On an island revered for its literature, story-telling and theatre, it might come as no surprise that over the last 20 years Ireland has wholeheartedly embraced the medium of cinema. However, the journey of Irish cinema from its ugly duckling beginnings to international success has been arduous and paved with obstacles. Chief among them was the fact that Ireland was a relatively poor country unable to provide appropriate funding to the film sector. In addition, the prevailing conservative establishment looked unfavourably on cinema and, until the end of the 1960s, endorsed strict censorship of foreign films.

In 1970, lured by the potential of inward investment, the Irish government finally took action and introduced the Film Act, which offered lucrative tax incentives for film production in Ireland. That same year Robert Mitchum appeared in David Lean