If there's one thing Irish people can take pride in, it's the natural beauty of our country's landscape. There are some parts of our country so beautiful that people travel thousands of miles just to see them with their own eyes.
Luckily for us native to this fair land, they're practically on our doorstep and what better time to take a road trip and visit them than during the summer months? We've compiled a list of seven of the most breathtaking Irish locations from movies and TV worth bringing the family to this summer.
1. Skellig Micheal, Co. Kerry - As seen in Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens
The most high profile entry on the list given the endless coverage of the crew's activities while they were on our shores. Audiences had to wait until the final scene of The Force Awakens to see Skellig Michael on the big screen but it was well worth it. The historical island looked majestic and it's easy to see why Luke Skywalker would retire to there. The monastery on Skellig Micheal is arguably the most impressive man made structure in Ireland and really needs to be seen to be believed.
2. Benbulbin, Co. Sligo - As seen in Calvary
Brendan Gleeson took most of the plaudits for his powerful performance in this film but the real star of the show was the rural Sligo landscape and in particular Benbulben. The rock formation looked majestic on the big screen and it boggles the mind as to why the wonderful landmark had never been seen on film before.
3. The Cliffs of Moher, Co. Clare - As seen in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
The Harry Potter films really stepped up a gear in terms of drama with the Half Blood Prince. A much anticipated scene for fans was when Harry and Dumbledore visit a cave by the sea to destroy one of Vodermort's horcruxes. What better location that the Cliffs of Moher? Harry and Dumbledore rest on a rock a bit further out to sea when they first survey the cave from afar. The rock in question isn't actually at the Cliffs of Moher. Through the magic (get it?) of technology, the special effects team were able to move Lemon Rock which is found off the coast of the Iveragh Peninsula in Kerry to the South of the Cliffs of Moher. As the clip below shows, even with bad weather there is no diminishing the beauty of Clare's most famous landmark.
4. Cong, Co. Mayo - As seen in The Quiet Man
When one of the greatest directors and biggest stars of that era wanted to film in Cong, Co. Mayo for their film, The Quiet Man, it was always going to leave a lasting impression. Sure enough, John Ford and John Wayne's legacy is forever tied to the West of Ireland setting of the film. Mayo and Galway look fantastic on the big screen in what was the biggest movie production ever to take place in Ireland up to that point. To this day, Cong celebrates the time the world's biggest movie star came to stay and there are many shops and museums dedicated to the event.
5. Inch Strand, Co. Kerry - As seen in Ryan's Daughter
Trust David Lean, one of the great directors, known for making films on an epic scale to truly capture the beauty of Ireland's south west on screen. The Cliffs of Moher make an appearance in the film as well but it's Inch Strand that really flourishes under Lean's lens in this epic tale of love and betrayal.
6. Wicklow National Park - As seen in PS I Love You
While the film adaptation of Cecelia Ahern's best selling novel didn't exactly set the world alight, Wicklow sure was looking well in the film. The scene where Hilary Swank's Holly first meets her would be husband Gerry was filmed at Wicklow National Park and it truly looked stunning on screen. There are some offences to the Irish people in the film, in particular the 'oirish' accents put on by Gerald Butler and Jeffrey Dean Morgan, but the representation of the Wicklow countryside is something we can be satisfied with.
7. The Dark Hedges, Co. Antrim - As seen in Game of Thrones
There are so many Game of Thrones locations in Northern Ireland to choose from with the likes of Ballintoy Harbour and Shane's Castle both doubling for some of Westeros' most iconic settings. However, if we had to plump for one we'd go with the Dark Hedges in Antrim due to its hauntingly beautiful look. As seen in the season one finale of Game of Thrones, Arya and Gendry travel along the road during their escape from King's Landing.
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