown, The Irish in Hollywood. Great job done by all and was very impressed by the imput by authors Bernadette 0’Neill, and the late Steve Brennan. Look forward to seeing it at some stage on the web. Definitely a classic piece. Anybody out there that hear’s when it might be on the web please reply. Thanks
    Happy New Year all Byneholics and Stella

  8. Can you tell us what Gabriel talked about Alva?

  9. kathleen e.

    from Kathy in Nebraska, I wonder if the powers that be in the realm of PBS would be interested in this ?

  10. I wish this documentary aired in the US. That documentary sounds interesting to watch.

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