5 Incredible Irish Movie Locations to Explore on a Campervan Road Trip
5 Incredible Irish Movie Locations to Explore on a Campervan Road Trip

5 Incredible Irish Movie Locations to Explore on a Campervan Road Trip

Discover the Emerald Isle’s Iconic Film Settings on Wheels

Are you a film buff with a passion for adventure? Do you dream of exploring picturesque landscapes while immersing yourself in the magic of cinematic history? If so, we have the perfect adventure for you: a campervan road trip around Irish movie locations. Ireland’s stunning natural beauty and rich cultural heritage have served as the backdrop for countless iconic films, and now you can experience them firsthand from the comfort of your camper van. In this guide, we’ll take you on a cinematic journey through the Emerald Isle, showcasing five key stops, route details, and great places to stay. Get ready to embark on an unforgettable Irish movie road trip!

Key Stops on Your Irish Movie Adventure

1. Skellig Michael – “Star Wars: The Force Awakens”

Our cinematic journey begins on the remote island of Skellig Michael, a UNESCO World Heritage site that gained worldwide fame as the Jedi hideaway in Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Located off the southwestern coast of Ireland, this craggy island boasts awe-inspiring cliffs, ancient stone huts, and a sense of isolation that transports you to a galaxy far, far away. To reach Skellig Michael, take a ferry from the town of Portmagee on the mainland.

Pro Tip: Due to its popularity, it’s essential to book your ferry tickets well in advance. Also, be prepared for a challenging climb to reach the filming locations, as there are steep steps and uneven terrain.

2. Ballintoy Harbour – “Game of Thrones”

Fans of “Game of Thrones” will recognize Ballintoy Harbour as the rugged Iron Islands. This picturesque coastal spot in County Antrim served as the backdrop for some of the show’s most dramatic scenes, including Theon Greyjoy’s homecoming. As you stand on the windswept cliffs and gaze at the crashing waves below, you’ll feel like you’re part of the epic tale.

Pro Tip: Ballintoy Harbour is a popular tourist destination, so plan your visit during the off-peak season or arrive early to avoid the crowds.

3. Dingle Peninsula – “Ryan’s Daughter”

The Dingle Peninsula in County Kerry is a cinematic treasure trove, and it famously provided the backdrop for the epic romance “Ryan’s Daughter.” This region’s rugged beauty, with its sweeping beaches and craggy cliffs, makes it easy to see why filmmakers chose it for their production. Take a leisurely drive along the Slea Head Drive route, and you’ll pass by some of the film’s iconic locations.

Pro Tip: While in Dingle, don’t miss the opportunity to try some fresh seafood and enjoy traditional Irish music in one of the cozy pubs.

4. Glendalough – “Braveheart” and “P.S. I Love You”

Nestled in the heart of County Wicklow, Glendalough is a glacial valley known for its serene lakes and monastic ruins. This enchanting location has played a role in several films, including the epic “Braveheart” and the heartwarming “P.S. I Love You.” Explore the ancient monastic site, hike the trails, and take in the tranquil beauty that once graced the silver screen.

Pro Tip: Glendalough is a great place for hiking, so pack your walking boots and explore the trails that lead to breathtaking viewpoints.

5. Dublin – Various Films

No Irish movie road trip would be complete without a stop in the vibrant capital city of Dublin. This bustling metropolis has been featured in numerous films, including “Once,” “The Commitments,” and “My Left Foot.” Walk the streets that inspired these cinematic stories, visit iconic locations like Temple Bar, and soak up the city’s unique atmosphere.

Pro Tip: Take a guided film tour of Dublin to uncover hidden gems and behind-the-scenes stories about your favorite movies.

Planning Your Campervan Road Trip

Now that you’ve been introduced to our five key stops, let’s delve into the nitty-gritty of planning your campervan road trip around Irish movie locations. Whether you’re renting a camper or using your own, these tips will ensure a smooth and memorable journey.

Choosing the Right Camper Van

Selecting the perfect camper van is the first step in ensuring a comfortable and enjoyable road trip. Consider the size of your group, the amenities you’ll need, and your budget. Popular options include compact campers with basic facilities and larger motorhomes with all the comforts of home.

Pro Tip: Make a checklist of essential features, such as a kitchenette, bathroom, and sleeping arrangements, to narrow down your options.

Route Planning

The beauty of a campervan road trip is the freedom to explore at your own pace. However, having a rough route plan can help you make the most of your journey. Use mapping apps or GPS devices to chart your course, taking into account the locations you want to visit and the distances between them.

Pro Tip: Plan your route with flexibility in mind, allowing for spontaneous detours and unexpected discoveries along the way.

Packing Essentials

Packing efficiently is crucial for a campervan adventure. You’ll need to bring a mix of clothing for various weather conditions, camping gear, cooking utensils, and any personal items you can’t do without. Be mindful of space limitations in your camper.

Pro Tip: Create a packing list and prioritize items that are essential for your comfort and safety.

Camping Sites and Accommodation

Choosing the right places to stay is a key part of your campervan adventure. Ireland offers a variety of camping options, from designated campgrounds with facilities to wild camping in remote areas. Research and book your campsites in advance, especially during peak tourist seasons.

Pro Tip: When wild camping, always follow Leave No Trace principles and respect local regulations.

Fuel and Provisions

Stock up on essential supplies before hitting the road. Fill your camper’s fuel tank, buy groceries, and ensure you have enough water and cooking gas for your trip. While you can find convenience stores and fuel stations along the way, it’s best to be prepared.

Pro Tip: Invest in a camping stove or portable grill for outdoor cooking adventures.

Safety and Navigation

Safety should be a top priority during your campervan road trip. Carry a first-aid kit, emergency tools, and a spare tire. Stay informed about weather conditions and road closures, and have a reliable navigation system or map handy.

Pro Tip: Familiarize yourself with local road signs and driving regulations, especially if you’re not used to driving on the left side of the road.

Cultural Awareness

Respect the local culture and environment throughout your journey. Follow the “Leave No Trace” principles, be courteous to fellow travelers and locals, and immerse yourself in the rich heritage of the places you visit.

Pro Tip: Learn a few basic phrases in Irish Gaelic to connect with the locals and enhance your cultural experience.

The Scenic Routes: Exploring Irish Movie Locations

Now that you’ve got the logistics sorted, let’s hit the road and explore the scenic routes that will take you to these iconic Irish movie locations.

Route 1: Skellig Michael and the Ring of Kerry

  • Starting Point: Dublin
  • Key Stops: Skellig Michael, Dingle Peninsula
  • Route Highlights: Wicklow Mountains, Killarney National Park
  • Distance: Approximately 400 miles (643 kilometers)
  • Duration: 7-10 days

Begin your journey in Dublin and head south towards County Kerry. Along the way, you’ll pass through the enchanting Wicklow Mountains, where scenes from “P.S. I Love You” were filmed. Spend some time exploring Glendalough before continuing to Killarney National Park, a haven of lush forests and sparkling lakes.

From Killarney, take a detour to Portmagee for your Skellig Michael adventure. Afterward, drive along the rugged Dingle Peninsula, following the Slea Head Drive for breathtaking views of the Atlantic Ocean.

Route 2: Antrim Coast and Ballintoy Harbour

  • Starting Point: Belfast
  • Key Stops: Ballintoy Harbour
  • Route Highlights: Giant’s Causeway, Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge
  • Distance: Approximately 150 miles (241 kilometers)
  • Duration: 4-5 days

Commence your journey in Belfast and head north towards the stunning Antrim Coast. The route takes you past iconic sites such as the Giant’s Causeway and the Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge. When you arrive at Ballintoy Harbour, you’ll instantly recognize it as the Iron Islands from “Game of Thrones.”

Route 3: Dublin and Film History

  • Starting Point: Dublin
  • Key Stops: Dublin
  • Route Highlights: Temple Bar, Trinity College, Dublin Castle
  • Distance: Flexible
  • Duration: 2-3 days

If you’re short on time but eager to explore Irish movie locations, this route is perfect. Spend your days in Dublin, visiting iconic film locations such as Temple Bar, Trinity College, and Dublin Castle. Join a guided film tour to learn more about the city’s cinematic history.

Route 4: Extended Adventure – The Grand Tour

  • Starting Point: Dublin
  • Key Stops: Skellig Michael, Ballintoy Harbour, Dingle Peninsula, Glendalough, Dublin
  • Route Highlights: All key movie locations
  • Distance: Approximately 800 miles (1287 kilometers)
  • Duration: 14-21 days

For the ultimate Irish movie road trip, embark on the grand tour that covers all five key stops mentioned earlier. Begin in Dublin, and follow the routes to Skellig Michael, Ballintoy Harbour, the Dingle Peninsula, and Glendalough before returning to the capital city. This extended adventure allows you to experience the full breadth of Ireland’s cinematic landscapes.

Accommodation for Campervan Travelers

As you traverse the stunning landscapes and immerse yourself in the world of Irish cinema, you’ll need a cozy place to rest each night. Fortunately, Ireland offers a range of accommodation options for campervan travelers.

1. Campgrounds and Caravan Parks

Ireland boasts numerous campgrounds and caravan parks, many of which provide essential amenities such as electricity hookups, showers, and laundry facilities. These sites are a convenient choice for travelers seeking comfort and convenience.

2. Wild Camping

For those seeking a more rugged and secluded experience, wild camping is a great option. In Ireland, wild camping is legal in many areas, provided you follow the Leave No Trace principles and respect local regulations. Be sure to check beforehand if the area you plan to camp in allows wild camping.

  • Recommended Wild Camping Spot: Slea Head, Dingle Peninsula
    • Pro Tip: Wake up to stunning sunrise views over the Atlantic Ocean at this remote and picturesque location.

3. Aires and Service Areas

Aires are designated areas for campervans and motorhomes, commonly found in Europe. While not as prevalent in Ireland, some locations offer facilities like waste disposal and water refilling, making them suitable for a short stop or overnight stay.

  • Recommended Aires: Fermoy Riverside Park, County Cork
    • Pro Tip: Enjoy a peaceful riverside setting in the heart of County Cork.

Embrace the Magic of Irish Cinema

As you embark on your campervan road trip through the stunning landscapes of Ireland, you’ll not only visit iconic movie locations but also create your own cinematic memories. From the rugged beauty of Skellig Michael to the dramatic allure of Ballintoy Harbour, Ireland’s film settings will leave you awe-inspired and yearning for more.

So, load up your camper van, hit the open road, and let the magic of Irish cinema unfold before your eyes. With each turn, you’ll uncover the cinematic secrets of the Emerald Isle and experience an adventure that combines the best of both worlds: the thrill of the open road and the allure of the silver screen.

Remember to capture your own moments of magic along the way, for the beauty of an Irish movie road trip lies not only in the destinations but also in the journey itself.

Here’s a list of famous film locations in Ireland, along with more details about the films they were featured in and the type of landscape or setting they represent:

  1. Skellig Michael, County Kerry
    • Film: “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” (2015)
    • Description: Skellig Michael, a UNESCO World Heritage site, was used as the location for the planet Ahch-To in the Star Wars franchise. The island’s rugged and remote landscape provided the perfect backdrop for the Jedi hideaway.
  2. Ballintoy Harbour, County Antrim
    • Film: “Game of Thrones” (Various Seasons)
    • Description: Ballintoy Harbour served as the setting for the Iron Islands in the popular TV series “Game of Thrones.” Its dramatic cliffs and coastal views captured the essence of this fictional world.
  3. Dingle Peninsula, County Kerry
    • Film: “Ryan’s Daughter” (1970)
    • Description: The stunning Dingle Peninsula’s rugged terrain and picturesque beaches were prominently featured in “Ryan’s Daughter,” creating a breathtaking backdrop for the epic romance.
  4. Glendalough, County Wicklow
    • Films: “Braveheart” (1995) and “P.S. I Love You” (2007)
    • Description: Glendalough, known for its serene lakes and ancient monastic ruins, played a role in multiple films. It featured in the Oscar-winning “Braveheart” as well as the romantic drama “P.S. I Love You.”
  5. Dublin, County Dublin
    • Dublin’s bustling streets, historic landmarks, and vibrant neighborhoods have been showcased in numerous films, reflecting the city’s rich culture and history.
    • Once (2006)
      • Locations:
        • Grafton Street: The famous shopping street in Dublin serves as a backdrop for several scenes, including the iconic musical performances.
        • St. Stephen’s Green: The park features prominently in the film, providing a picturesque setting for key moments.
        • Temple Bar: The cultural quarter of Dublin is showcased in various scenes, adding to the film’s atmosphere.
    • The Commitments (1991)
      • Locations:
        • Northside of Dublin: The film primarily takes place in the working-class neighborhoods of North Dublin, capturing the spirit of the local music scene.
        • The Harp Bar: A central location in the film where the band practices and performs.
    • My Left Foot (1989)
      • Locations:
        • Various Dublin neighborhoods: The film portrays the life of Christy Brown, an Irish artist born with cerebral palsy, and features scenes in different parts of Dublin, including residential areas and institutions.
    • The Snapper (1993)
      • Locations:
        • Various Dublin suburbs: The film is set in a working-class Dublin neighborhood and depicts the everyday life of a young woman facing an unexpected pregnancy.
    • The General (1998)
      • Locations:
        • Dublin city center: The film tells the true story of Irish criminal Martin Cahill, known as “The General,” and includes scenes filmed in the heart of Dublin.
    • Sing Street (2016)
      • Locations:
        • Synge Street School: The school serves as a significant location in the film, where the main character, Conor, forms a band with his friends.
        • Various Dublin streets: The film captures the vibrant atmosphere of 1980s Dublin and features scenes shot in different parts of the city.
    • Adam & Paul (2004)
      • Locations:
        • Dublin’s inner-city neighborhoods: The film follows the lives of two drug addicts navigating the streets of Dublin, portraying a gritty and realistic view of the city.
    • The Guard (2011)
      • Locations:
        • Galway and Connemara (near Dublin): While the majority of the film is set in the west of Ireland, some scenes were also filmed in Dublin.
    • Angela’s Ashes (1999)
      • Locations:
        • North Dublin: The film adaptation of Frank McCourt’s memoir showcases the challenging life of a working-class family in the city during the 1930s and 1940s.
  6. Giant’s Causeway, County Antrim
    • Film: “The Giant’s Causeway” (1947)
    • Description: The unique geological wonder of Giant’s Causeway was featured in a 1947 short film that highlighted its stunning natural formations.
  7. Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge, County Antrim
    • Film: Various films, including “Game of Thrones” (Various Seasons)
    • Description: The thrilling Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge and its surroundings have made appearances in several productions, notably in “Game of Thrones.”
  8. Wicklow Mountains, County Wicklow
    • Films: “P.S. I Love You” (2007) and “Excalibur” (1981)
    • Description: The picturesque Wicklow Mountains provided the backdrop for romantic scenes in “P.S. I Love You” and the mythical realm of “Excalibur.”
  9. Connemara, County Galway
    • Film: “The Quiet Man” (1952)
    • Description: The enchanting landscapes of Connemara played a central role in the classic film “The Quiet Man,” starring John Wayne and Maureen O’Hara. It showcased the rugged beauty of the region.
  10. Belfast, County Antrim
    • Film: “Good Vibrations” (2012)
    • Description: The city of Belfast served as the setting for “Good Vibrations,” a biographical film about the vibrant punk music scene in the city during the Troubles.
  11. Ballinesker Beach in Curracloe Strand, County Wexford
    • Curracloe served as the location for the iconic D-Day landing scenes in the movie “Saving Private Ryan.” The beach’s wide expanse of sand and dunes provided the perfect setting for the film’s realistic portrayal of the Normandy landings during World War II.
    • The filming of these scenes at Ballinesker Beach was a significant part of the movie’s production, and it contributed to the film’s historical accuracy and intense depiction of the wartime events. Visitors to the area can still appreciate the stunning natural beauty of the beach while reflecting on its cinematic significance in this critically acclaimed film.