Cinema fans will find plenty to explore by way of scenic attractions and sites made famous by the ‘Big Screen’ in Ireland. Hollywood classics such as Ryan’s Daughter (1970) and The Quiet Man (1952) were shot in locations along Ireland’s west coast, while pioneering director Stanley Kubrick chose Cahir Castle as the imposing backdrop to a Prussian military camp in his film Barry Lyndon (1975). Today visitors can seek out these sites once again and enjoy their rugged, often breath-taking cinematic appeal in person.
The same can be said of the locations of more recent Oscar-winning pictures, such as Steven Spielberg’s Saving Private Ryan (1998), the unforgettable opening scene of which was filmed on Wexford’s Curracloe beach, and Mel Gibson’s Braveheart (1995), which made striking use of Meath’s Trim Castle. Ireland’s collection of castles and great houses also caught the eye of film producers during the making of the Count of Monte Cristo (2002), with the magnificent Powerscourt House and Gardens making an appearance in that film’s luscious tale of rivalry and revenge.
If it’s imaginative fiction that catches your fancy, look no further than Northern Ireland, where the mystical world of TV series Game of Thrones (2011—) was brought to life in a number of enchanting locations. TV enthusiasts will also be able to follow the trail of Vikings (2013—), as well as crime and gothic drama Penny Dreadful (2014—), which both make atmospheric use of Wicklow’s wild countryside and unspoilt glens. The cream of the cream in cinematic terms must be the thrilling appearance of Ireland’s Skellig Michael in Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015). In an entrancing blend of contemporary culture and real-life heritage, this remote, iconic location has harboured Jedi and ancient Irish monks alike. More information is available here on how to follow in their footsteps, and to chase down the trail of the many great cinematic appreciators of Ireland’s sites and scenery.