With its picturesque landscapes, ancient castles and vibrant cities, Ireland is a no-brainer for many movie and television filming locations. The Emerald Isle has seen through a plethora of famous actors on its green shores so it’s lights, cameras, action as we take a look at seven famous movies and TV shows filmed in Ireland. 

1. Derry Girls 

Derry Girls
Photo by @xendersshadowx on Instagram

The TV series, Derry Girls, shot to popularity with its first season airing in 2018. Set in the 1990’s, the sitcom follows a group of friends who live in Derry. The series was mainly filmed right here in this walled city with the director, Mike Lennox, often allowing members of the public to watch as they filmed! Some interior scenes were filmed in Belfast, too.  

2. Harry Potter 

You can often spot iconic landmarks in the Harry Potter movie franchise, like the scene where London’s Millenium Bridge is destroyed by Death Eaters in the sixth installment, the Half Blood Prince. This movie also featured one of Ireland’s beloved natural wonders – the Cliffs of Moher. You’ll spot its craggy cliff face when Harry and Professor Dumbledore go to find the third Horcrux.  

3. Saving Private Ryan 

Curracloe Beach
Photo by @goryadry on Instagram

In order to recreate the D-Day landings at Omaha Beach in Normandy, Saving Private Ryan was filmed in Ireland at Curracloe Beach (Ballinesker) in Wexford. Starring actors such as Tom Hanks, Ed Burns and Vin Diesel, over 2,000 members of the Irish Defence Force’s Army Reserves and Naval Service Reserves worked as extras on set. 

4. Game of Thrones 

Castle Ward
Castle Ward, aka Winterfell
Photo by @aart_jonkers on Instagram

How could we miss Game of Thrones from this list? Many filming locations are found in Ireland, with most in County Antrim and County Down in Northern Ireland. One of the first ever scenes was filmed in Tollymore Forest when Jon Snow and Robb and Bran Stark find the litter of Direwolf pups; Castle Ward in the village of Strangford was Winterfell in the first season; and the Wall that separates the Seven Kingdoms from the Wildlings is actually Magheramorne Quarry.  

5. P.S. I Love You 

Sally Gap
The Sally Gap
Photo by @twolostexplorers on Instagram

The novel, P.S. I Love You, was written by an Irish author (Cecilia Ahern) so it’s fitting that the film adaptation was filmed in Ireland. The poignant first meeting of the main characters, Holly and Gerry (played by Hilary Swank and Gerard Butler), was filmed at the Sally Gap in the Wicklow Mountains National Park. The movie also features locations like the cosy Whelan’s Pub in Dublin and tranquil Blessington Lakes. 

6. Star Wars 

Skellig Michael
Skellig Michael
Photo by @brendanvacatons on Instagram

Lucasfilm sure brought the legendary Star Wars movies to life, filmed around the world including several picturesque places in the Emerald Isle. You may not have heard of Skellig Michael, a rocky island off the coast of County Kerry. It was the home of a monastery between the 6th – 8th centuries, later abandoned in the 12th century. Its ancient remains were the chosen place for Ahch-To, where Rey goes to find Luke Skywalker in Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens. Much of Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way saw the filming of Star Wars: The Last Jedi, from Malin Head all the way down to Dingle Peninsula.  

7. Vikings 

Lough Tay, Wicklow Mountains
Lough Tay in the Wicklow Mountains, one of the filming locations for Vikings: Valhalla
Photo by @wilderwellbeing on Instagram

Ireland had many Viking invasions through its ancient history with some place names derived from the Vikings themselves. The TV show of the same name began in 2013 and it made sense to film much of the series around the Ancient East area, Wicklow Mountains and the Ashford Studios in Wicklow. Irish actors such as Johnathan Rhys Meyers were also part and parcel with this popular TV show! 

Once you set foot on the Emerald Isle, it’s easy to see how and why there are so many movie and TV shows filmed here. If you’re a movie or TV buff, you can discover many real-life locations in the flesh throughout Ireland with Globus or Cosmos.  

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