Ireland – a beauty that dazzles on the big screen
With a dramatic presence that has stolen the scene more the once, the island of Ireland has been the setting for many a blockbuster movie.
The intoxicating mix of dramatic landscapes, stunning seascapes, ancient places and historic locations has made the entire island a favourite among directors and movie makers. Here are ten great movies that feature the ultimate green screen.
1. Star Wars
The raw, elemental beauty of the Wild Atlantic Way was the perfect setting for The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi, transporting viewers to a galaxy far, far away. Memorable shots include the dramatic reappearance of Luke Skywalker on the equally dramatic UNESCO World Heritage Site of Skellig Michael.
The shoot locations for the historical epic Braveheart included the famous Curragh in Kildare, 5,000 acres of ancient lowland. Key scenes were also filmed at the Norman stronghold of Trim Castle and in the atmospheric ruins of thirteenth-century Bective Abbey, both in County Meath.
3. Harry Potter
The magical world of Harry Potter demanded a magical setting and the imposing Cliffs of Moher provided one for dramatic scenes in movie six. One of Ireland’s top attractions, County Clare’s sheer cliffs rise 214m above the wild Atlantic waves.
4. Ella Enchanted
The 2004 reimagining of Cinderella, this movie was shot extensively at stunning Powerscourt Estate, County Wicklow, both in the magnificent Palladian mansion and in the beautiful gardens, which have been named among the top 10 in the world.
5. Artemis Fowl
Filmed around Northern Ireland’s spectacular Causeway Coast, this 2020 Disney movie used dramatic Dunluce Castle – a sixteenth-century ruin which sits atop a cliff – and gorgeous White Rocks Beach, Portrush, among the sensational backdrops for the story.
The stunning Wicklow Mountains played a key role in this 1981 version of the Arthurian tale, while epic battle scenes took place at thirteenth-century Cahir Castle in Tipperary, one of the best preserved medieval castles in Ireland.
This Oscar-winning movie was filmed in and around Dublin, capturing the lively character of the city and featuring key locations such as Grafton Street and historic Trinity College. It also takes viewers outside the city to see picturesque Dublin Bay.
8. Saving Private Ryan
The opening scenes of World War II drama Saving Private Ryan were filmed on the white sands and roaring waves at Curracloe Beach in County Wexford. In gentler weather the beach was also the setting for a romantic stroll in the movie, Brooklyn.
9. The Italian Job
When Michael Caine found himself behind bars in The Italian Job, he was actually in Dublin’s Kilmainham Jail, a place that has played a key role in Ireland’s history. The jail popped up again more recently in Paddington 2.
10. The Quiet Man
The film that started the movie world’s love affair with Ireland, The Quiet Man, featured the picturesque village of Cong and the spectacular landscape of Connemara. Cong now boasts a Quiet Man Cottage Museum and a replica of Pat Cohen’s Bar.