UPDATED with Mrs Brown’s Boys D’Movie record: Sundance breakout Brooklyn opened in Ireland this weekend, setting a nearly two-decade best start for an Irish drama. The immigrant story which Lionsgate UK released on November 4 scored an opening frame upwards of £432K ($650K) on 87 screens, including Northern Ireland. That’s the best drama debut since Michael Collins opened to £465K in November 1996. Helmer John Crowley’s film also bested recent Irish hits Angela’s Ashes (£398K) and Calvary (£331K). Lionsgate added the UK on Friday for a combined opening of £1.04M ($1.56M), making it the top newcomer in the markets. Last year’s comedy Mrs Brown’s Boys D’Movie, which Universal released in Ireland, maintains the overall record for an Irish film at an opening weekend of 802£K.

Brooklyn was one of the most sought after titles at Sundance in January. There, Fox Searchlight paid $9M for rights in the U.S. and multiple international territories. The 1950s-set period drama is generating awards heat, nabbing five British Independent Film Awards nominations last week. Fox Searchlight opened Stateside this weekend grossing $181K in five theaters for a $36,200 per-screen average.

Saoirse Ronan stars as a young woman who uproots and heads to Brooklyn, trying to forge a new life and finding work and first love. Family tragedy brings her back home, where she is forced to make a heartbreaking choice between two men and two countries.

Domhnall Gleeson, Emory Cohen, Jim Broadbent and Julie Walters also star. Adapted by Nick Hornby from Colm Tóibín’s New York Times bestseller, Brooklyn is produced by Finola Dwyer and Amanda Posey.