Yearning for a glimpse of Ireland? Just pick from a host of major movies and top television shows filmed around the island and prepare to be transported to a galaxy far, far away. Whether it’s Hollywood blockbusters or smash-hit TV, the beautiful landscapes, streetscapes and architecture of the island of Ireland always shine brightly on the big, small and every other size of screen in the digital age.
For those pining for vistas of the Wild Atlantic Way for example, simply tune into a Star Wars movie, where the out-of-this-world scenery of the island of Skellig Michael off the County Kerry coast began Ireland’s part in the intergalactic story.
Skellig Michael, with its distinctive beehive stone huts, was the stunning setting for Luke Skywalker’s reappearance in Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Alongside several other Wild Atlantic Way locations, the island then went on to play a bigger role in the follow-up, The Last Jedi.
Also portraying the beauty of the Wild Atlantic Way is The Guard, the most successful independent Irish film ever, which is set in the Gaeltacht (Irish-speaking) village of Barna in Connemara, County Galway. Then there is big screen hit Brooklyn, starring Saoirse Ronan, which can take you to the famous pale-gold sands of Curracloe Beach in Ireland’s Ancient East and deep into heart of the Irish emigrant experience.
Watching Braveheart will also transport you to Ireland. Many of the film’s key battle scenes were shot at Trim Castle in County Meath, while Dracula Untold will reveal well-known locations in Northern Ireland, including the Giant’s Causeway, the neo-classical mansion of Mount Stewart and the hills above Belfast.
For small screen sensations, it’s got to be Game of Thrones®. If you somehow missed the biggest and most successful show in the history of television, now is the time to binge watch the eight-season juggernaut. A huge range of unforgettable film locations in Northern Ireland appear throughout the TV blockbuster. Places like Carnlough Harbour (Braavos Canal) and the Glens of Antrim (Riverlands) in County Antrim and Castle Ward (Winterfell) in County Down ooze mystery and fantasy and create the perfect medieval world of the show.
For those who have seen the series, there is always the chance to go deeper by checking out the giant 80-metre Bayeux-style Game of Thrones Tapestry online. Explore the scenes and discover the real-life locations of the show here. And check out some of the locations that have made the island of Ireland a star here.