Ireland continues to solidify its position as a leading destination for film and TV production, buoyed by attractive and diverse locations and
experienced English-speaking crew. “What makes Ireland really special is the vicinity of what you can get to so quickly,” said Steven Davenport, head of international inward production for Screen Ireland. “Where Ardmore and Ashford [studios] are placed, you’ve got the Sally Gap, Wicklow, beaches, Dublin city with its Georgian streets. Where Troy is based [in Ireland’s mid-west], you’ve got the cliffs of Moher and the Georgian streets of Limerick city. You get these worlds on your doorstep, which is kind of your backlot.”
County Tipperary’s Cahir castle, which featured as a primary location for A24’s The Green Knight, recently won the EUFCN location award. “It was such a great film,” said Davenport. “To see that kind of independent movie coming to Ireland, I hope we’re going to see some more of them this year.”
Screen Ireland’s latest production spend figures showed more than $498m (€500m) spent across features, documentary, animation and TV drama, representing a 40% increase on the previous record spend in 2019. Production is currently underway in Dublin on The Pope’s Exorcist, starring Russell Crowe and Franco Nero. The film centres on the story of Father Gabriel Amorth, who performed thousands of exorcisms for the Vatican. Filming recently wrapped in County Donegal on In The Land Of Saints And Sinners, an action thriller starring Liam Neeson and Ciaran Hinds that tells the story of a retired assassin who gets drawn into a battle against three terrorists.
Will Forte and Robyn Cara head the cast of TV series Bodkin, which has been filming in West Cork this summer. The first scripted series from Barack and Michelle Obama’s Higher Ground Productions is described as a darkly comedic thriller about a group of podcasters investigating the disappearance of three strangers in an Irish coastal town.The recently-wrapped crime thriller Clean Up Crew, starring Antonio Banderas, Melissa Leo and Jonathan Rhys Meyers, follows a group of crime- scene cleaners who find a briefcase full of cash, putting them on the radar of mobsters and hitmen. Charlie Cox, Clare Dunne and Aidan Gillen return for season two of crime series Kin, which is filming on location in Dublin. The series follows a Dublin family after the death of a powerful rival crime kingpin.
Disney’s Disenchanted filmed on location in County Wicklow, where the picturesque village of Enniskerry was transformed for the sequel to the 2007 hit, with Amy Adams and Patrick Dempsey returning. Meanwhile, Lorcan Finnegan’s Nocebo became Ireland’s first co-production with the Philippines. The psychological thriller, starring Eva Green and Mark Strong, tells of a fashion designer suffering from a mysterious illness.
The detective series Redemption, co-produced by UK-based Tall Story Pictures and Metropolitan Films, recently filmed on location in Dublin. “We wanted locations that didn’t feel like ‘tourist Dublin’ — residential, authentic and not seen 101 times before, which would feel fresh and accessible to an audience,” says Catherine Oldfield, creative director at Tall Story Pictures. “The talent in Irish crews is amazing — creative, ambitious, collegiate. And the support from bodies like Screen Ireland, the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland and the city was exemplary.”
Ireland boasts experienced English-speaking crew and is increasing its training and studio capacity to meet growing demand. Ardmore Studios in County Wicklow has seven soundstages, the largest spanning 23,250 square feet, near both Dublin (14 miles) and many rural settings. Troy Studios, in the mid-west city of Limerick, has 380,000 square feet under one roof, including four soundstages totalling 100,000 square feet. Ashford Studios in County Wicklow (26 miles from Dublin) has three soundstages on 500 acres of backlot, the largest of which is 30,000 square feet. Other studio facilities include Telegael in County Galway, Kite Studios in County Wicklow and Popup Studios in Dublin.
Travel and logistics
Ireland is compact in size (just under 33,000 square miles) and easy to access. The capital Dublin is located next to sea and mountainscapes, and within easy access of Ardmore and Ashford studios. Most locations in Ireland are accessible from Dublin within hours.
Ireland is a member of the European Union but opted out of the Schengen Agreement. Its currency is the euro.