Lights, Camera, Action... Irelands best film locations you can visit.
Updated: Sep 28, 2021
The Cliffs of Moher are hands down one of the most spectacular locations in Ireland. These enormous sea cliffs were featured in Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince as well as The Cliffs of Insanity in the 1987 comedy adventure film The Princess Bride. Other movies shot here include classic Irish movies Ryan’s Daughter and Into The West.
Many Braveheart fans might not know that the entire biopic of Scottish freedom fighter was actually shot in Ireland. Trim Castle in County Meath was used as the city of York in the movie as well as Bective Abbey where the scene where the princess talks with her maid.
Kilmainham Gaol in Dublin. Many fictional characters have been banged up here over the years. Those include Michael Caine in the original The Italian Job, Liam Neeson in Michael Collins and Cillian Murphy in the 1996 movie The Wind That Shakes The Barley.
Beautiful Powerscourt Estate in County Wicklow, has been a filming location for over 25 movie and TV productions. King Arthur with Clive Owen and Keira Knightley, Ella Enchanted, with Anne Hathaway, The Count of Monte Cristo with Jim Caveziel and Guy Pearse and TV series The Tudors with Jonathan Rys Myers and Henry Cavill.
Curracloe Strand in Ballinesker – in County Wexford is the filming location for the epic opening scenes in the Saving Private Ryan. This stunning coastline was transformed into Omaha Beach. It was picked because of its similarity to the historic beach of the same name in Normandy, where the battle actually took place. Over 2,000 men from the Irish Defence Forces were deployed to Wexford to help with the filming of this scene for over two months.
Trinity College Dublin, situated in the most central part of Dublin city, has always been a popular filming location in Ireland. The beautiful grounds of the university, which was founded in 1592 and is one of the oldest in the world, was the setting for 1983 comedy/drama Educating Rita, starring Michael Caine and Julie Walters and Normal People was also filmed extensively here.
Skellig Michael is a rocky outcrop of an island 11km off the Kerry coastline is home to a well-conserved sixth century monastic settlement and one of the largest puffin colonies in Ireland. It also stars in 2015 blockbuster Star Wars: The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi.
Director JJ Abrams picked Skellig Michael as the filming location for key scenes. While he was given the choice of many incredible destinations, he stated that nothing came close to this secret Irish island. The island is very tricky to get to, with boats only departing when the weather and tides are just right. And no one is allowed to stay on the island more than a few hours.
The record-breaking HBO series might be over, but you can still visit your favorite filming locations in Northern Ireland. Game of Thrones filmed at 49 Northern Ireland locations in total from 2010 to 2018. Some of the series’ most pivotal scenes found their real-world settings here, including Winterfell, the home of House Stark (Castle Ward and Demesne in Strangford. Co. Down for the first season and Toome, Co. Antrim for the later seasons); the King’s Road (the Dark Hedges in Ballymoney, Co. Antrim); and the Wall that separates the Seven Kingdoms from the realm of the Wildlings and the Night King (Magheramorne Quarry in Co. Antrim - with a healthy dose of CGI special visual effects). For the final season, the cast and crew filmed an epic battle sequence for 55 nights straight in the villages of Toome and Magheramore.
For a behind-the-scenes look, head to Belfast City, to the Titanic Quarter, where many of Game of Thrones interior scenes and special effects were filmed over the last 10 years.
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince combines one of the most famous locations in Ireland with one of the most popular series of all time. The Cliffs of Moher in County Clare play a brief but pivotal role in the movie - when Harry joins Professor Dumbledore in seeking out the third Horcrux needed to destroy Lord Voldemort. The two stand on a steep, sloping rock, with waves crashing and swirling around them. They turn to face an imposing wall of cliffs with a cave at the center, where they must venture.
Ireland’s history was forever changed by the Viking invasions. So it makes sense that the TV series Vikings would turn to Ireland as its primary filming location. Since it debuted in 2013, the series has filmed at Ashford Studios in Wicklow, around the rugged Wicklow Mountains, and at other locations in Ireland’s Ancient East.
Brendon Gleeson's depiction of an unorthodox garda and his misadventures throughout Galway and Connemara won fans and critics over. Remote locations heighten the sense of surreality faced by Don Cheadle's FBI agent when he arrives to investigate.
Connemara has been the location for many movie shoots over the years, ranging from The Quiet Man (1952) to The Purple Taxi (1977), The Field (1990), as well as Marley And Me (2008), where Owen Wilson and Jennifer Aniston's antics included getting stuck behind a flock of sheep.