Next time you’re watching a movie; it would be no harm to pay careful attention to the scenery. Does it look familiar at all? Ireland’s stunning scenery has featured in many a Hollywood blockbuster. For example “Braveheart”, “Michael Collins” and “Excalibur” used the Wicklow Mountains. The rugged Dingle peninsula was a suitable setting for “Ryan’s daughter” and the village of Cong, County Mayo, was made famous by the 1950′s classic “The Quiet Man”.
Without doubt the capital is the most popular as regards film locations in Ireland. Strange as it may seem the areas used in and around Dublin aren’t always used to depict Irish scenes. For example, Kilmainham Gaol was used in the “Italian Job”, Smithfield Market was used in “The Spy Who Came in from the Cold” and Trinity College, Dublin was passed off as an English University in “Educating Rita”.
Wicklow is probably the next most popular with filmmakers. Classics such as “Braveheart”, “Excalibur” and “Michael Collins” were shot on location in the Wicklow Mountains. Indeed the Wicklow Mountains don’t look at all out of place doubling as the Scottish Highlands in “Braveheart”.
You can also tour the areas where these blockbusters were filmed. Then there’s the popular BBC series Ballykissangel shot in beautiful Avoca (all the outside filming) and Ardmore Studios (for the inside filming).
Next up it has to be Kerry and “Ryan’s Daughter”. Set in the Dingle Peninsula, the film caused major hysteria at the time when Hollywood A-listers, Robert Mitchum, Trevor Howard, John Mills and Sarah Miles descended on our humble county. The film also starred the cream of the Irish acting world. As well as breathtaking scenery, the village was actually a specially constructed Hollywood set.
Limerick city provided one of the backdrops for “Angela’s Ashes”, a film based on the autobiography of Frank Mc Court. “Angelas Ashes” walking tours will bring you to places named/used in the book. Not alone shot in Limerick, this film has also done a bit of a mini tour of Ireland, as scenes were shot in Cork, Dublin and Wicklow.
Dromore Castle in Limerick was used in the 1988 Neil Jordan comedy, “High Spirits” starring Peter O’Toole, Daryl Hannah and Liam Neeson.
In “Barry Lyndon”, Cahir Castle was used as a German military encampment. Carrick-on-Suir, County Tipperary also featured when the principal character enlisted in the army. Various other locations around Ireland including Kilkenny, Meath, Tipperary, Waterford and Dublin Castle were used as a hotel and casino.
Cahir Castle featured in the opening scenes of “Excalibur”, as well as The Rock of Cashel. Scenes for the film were also shot in Kerry and Wicklow (does that waterfall seem familiar, well you can see it any day of the week on the Powerscourt Estate, Enniskerry).
Although the story is set on Innisfree, County Sligo, the County Mayo village of Cong is the setting for Hollywood favourite “The Quiet man”, starring John Wayne and Maureen O’Hara. The grounds of Ashford Castle were also used to shoot some scenes. In Cong today you can visit “The Quiet Man” cottage museum, of which the ground floor is a carbon copy of “White-o-Mornin’” cottage.
The picturesque village of Roundstone was the setting for the 1997 comedy film “The Matchmaker” starring Denis Leary, Milo O’Shea and Janeane Garofalo. The village is situated at the end of Errisbeg Mountain and looks out on to the Alantic. The filmmakers made good use of surrounding farms and also went across to the Aran Islands to film some scenes.
Bet you didn’t think our little island was such a popular choice with filmmakers. Why not make Ireland your next destination and see these film sets up close for yourself.
If you are planning a visit and need somewhere to stay check out our Ireland hotels page.
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