Irish Film & Television

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Vikings, the History Channel’s entertaining rival to Game of Thrones, returns to our screens in late February. This is another show filmed in Ireland and displaying the country to good affect.

Vikings LogoPerhaps surprisingly, both seasons of Vikings have been almost entirely shot in Ireland. I say surprisingly because one doesn’t necessarily think of Ireland when one thinks of immense mountain vistas. However, the producers found some awesome locations in the Wicklow Mountains that didn’t take much camera trickery to make look enormous and majestic. Read the rest of this entry »

Paul Gartlan, proprietor of Gartlan's Pub, in Kingscourt, Co. Cavan

Paul Gartlan, proprietor of Gartlan’s Pub, in Kingscourt, Co. Cavan (photo © Atom Films)

I know little about this documentary, called “The Irish Pub“, other than it’s to be released in the US in October. But, knowing how the pub trade is changing in Ireland, I fear it’ll be something of an elegy to the pubs of old. If you aren’t aware, the traditional pubs are closing, being replaced by modern pubs with trendy decor and flat-screen televisions. Read the rest of this entry »

Like most of Hollywood’s Irish romantic comedies, 1997’s “The Matchmaker“, starring Janeane Garofalo, David O’Hara and Milo O’Shea, is a love-it-or-hate-it affair. The usual broad Irish stereotypes are on display as Marcy, a young American political aide (Garofalo) unexpectedly lands in the middle of a matchmaking festival. The film, however, has a lot of charm and humor, and the filmmakers’ obvious enjoyment of all things Irish saves the day.

matchmaker posterSo, where should you go if you want to capture the authentic “Matchmaker” experience? Read the rest of this entry »

Regular readers will know that I can’t watch anything Irish without wondering where it was made. Lately, I’ve been watching Game of Thrones, and learned that a lot of the show is filmed in Northern Ireland.

Game of Thrones features many Irish actors and is shot all over Northern Ireland.

Game of Thrones features many Irish actors and is filmed all over Northern Ireland.

I’ve also been playing around with Google Maps, and have created a map showing the major Northern Ireland locations used for Game of Thrones thus far — just in case anyone’s planning to visit. You can explore the map below to find the locations (blue pins) and see what was filmed where, or you can scroll down and read the location notes on this page instead. There’s also a wonderful slideshow of location photos that I found on flickr at the end of the post.  Read the rest of this entry »

If you haven’t seen it, Once is a brilliant film about a guy and a girl who have been disappointed in love and are at a kind of lay-by on the road of life. It was shot on the streets of Dublin on a micro budget, and was a huge worldwide hit, winning stars Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova the  Best Song Academy Award for “Falling Slowly.”

For me, the film is a vivid reminder of my life at one point, as most of the shooting locations were part of my daily life when I lived in Dublin. I wasn’t a musician, but a young writer, so busking to make ends meet wasn’t an option for me. But, I had many musician friends who did, so I knew that scene well. Watching Once for the first time brought me right back to my early years after college, and the bustle of Dublin in the movie is the next-best thing to being there.

vacation in Dublin, Ireland

Grafton Street


Nearly all the locations in the movie are easy to visit, so it’s surprising that nobody is offering a “Once Walking Tour” of Dublin yet. In lieu of giving you my own personal tour, here’s a virtual walking tour and map I put together. Read the rest of this entry »

First, I have to say that Leap Year is a crime against geography and my 5th-grader has a better grasp of map reading than whoever wrote the improbable screenplay. Despite all that, Leap Year is a strangely charming romantic comedy, and has become a favorite over the years.

The Rock of Dunamase, which provides part of the location for "Ballycarbery Castle" in the film Leap Year.

The Rock of Dunamase, which provides part of the location for “Ballycarbery Castle” in the film Leap Year.

Amy Adams and Matthew Goode play the cliched mis-matched personalities falling in love through adversity, and mostly get away with it because the scenery is breath-taking — the music’s pretty good, too. Read the rest of this entry »