Ireland has had a long and lasting love affair with the widescreen and cinema.
The Irish people love a good actor and we are proud of the many actors and actresses that have spawned and developed from Ireland. The list of Hollywood success stories from these shores is long and includes notables such as Gabriel Byrne, Liam Neeson, Brenda Fricker, Brendan Gleeson, Colin Farrell, Saoirse Ronan, Pierce Brosnan, Daniel Day-Lewis, Michael Fassbender, and of course stars of a previous generation, Peter O’Toole and Richard Harris. Ah yes, there are one or two rogues in there, but all of them have left a lasting mark that secures Ireland’s place among some of the worlds acting elite. If we include for Irish American actors the list widens and becomes even more impressive as we add names like Matthew McConaughey, Michael Sheen, George Clooney and Bradley Cooper.
But if you are considering coming to Ireland for a luxury site-seeing tour or private vacation any time soon, and if you’re a fan of the widescreen, here are 5 film sets to watch out for that you can visit quite easily on your travels which we think you’ll just love. Perhaps there are other ratings of Irish Film sets out there and these could be based on film popularity or inclusion of Irish actors or Irish based plots. Our criteria for ranking our top 5 is largely based around the ease with which you can visit these, especially for the travelling tourist or person on vacation to Ireland who may be working on a customized itinerary.
1) Our number 1 slot has to go to Ryan’s Daughter and the beautiful Dunquin Beach.
What a combination, one of the nicest beaches likely to ever meet you eyes gaze, and little wonder the set of so many scenes of 1970 blockbuster Ryan’s Daughter which starred Robert Mitchum, Sarah Miles and John Mills. Set at the time of the Irish Easter Rising against British rule, many scenes are set along the beautiful Slea Head which forms the pinnacle of many of Executive Hire’s Scenic and Site Seeing Tours. Grossing over $30 million at the box office, and winning two Academy Awards this film and its location at Dunquin beach are well worth exploring and of course our private driver chauffeurs will fill you in on all you need to know.
2) The Italian Job – Kilmainham Jail
This 1960s British classic The Italian Job starred Michael Caine in one of his breakthrough roles. Its famous for its popularisation of the Mini Cooper S car used so effectively in the film as part of what made it ‘cool’ but also in that they were central to the plot of making off from an Italian Bank with $4mil worth of gold. The jaol scenes for this movie were actually shot at Dublin’s Kilmainham jaol! This interesting 18th century building is a key feature in Irish History as it has seen the incarceration of many, in fact almost all of Ireland’s nationalist leaders both politically and those involved in more physical force. Our 10 day and 1 week Tours include visits to Kilmainham Jaol where the vacation arrives or departs from Dublin include. The film was nominated for a Golden Globe, but failed to make it big at the US Box Office, Caine himself cited poor advertising as the reason for this.
3) Site of the opening scene of Saving Private Ryan – Curracloe Strand, Wexford.
Hard to believe it now but this Tom Hank’s blockbuster was released in 1998. Famous for its real war-like depictions in its opening scenes, the film crew set up in BallineskerBeach on Curracloe Strand in Co. Wexford in the South East corner of Ireland in 1997. This beach is remarkably similar to the actual D-Day location of Omaha beach in Normandy, France. The film grossed almost half a billion dollars and won many Academy awards. It was critically acclaimed for its opening 27 minutes scene of the invasion which was set here in this beach. The beach itself is some 7 miles in length, and full of golden sand. It’s a blue flag beach which means it’s perfect for sunbathing and swimming.
4) Battle scenes of Braveheart in ‘The Curragh’ Co. Kildare.
In danger of being regarded as a country of ideal set locations for battles, our #4 is the setting for Braveheart, which featured Mel Gibson as William Wallace in the 1995 epic depiction of Scotland’s battle for freedom and independence from 13th century England. Much of the film was shot on location in Scotland but like Saving Private Ryan, this film is often remembered for its defining battle scenes. These were filmed in two locations, namely the Curragh in Co Kildare near the Irish army base, and also in Bective Abbey on the banks of the famous River Boyne in Co. Meath. The Irish Reserve Army famously traded their usual uniforms for medieval garb and represented both opposing armies in making of this movie which went on to win 5 Academy Awards and grossed a quarter of billion dollars which was a good return for the $50 mil it cost to make.
The Curragh is known to many for its horse racing and breeding. The national stud is based here as are the famous and beautiful JapaneseGardens. Co. Kildare is close to Dublin and was recently home to the Ryder Cup at the Palmer course in the K Club in 2006. Many of our Customized 10 days Tours Ireland include time in Dublin and Kildare.
5) The Quiet Man and Connemara
Its not all battles on the field we have here in Ireland, there are of course battles in the pursuit of love and these are well depicted in The Quiet Man which needs little introduction for so many of us. The Quiet Man featured John Wayne and Maureen O’Hara, was made in 1952, but representative of Ireland in the 1920’s and how the customs of the time interfered with a newly wedded couples’ relationship. You can immerse yourself in this film by visiting the Quiet Man Museum in CongVillage on the border of Counties Mayo and Galway and visit many of the film locations and setting used in nearby Connemara. The Quiet Man won two Academy Awards. Connemara is an area of natural beauty in the West of Ireland, famous for its golden countryside and picturesque lakes. While in the West of Ireland and Connemara, we like to take our clients to see Kylemore Abbey and there are numerous picturesque towns such as Oughterard, Clifden, Leenane and Westport.
At Executive Tours Ireland, our Private Driver Chauffeurs are more than just drivers, they are knowledgeable travel guides and our testimonials always show that they will cater to your every need while entertaining and informing you, and getting you right up close with the ‘real Ireland’ as we like to say. Its not every Tour Operator can do that for you, but at Executive Tours Ireland, we specialize in Private Tours and Luxury Vacations for site-seeing and golf in Ireland. All of the vehicles in our chauffeur tours fleet are Mercedes and the ultimate in comfort for you and your friends or family. While we have many suggested itineraries such as our 7 and 10 Day Luxury Tours of Ireland, everything can be customized for your specific needs. Mike Ryan will do the groundwork for you long before you touch down in Shannon, Dublin or Cork. Our philosophy is simple, we see you booking with us as our opportunity to show you the best the Emerald Isle has to offer and give you a once in a lifetime experience. Whether you like the widescreen, golf, shopping or trading stories with locals, tasting whisky or discovering your family heritage, we’ll show you the Ireland you have dreamed of, your way. Thanks for reading and feel free to checkout our testimonials page, our many returning clients clients probably say it better than we could!