Top 5 Scenic Irish Film and TV Locations to Visit

Irish film and television locations have gotten both prolific and positive press over the past number of years, and for good reason. Part of that good reason is the natural scenery Ireland has to its name, having TV shows such as Game of Thrones and Vikings, alongside films like Braveheart and The Banshees of Inisherin. Here are the top five scenic Irish film and TV locations to visit when you’re in Ireland.

1. Achill Island, Co.Mayo – The Banshees of Inisherin (2022)

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Image: Achill Tourism

The Banshees of Inisherin (2022) is an Oscar nominated film starring Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson, nominated for nine Oscars in total, including Best Picture. This film’s plot centers on two close friends drifting apart after everything they’ve been through over the years, with Padraig (Colin Farrell) instigating the breakup between the duo. A major draw to this film besides its plot and performances is the setting (alongside the Aran Islands) in which it is filmed: Achill Island in County Mayo.

Achill Island is an island on the east coast of Ireland and is the largest island on Ireland’s coasts, measuring out at dimensions of 24km x 19km. This part of Ireland is renowned for its natural sights such as its beaches, cliffs, and the Atlantic Drive route. What The Banshees of Inisherin utilises from Achill Island that visitors can see for themselves is locations within the island itself, like Cloughmore and Purteen Harbour to visit. Despite the locales not having quite the same sets on-site as in the film, Achill Island earns its place as a scenic Irish film shooting location from both that film and on its own merits.

2. Easkey, Co. Sligo – Calvary (2014)

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Image: RTE

This next pick for scenic Irish film and TV locations is also another film starring Brendan Gleeson known as Calvary (2014). Calvary tells a story about a priest named Father James who is threatened with murder during a confession and also faces different personal challenges with his community and family alike. The backdrop of this film as a scenic Irish film location is Easkey, which is a town within County Sligo.

Easkey, besides serving as the setting for Calvary, offers a handful of historical and natural attractions worth visiting. Examples of these attractions include Easkey Pier, Easkey Beach, and the ancient ruins of Roslee Castle, Easkey Abbey and Rathlee Tower to name a few. Cavalry specifically makes use of Easkey locales inclusive of the coast of Sligo it neighbours for its outdoor shots that its residents and visitors alike can visit anytime. These qualities grant Easkey its placement on this list as a scenic Irish film shooting location.

3. Blessington Lakes, Co Wicklow, Ireland – Vikings (2013-2020)

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Image: Visit Wicklow

TV as an industry has also been attractive for Ireland in terms of scenic Irish film and TV shooting locations, and Vikings (2013-2020) is no exception. The premise of the Vikings series is that it follows a young farmer named Ragnar Lothbrok and his family as he goes on his journey of pillaging and conquest as a viking across six seasons. Vikings uses several different places in Ireland to shoot its episodes/seasons, with one of them being the Blessington Lakes in County Wicklow.

Wicklow’s Blessington Lakes are a natural amenity that is part of the town of Blessington in the Wicklow county.  These lakes “cover 500 acres of water and were only formed over 50 years ago.” How the Blessington Lakes are utilised in Vikings is as a setting and backdrop showing Ragnar and his crew journeying to the various areas they try to take control of throughout the series. Its use in the TV series Vikings and the history behind Blessington Lakes and the town it belongs to gives them their placement as a scenic Irish TV shooting location.

4. The Dingle Peninsula, Co. Kerry – Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015) / The Last Jedi (2017)

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Image: The Hollywood Reporter

Even franchises as big as Star Wars find themselves drawn to Ireland as a place to shoot their films. Such is the case with the first two films in the “Sequel Trilogy” of this film series: The Force Awakens (2015) and The Last Jedi (2017). The Force Awakens is the seventh episode in the Star Wars saga that sets up the journey of Rey (Daisy Ridley), Finn (John Boyega), and Kylo Ren (Adam Driver), with The Last Jedi acting as a continuation of the trilogy.  The shooting location these films have in common with one another is none other than the Dingle Peninsula in County Kerry.

The Dingle Peninsula is a part of Kerry renowned for its natural scenery and emphasis on physical activity and engagement with nature. Such activities include walking tours, shopping amenities and hiking routes to name a few. Both The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi use this location to film the scenes involving Rey finding and training under Luke Skywalker.  Although these films are divisive among fans, both their name associated with Dingle Peninsula alongside its own self-identity makes this place right at home as a scenic Irish film shooting location to visit.

5. Glanquin Farmhouse, in Lackareagh, County Clare – Father Ted (1995-1998)

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Image: Ted Tours

Father Ted (1995-1998) as an icon of sitcom TV in Ireland has a name for itself known well into modern times. This sitcom follows the character of the same name of the series in all of him and his two other fellow priests’ misadventures across three seasons. One location that is synonymous with Father Ted is the house him and the other priests inhabit: otherwise known in real life as Glanquin Farmhouse in Lackareagh, County Clare.

The home of Father Ted stands as a place that fans of the show can visit (provided they book in advance). There was formerly a teahouse there that closed in 2021, but visitors can book themselves in for a Father Ted themed tour of the house to see the spaces used in the show. Glanquin Farmhouse is also near the vicinity of a number of other places in County Clare, such as  Poulnabrone Dolmen and The Burren to visit in addition. Because of its association with the Father Ted sitcom series and location nearby other attractions in the area, Glanquin Farmhouse is indeed a scenic Irish TV shooting location well worth visiting.

Would you visit these Irish film and TV locations yourself? What Irish film and TV locations do you feel deserve a place on this list or at least worth mentioning? Sound off in the comments below!

Matthew Lehane
Matthew Lehane

An upcoming MA graduate in New Media and Digital Culture in Utrecht University, with a BA in English, Media and Cultural Studies from IADT, and a QQI Level 5 qualification in Arts, Culture, and History from DFEI. The topics written (and edited) to date for Babylon Radio range from film, tourism, and photography, with a broader range to come during this internship and in future work.

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