Martin McDonagh's superb black comedy The Banshees of Inisherin bagged three Golden Globe Awards earlier this year and is now being tipped as an Oscars frontrunner after a total number of nine nominations, including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Original Screenplay, Best Actor (Colin Farrell) and Best Supporting Actress (Kerry Condon).


The film charts the conflict between best friends Colm (Brendan Gleeson) and Pádraic (Farrell) on the fictional island of Inisherin in 1923 and its dire consequences.

The duo’s feud mirrors the Irish Civil War, and at no point is this allegory more apparent than at the end of the film.

If you've already watched The Banshees of Inisherin, which is now available on Disney Plus, read on to have the movie's confusing ending explained. But be warned: spoilers are ahead.

The Banshees of Inisherin ending explained

Throughout the film, Colm grows increasingly frustrated that Pádraic has not taken his hints about ending their friendship – even going so far as to cut off one of his fingers every time his former pal attempts to speak to him.

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Naturally, Pádraic begins to feel rather glum about the whole situation, although he does find some solace in the companionship of his sister Siobhán (Kerry Condon) and local boy Dominic (Barry Keoghan). Meanwhile, things also take a strange turn when local elder Mrs McCormick (Sheila Flitton) alerts Pádraic that there will be one or two deaths on the island soon.

In one last-ditch attempt to fix the friendship, Pádraic visits Colm at his cottage, and the pair have a frank discussion during which it briefly looks like things may be about to improve.

It proves to be a false dawn, however, as once Pádraic has departed, Colm once again reaches for his shears and cuts off the remaining fingers on his left hand – later throwing them at the door of Pádraic's home.

Banshees of Inisherin
Colin Farrell as Pádraic in The Banshees of Inisherin. Searchlight Pictures

This ends up having a doubly negative effect: not only does it prove once and for all that the friendship is beyond repair, it also leads to the death of Pádraic's beloved donkey Jenny, after she stumbles upon one of the fingers and tries to eat it.

Understandably, this proves to be a breaking point for Pádraic – who alerts Colm that he will burn down his house the next day, regardless of whether he is inside it or not. A man of his word, he goes through with his plan, although he does take the precaution of ensuring that Colm's dog is not inside at the time.

What happens to Dominic in the Banshees of Inisherin?

As he leaves, Pádraic comes across Mrs McCormick, who reveals to him that Dominic – who had recently revealed his unrequited love for Siobhán – has died, the second death she had previously alluded to, after Jenny. However, it's unclear whether Dominic's death was suicide or a tragic accident.

Does the Banshees of Inisherin have a happy ending?

Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson in The Banshees of Inisherin.
Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson in The Banshees of Inisherin. Courtesy of Searchlight Pictures

Not really. Despite the act of arson, Colm survives, and the next morning the pair meet on the beach, where Colm apologises for Jenny's death and suggests that they are now even given his house has been destroyed.

However, Pádraic responds by telling him that their feud would only have ended if Colm had stayed inside the house – suggesting that they are still at an impasse. Even the small amount of hope in the very final exchange of the film – when Colm thanks Pádraic for looking after his dog and he replies "any time" – doesn't seem like a hint that things will go in any way back to normal.

What does the Banshees of Inisherin ending really mean?

The whole film can be read as a parallel for the Irish Civil War – against which the drama is set – when the country was irrevocably changed due to a conflict between people who had previously fought alongside one another, splitting up friendships and destroying families.

The Banshees of Inisherin is now streaming on Disney Plus. Sign up to Disney Plus for £7.99 a month or £79.90 for a year.

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