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Explore the real-life filming locations from your favourite series and movies and treat yourself to a truly epic adventure!
The Quiet Man (1952)
Where: County Galway & County Mayo, the Republic of Ireland
John Ford’s romantic comedy-drama starring Maureen O’Hara and John Wayne was filmed mainly in rural Galway and south County Mayo. Even though Innisfree is a fictional town, you can visit all of its iconic locations in real life.
Ballyglunin Station in County Galway appears in the very first scene of the film. Since its closure in 1976, it has gradually fallen into disrepair, but locals and fans around the globe have raised €30,000 to restore it to its former glory. Hollywood star Liam Neeson was one of the celebrities who supported the campaign.
Just outside Oughterard, Galway, one can find the stunning stone bridge where Sean dreamed that his mother told him about White O’Morn Cottage. Signs clearly mark the bridge, which hasn’t changed much since the 1950s.
Located on the border between Galway and Mayo, the picturesque village of Cong is perhaps The Quiet Man’s most recognisable location. There is now a museum dedicated to the movie in Cong. You are welcome to see the spot where the famous fight scene was filmed along with the Dying Man’s house, Pat Cohan’s Gastro Pub and the Rev and Mrs Playfair’s house.
Where: Counties Meath, Kildare, Wicklow, as well as the Dublin Region, the Republic of Ireland
Much to the surprise of many Braveheart fans, Mel Gibson’s 1995 epic drama about the First War of Scottish Independence was actually filmed in the Republic of Ireland. For instance, County Meath’s Trim Castle, the largest Cambro-Norman castle in Ireland, served as the setting for York.
Several of the scenes from Battle of Stirling Bridge were filmed on the Curragh in County Kildare, a vast, flat plain known for breeding Irish horses.
The land surrounding the Blessington Lakes, where the Vikings TV series was shot in the 2010s, is also where William Wallace escapes on horseback in Braveheart.
Take The Braveheart Drive, a 50-mile round trip around the west of the Wicklow Mountains, to see these spectacular locations in person!
As a final note, Robert Bruce’s stronghold Edinburgh Castle is, in fact, Dunsoghly Castle in Fingal, just an hour outside of Ireland‘s capital.
Saving Private Ryan (1998)
Where: Ballinesker Beach, County Wexford, the Republic of Ireland
In 1998, when Steven Spielberg was filming Saving Private Ryan, he found himself in a bind: how to re-create the D-Day landings at Normandy? Ballinesker Beach in County Wexford offered the perfect solution.
For two months, Ballinesker was transformed into Omaha Beach. Moreover, nearly 2,500 members of the Irish Defence Forces’ Army Reserve and Naval Service Reserve worked as extras. They even attended a 10-day boot camp with Tom Hanks, Vin Diesel, and Ed Burns!
Located near Wexford Wildfowl Reserve, Ballinesker Beach is a great spot for bird watching and collecting seashells. The beach has also been awarded a Blue Flag for its excellent water quality and sustainable environment.
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (2009)
Where: the Cliffs of Moher, County Clare, the Republic of Ireland
There is a brief but significant appearance of the County Clare‘s famous landmark in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince film. Harry and Professor Dumbledore team up to find the third Horcrux needed for defeating Lord Voldemort. They stand on a steep, sloping rock against the backdrop of dramatic cliffs, as waves roar and swirl around them.
Lemon Rock plays the role of the rock piece, while those cliffs are the Cliffs of Moher. In fact, Lemon Rock is located about 100 miles south of the Cliffs of Moher along the Wild Atlantic Way.
”Yes, this is the place… It has known magic.“Dumbledore
The Cliffs of Moher and the Iveragh Peninsula, both synonymous with phenomenal natural beauty and breathtaking views, are definitely worth a visit for everyone regardless of which Hogwarts house you belong to.
Game of Thrones (2011–2019)
Where: Titanic Studios in Belfast, Cushendun Caves, Murlough Bay, Ballintoy Harbour, Larrybane, Antrim plateau, Castle Ward, Inch Abbey, Downhill Strand, etc. Northern Ireland
One of the most popular fantasy TV series ever made was filmed in around 25 locations around Northern Ireland.
On the Antrim Coast, explore Cushendun Caves portrayed as the Stormlands where Melisandre gave birth to her “shadow baby”. Or drive along the Dark Hedges that represented the King’s Road as Arya Stark, disguised as a boy, travelled through this beautiful avenue to join the Night’s Watch.
If you don’t want to limit yourself to just a few locations, feel free to hop in the car in Belfast and enjoy the Seven Kingdoms and surroundings to their fullest on a self-guided tour!
Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015) & Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017)
Where: Skellig Michael, County Kerry, the Republic of Ireland
Skellig Michael is the most prominent Star Wars filming location in Ireland. At some point
far, far away between the 6th and 8th centuries, Skellig Michael was the site of a Christian monastery, which was abandoned in the 12th century.
UNESCO designated the remains and the island a World Heritage Site in 1996. Visitors to Skellig Michael need to make arrangements in advance with a local boat tour operator. For a closer look at the island’s history and ecology, check out the Skellig Experience Visitor Centre on Valentia Island.
A road trip along the Wild Atlantic Way is the perfect way to see all of the Star Wars sights in the Republic of Ireland:
- Malin Head, County Donegal
- Loop Head, County Clare
- Sibyl’s Head (Ceann Sibéal), Dingle Peninsula, County Kerry
- Skellig Michael, Iveragh Peninsula, County Kerry
- Brow Head, County Cork
- Northern Ireland 3-day road trip (with some of the Game of Thrones filming locations included)
- 4 days in Ireland: a perfect road trip itinerary for a short visit
Now that the world is preparing to reopen in 2021, we are here to keep you dreaming and planning for your next adventure – whether that’s a short staycation trip or flying off to parts unknown. Until then, we’ve got the latest COVID-19 travel advice and the interactive ‘Where you can go’ map to keep you up to date.