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Top Film Locations in Ireland

coastline of the Dingle Peninsula, IrelandFor a relatively small country, Ireland has enjoyed quite an illustrious career on screen. With its rolling green hills, picturesque villages and diverse urban landscape, the Emerald Isle is a location scout's dream - a photogenic landscape that always offers up its best side to the camera, whether representing itself on screen or doubling for countless other destinations.

Alongside the country's many other attractions, film buffs will enjoy visiting those scenic corners of Ireland that have been immortalised on film. Some are immediately recognisable - others may surprise all but the most keen-eyed viewer. To get you started on your cinematic tour of the country, here are some of the most famous event filming locations in Ireland…

Ballinesker Beach, County Wexford

The harrowing opening scenes of Saving Private Ryan, in which soldiers are depicted struggling ashore the beaches of Normandy during the D-Day landings, were in fact filmed on this peaceful stretch of coast in south-eastern Ireland. Director Steven Spielberg chose the location after failing to secure permission to film on the original Omaha beach in France.

Trim Castle, County Meath

Trim is a fascinating town to visit regardless of its film connections, with ancient ruins mushrooming up from the rolling fields as if sprouted from the bedrock itself. One of these, the imposing Trim Castle, stood in for the northern English city of York in the medieval Scottish epic Braveheart. Locals still enjoy recounting the tale of the day director/star Mel Gibson came to town with his crew - and it's not the only location in Ireland that he visited while depicting the legendary William Wallace…

Wicklow Mountains, County Wicklow

The brooding hills of Wicklow have become established stars in their own right, with a number of film roles under their bleakly beautiful belt. The rugged landscape proved an effective double for the misty Scottish Highlands in certain scenes in Braveheart; it also contributed an atmospheric setting for the medieval fantasy epic Excalibur, the Irish historical drama Michael Collins, and the romantic tearjerker P.S. I Love You. Towns in the region have also made appearances on film - Bray featured in Michael Collins, My Left Foot, and The Commitments, while Hollywood (after which the Californian Hollywood is named) tapped into its legacy with an appearance in Dancing at Lughnasa.


With its wealth of historic streets and attractions, it's hardly surprising that the Irish capital has played host to a plethora of films. Buildings such as the Kilmainham Gaol have made multiple film appearances, in films such as the original The Italian Job, In The Name of the Father, and Michael Collins, while Temple Bar stood in for Boston in Far and Away and Trinity College played an English university in Educating Rita. Historical television dramas such as The Tudors and Ripper Street have also made use of the city's vintage features, while modern Dublin has provided backdrops for films as diverse as Veronica Guerin, The General, and The Commitments.

Dingle Peninsula, County Kerry

The spectacular scenery around Dingle, on Ireland's west coast, charmed audiences around the world when David Lean's classic film Ryan's Daughter was released in 1970. Set and filmed in a village on the peninsula, the film used locations such as Coumeenole Beach, Slea Head, Dún Chaoin and Inch Strand, although the village itself was a specially-built set. Fans of romantic period drama got a double dose of Dingle when the Tom Cruise-Nicole Kidman epic Far and Away also used the peninsula for the opening scenes set in Ireland.

Glanquin House, County Clare

This solid-looking, grey-fronted home near Kilfenora is in fact known for its appearances on the small screen rather than in the cinema, but merits inclusion for the central role it played in a modern comedy classic. Glanquin House was used for the exterior shots of the home of Fathers Ted, Dougal and Jack in the hit Channel 4 comedy series Father Ted, which originally aired during the 1990s but still has a firm fanbase today. While the house is a private residence, the owners have embraced the attention by offering tours to fans of the programme who complete the pilgrimage to their door.

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