A set-jetter’s dream, the island of Ireland has played a stellar supporting role in some of the world’s top movies and TV shows of recent years.
With its dramatic landscapes, quirky cityscapes and historic architecture Ireland has caught the eye of many a director and has been cast in both silver screen blockbusters and small screen TV gold.
The island is awash with filming locations, easily recognisable from their on-screen appearances. But two shows in particular have made Ireland an A-list location: Star Wars and Games of Thrones.
The mystical monastic settlement on Skellig Michael in County Kerry was the stunning setting for the reappearance of Luke Skywalker in Star Wars: The Force Awakens and played a bigger role in the follow up, The Last Jedi.
Malin Head, on the dramatic Inishowen Peninsula in Donegal, also provided an atmospheric backdrop for the Jedi action, as did Loop Head in County Clare and Brow Head in County Cork along the spectacular Wild Atlantic Way.
The epicentre of the gargantuan Game of Thrones drama, which reaches its climax in Season 8 this year, is Northern Ireland.
The iron throne sits in the Titanic Studios in Belfast, the main studio and post-production facility for all eight series of HBO’s fantasy series.
However, numerous guided coach and taxi tours will take you to the series’ key external shoot locations including The Dark Hedges (Kings Road), Ballintoy Harbour (Pyke Harbour), Downhill Beach (Dragonstone), Glens of Antrim (Riverlands) and Castle Ward (Winterfell).
Meditation Rock, Co. Kerry
In Winterfell, an 820-acre walled demesne, there is the chance to get into Westerosi character by donning some Stark attire, meeting the direwolves and having an archery lesson at the exact spot where Jon Snow and Robb Stark taught young Bran the art of shooting an arrow.
But Ireland’s cinematic credits don’t end there. The beautiful Wicklow Mountains with their heather-strewn slopes, musical waterfalls and shadowy woodlands provided the stunning setting for the hit TV series The Vikings. The splendid eighteenth-century Powerscourt Demesne also featured in the show.
Dublin city has lent its unique character to more than a few movies and TV shows including Once, Sing Street, Educating Rita and Penny Dreadful in which Temple Bar’s cobbled lanes, Dublin Castle and Merrion Square recreated the streets of Victorian London.
Meanwhile Belfast was the home of the psychological thriller The Fall, starring Jamie Dornan, and Northern Ireland’s walled city Derry~Londonderry is currently in the international spotlight with the success of the belly-busting comedy Derry Girls.
A tour of the sitcom’s setting takes in such glories as Dennis’s Wee Shop and Pump Street, and is topped off by a pint of newly crafted IPA ‘Wee English Fella’.
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