Movie and TV Locations

Ireland’s Famous Movie and TV Locations

Enjoy our list and map celebrating some of the most famous movies and TV programmes that were filmed on location in Ireland.  

Irish Movie & TV Locations

Ireland has been the jewel in Hollywood’s eye for many decades, with our unique and beautiful landscape acting as the backdrop for many a box office success. Likewise, when the golden age of modern TV arrived in the early 21st century, the Irish coastline was once again the favourite for many a location scout.

Film and TV locations in Ireland

We’ve put together a list of some of the most loved movies and TV locations filmed in Ireland that you could visit on a day trip. Why not plan a pilgrimage to the location of your favourite set and recreate a classic moment from the screen that’s truly worthy of Instagram?

1.     Inishowen, County Donegal – Grabbers (2012)

GrabbersOne-part comedy, one part sci-fi and a healthy mix of Irish stereotype brought us the independent Grabbers in 2012.  Donegal was used to fake the island setting for the film which tells the tale of an alien invasion that sees the supernatural visitors pick off the local people one by one. It’s soon realised that the aliens have no interest in abducting anyone with a high blood alcohol level and as a result a hilarious Garda-enforced ‘lock in’ adventure ensues.

Location spotlight: Moville

Moville is a picturesque town on the banks of Lough Foyle, lying 30 km from the border with Derry. Although most recently famous for displaying some tentacled extra-terrestrials in all their glory, the peninsula was once an embarking point for emigrants going to Canada and the US in the 1800s.

Coordinates: 55.1890182, -7.040053299999954

Watch the trailer here.

2.     Giant’s Causeway/Ballintoy Harbour, County Antrim – Game of Thrones (2011)

Game of ThronesYou can’t talk about the Irish film and television industry without given the Queen of Dragons and friends an honourable mention. Game of Thrones, the world’s most popular show, has made great use of the area near the Giant’s Causeway on the Northern Ireland coastline by featuring such sites as Ballintoy Harbour, the Cushendun Caves, The King’s Road and Shane’s Castle.

Location spotlight: The King’s Road

Fans of the show will no doubt remember the image of young Arya Stark escaping down the Dark Hedges following the death of her father. The dipping tree lines that meet each other over the King’s Road are a natural formation. All the film crew had to do was temporarily remove some fencing and scatter some dirt to get the desired effect of a desolate highway.

Coordinates: 55.1346929, – 6.3808219999999665

Watch the trailer here.

3.     Trim Castle, Trim, County Meath – Braveheart (1994)

BraveheartMuch of Mel Gibson’s fight for Scottish Independence actually took place in Ireland, specifically in the Curragh and at Trim Castle in County Meath. Braveheart saw Gibson bring together some of Ireland and Scotland’s best-known actors for some epic battle moments with big names like Brendan Gleeson and James Cosmo wielding axes and swords.

Location spotlight: Trim Castle

Trim Castle in County Meath is used as a doppelganger for the Town of York in Braveheart, the location in the film where Scottish forces attack the castle’s gates with a flaming battering ram. Trim Castle was built in the 12th century and is a relic of the Norman Ireland era.

Coordinates: 53.5544205, -6.789399300000014

Watch the trailer here.

4.     Dublin City, County Dublin – Love / Hate (2010)

Love HateIn 2010, Ireland caught up with the gritty world of heavy hitting drama television when Love Hate first graced the screens via the national broadcaster. Like a version of the Fair City intro gone wrong, the show is littered with footage of the capital city as we follow our cast of complexed undesirables go about their day.

Location spotlight: Victoria Quay

The pub formerly known as Leonards doubles as ‘Napper Tandy’s‘ in Love Hate and is the location of IRA member Git Loughman’s infamous gruesome demise. It can be found on the corner where Watling Street meets Victoria Quay.

Coordinates: 53.5544205, -6.789399300000014

Watch the trailer here.

5.     County Kildare – Eat the Peach (1986)

Eat the PeachEat the Peach is a curious film that not too many people know about. It tells the story of two Irish men that build their own motorcycle ‘wall of death’ after being inspired by an Elvis Presley movie.

Believe it or not, the movie is inspired by real life events. Two motor cycle enthusiasts from Granard, Co. Longford, Michael Donoghue and Connie Kiernan, built their own wall of death in 1979. Their efforts were filmed for and RTE programme P.M. in the late 70s.

Location spotlight: The Bog of Allen

One of the principle locations of the movie is the raised Bog of Allen, the stretched bog land in between Offaly, Clare and Kildare. The bog’s natural properties have made it possible for a number of medieval artefacts of archaeological significance to be preserved and later unearthed in good condition.

Coordinates: 53.2485288, -6.99647559999994

Watch the trailer here.

6.     Lough Tay, County Wicklow – Vikings (2013)

VikingsVikings is another global success story that has highlighted Ireland’s natural beauty to great success. The epic drama, set in the 13th century, follows the exploits of a Viking raider clan that sail south to the British Isles and beyond in search of new lands to pillage.

The show is the History Channel’s first voyage into the realm of scripted drama and has been a roaring success in territories such as the US and Canada.

Location spotlight: Lough Tay

If you are fascinated by the set design magic that Game of Thrones pulls off up north each season, you’ll be mesmerised by Lough Tay’s transformation into a Scandinavian Viking port. If you’d like to get even closer to the action you can even apply to be an extra on the show. Keep an eye on the Viking Extras Facebook Page for more information.

Coordinates: 53.1065984, -6.266670200000021

Watch the trailer here.

7.     Kilkenny, County Kilkenny – Circle of Friends (1995)

Circle of FriendsThis popular adaption of one of Maeve Binchy’s novels still does the rounds on Irish TV and boasts a stellar cast (for the 1990s) including Minnie Driver, Chris O’Donnell, Colin Firth and Alan Cumming. Circle of Friends portrays the coming of age story of childhood friends in 1950s rural Ireland who, upon their move to Dublin to pursue education, must navigate through their own personal differences and a relationship triangle or two, all in the name of love and friendship. The jury is still out on whether Minnie Driver or Chris O’Donnell should take home the award for best onscreen hair.

Location spotlight: Inistioge, County Kilkenny

The bridge in the film, which seems like a perfect dilly-dallying spot on the way home from school, is located just outside the village of Inistioge, County Kilkenny. The arched bridge that crosses the River Nore is located 16 miles southeast of Kilkenny Town.

Coordinates: 52.48704931082907, -7.06360186969755

Watch the trailer here.

8.     Youghal, County Cork – Moby Dick (1956)

Moby DickYou read that right, Youghal was indeed an onscreen location for 1956 production of Moby Dick. Youghal was used as a substitute for New Bedford in Massachusetts, thus bringing a few celebrities to stay in the town. Hollywood star Gregory Peck stayed in the nearby Metropole hotel when he wasn’t filming scenes as the white-whale obsessed captain Ahab. By all accounts the production was an exciting time for the town, with one newspaper article reporting an extra could have gotten 30 shillings a day.

Location spotlight: The Moby Dick Pub (Formerly Paddy Linehan’s pub)

Supposedly Paddy Linehan’s pub was the main watering hole for cast and crew during production. The pub was later renamed in honour of the fantastic spectacle that was Moby Dick and its walls are covered in photos and memorabilia from that exciting time.

Coordinates: 51.9533205, -7.84605369999997

Watch the trailer here.

9.     West Cork, County Cork – Young Offenders (2016)

Young OffendersA relatively new addition to the global celebration of Ireland on screen, Young Offenders is a teenage crime comedy caper that cheers for two local protagonists, determined to locate a missing bail of cocaine at sea. As you can imagine a lot more things go wrong than right in this hunt for illegal treasure, with the movie’s audience being the only real winners. The popularity of the film has now led to a spin off TV series.

Location spotlight: Dunmanus Bay

Many of the coastal shots in the film take place on the cliffs and coastal areas of Dunmanus Bay. Situated near Mizen Head in County Cork, the bay is home to the ruins of fortification built by the O’Mahony Clan in the 10th century.

Coordinates: 51.541645066005735, -9.669359793798776

Watch the trailer here.

10.  Skellig Michael, County Kerry – Star Wars (2015/2017)

Star WarsSome would argue a high midi-chlorian count in County Kerry would explain the presence of a few Jedi on the Kerry Football team, but now we have the proof — the force is very strong in the Kingdom. Production on both Star Wars the Force Awakens and Star Wars the Last Jedi took place in Kerry, with Ceann Sibéal being used for wider reimagined shots of Luke Skywalker’s refuge.

Location spotlight: Skellig Michael

So, it turns out Luke Skywalker was hiding on Skellig Michael since the 1980s. Who could blame him? The monastic ruin and renowned UNESCO Heritage Site is like nothing else on earth. The Island is located 12 kilometres west of the Iveragh Peninsula meaning it’s only accessible by boat, or apparently a Millennium Falcon.

Coordinates: 51.7706615, -10.540524499999947

Watch the trailer here.

11.  Cliffs of Moher, County Clare – Harry Potter (2009)

Harry PotterWithout giving away too many spoilers to those who haven’t already seen the spectacular film adaptions of J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series, the Half Blood Prince marks a turning point for many characters in a truly dark fashion.

In a crucial scene, Harry and Professor Dumbledore stand on a rock in the middle of the sea facing the entrance to a cave that hosts one of the vital Horcruxes they must locate to defeat Voldemort. The back drop for the cave entrance is of course the unmistakable Cliffs of Moher. Although it’s likely Michael Gambon and Daniel Radcliffe never made it off the soundstage for this scene, the cliffs still glisten in all their glory.

Location spotlight: Cliffs of Moher

A breath-taking sight for all who feast their eyes upon it, the Cliffs of Moher must surely be a contender for a new list of wonders of the world. On a clear day, one can see the Aran Islands, Galway Bay, the Twelve Pins, the Maum Turk mountains in Connemara, the Dingle Peninsula and the Blasket Islands in Kerry.

Coordinates: 52.97188, -9.426510000000007

Watch the trailer here.

12.  Kilfenora, County Clare – Father Ted (1995)

Father TedImagine being from a village that can boast the fact their town is the real Craggy Island from Fr Ted. Well for the 175 inhabitants of Kilfenora this is a reality. Ireland’s most celebrated comedy show happily made Clare its home for three seasons between 1995 and 1998.

Memorable moments of the series such as The Lovely Girls’ Competition and the incident with the milk float in the infamous Speed 3 episode would have taken place in the villages of Kilfenora and Ennistymon, County Clare.

Location spotlight: Glanquin Farmhouse

Craggy Island’s most loved citizens may have done the bulk of their three-year stint in London, but the shots filmed on home soil have made a certain front garden in Clare a must visit pilgrimage for generations to come. You can even book tea and scones in the farmhouse better known as the Fr Ted House.

Coordinates: 53.0104839, -9.030497200000013

Watch the trailer here.

13.  Barna, County Galway – The Guard (2011)

The GuardThe work of John Michael McDonagh has showcased the beauty of Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way to a global audience, most notably in the 2011 film The Guard. Regarded as the most successful independent film of all time at the Irish Box Office, The Guard sees Don Cheadle as an FBI agent paired up with a jaded Garda played by Brendan Gleeson as they attempt to put a stop to a gang of cop-killing drug smugglers. Political correctness is out the window in this fast-paced dark comedy, (especially when Gleeson’s character opens his mouth), that takes in Leitir Móir, Co. Galway and Spideal.

Location spotlight: Barna

Barna is one of the well-known Gaeltacht villages in Ireland, located in Connemara, west of Galway City. The village is a popular location for tourists that wish to stay in a proximity to the city but in a more quieter setting.

Coordinates: 53.251812, -9.147468500000059

Watch the trailer here.

14.  Cong, County Mayo – The Quiet Man (1952)

The Quiet ManThe Oscar winning film on our list, is one of Ireland’s most well-known productions that paired up John Wayne and Maureen O’Hara on Irish soil. Released in 1952, John Ford’s The Quiet Man brought the village of Cong, Co. Mayo, Ashford Castle and Lough Gill to life in the magic of technicolour. Although billed as a romantic comedy, younger audiences today might find the friction between the two leads a far cry from the loved-up displays seen in modern movies starring Hugh Grant and the likes. The movie, that was originally based on short story by Maurice Walsh, took home Best Director and Best Cinematography at the 1953 Oscars.

Location spotlight: The Quiet Man Museum

If you’re looking for an immersive The Quiet Man experience, look no further than The Quiet Man Museum in Cong, Co. Mayo. The cottage museum leaves visitors thinking that they have stumbled onto a film set without realising it. According to the official website the museum was visited several times by John Wayne’s family and by Maureen O’Hara.

Co-ordinates: 53.5408714, -9.288115500000004

Watch the trailer here.

15.  Strandhill, County Sligo – Calvary (2014)

CalvaryA contender for one of the darkest films shot on home soil, Calvary plays out like a sinister game of Cluedo with the promise of a murder from the very first scene. With a talented Irish cast led by the unflappable Brendan Gleeson, John Michael McDonagh brings some unsettling themes to the Sligo coast in a captivating title that also features Aidan Gillen, Chris O’Dowd and Dylan Moran.

Location spotlight: Streedagh Beach

Streedagh beach in north county Sligo features heavily throughout Calvary, most noticeably in the climactic ending that features visuals right out of a Jack Vettriano painting. You can almost feel the wind in your face.

Coordinates: 54.403996, 8.558449999999993

Watch the trailer here.

Of course, we know that films use multiple locations, some of which mightn’t have featured in our list. Also, we know sometimes footage of Ireland is magically dropped in the background of scenes using some Hollywood magic, but we believe that still counts.

Let us know if we missed any of your favourites!

If you have any stories of a time that a production came to your town we’d love to hear it. Leave us a comment on our Facebook Page.

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