Ireland is brimming with scenic landscapes and impressive architecture that attracts overseas film crews who unearth real hidden tourist gems while filming on our shores. Visitors come from around the globe to visit these magical treasures and truly connect, not just with Ireland, but with the television series that has captured their hearts and imagination. Below highlights some of the locations used in five of the biggest and well-known global television series filmed in Ireland.
Game of Thrones
Game of Thrones is arguably the most popular television series watched by 20 million people per episode and much of it is filmed in our own back yard due to the beauty of the locations that Northern Ireland offers. Castle Ward is an 18th-century property located near the village of Strangford, in County Down but is better known by many fans as Winterfell. The Dark Hedges down the Kingsroad in Antrim provide the backdrop for Arya’s flight – beech trees with twisted trunks are over 200 years old and are a powerful display of nature. Many of the filming locations are in close proximity to the The Giants Causeway, a Unesco World Heritage Site.
Filming of this popular TV show takes place in Ireland’s Ancient East, more specifically in Wicklow only an hour drive from Dublin city. The fictional home of the Vikings, Kattegat, is actually set on the Blessington Lakes – Lough Dan and Lough Tay, also known as Guinness Lake in Glendalough (no the lake is not filled with Guinness!). Now in its sixth series, there is no question that this TV series has shone a light on some of the most beautiful aspects of the Irish landscape since it first started back in 2013. Glendalough is so picturesque that the movies Braveheart and P.S. I Love You also filmed scenes here.
This critically acclaimed British-Irish crime drama television series was filmed and set in Belfast, Northern Ireland. Through the genre of crime fiction, viewers catch a glimpse of life in Belfast and can see the landscape, buildings and surrounding hotels that some of the characters visit. Belfast has been the backdrop to several movies including Brad Pitt’s The Lost City Of Z filmed at Belfast City Hall and on the grounds of Royal Belfast Academical Institution as well as Bangor Castle Leisure Centre.
This award winning Irish Comedy programme was filmed from 1995 to 1998 and such is its cult popularity that the series is still being rerun on television today. It takes viewers in to the lives of three misfit priests and their housekeeper who live in the purgatory of Craggy Island, a rural quiet part of Ireland where their madcap adventures take place. Father Ted’s key filming locations are in County Clare, on Ireland’s west coast. Main filming locations include Corofin, Ennis, Kilfenora and Ennistymon. The Parochial House where the priests reside is Glanquin Farmhouse, Kilnaboy. The Aillwee Caves, the oldest caves in Ireland found in the heart of the Burren, also make an appearance as ‘The Very Dark Caves’.
This original historically based drama about the marriages and 40-year reign of King Henry VIII of England was filmed in Ireland. The series was a collaboration between American, British, and Canadian producers and was nominated for Golden Globe Awards. The show’s audiences have been privy to King Henry strolling around the grounds of Christ Church, riding across the hills of Wicklow and have seen Dublin Castle transformed into Vatican City. Other stunning locations used to film The Tudors include Killruddery House and Gardens, Humewood Castle, Swords Castle, Drimnagh Castle, Phoenix Park, Kilmainham Gaol and Powerscourt Estate in County Wicklow.
Fascination with insular Irishness has today metastasised into a vast industry. Within a small country, there are such diverse and beautiful locations, green rolling hills, breath taking scenery and hugely impressive buildings steeped in history that make Ireland a fantastic location choice for filming both television and movies. While Ireland looks particularly amazing on screen, it is even better in person!