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From The Quiet Man to Star Wars: Movies Filmed in Ireland

Posted by Kirsten Fedorowicz on

Ireland is known around the world for its beautiful scenery and picture perfect views… so of course it’s the perfect place to shoot a movie! Read on to learn about some movies filmed in Ireland, whether they’re Irish-themed or not! Maybe you’ll even recognize some places where you’ve been or find the next movie to put on your to-watch list!

The Quiet Man

One of the most well-known Irish films is 1953 film “The Quiet Man.” This romantic comedy-drama features John Wayne and Maureen O’Hara as lovers trying to receive the dowry from the female love interest’s brother. The movie is set in Ireland and features shots of beautiful Irish scenery, which is clear even with the older cameras!

The film was filmed in parts of Co. Mayo, mainly in the region of Cong, and Galway. I would often walk down to the beach where the horse race scene was filmed. It’s a beautiful piece of land, a long white sandy beach.

The Princess Bride

The 1987 cult classic the Princess Bride is full of quotable moments and delightful characters. I remember watching it all the time growing up, loving the romance between the two main characters and the adventures of this silly fantasy.

One of the most iconic scenes, a sword fight between two of the main characters, was filmed on the Cliffs of Moher, one of Ireland’s most beloved attractions. The scene features one of the characters climbing up the cliffs, with the two characters engaging in a polite battle of swords and wits at the top.

When I visited the Cliffs of Moher I thought about asking my friend to a duel like the one featured in the “Princess Bride”.... And then thought better of it.

leap year movie

Leap Year

This 2010 movie starring Amy Adams is the perfect cheesy romantic comedy to me. I’m a sucker for the “opposites attract” trope, and the fact that this one had scenery that took my breath away… sign me up!

Leap Year is about an interior designer who wants to surprise her apathetic boyfriend by proposing to him on Leap Year, thanks to a Celtic tradition that the woman can propose on that day. After experiencing some weather delays, the main character has to go cross-country to make it to the boyfriend in Dublin... only to fall in love with a dapper Irishman instead.

This movie was filmed in Counties Wicklow, Mayo, Galway, and Dublin. The scenes vary from mountains to rolling hills to pubs to the grand city of Dublin. Everything about the cinematography is green and lush. Looking at it, I could smell the damp Irish air!

Of course, the movie isn’t as beloved by the Irish as it might be by me and my friends. Matthew Goode, who plays the dapper Irishman is actually… English. A lot of the slang used in the movie is pretty out of date, and the movie relies on a lot of Irish stereotypes. And that beautiful scenery wasn’t always accurate. The scenes supposedly filmed on the Dingle Peninsula were actually filmed on one of the Aran Islands, which doesn’t really make sense.

So Leap Year isn’t authentically Irish… but it’s still good fun!


Star Wars: The Last Jedi

You might be thinking “what does Ireland have to do with Star Wars?” The recent Star Wars triology features plenty of stark landscape and staring off of cliffs, and all those dramatic scenes were shot on the Wild Atlantic Coast!

Most prominently, the island where Luke Skywalker has escaped to in “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” is actually Skellig Micheal, an ancient monastery. Founded sometime between the sixth and eighth centuries, the remote island was home to monks who wanted to escape to anonymity… much like Luke Skywalker in this big budget film.

My favorite fun fact about the Star Wars filming has  to do with these cute little guys. Skellig Micheal is a habitat for hundreds puffins, who kept getting in the Star Wars shots. The crew for the movie simply animated them into aliens to keep from disturbing the puffins too much!

A few more Irish movie shout outs:


You know the famous Scottish film Braveheart? Most of it was actually filmed in Ireland! You can visit spots in Counties Meath, Louth, and Wicklow that were part of the set. Dunsany Castle in Co. Meath is a particularly cool spot!


The kid’s movie Ella Enchanted was also filmed in Co. Dublin! The lush green scenery was perfect for this medieval themed fantasy story!


The movie Brooklyn, which starred Irish actress Saorise Ronan, was set and filmed (in part) in Ireland!


Do you have any Irish movies? Have you visited any of the places I wrote about? Let me know by commenting below!


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5 comments

  • ’Ryan’s Daughter’ – 1969 on the west coast of Ireland, Dingle Co. Kerry. I personally loved that movie.
    Anne on
  • Years ago, we visited Ireland and rented a car for the freedom of driving anywhere we wanted. One of the wonderful places we visited was The Cliff of Moher. The height of the cliffs was staggering, yet beautiful. After leaving the car park, we walked up the trail to the cliffs, passing the “postcard famous”, man with a dog, smoking a pipe, riding on the back of a donkey. He would not allow us to take a photo unless we paid him; he wanted more to use our camera for a selfie with the canine-equine wonder! We were startled by the number or tourists, local or no, who were sitting or lying on the edge of the cliffs, several hundred feet to the frothy sea, below. We met some wonderful, Italian tourists who were perusing the West Coast on a chartered bus. It was truly an awesome experience and we’d likely return if we go back to Ireland…

    Terry Reeder on
  • Don’t forget Game of Thrones! May be a bit “salty” for some but it was filmed at several locations mostly in Northern Ireland. Winterfell is Castle Ward, County Down!

    Lisa Z on
  • What about Ryan’s daughter?

    Judy on
  • Two of my favorite movies of all times are Brooklyn and The Quiet Man.! I have both at home as well. My husband enjoyed Brave Heart,!
    KC

    Kathleen Coppola on

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