Colin Farrell as Pádraic Súilleabháin, simple-minded pub regular
Ireland, Spring 1923
Film: The Banshees of Inisherin
Release Date: October 21, 2022
Director: Martin McDonagh
Costume Designer: Eimer Ni Mhaoldomhnaigh
WARNING! Spoilers ahead!
One hundred years ago today on April Fool’s Day 1923, aging musician Colm Doherty (Brendan Gleeson) abruptly stopped talking to his erstwhile best friend Pádraic Súilleabháin (Colin Farrell), like some fool of a moody schoolchild. Despite the timing and the fact that they weren’t rowing (though it does seem like they were rowing), this ignites a tragicomic personal drama of donkeys and amputated fingers that—at least for the sparse residents of the fictional isle of Inisherin—outweighs the bloody conflict across the sea on the Irish mainland.
Either a “happy lad” or “limited man” depending on who you ask, Pádraic is happy to eke out his simple life with his more intelligent sister Siobhan (Kerry Condon), his donkey Jenny, and drinking buddies like Colm and Dominic (Barry Keoghan), with little more characterizing his life than the occasional two-hour chat describing what was in his
little donkey’s pony’s shite… until Colm strangely decides he wants more from his remaining years.
The Banshees of Inisherin reunited writer and director Martin McDonagh with Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson, both of whom had starred in McDonagh’s first film (In Bruges) 14 years earlier. Though nominated for nine feckin’ Academy Awards—including Best Picture and acting accolades for its lead and supporting cast—The Banshees of Inisherin didn’t win any Oscars, though it did receive three BAFTAs honoring McDonagh’s screenplay and Keoghan’s and Condon’s supporting performances.
Beautifully filmed by cinematographer Ben Davis, The Banshees of Inisherin meditates on niceness, depression, and how spite and relentless pessimism can erode seemingly relentless optimism, as illustrated by Pádraic’s decline from “one of life’s good guys” to a bitterly vengeful arsonist.
What’d He Wear?
Pádraic rotates through a limited but hard-wearing closet, all built by costume designer Eimer Ní Mhaoldomhnaigh’s team using regional fabrics like Irish linen and wool. Ní Mhaoldomhnaigh explained in conversation with Tomris Laffly for IndieWire that “‘Brendan and Colin really, really, really understand the importance of what a costume can bring to the character. They were engaged with the whole process,’ which entailed dipping the costumes into a variety of ‘crazy products,’ putting stones in pockets, tying garments up with twine, hanging them up, and in some cases, even burning them for a lived-in appearance.”
“That whole period is hugely important,” she added. “The Republic of Ireland came into being between 1916 and 1923. So everything is true to time. The silhouettes are all correct—we wanted those shapes on the little roads by the sea, on the way to church.”
The Striped Jacket
Pádraic’s everyday outfit consists of a mismatched jacket, waistcoat, and trousers, all in differently colored and patterned wool. The weathered single-breasted jacket is made from a charcoal wool, with a stripe that alternates between a beige chalk-stripe and a faded taupe stripe. The shape of its peak lapels resemble the decidedly French “cran necker” style, rolling to a three-button front.
Unstructured with natural shoulders, ventless back, and long sleeves, the jacket looks slightly oversized as evident by the long sleeves that envelop his wrists. Unlike conventional tailored jacket cuffs, the sleeves of Pádraic’s jacket are finished with banded edges devoid of buttons or vents. The jacket also has straight flapped hip pockets and a breast pocket with a subtle curve as it slopes downward toward his chest.
Pádraic typically wears a dark charcoal herringbone woolen flannel single-breasted waistcoat with seven mixed brown-and-tan buttons fastened up the front from the straight-cut bottom to the narrow notch lapels.
Pádraic’s woolen flat-front trousers are cut amply through the thighs and legs, where they differ between being finished with plain-hemmed bottoms or the odd pair with turn-ups (cuffs). He cycles through dark gray Donegal tweed trousers—characterized by their telltale flecks of colored yarn—and taupe flannel trousers.
Belt loops weren’t yet standardized on trousers, so Pádraic wearing his wide tan leather belt around the top of his trouser waistband illustrates how men—particularly those without the means to have their clothes professionally tailored—found solutions to hold their trousers up without suspenders (braces). The belt closes through a dulled silver-toned single-prong buckle.
Beverly Hills shirtmaker Anto shared in an Instagram post that they made shirts for The Banshees of Inisherin, and—given their high-profile customers on- and off-screen—it’s likely this would have included Colin Farrell’s shirts as Pádraic.
When we first meet our small cast on Inisherin on Friday, April 1, Pádraic wears a salmon-pink linen shirt, detailed with black shadow stripes that are arranged unconventionally diagonal and vertical across the long point collar rather than following the lines of the collar around the neck, as most striped shirts do. This shirt has tonal pink buttons up the wide front placket and on the barrel cuffs.
Pádraic also wears a nailhead-woven linen shirt, unevenly dyed in purple that shows richer in some spots and more faded in others. The shirt follows the same design with its large point collar and tonal buttons (in this case, purple) to close the front placket and cuffs.
For the brief scene in which Pádraic cruelly hoodwinks Colm’s new friend and fellow musician Declan (Aaron Monaghan), he wears a beige shirt with widely spaced burgundy shadowed bar stripes that follow the same unique diagonal direction on the collar, perpendicular (rather than parallel) to its edges.
Though hardly formal, Pádraic’s dressiest shirt is off-white with closely spaced black pencil stripes, made from a smoother twill cloth than the coarser linen of his colorful shirts though the stripe follows the same irregular direction on the collar.
Blue “Sunday Best”
The first Sunday after Colm stops talking to Pádraic, the residents of Inisherin gather for church, with Pádraic dressed in a variation of his usual attire but debuting the white striped shirt with a newsboy cap, a charcoal striped tweed single-breasted coat, and a matching dark blue tic-checked tweed waistcoat and trousers.
The ventless three-breasted coat has notch lapels, welted breast pocket, and straight flapped hip pockets. We see only little more of the blue tic-checked tweed waistcoat, aside from the fact that it is single-breasted and rigged with dramatic notch lapels, so cut that each side is separated more into a wide collar and a sharp flap below it.
After spending most of The Banshees of Inisherin cycling through various mismatched jackets, waistcoats, and trousers, Pádraic finally pulls on a matching three-piece suit for the somber weekend that begins with burying Jenny on Saturday night, confronting Colm, and then finally setting Colm’s house aflame on Sunday.
Completing the charcoal waistcoat that he often wore orphaned, the charcoal herringbone suit includes a single-breasted, three-button ventless jacket detailed with a welted breast pocket, jetted hip pockets, and three-button cuffs and a pair of flat-front trousers with side pockets and cuffed bottoms.
In a first for Pádraic’s on-screen wardrobe, he also wears a tie—made from a solid black cotton or Irish linen.
Any discussion of costumes in The Banshees of Inisherin would be lacking without celebrating the contributions of Delia Barry, the octogenarian artisan who hand-knit the film’s rich array of knitwear. After all, Finlay Renwick touted The Banshees of Inisherin as “the next great knitwear film” in his UK Esquire article.
The 83-year-old Mrs. Barry started knitting when she was a little girl, her talents growing to the point where she was frequently making clothes for herself and even crafted knitwear for Meryl Streep to wear in the 1998 Irish period drama Dancing at Lughnasa, as reported by the New York Times. After Paddy, her husband of nearly 49 years, died of pancreatic cancer in 2010, Mrs. Barry involved herself in local knitting groups to re-energize herself and distract from the sadness. Her involvement in The Banshees of Inisherin came through her neighbor in County Wicklow, Judith Devlin, who was the production’s costume supervisor and connected her with costume designer Eimer Ní Mhaoldomhnaigh.
“All Delia had to go on was a couple of black-and-white photos of some Irish fishermen in 1921 provided by costume designer Eimer Ní Mhaoldomhnaigh and rough measurements of the stars,” reports Jane Fryer for the Daily Mail. “The Banshees is the first film where she’s had her name in the credits. ‘I missed it because I’d left the cinema by then, but they sent me a photo—that was very nice.'”
“In some cases, she only had a partial image of a shoulder detail or chest to go on,” adds the blog Craft Fix. “Her daily target was to knit at least 100g of [Cushendale Double Knitting (DK)] yarn. Impressive stuff, especially when these are far from mindless knits in the round! Delia knit all the jumpers flat (in pieces) on two straight needles (mostly size 4.5mm) and then stitched them together at the end. Most of the sweaters have a drop shoulder construction, so there’s four rectangle shapes (excluding necklines) for the front, back and two sleeves.”
The most talked-about sweater from The Banshees of Inisherin is arguably the brick-red collared jumper that Pádraic wears on the Tuesday that Colm first sends a severed finger flying at his door. Jane Fryer for the Daily Mail describes it best as a “dark red fisherman’s jumper with [four] stockinette panels with moss stitch diamond and purl stitch criss-cross line motifs, separated by narrower columns of moss stitch,” though the most noticeable detail is arguably the large ribbed-knit Peter Pan-style collar. “‘I’d never done a collar like that before!’ she says. ‘It took two days to figure it out. But when I saw them close-up on the big screen, I could see all the stitches and I thought I did a good job.'”
Craft Fix goes into even greater detail, explaining that “she knit the ribbed collar as one piece on two straight needles, starting from the top of the neck working down, increasing stitches on alternate rows near each edge to form the long points.” After rising to the challenge of crafting one, Ms. Barry was required to create a second in a darker shade of red that was determined would present better on screen… and which may also represent the first blood spilled in Pádraic and Colm’s petty squabble. According to the Daily Mail, just the Cushendale DK wool for this single sweater cost about £130.
Ní Mhaoldomhnaigh theorized that the sweater would have been handmade for Pádraic by his sister to keep warm through a chilly winter, explaining to the New York Times that “Siobhan would have thought, ‘Well. Mammy and Daddy are dead, and he’s my little brother, and I’m going to look after him, and I want him to look good, so I’ll put a collar on it as a little touch.'”
“Wrapped up in that collar, and the boyish length of it, were Mr. Farrell’s character’s innocence and naïveté, which are essential to the film’s plot,” describes Lou Stoppard for the New York Times.
The following day, Pádraic wears his second of Ms. Barry’s lovingly crafted sweaters, this a more conventionally styled chunky fisherman’s turtleneck sweater in royal blue with a wide ribbed roll-neck.
Pádraic occasionally adds the layer of a knee-length coat made from a faded olive boiled-texture wool. The single-breasted coat has a large ulster collar, flapped hip pockets, and just two buttons to close at waist level.
Pádraic doesn’t often wear a hat, but when he does, it’s a charcoal tic-checked tweed newsboy cap that Ní Mhaoldomhnaigh specifically chose as “everybody wore one to protect themselves from the elements.”
While Pádraic may cycle through his tops, trousers, and outerwear, all he needs as far as footwear are one solid pair of boots. Crafted like more modern leather work boots, his hardy cap-toe boots have weathered dark brown leather uppers and are derby-laced through seven sets of metal eyelets.
What to Imbibe
There’s no place like an Irish pub to drink Guinness, and that appears to be the beer of choice poured for Pádraic and his pals from countless bottles stocked behind the bar at J.J. Devine’s pub. The Digital Fix recently reported on Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson praising the Guinness Zero non-alcoholic beer that they drank on screen, a proper replacement for the previous concoctions meant to stand in for the famous Irish stout.
Farrell said; “Guinness Zero, thank God for it. On the production, we’d have had to drink an inutterable amount of shite. And it’s not shite, it’s actually really tasty – the Guinness Zero. It’s a bit sweet for his [Brendan Gleeson’s] tongue, because he likes the proper stuff. But they only came out with it recently, and it’s delicious.” … Gleeson says that the old days when the props guys had to make Guinness substitutes were; “ghastly.” Farrell says; “it was grape juice with cream. All sorts of stuff you shouldn’t be mixing, curdled.” Gleeson says; “or flat coke with all sorts of unspeakables on top of it. It’s important to suffer for art, and this was suffering.”
On a particularly tough night, Pádraic downs shots until he’s “out of his brains on whiskey,” as Dominic describes. While certainly Irish whiskey, we can’t see if he’s drinking H.S. Persse’s or Powers whiskey, both of which are advertised in the pub.
How to Get the Look
Pádraic Súilleabháin wears a series of hardy layers for his sea-hardened yet simple life on Inisherin, anchored by a trusty striped jacket and tonally coordinated waistcoat that he cycles through a number of colorful shirts buttoned up to the neck and uniquely detailed hand-knit sweaters.
That said, the standard Pádraic daily attire seems to consist of:
- Charcoal striped wool single-breasted 3-button jacket with cran necker lapels, welted breast pocket, straight flapped hip pockets, banded cuffs, and ventless back
- Pink striped or solid purple Irish linen long-sleeved shirt with long point collar, front placket, and button cuffs
- Dark charcoal herringbone woolen flannel 7-button waistcoat with notch lapels and straight-cut bottom
- Dark gray Donegal tweed or taupe-brown woolen flannel flat-front trousers with side pockets and plain-hemmed bottoms
- Tan leather belt with silver-toned single-prong buckle
- Dark brown leather derby-laced cap-toe work boots
- Dark brown socks
Do Yourself a Favor and…
Check out the movie so.
You can read more about the style from The Banshees of Inisherin at these great articles I sourced for this post:
- Craft Fix: “How the Banshees of Inisherin Sweaters were Knit”
- Daily Mail: “And the Oscar for knitwear goes to… Delia Barry, 83, who started knitting classes after her husband died and is now the toast of Hollywood for her magnificent jumpers worn by Colin Farrell and Barry Keoghan in The Banshees of Inisherin” by Jane Fryer
- Esquire UK: “‘The Banshees of Inisherin’ Is the Next Great Knitwear Film” by Finlay Renwick
- GQ: “The Banshees of Inisherin Is Filled With Beautiful Colin Farrell Sweaters” by Gabriella Paiella
- IndieWire: “Want Colin Farrell’s ‘Banshees of Inisherin’ Sweaters? You’ll Need to Find an Octogenarian Knitter” by Tomris Laffly
- New York Times: “A Knitwear Sensation at 83” by Lou Stoppard
- Vogue: “Bury Me in a Banshees of Inisherin Knit” by Liam Hess
I am not putting me donkey outside when I’m sad, okay?