Our Irish Cousins

Directed by Mike Houlihan
Visit Filmmaker’s Site: ouririshcousins.com
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Our Irish Cousins is an exploration of the Irish American experience. This journey began when Irish American News columnist Mike Houlihan launched his book, “Hooliganism” On a tour of Irish pubs and parishes to promote the book, Houlihan began performing an act that is a hybrid of stand-up comedy and readings from “Hooliganism”, which evolved into a freewheeling exchange of ideas and stories with Irish Americans across America.

They began filming these events in early December 2008 and the dialogue with the audience members served up eccentric and funny tales of Irish America. When screening footage of the events, they discovered a larger issue emerging with this film.  What makes us Irish? What is the source of the immense pride felt by this ethnic group?  What are the differences and similarities among the people of Ireland and Irish-Americans?

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In March of 2009 the team traveled to Ireland to discover the answer to these questions. Armed with some sketchy family history, bundles of books, and a half dozen credit cards; Mike commandeered his family on a ten day expedition to the Emerald Isle in search of his ancestry and  “the spot where the first Hooligan set foot on this earth!”

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Mike Houlihan
is a former features columnist for the Chicago Sun-Times. He has written the “Hooliganism” column in the Irish American News since 1996.  He began his career as an actor in 1973 with the American Shakespeare Festival in Stratford Ct., and appeared onstage with regional theatres across the country as well as New York performances Off-Broadway, on Broadway, on television and in major motion pictures. He has written and produced several television programs, films, and theatrical plays; along the way picking up the New York Drama Desk Award, The International Television Assn. Philo Award, two Telly Awards, and the National Council on Family Relations Media Award. His play Goin’ East On Ashland ran for over six years in Chicago, and his play Mickey Finn had it’s world premiere production at the Royal George Theatre. In 2006 he won the Illinois/Chicago Film Office Screenplay competition with his screenplay, Ballhawk. Vanguard Cinema has just released the DVD of Mike’s independent feature film Tapioca, starring Ben Vereen, Tim Kazurinsky, and several Second City comics. Tapioca premiered at the Park City Film Music Festival in Park City, Utah, where it was voted “audience favorite”, and played the film festival circuit through 2008, winning Best Feature Film at the Geneva Film Fest.

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