Famous Films set in Ireland

A film set in Ireland
A camera man working on the set of the latest movie!

Ireland has hosted some incredible movies and series over the years (Star Wars, Harry Potter and Game of Thrones to drop some names!). It offers film sets some of the most breathtaking landscape backgrounds in the world, the charm of its towns and cities, and plenty of talented background actors. I had no idea some of these were filmed here until I started researching for this article:

Film/ Series Year Locations
Far and Away 1992 Counties Galway, Kerry, Wicklow, Dublin
In the Name of the Father 1993 Dublin, Wicklow
Braveheart 1995 Counties Meath and Wicklow
Angela’s Ashes 1999 Counties Wicklow, Cork, Dublin, and Limerick
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince 2009 Counties Clare and Kerry
Once 2007 County Dublin
P.S. I Love You 2007 Counties Dublin and Wicklow
The Wind That Shakes the Barley 2006 County Cork
Leap Year 2010 Counties Dublin, Kildare, Wicklow, Laois, Galway
Star Wars Episode VII 2015 Counties Kerry, Clare, Cork, Donegal
Star Wars Episode VIII 2017 Counties Kerry, Clare, Cork, Donegal
Star Wars Episode IX 2019 Counties Kerry, Clare, Cork, Donegal
Game of Thrones 2011-2019 Northern Ireland
Vikings 2013-2019 Wicklow, Ireland
Belfast 2021 County Antrim, Northern Ireland, and London, England
15 of the most well known movies/ series filmed in Ireland over recent years

Star Wars

There have been so many Star Wars films set in Ireland, I am going to have to write an article just on this one! Scenes are set in Ireland from these films:

  • Star Wars Episode VII “The Force Awakens” (2015)
  • Star Wars Episode VIII “The Last Jedi” (2017)
  • Star Wars Episode IX “The Rise of Skywalker” (2019)

The filming took place across Skellig Michael off the coast of County Kerry, Loop Head in County Clare, Brow Head in County Cork, Malin Head in County Donegal and the Dingle Peninsula in County Kerry.

Game of Thrones

Years: 2011-2019

Filming Locations: Northern Ireland

The HBO adaptation of George R.R. Martin’s books was one of the most widely talked about series until it finished (unfortunately?) in 2019. Many scenes in Game of Thrones were shot in Northern Ireland. I’m writing up another article that focuses on these locations and how to visit them (coming soon).

Awards: Won 59 Primetime Emmy Awards

Starring: Emilia Clarke, Kit Harington, Peter Dinklage, Lena Headey, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau

Game of Thrones Filming Location

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

Year: 2009

Filming Locations: Counties Clare and Kerry

The sixth installment of the Harry Potter franchise features a key scene filmed at the Cliffs of Moher in County Clare, as well as Lemon Rock in County Kerry.

Awards: Nominated for Best Cinematography at the Academy Awards

Starring: Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint

The cliffs of Moher
The Cliffs of Moher


Years: 2013-2019

Filming Locations: Wicklow, Ireland

The production of Vikings is based entirely in Wicklow, and we have seen a number of calls for extras from the local area to take part (I knew someone who did it!). Wicklow offers an incredible backdrop for the scenes from the show, including the dramatic valley of Luggala and dark waters of Lough Tay (part of the original Guinness Estate). The Wicklow Mountains National Park provided ideal scenery for scenes of Viking longships.

Awards: Nominated for several awards, including Primetime Creative Arts Emmy Awards

Starring: Travis Fimmel, Katheryn Winnick, Clive Standen, Gustaf Skarsgård, Alexander Ludwig


Year: 1995

Filming Locations: Counties Meath and Wicklow

This historical epic about Scottish hero William Wallace was primarily filmed in Ireland. The battle scenes took place in Trim Castle, County Meath, where members of the Irish Army Reserve served as extras. Initially, Mel Gibson turned down the role of William Wallace, feeling he was too old for the part, but he was eventually convinced by Paramount Pictures.

Awards: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Cinematography, Best Sound Effects, Best Makeup

Starring: Mel Gibson, Sophie Marceau, Patrick McGoohan


Year: 2021

Filming Locations: County Antrim, Northern Ireland, and London, England

Belfast is a semi-autobiographical film directed and written by Kenneth Branagh that chronicles life in Northern Ireland’s capital city during the turbulent late 1960s. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the film sets were built outside London, but aerial shots of present-day Belfast were filmed on location.

Awards: Academy Award-winning film

Starring: Judi Dench, Jamie Dornan, Caitriona Balfe

P.S. I Love You

Year: 2007

Filming Locations: Counties Dublin and Wicklow

This emotional drama, directed by Richard LaGravenese and starring Hilary Swank, Gerard Butler, and Lisa Kudrow, is based on the 2004 novel by Irish writer Cecelia Ahern. The film showcases the stunning landscapes of Blessington and Sally Gap in County Wicklow, as well as Dublin. The soundtrack features music from The Pogues, Laura Izibor, and Flogging Molly.

Awards: Nominated for several awards

Starring: Hilary Swank, Gerard Butler, Lisa Kudrow


Year: 2007

Filming Locations: County Dublin

Once is an art-house musical filmed in Dublin that tells the story of a street musician and a Czech immigrant. The film was directed by John Carney and stars Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová, who also provided the film’s music. The movie features iconic Dublin locations such as Temple Bar, Grafton Street, St. Stephen’s Green, and Killiney Hill.

Awards: Academy Award for Best Original Song for “Falling Slowly”

Starring: Glen Hansard, Markéta Irglová

Saving Private Ryan

Year: 1998

Filming Locations: County Wexford

Steven Spielberg’s critically acclaimed war drama, starring Tom Hanks, Edward Burns, and Matt Damon, features scenes from the beaches of Curracloe and Ballinesker in County Wexford. The Irish reserve defense forces provided 1,500 extras for the film’s battle scenes.

Awards: 11 Oscar nominations, 5 wins

Starring: Tom Hanks, Matt Damon, Edward Burns

In the Name of the Father

Year: 1993

Filming Locations: Dublin, Wicklow

In the Name of the Father is a biographical drama that tells the story of Gerry Conlon, an Irishman who was wrongfully convicted and imprisoned for the 1974 IRA pub bombings in Guildford. Directed by Jim Sheridan and starring Daniel Day-Lewis, Emma Thompson, and Pete Postlethwaite, the movie features scenes shot in Ardmore Studios, Kilmainham Gaol, South Lotts, and Sheriff Street in Dublin, as well as locations in Liverpool and London. The film’s soundtrack includes music from Bono, Gavin Friday, Thin Lizzy, and Sinéad O’Connor.

Awards: 7 Oscar nominations and numerous international awards

Starring: Daniel Day-Lewis, Emma Thompson, Pete Postlethwaite

The Wind That Shakes the Barley

Year: 2006

Filming Locations: County Cork

This war drama, directed by Ken Loach and set during the Irish War of Independence and the Irish Civil War, stars Cillian Murphy and Pádraic Delaney as brothers who join the Irish Republican Army. The film was shot in various towns in County Cork, including Ballyvourney, Timoleague, and Bandon.

Awards: Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival

Starring: Cillian Murphy, Pádraic Delaney, Liam Cunningham

Leap Year

Year: 2010

Filming Locations: Counties Dublin, Kildare, Wicklow, Laois, Galway

This romantic comedy, starring Amy Adams and Matthew Goode, follows a woman who travels to Dublin to propose to her boyfriend on Leap Day. The film features scenes from the Aran Islands, Connemara, Temple Bar, St Stephen’s Green, Wicklow National Park, Waterford’s Olaf Street, the Carton House Hotel in Maynooth (County Kildare), and more.

Awards: Nominated for 1 Golden Globe

Starring: Amy Adams, Matthew Goode, Adam Scott

Far and Away

Year: 1992

Filming Locations: Counties Galway, Kerry, Wicklow, Dublin

Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman star in this epic Western romantic adventure film, directed by Ron Howard. The movie follows Irish immigrants seeking fortune in 1890s America. Irish coastal scenes were filmed on the Dingle Peninsula (County Kerry), while the estate where Joseph Donnelly (Cruise) falls in love with the landowner’s daughter is Killruddery House, near Bray, south of Dublin.

Awards: Nominated for 2 Oscars

Starring: Tom Cruise, Nicole Kidman, Thomas Gibson

Angela’s Ashes

Year: 1999

Filming Locations: Counties Wicklow, Cork, Dublin, and Limerick

Based on the best-selling autobiography by Irish expatriate Frank McCourt, this drama was directed by Alan Parker and stars Emily Watson, Robert Carlyle, and Joe Breen. Angela’s Ashes tells the story of young Frank McCourt and his family as they try to escape the poverty endemic to the slums of pre-war Limerick. The church interior scenes were shot in a Dublin studio, as the production was denied permission to film in any Limerick church due to controversial content.

Awards: Nominated for 1 BAFTA Award

Starring: Emily Watson, Robert Carlyle, Joe Breen

Written / Updated