Irish Film Institute -International Film Directory – Film Listing

Song for a Raggy Boy

    • Director

      Aisling Walsh

    • Credits

      Producers: Dominic Wright, John McDonnell. Writers: Aisling Walsh, Kevin Byron Murphy, Patrick Galvin

    • Principal Cast

      Aidan Quinn, Iain Glen, Marc Warren, John Travers

  • Category


The brutality of Ireland’s industrial schools has become a matter of public knowledge – and shame – over the last twenty years and Song for a Raggy Boy is part of that narrative of revelation. This film from Aisling Walsh revolves around the efforts of Franklin (Aidan Quinn), a one-time revolutionary hired to be a lay teacher at a reform school. Here he is shocked by the school’s culture of brutality; led by the cruel Brother John (Iain Glen), the boys at the school are subject to a regime of torture and degradation. Made to answer to numbers instead of names, the worst horror the boys are exposed to is a paedophile willingly accommodated by the staff. Based on Patrick Galvin’s memoir which recounted his time in an industrial school, Song for a Raggy Boy is a powerful depiction of the worst elements of Ireland’s religious institutions. 

Audience Award for Best Irish Film at the 2nd Irish Film and Television Awards 2004
Best Cinematography Award at the 1st Irish Film and Television Awards 2003.


100 minutes, Ireland/UK/Denmark/Spain, 2003, Colour

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