From older classics to modern blockbusters and franchises, Ireland has provided movie locations for decades. The beautiful, awe-inspiring landscapes spread throughout our country look incredible on the big screen. And our cities are packed with history and culture, making them perfect for telling tales both real and fictional.
Many famous filming locations appear in our tours of Ireland. As specialists in Ireland custom tours too, we can also build a one-off itinerary around you. If you have any questions about our pre-planned or tailor-made excursions, please contact us.
For now, though, let’s look at the all-star cast of movies that were filmed here in Ireland. Spoiler alert!
Famous Movies that Filmed in Ireland
The list below is by no means exhaustive. However, it covers (in our opinion, at least!) some of the most famous examples of films shot in Ireland.
The Star Wars Franchise
Two of the most recent installments in the Star Wars saga — The Force Awakens (2015) and The Last Jedi (2017) — were filmed in Ireland.
You can find a galaxy far, far away as close as County Kerry! The Skellig Islands, most notably Skellig Michael, was the scene of Luke Skywalker’s secluded island refuge. And the good news is that it’s possible to visit Skellig Michael and experience it for yourself!
Filming also took place in County Donegal. Ireland’s most northerly point, Malin Head, on the Inishowen Peninsula, was briefly home to the iconic Millennium Falcon.
Harry Potter and The Half-Blood Prince
From one major franchise to another! One of Ireland’s most famous attractions, the Cliffs of Moher, features in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (2009).
In reality, the jaw-dropping cliffs loom over the wild Atlantic Ocean. The dramatic nature of this location made it ideal for upcoming danger.
The scene at hand sees Harry and Dumbledore venture into a cave where they destroy a Horcrux. It’s a key point in the narrative as Harry realizes there’s no turning back from the threat of extreme danger and even death.
Interestingly, Harry and Dumbledore later find themselves standing on a rock that appears to be in front of the cliffs. This is, in fact, Lemon Rock, part of the Skellig Islands in County Kerry. The wonders of CGI!
The Princess Bride
Staying where we are, the Cliffs of Moher are also a prominent feature in the cult classic The Princess Bride (1987). In this romantic adventure, they become the Cliffs of Insanity.
Inigo, Vizzini, Fezzik, and the kidnapped Princess Buttercup climb a rope to the clifftop, all while Dread Pirate Roberts follows in hot pursuit.
When you visit the Cliffs of Moher, you’ll soon realize how brave the stuntmen were to climb the 700-foot tall cliff face.
It comes as no surprise that the Cliffs of Moher are one of the top 10 best destinations to visit in Ireland.
Saving Private Ryan
Steven Spielberg’s classic World War II movie from 1998 offers a searing re-enactment of the D-Day landings in Normandy. However, the film’s famous opening was staged on Ballinesker Beach, Curracloe, County Wexford.
The real-life Omaha Beach is now a historical landmark and the surrounding area has undergone significant development over the decades. Ballinesker provided the nearest match to how the beach looked in 1944.
Mel Gibson’s 1995 epic tells the story of Scottish warrior William Wallace. The film’s hero leads his countrymen in a rebellion against the tyrannical rule of England’s King Edward I.
But did you know the battle scenes were filmed here in Ireland? This includes the most memorable, the battle for independence, which was shot at Trim Castle in County Meath.
This art-house musical gem from 2007 was filmed in Dublin over 17 days. The shooting cost a mere €120,000, a figure that makes its eventual success even more staggering.
Once has the concept of a “visual album”, combining aspects of drama, love, and music. The movie even won an Academy Award for “Best Original Song” (Falling Slowly).
Recognizable Dublin locations are scattered throughout the film, including:
- Grafton Street
- Temple Bar
- St Stephen’s Green
- Killiney Hill
If you plan to make our capital city a part of your Irish vacation, find out what an American should know before visiting Dublin.
P.S. I Love You
Another release from 2007, P.S. I Love You was adapted from a novel by Irish author Cecelia Ahern. Starring Gerard Butler, Hilary Swank, and Lisa Kudrow, this emotional story examines grief and overcoming loss.
The stunning green landscapes shot in Ireland help Hilary Swank’s Holly (and the audience) find peace after her husband’s untimely death. Irish locations used during production include Sally Gap and Blessington in County Wicklow and Whelan’s, a famous live music venue on Wexford Street in Dublin.
Alan Parker’s 1991 musical comedy-drama tells the story of The Commitments, a charismatic soul band from Dublin. In a 2005 poll, it won the prestigious honor of “Best Irish Film of All Time”.
Filming took place in locations throughout Dublin, including:
- Saint Francis Xavier Church
- Mansion House (Dawson Street)
- Kilbarrack DART Station
- Camden Deluxe Hotel
- The Darndale Area of Dublin
The Italian Job
This movie classic from 1969 was filmed in locations across England and Italy, but some of the most important scenes were shot in Dublin.
All the prison-based action, including the release of Michael Caine’s Charlie, took place in Kilmainham Gaol. This prison once housed Ireland’s rebels and revolutionaries, as well as bandits and thieves.
This must-see location has made the long journey from a prison to a national monument. It’s worth anyone’s time to learn more about Kilmainham Gaol.
Explore Ireland’s Scenic Locations and Landscapes with Expert Tours
If you think Ireland looks incredible on screen, just wait until you see it in real life! From charming towns and cities to serene panoramas of lush green, nothing beats the in-person experience on the Emerald Isle.
At Wild N Happy, our tours of Ireland venture out to all corners of our country. We cover every area of interest and travel preference, including tailor-made custom tours in Ireland that offer the ultimate freedom and flexibility.
Whether you want to explore Ireland’s famous film locations or any other aspect of our country’s history, culture, and folklore, please get in touch for more information.