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Ireland on screen: 10 spectacular filming locations to visit in 2019

There are many beautiful Irish landscapes that have stood in for exotic film locations - you might be surprised by some of them! Join us on this virtual journey across Ireland and plan your own pilgrimage to these big screen beauties.

10 filming locations in Ireland you must visit in 2019

1. The Cliffs of Moher, County Clare

The spectacular Cliffs of Moher under a cloudy sky in Ireland

The Cliffs of Moher are already a popular destination for tourists coming to Ireland. But what you might not know, while you wander through the impressive visitor centre and stroll along the stoney path by the cliffs’ edge, is that these impressive crags were featured in Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince.

Ireland’s most famous cliffs also double as The Cliffs of Insanity in the 1987 comedy adventure film The Princess Bride. Other movies shot here include popular Irish movies Ryan’s Daughter and Into The West.

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2. Trim Castle, County Meath

Trim Castle in County Meath where scenes from Braveheart were filmed. Credit: © Tony Pleavin / Tourism Ireland
Credit: © Tony Pleavin / Tourism Ireland

Most Braveheart fans would be forgiven for thinking the entire biopic of Scottish freedom fighter William Wallace was filmed in Scotland. But many of the battle scenes were actually shot across the water in Ireland. Trim Castle in County Meath, the largest Norman Castle in the Irish republic, was used as the city of York in the movie. Check the castle’s event schedule, as they often host screenings of Braveheart projected on to the castle walls in the summer months.

If you’re in the area, you should also pay a visit to Bective Abbey, the filming location for the scene where the princess converses with her maid. Take in all of the medieval and Anglo-Irish sites with a private tour from Boyne Valley Tours, including stops at both Trim Castle and Bective Abbey, and see it all from the comfort of a hired car. They’ll even pick you up straight from your hotel! Prices upon request.

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3. Kilmainham Gaol, County Dublin

Kilmainham Gaol, Dublin - the location for scenes from The Italian Job. Credit: ©Sinead McCarthy / Tourism Ireland
Credit: ©Sinead McCarthy / Tourism Ireland

Similar to the Cliffs of Moher, Kilmainham Gaol in Dublin is an interesting tourist attraction in its own right. It offers visitors an insightful look into Ireland’s turbulent past, as this is where many Irish revolutionaries were locked up after the 1916 Easter Rising.

The stark interior of Kilmainham Gaol, Dublin, Ireland

Alongside some of Ireland’s most famous freedom fighters, many fictional characters have also been banged up here over the years. Those include a very young Michael Caine in the The Italian Job, Liam Neeson in the Irish historical biopic Michael Collins and Cillian Murphy in the 1996 movie The Wind That Shakes The Barley. A music video for Ireland’s most famous rock band U2 was also filmed in the prison back in 1982!

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4. Parknasilla, County Kerry

The picturesque grounds of Parknasilla Resort, an eighteenth century manor house and four-star hotel in County Kerry, is where The Lobster was filmed. The critically acclaimed film starring Colin Farrell and Rachel Weisz, is set in the future and involves singletons checking into a resort and being given 45 days to find a partner. If they fail to do so, they will be turned into animals and released into the wild!

As on the big screen, Parknasilla Resort is the perfect place to find romance, or enjoy a relaxing weekend with your other half. It is set among 500 acres of untouched wilderness and endless hiking trails, which run alongside Kenmare Bay.

Check out Skyscanner hotels to book your stay, and use our guide to Ireland’s best walking routes to plan your trip activities.

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5. Grafton Street, Dublin City Centre

Buskers performing on Grafton Street, Dublin. Credit: ©Tourism Ireland
Credit: ©Tourism Ireland

Ireland’s most famous street and a shopping haven for both locals and visitors, Grafton street has welcomed many big-name movies over the years. The most popular being Irish musical Once, starring Glen Hansard from The Frames, who plays a struggling street musician alongside Czech immigrant Marketa Irglova.

Grafton Street, Dublin, one of the 10 most famous filming locations in Ireland

Many famous Irish musicians started their days busking on Grafton Street before they got their big break. Among them, The Script and U2. Many of these famous musicians return to Dublin each December to busk on Grafton street on Christmas Eve, in what is now a much-loved Christmas tradition. Head there over the festive season and you may just be able to catch ‘the next big thing’!

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6. Powerscourt Estate, County Wicklow

The impressive Powerscourt Estate and gardens in County Wicklow. Credit: ©Beth Ellis / Tourism Ireland
Credit: ©Beth Ellis / Tourism Ireland

The colorful Powerscourt Estate in County Wicklow, known as Ireland’s garden county, has been a filming location for over 25 movie and TV productions. It all begun in 1944 with the filming of Henry V. Some of the best known movies shot here in recent years include scenes from King Arthur with Clive Owen and Keira Knightley, Ella Enchanted, a modern day take on Cinderella, the 1970 production of Black Beauty and TV series The Tudors, starring Irish actor Jonathan Rhys Meyers.

View of the Powerscourt Estate from the pond - a spectacular filming location in Ireland

Fancy swotting up on Irish history? Here is our pick of the best Irish castles to visit in 2019!

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7. Youghal, County Cork

The yellow and green facade of Moby Dick's pub in Youghal, County Cork. Credit: ©Chris Hill / Tourism Ireland
Credit: ©Chris Hill / Tourism Ireland

The seaside town of Youghal in the south of Ireland is the iconic filming location of the 1956 film Moby Dick. The historic walled town was used as the setting for ‘New Bedford’ in the movie, which featured old Hollywood movie legends Gregory Peck and Richard Basehart.

The town is now home to Moby Dick’s pub, which was said to be a favourite watering hole of the film’s director John Huston. Youghal has really capitalised on the film’s fame and also hosts annual Moby Dick themed events, including the Moby Dick Festival (31 May-2 June 2019) and the Moby Dick Triathlon (Saturday 22 September 2019). Visit Cork this summer and you could be having a whale of a time too!

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8. Curracloe Strand, County Wexford

The vast Curracloe Strand, County Wexford under a blue sky with a few clouds. One of the most impressive filming locations in Ireland. Credit: ©Sinead McCarthy / Failte Ireland
Credit: ©Sinead McCarthy / Failte Ireland

If you’re visiting the sunny south east, as County Wexford is affectionately known, be sure to pay a visit to Curracloe Strand in Ballinesker. It is the filming location for the opening scene (lasting 20 minutes) in the epic American war film Saving Private Ryan

This stunning coastline was transformed into Omaha Beach. It was picked because of its similarity to the historic beach of the same name in Normandy, where the battle actually took place. It is said that over 2,000 men from the Irish Defence Forces were deployed to Wexford to help with the filming of this scene, which took almost two months to complete.

There’s no need to head abroad for a fantastic beach break. Here are 10 of the best beaches in Ireland 2019.

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9. Trinity College, Dublin

A couple walks in front of Trinity College Dublin, filming location for Ek the Tiger and Educating Rita. Credit: ©Brian Morrison / Tourism Ireland
Credit: ©Brian Morrison / Tourism Ireland

Trinity College Dublin, situated in the most central part of Dublin city, has always been a popular filming location in Ireland. The beautiful grounds of the university, which was founded in 1592 and is one of the oldest in the world, was the setting for 1983 comedy/drama Educating Rita, starring Michael Caine and Julie Walters.

Rows of books in Trinity College's Old Library, where the Book of Kells is held - one of the most spectacular filming locations in Ireland

Funnily enough, Trinity College was chosen because it looked like a “typical English university”! Bollywood movie Ek The Tiger, one of the biggest grossing movies of all time in India, was also filmed in Trinity, with many of the university’s students standing in as extras. Visit yourself and see the magnificent medieval manuscript, the Book of Kells, housed in the college’s Old Library. Tickets are €11-14 for adults, €12 for concessions, children under 12 are free.

Fancy getting pampered like a film star? These are 10 of the best spa hotels in Dublin – take your pick!

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10. Skellig Michael, County Kerry

Skellig Michael, the filming location for Star Wars in Ireland

Saved the best filming location for last. It’s easy to see why directors and producers regularly choose Skellig Michael for a stunning scene backdrop. This rocky outcrop of an island 11km off the Kerry coastline is home to a well-conserved sixth century monastic settlement and one of the largest puffin colonies in Ireland. It also stars in 2015 blockbuster Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

Skellig Michael served as a filming location for Star Wars in Ireland

Director JJ Abrams picked Skellig Michael as the filming location for key scenes. While he was given the choice of many incredible destinations, he stated that nothing came close to this secret Irish island. The island is very tricky to get to, with boats only departing when the weather and tides are just right. And no one is allowed to stay on the island more than a few hours. Various companies offer ferries to and tours around the island, so do some research before you head off to tread in Luke’s steps.

Find out which are the best Irish pubs around the world next. Enjoy all the comforts of home when you’re on your holiday!

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10 spectacular filming locations in Ireland 2019

Filming locationMovies
1. The Cliffs of Moher, County ClareHarry Potter and the Half Blood Prince, The Princess Bride, Ryan’s Daughter, Into The West
2. Trim Castle, County MeathBraveheart
3. Kilmainham Gaol, County DublinThe Italian Job, Michael Collins, The Wind That Shakes The Barley
4. Parknasilla, County KerryThe Lobster
5. Grafton Street, Dublin City CentreOnce
6. Powerscourt Estate, County WicklowHenry V, King Arthur, Ella Enchanted, Black Beauty, The Tudors
7. Youghal, County CorkMoby Dick
8. Curracloe Strand, County WexfordSaving Private Ryan
9. Trinity College, DublinEducating Rita, Ek The Tiger
10. Skellig Michael, County KerryStar Wars: The Force Awakens

*Updated May 2019. Prices correct at the time of publication and subject to change and/or availability.

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