8 Must-See Movie Locations in Ireland
From action-packed blockbusters to romantic movies, Ireland is the setting for some of the world’s most famous films and has welcomed many stars who have been captivated by the island’s scenery and charm.
Ireland’s mix of dramatic scenery, quaint villages and wide-open spaces have made it a dream for film location scouts. Today, there are endless opportunities to travel to and explore some of these sought-after places. Below is a list of locations in Ireland where some of the world’s most famous movies were made.
1 Stars Wars and the Skelligs
The Skellig Islands are the setting for scenes in Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens (2016) and Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi (2017). These dramatic islands, set along the west coast of Ireland, are the perfect setting for one of Hollywood’s most prolific movies. Skellig Michael has a starring role as the hideaway for Luke Skywalker with several stunning shots taken in and around the island – the island’s jutting cliffs and monastic ruins providing an air of mystery and intrigue.
Travellers can visit Skellig Michael by taking a boat tour from nearby Portmagee. Once on the island, it is possible to climb the steep 600 steps to the top of it but do come prepared as there are no bathroom or food facilities available on the island. Due to the historic value of Skellig Michael, only 20,000 visitors can visit Skellig Michael throughout the year so book your trip early to avoid disappointment.
The Skellig Islands feature as one of our 7 Irish Destinations that are Off the Beaten Track if you are keen to find out more about them.
Find the latest hotel deals near the Skellig Islands and channel your inner Jedi.
2 Love in County Wicklow and Dublin City
Many romance movie fans will know that Ireland features heavily in the heartbreaker P.S. I Love You (2007). Originally a book that was written by the Irish writer Celia Ahern then turned into a movie starring Hillary Swank and Gerard Butler, this production takes in several scenes from the Wicklow mountains, showing global viewers the majestic beauty of the area. Swank’s character, Holly, finds herself travelling through Ireland to locations she shared with her late husband Gerry, Butler’s character in the movie. The movie takes the viewer to Sally Gap, then to ‘Dun Laoghaire’, which is the beautiful village of Lacken.
Find the latest hotel deals in County Wicklow and Dublin for a romantic weekend spent tracing Holly and Gerry’s steps.
3 Dingle Peninsula, County Kerry
The Oscar-winning Ryan’s Daughter (1970) was filmed in this part of Ireland almost 50 years ago. Scenes in the movie were filmed on the Cliffs of Moher, Inch Strand and Coumeenole. Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman’s Far and Away (1992) also had scenes filmed in this part of County Kerry with the film’s end credits even being given to the famous Fungi, the Dingle Dolphin!
4 Escape to The Field and follow the footsteps of The Guard in Leenane, County Galway
Fans of The Guard (2011) will recognise the rural, rugged scenery of the Connemara Gaeltacht from this Golden Globe Award-nominated production. Gleeson as an unorthodox Irish policeman finds himself amidst the investigation of an international drug-smuggling ring taking him throughout the rural Galway countryside to Lettermore, Connemara and Lettermullen. This area and particularly the nearby town of Leenane was also featured in The Field (1990), a movie adapted from the hit John B Keane play. Local attractions such as Killary Harbour and Asaleagh Falls north of Leenane village appear in numerous scenes, with the latter providing the location for the ambush of potential American property investor Peter by locals Bull and Tadgh.
5 Find your Inner Braveheart at Trim Castle, County Meath
You might be surprised to learn that scenes from the popular Scottish Oscar award-winning movie Braveheart (1995) were filmed largely in Ireland at Wicklow, Trim and Dublin. Trim Castle, just 26 miles northwest of Dublin in County Meath, provided the backdrop for the fortified English town of York as well as the ‘London square’ in this Mel Gibson blockbuster.
Just 5 miles northeast of Trim Castle you can find the courtyard of Longshank’s castle and the dungeons where Wallace is imprisoned. In reality, this is Bective Abbey, established in 1147 and the nearby Dunsany Castle located between Trim and Dunshaughlin is the scene for the marriage of Prince Edward to Isabella in the movie’s ‘Westminster Abbey’. Other Irish locations in Braveheart include the Coronation Plantation in the Wicklow Mountains and the Sally Gap along the Liffey Valley.
Find the latest hotel deals near Trim Castle and find out more about the historical castle.
6 Curracloe Strand, County Wicklow (Saving Private Ryan)
The dramatic opening twenty minutes of Saving Private Ryan (1998) was actually filmed on Ballinesker Beach, Curracloe Strand in County Wexford. One of the best-known World War II movies not only used Ireland’s beautiful scenery in the movie. In fact, 2,500 of the Irish Defence Forces were used as extras for the film.
Take a look at the latest hotel deals near Curracloe Strand and explore the famous beach and its beautiful surrounding area.
7 The Immigrant’s Journey from Enniscorthy to Brooklyn
This 1950s tale of Eilis, a young Irish girl heading to New York to live the American dream was set on the streets of County Wexford’s second largest town: Enniscorthy. The town was transported back in time when featured in the movie Brooklyn (2015). Taking in the main attractions that were detailed in the book – Mrs Kelly’s shop, The Folly and Court Street, viewers can still find these locations on the streets of Enniscorthy. A key scene in the film, where Eilis and her friends go to a dance, is held in the Athenaeum, and local providers run tours of the film’s main attractions daily.
Find the latest hotel deals in Enniscorthy and enjoy being brought back in time.
8 Powerscourt Estate, home to Henry V, Barry Lyndon and Ella Enchanted
Frequently the spot for romantic proposals, Powerscourt has in fact been recently named as one of the most romantic locations in Ireland.The picturesque and sprawling Powerscourt Estate in Enniskerry has not only been named as one of the top three gardens in the world by the National Geographic but is also the carefully chosen location for over 25 movie productions including Ella Enchanted (2001), Henry V (1944), The Count of Monte Cristo (2002) and Barry Lyndon (1975). With lots to see and do in Powerscourt Estate you can enjoy a jaunt around the gardens to take in the big screen scenes followed with a tasty selection of homemade food in the Terrace Café, a round of golf on the championship course and a visit to the highest waterfall in Ireland.
Check out the latest hotel deals near Powerscourt and be tranfixed by the stately home and its wonderful gardens.
Do you know any other famous location in Ireland?
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