Because Ireland was a very crappy place back then. I mean, it still is, in many ways, but it was really fucking grim in the late 80s/very early 90s. And we all had an inferiority complex. We were also used to seeing other places, other people on the big screen, not us.
And then the film started. And a few minutes it, there was a long shot of the centre of Dublin. And the entire cinema started cheering. It was fucking brilliant.
Because here was that rare thing: an Irish-set film without paddywhackery. It had real Dublin people speaking the way real Dublin people do. It never rang false; the language was never compromised for a non-Irish audience. It was honest - Jimmy at one stage points out in the dole office that Ireland is a third world country, which it toally was at the time, albeit one with a highly educated population. It was us. It was us on the big screen. It felt bloody amazing.
And even now, when we're a little used to seeing Ireland on screen, it still got to us. Not just because all of us watching it last night are from the northside of Dublin (which, it must be said, is not all like the skanky areas shown in the film - although in the film they never say that it is, so that's okay), although that was partly it. But because it's still cool to see our city, and its own sense of humour, which we all share, in a film. And because it reminded us that no matter how much of a shit hole Dublin may be, it's part of us. We couldn't come from anywhere else. And we're kind of proud of that.