Alfred the Great
Filmed in 1969, The films portrays the struggle Alfred the Great faced in ridding Wessex of the invading Danes back in the 870s AD. The staring role of Alfred the Great was played by David Hemmings. The film was shot in different parts of County Galway, to include locations such as Castlehackett, Kilchreest, Ross Lake, and Knockma. In order to replicate the ninth century era, many resources were used to turn parts of Galway into Wessex, which included a 200-foot-long hill figure of a white horse near Knockma.
Tristan & Isolde
Produced by Ridley Scott and Tony Scott, and staring James Franco, Tristan and Isolde is romantic drama based on a medieval love story. Many of the scenic shots of the film, were filmed on along Killary Harbour and around the Renvyle Peninsula. In addition the beaches of Glassilaun and Lettergesh were the locations of the fort scenes.
Ar Scáth le Chéile
Ar Scáth le Chéile is a short film, directed by Aisha Taylor, known for her role as ‘Charlie’ on the TV Series ‘Friends’. The film tells the tale of two Irish brothers who become separated by time and by class try and pierce their isolation during a chance reunion. Different locations of Galway City are used throughout the film.
Most noted as the first feature film ever to be made in the Irish language, Poitín is a unique film from Bob Quinn. The film is set in the village of An Ceathrú Rua (Carraroe) which lies in the centre of Connemara’s Gaeltacht region and tells the story on an Irish Poitín (moonshine) make who is threatened and terrorised by two locals who look to steal the mans Poitín. The man outwits the thief’s however to their doom. The backdrop of the film is that of stunning Connemara scenery, white sandy beaches and glistening rivers.
The Purple Taxi / Un Taxi Mauve
The Film, Un Taxi Mauve or ‘The Purple Taxi’, was Fred Astaire’s final feature film. The film tells the story of three expatriates, an Irish-American, Frenchman and a Russian, who are all trying to expose the swindle nature of each other and deceive each other. Astaire plays the local Irish doctor and owner of a purple car. Scenes of the film are shot in various locations across Connemara but in particular, around the Renvyle peninsula.
Into the West
Into the West, is a film of two young brothers of the settled traveller community, living in high rise apartments are given a horse by their Grandfather and subsequently name it ‘Tír Na nÓg’ (Land of Eternal Youth). The young boys run into trouble with the horse, when a crafty horse dealer takes the horse but the boys manage to stead the horse back and ride him from their high rise flats in Dublin to the West Coast of Ireland. The popular and picturesque village of Roundstoune provide a stunning backdrop to the film.
Marley & Me
Newlyweds John and Jenny Grogan (Owen Wilson and Jennifer Aniston) travel to Ireland’s west coast on honeymoon. On their return they decide to begin a new life in Florida. While navigating through the challenges of a new marriage and a new place, the couple adopt a dog, Marley, when John is unsure of his readiness yet for kids. However calamity ensues when the puppy grows up to a 100-pound high energy dog, but at the same time becomes deeply more apart of the family. For the filming of this blockbuster film, Inagh Valley, Lough Na Fooey, Glebe Stone Circle and Ballymagibbon Cairn near Cong were all used.
The Summer of the Flying Saucer
Based in Ireland in 1967, a young boy, Dan (Robert Sheehan), returns from college. However there are funny going-on’s when a Flying Saucer crash lands on Dan’s Farm, filled with 2 alien’s who disguise themselves as humans and try and fit in with the locals while they find parts to repair their ship to leave Earth again. However, things become complicated when Dan falls in love with the alien girl and when the aliens come to the rescue in times of ememergency in the village. The film is shot throughout most parts of North Galway, to include the villages and townlands of Kilkerrin, Lavally & Cortoon.
The Quiet Man
The Quiet Man is a romance film which tells the story of Sean Thornton, played by John Wayne, whom returned from America to Ireland and falls for Mary Kate Danagher, played by Maureen O’Hara. However their relationship is complicated by Sean’s dark past and Mary Kate’s fiery temper, along with local prejudices. Much of the scenes from the Quiet Man film were filmed around the landscape of Connemara. In particular, the areas of Cong, Maam Cross and the nearby beaches were chosen as the perfect backdrop locations for the film. Not far from Oughterard, you will reach The Quiet Man Bridge where Sean stood when he set eyes on his family’s cottage for the first time. Lettergesh Beach in Renvyle, plays host to the dramatic horse-race scene, while Cong village was used as the fictional ‘Inisfree’ village.
Based on the 1939 novel by Rumer Godden, Black Narcissus is a technicolor religious drama film created by Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger in 1947. The film portrays the emotional tensions of lust and jealousy within a convent of nuns located in an isolated valley in the Himalayas. Throughout the film there are flashbacks depicting Sister Clodagh’s memories of Ireland which were shot on location in Galway.
Man of Aran
The film, The Man of Aran, or simply known as the ‘Film’ to those living on the Aran Islands, was a documentary film made by the renowned American director, Robert Flaherty (the man known at the time for virtually inventing the documentary style film) in 1934. The Man of Aran is a documentary set on the Aran Islands which follows a family placed their and their attempts of survival in the barren landscape. For survival, the family relied on laying seaweed, making earth for potatoes and fishing on cliff edges, to also include shark fishing on stormy seas which was consider as one of the most dangerous every filmed scenes at its time. The Aran Islands was used as the setting for this documentary film, much of which can be explored and seen today.
Father Ted is a comedy sitcom that was produced by Hat Trick Productions for Channel 4 and was Written jointly by Irish writers Arthur Mathews and Graham Linehan. Set on the fictional Craggy Island, a remote location off Ireland’s west coast, the comedy sitcom revolves around 3 priests exiled on the island for various past incidents and living together in the Islands parochial house, with their house keeper Mrs. Doyle (Pauline McLynn). The show starred Dermot Morgan as the eponymous Father Ted Crilly, alongside fellow priests Father Dougal McGuire (Ardal O’Hanlon) and Father Jack Hackett (Frank Kelly). Most of the sitcom was shot in county Clare but some scenes also feature Galway, to include, Inis Oirr island in the opening theme of the sitcom and Corofin GAA pitch.
Jack Taylor is an Irish television drama based on the Ken Bruen novel series. The drama series features Iain Glen in the eponymous role of Jack Taylor and is set throughout Galway. Jack Taylor is a former officer with the Garda Síochána (national police) who becomes a private investigator or “finder” after leaving the service. With the local knowledge of the Galway streets, Taylor find the clues in which many others overlook in particular crimes.
Starring Brendan Gleeson and Don Cheadle, The Guard is a black comedy written and directed by John Michael McDonagh. When Connemara becomes a location for drug smuggling, a local unorthodox Garda (policeman) must work with a straight-laced FBI agent, in which a series of events occurs. Based on box office takings, The Guard is to date the most successful independent Irish film ever made. The film was shot in Connemara, in particular in the townlands of Spidéal (Spiddal), Bearna (Barna) and Leitir Mealláin (Lettermullen).
The Mackintosh Man
Based on the Novel, The Freedom Trap, The Mackintosh Man is Birtish spy thriller set in the Cold War era, starring Paul Newman and James Mason. The film was partly filmed in connemara, in particular, seveal scenes were shot in the village of Roundstone and on Roundstone Pier. In addition, Ardfry House (pictured) received new windows and roof on the house so that it could be used in the film. Subsequently, Newman’s character, British intelligence agent Joseph Rearden, burns down the house in the film.
Filmed almost entirely in the picturesque village of Roundstone, the Matchmaker film is a love story of Marcy Tizard (Janeane Garolfalo), who is sent to Ireland to trace the roots of her boss, US Senator John McGlory, who is looking for more Irish-American votes in re-election. Marcy suddenly becomes the centre of attention being a single lady in the fictional village of ‘Ballinagra’ where their are preparations of a matchmaking festival. Two local matchmakers start to place bets that she’ll be ‘fixed’ up with a man in no time, which is the last thing on Marcy’s mind until she meets Sean (Milo O’Shea), a local bartender. During filming, O’Dowd’s Bar & Restaurant was turned into a funeral parlour.
Foreign Exchange is an Irish-Australian television programme broadcast by Southern Star. The series follow the lives of an Irish girl, Hannah, (Lynn Styles) and an Australian boy, Brett (Zachary Garred), who are brought together from opposite sides of the world through a secret transfer portal located in the basement of Brett’s house and in Hannah’s college. Foreign Exchange had two major sets, one in Ireland, and the other in Perth, Western Australia. The set in Ireland was located in Castlehackett House, near Tuam in North Galway.
The Field, directed by Jim Sheridan, is an adaptation of the hit John B. Keane play. When a farmer, the Bull McCabe (Richard Harris), has toiled for years over rented land from a widow (Maggie Butler), only to suddenly fear of losing it as the widow puts it up for auction, intimidation and mayhem ensue to rid off any potential competitors for purchase of the land. The film was shot throughout Connemara and Co.Mayo in particular around Leenane and Killary Harbour. The ambush scene was filmed at Aasleagh Falls, just north of Leenane Village.
A romantic comedy film directed by Anand Tucker, Leap Year stars Amy Adams and Matthew Goode. The film tells the story about a woman who heads to Ireland to ask her boyfriend to accept her wedding proposal on the leap day of a leap year, a day in which tradition states that men cannot refuse a woman’s proposal for marriage. However her plan is further complicated when shes meets and hires a local innkeeper to take her to her boyfriend in Dublin. The film was shot in numerous locations throughout Ireland to include the Aran Islands and Connemara in Galway.
North Sea Hijack
North Sea Hijack is a British action film from 1980 starring Roger Moore, James Mason, Anthony Perkins, and Michael Parks. The movie was filmed in Galway over five to six weeks in 1979. The film told the story about terrorists who hijacked the supply ship ‘Esther’ in order to hijack a north sea oil rig. The film was a vehicle for both Moore and Perkins to try to escape typecasting given to them from other film roles. Ostensibly set in and around the North Sea, it was filmed around the Galway City Docks, which were changed to look like a Norwegian port and Dunguaire Castle in Kinvara.