Ireland has long since held a mystical charm for travelers and creatives alike. Whether you’re jetting off to the Emerald Isle to track down those long-lost relatives that everyone in the world seems to have, or if you’re simply inspired by the fairytale surroundings and want to channel your inner poet, Ireland beckons everyone over to her rugged shores sooner or later. It shouldn’t come as a surprise then that plenty of famous movies and television shows have chosen Ireland as their muse, with many an iconic scene being shot in her varied counties.
There are the obvious ones like The Quiet Man and Ryan’s Daughter, but also ones that use Ireland’s majestic landscape in lieu of other, fantastical worlds; Game of Thrones being one prime example. One of the many great things about Ireland is that it’s so small you can travel around it with ease, meaning that if you’re a bona fide cinephile, you can seek out all the hotspots up and down the island. Check out BUCKiTDREAM to cast an eye over other folks’ intrepid adventures to Irish shores, then keep that BUCKiTDREAM planner by your side as we take you through five shooting locations in Ireland that you’ll definitely recognize from famous movies!
Curracloe Strand, Co. Wexford (Saving Private Ryan) When you think of Spielberg’s wartime epic, the first thing that comes to mind is the opening sequence, a visceral, bloody, disorientating assault course through the chaotic Omaha Beach landings. This iconic scene was actually shot far away from French shores, on the Curracloe Beach in Wexford, located in the South East of the country. It took two months and $12 million to film the 20-minute sequence, with Spielberg utilizing members of the Irish Defence Forces as extras.
The Cliffs of Moher, Co. Clare (The Princess Bride) The stunning Cliffs of Moher are one of Ireland’s most popular tourist spots, and simply a must-see if you happen to be in the country. Hollywood evidently agrees with that assessment; the sheer, dramatic cliff faces have cropped up in a lot of movies throughout the years, most notably in the William Goldman-scribed The Princess Bride, where they double as the ominous-sounding Cliffs of Insanity. If you’re insane enough, you can walk right to the edge of the cliffs, lie down and stare over the 710-foot drop – though we don’t recommend it!
Trim Castle, Co. Meath (Braveheart) Believe it or not, half of Mel Gibson’s patriotic epic Braveheart was shot in Ireland. And the good news? It was all the battle scenes, i.e. the cool stuff. Ireland’s largest Norman castle was put to good use in the film, doubling as the seat of the City of York, and you can tour the inside of this impressive structure when you visit. Located in County Meath, a handy 40-minute drive away from the capital of Dublin, a trip to Trim should also come with a disclaimer; the castle is said to be haunted. Although, if you take any old structure in the middle of rural Ireland, you’ll find someone nearby that tell you it’s haunted.
Kilmainham Goal, Dublin (Michael Collins) Old Kilmainham Gaol is situated on the edge of Dublin city, and in recent years has become one of the most-visited tourist spots in the country, going tit-for-tat with the Guinness Storehouse, located just up the road. It was a pivotal location during the Irish War of Independence in the early 1900s, and once you step inside the Gaol, it’s easy to see why filmmakers are drawn to it. Its unique design and atmosphere are inherently cinematic; you can almost feel the history. Somewhat inevitably, the Gaol featured heavily in Neil Jordan’s Michael Collins, where it played itself; but it was also utilized at the start of famous crime caper The Italian Job.
Skellig Michael, Co. Kerry (Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens) Being featured in the most successful film of 2015 will do wonders for your tourist trade. Since the release of the new Star Wars, the residents of Dingle, on County Kerry’s west coast, have been inundated with visitors looking for a boat trip across to Luke Skywalker’s lonely hideaway. The dramatic, unmistakable scenery of the Skellig islands proved irresistible for the film’s producers, and with the next installment in the series also set to feature the location, the locals can look forward to a fresh wave of fans in 2018. Star Wars or No Wars, the Skelligs are simply a must-see if you make it to the Emerald Isle.
So there we have five stunning locations that were put to good use in five famous films. But when you get to Ireland, how will YOU put them to good use? Well, one way is to share your adventures all over BUCKiTDREAM, and let your followers know what inspired you (and hopefully inspire someone back in the process)! Check out The Five Best Music Venues in Dublin and The Best Stops In Ireland’s Atlantic Way for more Irish-themed adventures and start filling that BUCKiTDREAM planner in preparation for your bucket list trip!