The Banshees of Inisherin Ending Explained (In Detail)

January 23, 2023
M.N. Miller 7
Ending Explained, Film
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We discuss, in detail, the ending of the film The Banshees of Inisherin, which will contain significant spoilers.

The Banshees of Inisherin is the antonym of The Shawshank Redemption. How? Films very rarely deal with the dissolution of friendships without some cinematic backstabbing. Here, Martin McDonagh strips away the movie minutia and makes the plot simple. Colm Doherty (Brendan Gleeson) does not want to be friends with Pádraic Súilleabháin (Colin Farrell) anymore. Why? He simply doesn’t enjoy spending time with the man.

The wonderful thing about The Banshees of Inisherin is that you have no idea where it’s headed, even in its darkest moments. Director Martin McDonagh’s excellent script takes you to places you don’t expect, even if they are, let’s say, cosmetic, so to speak, as Colm cuts off one of his fingers every time Pádraic continues to patch up their friendship. Those bleak and ominous scenes can be shocking, even jaw-dropping because the film keeps doubling down on the ultimatums the story threatens.

The Banshees of Inisherin Ending Explained (In Detail)

What happened at the end of The Banshees of Inisherin?

At the end of the movie, Pádraic’s sister moves to the mainland to take a job at a public library. He then finds his beloved donkey, Jenny, choked on one of Colm’s fingers that he tossed and bounced off the front door. He threatens to burn Colm’s home down the next day. When he arrives, he finds Colm sitting in the house silently. It’s no matter; he starts the fire and watches it burn but takes Colm’s dog. Why? Because why did she, the pooch, die for his former best friend’s sins? However, the next day he finds Colm standing on the beach in front of his home, which has burned down to embers. Pádraic greets him, thanks him for saving his dog, apologizes for Jenny, and indicates their feud may be over, like the 1923 Irish Civil War.

However, Farrell’s character tells him there would only be an end if he decided to stay inside the home.

What is the message of The Banshees of Inisherin?

The film’s message may be as simple as the definition of Banshee, which means “a female spirit in Gaelic folklore whose appearance or wailing warns a family that one of them will soon die.” If you remember, a character named Mrs. McCormick is watching things happen throughout the film, including looking over the duo as they talk on the beach and locating a dead body in the river. The message of the film is a prediction of death.

But of who?

What happened to Dominic in Banshees of Inisherin?

It turns out the dead body was Dominic. He was killed near the end of the film. How? Was he beaten to death by his abusive father, Peadar? The local policeman in the town? The last time we saw the troubled young man, he was hanging out by the cliffs when Pádraic walked by. Did he jump and commit suicide? While it is never confirmed, Dominic was kicked out of his home and had no place to go. His options were to return to an abusive father or find an out with suicide. We fear he may have picked the latter.

Is The Banshees of Inisherin a metaphor?

The Banshees of Inisherin has been widely believed to be a metaphor for the Irish Civil War. Even the way masculinity can be toxic. However, I believe there is another metaphor for the film. It’s one for setting personal boundaries and the fragile nature of relationships. Here, Colm and Pádraic ignore problematizing boundaries when it comes to healthy, caring relationships. By creating healthy boundaries in friendships, mutual respect can develop expectations that lead to respecting personal space, limits, and comfort levels.

While it is clear, Colm is not the most pleasant or understanding man to deal with; Paddy most likely violated this before the beginning of the film, which is reasonable. Why? Considering everyone has been stuck on the island together during the war, just like during the Covid-19 pandemic, that may have violated Colm’s sense of identity and personal space.

What did you think of the ending of the film The Banshees of Inisherin? Comment below.

7 thoughts on “The Banshees of Inisherin Ending Explained (In Detail)

  • January 24, 2023 at 10:26 pm
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    I think the film was also about loneliness and alienation. I think the setting and the timing meant that Padraig needed to go off the island, following his sister. And I think it’s inevitable that he would. He’s such a bright and attractive man capable of having fun that he would find a new life off the island.

  • January 25, 2023 at 10:56 pm
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    I’m going with the civil war metaphor. Why else would the action take place deliberately in 1923?

  • January 26, 2023 at 4:03 am
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    i FOUND IT VERY DEPRESSING, A TYPICAL IRISH MOVIE, OR A BOOK,FULL OF SADNESS, AND THE WAY THINGS COULD HAVE BEEN, I THOUGHT THE YOUNG MAN WHO PLAYED THE POLICEMAN SON WAS REALLY WELL ACTED, I DO ENJOY COLIN FIRTH GOOD ACTOR AND ALL PLAYED THERE PARTS WELL. I GREW UP IN A SCOTS IRISH FAMILY THEY TELL GREAT STORIES AND THAT WAS A TYPICAL IRISH STORY WITH LOTS OF SADNESS.

  • January 26, 2023 at 8:27 pm
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    To Irene: It was Colin Farrell, not Colin Firth.

  • January 27, 2023 at 3:37 pm
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    I think if this is what Ireland was like during and prior to the Irish Civil War then no wonder my ancestors left. I might have thrown myself in the water too if I had lived there. Such beautiful country but such overwhelming despair of spirit. This movie was not a comedy to me.

  • January 27, 2023 at 6:41 pm
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    This movie was so depressing, I couldn’t sleep last nite. The sweet little donkey being killed was heart wrenching. Who writes a story like this. End the friendship for Pete’s sake don’t be cuttin your fingers off . Only someone woke would write such a sick movie. If the old f****r doesn’t want to be your friend so be it, you are better off without him!

  • January 28, 2023 at 12:06 pm
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    Fantastic, love the metaphor of the movie. Mrs. McCormick played a pivotal role I believe as the Irish are very much believers.

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