7 Best TV Shows About Irish Gangsters Unveiled

Irish gang culture has woven itself into the fabric of history, leaving an indelible mark on the world of organized crime.

From the 19th-century street gangs in America’s urban centers to the notorious organized crime syndicates of the 20th century, the lore of Irish gangsters has interested audiences for decades. Their stories, filled with intrigue, loyalty, and power struggles, have inspired gripping television narratives.

Series like Peaky Blinders and Brotherhood delve into this rich underworld, drawing inspiration from real-life Irish gangs like the Westies in Hell’s Kitchen or the infamous White Hand Gang in Brooklyn.

These shows skillfully blend historical context with dramatic storytelling, showcasing the complexities of Irish gang life and the characters navigating its risky business.


Kin, RTÉ/AMC+ (2021 – present)

Kin follows the Kinsellas, an Irish crime family led by the formidable patriarch, Frank.

The family struggles to maintain control over their criminal empire while dealing with internal conflicts and threats from rival gangs. In particular, they keep a watchful eye over another rival family, the Cunninghmas, who are headed by patriarch Eamon.

When a robbery goes awry, tensions rise within the family, especially between Frank’s sons, Michael and Jimmy. As they navigate betrayal, power struggles, and shifting alliances, the Kinsellas find themselves entangled in a dangerous web of deceit and violence that threatens their legacy and their lives.

Many viewers have speculated that the family is inspired by the real-life Kinahan gang and the feud they were caught up in, but this has never been confirmed.

Love/Hate, RTÉ One (2010 – 2014)

Love/Hate revolves around Dublin’s criminal underworld, focusing on the fictional lives of a tight-knit group of friends who are involved in various aspects of organized crime.

Darren, a small-time criminal, seeks to climb the ranks in the drug trade under the guidance of his friend and criminal kingpin, John Boy. Joining him are a few of his friends: Nidge, Robbie, and Tommy.

The series delves into their dealings with rival gangs, power struggles within their own crew, and the personal repercussions of their criminal activities.

Relationships are tested, loyalties are questioned, and the characters navigate a dangerous world where violence and betrayal are constant threats to their survival and ambitions.

Peaky Blinders, BBC Two/BBC One (2013 – 2022)

The crime gang at the center of Peaky Blinders is based on a real-life urban crime gang that was active in Birmingham in the late 1800s to early 1900s.

The series follows the Shelby family, led by the cunning and ambitious Tommy Shelby. Set in post-World War I Birmingham, England, the series chronicles the Shelby gang’s rise to power as they run illegal betting operations and navigate the criminal underworld.

Tommy, the head of the family, seeks to expand their influence while facing threats from rival gangs, political figures, and law enforcement.

The Shelby family’s intricate schemes, alliances, and internal conflicts drive the story, showcasing their determination to solidify their status in a world fraught with danger, betrayal, and constant tension.



The Black Donnellys, NBC (2007)

The Black Donnellys follows four Irish-American brothers in New York’s Hell’s Kitchen as they navigate their crime-ridden neighborhood.

The Donnelly brothers, Jimmy, Tommy, Kevin, and Sean, start small and in organized crime but soon become involved in larger criminal activities.

Their search for a better life collides with their involvement in illegal activities, leading to family disagreements and strained relations with local gangs. As they face the consequences of their choices and try to protect each other, their loyalty to family and neighbors is tested against escalating violence and betrayal.

The show injects rich references to Irish-American history, as well as realistic depictions of the tensions between Irish and Italian crime families.

Brotherhood, Showtime (2006 – 2008)

The critically acclaimed drama series Brotherhood revolves around two Irish-American brothers, Tommy and Michael Caffee, from Providence, Rhode Island.

Tommy, a politician with ambitions for public office, navigates the complex world of politics while secretly maintaining ties to organized crime. Meanwhile, Michael returns to the neighborhood after a lengthy absence, resuming his life of crime and reconnecting with his roots in the Irish mob.

The series delves into their conflicting paths, showcasing Tommy’s attempts to distance himself from the criminal underworld and Michael’s involvement in illegal activities. Tensions rise between the brothers as they maneuver through their respective worlds, facing moral dilemmas, betrayal, and the constant threat of exposure that could jeopardize their ambitions and livelihoods.



The Irish Mob, Amazon Prime Video (2008)

If you want a break from the fiction and prefer a more historical view of Irish gang history, then The Irish Mob is the series for you.

It’s a six-part documentary series that dives deep into the past, beginning with the Irish gangs that spread throughout New York City in the late 1800s.

Each episode tells the story of a few notorious gangsters, going into the details of their lives from youth up to their heydays as one of their city’s – and sometimes even the entire country’s – most notorious criminals.

It’s an example of how the American Dream can manifest in so many ways, as viewers get to hear how the likes of Mickey Spillane, Brian O’Dea, Frank ‘the Irishman’ Sheeran, and the West End Gang rose to power, wealth, and prominence thanks to their criminal ways.

Mobs Mheiriceá, TG4 (2007)

Like The Irish Mob, TG4’s Mobs Mheiriceá is a six-part documentary that looks in-depth at one well-known Irish gangster in each episode.

Each man at the center of the episode has lived through a true rags-to-riches story, which would be inspiring if it weren’t at the expense of the common good.

As it were, the series is a unique look into the Irish-American criminal underworld through captivating narratives that are sure to keep you on the edge of your seat.

The six criminal bosses featured in Mobs Mheiriceá are Michael “King Mike” McDonald, Dion O’Bannion, Jack “Legs” Diamond, Owney Madden, John “Cockeye” Dunne, and Danny Greene.

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