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10 Movies Set In Ireland That You Must Watch Before Visiting

Going to Ireland soon? Simply curious about the Emerald Isle? Watching a film is a great way to prepare for a trip to explore the country without leaving home.

This may be a short list, but each film features a part or aspect of Ireland.

From the playful to the strange, here are our top ten movies set in Ireland to watch that’ll make you want to visit. 

10 Movies Set In Ireland That You Must Watch Before Visiting

Cliffs Of Moher, Beautiful Cliffs In Ireland

Cliffs Of Moher, Image by Christine Rogador


1. Calvary (2014)


Calvary follows a small-town Irish priest who learned through a confession that someone wants him dead.

A quirky dark comedy, this is one of the most underrated films of 2014. Calvary got rave reviews for its crafty storytelling and memorable performances.

Apart from the intriguing plot, the film also takes viewers to the beautiful Irish countryside.

The story takes place in Easkey town in County Sligo, where a good part of the movie was actually filmed. Calvary also features scenes in Streedagh beach, Ardgillian Castle, and Dublin.

Get it here.

2. Circle of Friends (1995)


Based on Maeve Binchy’s book of the same title, Circle of Friends is a critically acclaimed coming-of-age film. It is about small-town girl Benny, her friends, and the struggles she faced as she goes to college.

It was set in the 1950s, in a fictional town called Knockglen. This was actually the village of Inistioge in Co. Kilkenny where a large part of the film was shot.

Certain scenes were also done at Trinity College in Dublin. The film also allows glimpses in Irish life and culture as well as fantastic views of Dublin, Kilkenny, and Thomastown. 

Get it here.

3. Into The West (1992)


A delightful and fun family film, Into The West, boasts of great performances and a heartwarming story. It is about two brothers who set out on an adventure to the west of Ireland.

Their widowed father, who was known as ‘The King of Irish Travelers’, goes after them and reconnects with his own heritage.

The film was set in the Atlantic coast, do expect breathtaking views of the emerald state as you follow the journey of this family ‘into the west’. 

Get it here.

4. Leap Year (2010)


The romantic comedy Leap Year might as well double as a tourism campaign for Ireland.

Apart from the story, one can’t help but follow where the next scenes will take them. The movie is about Anna, who travels to Ireland to propose to her boyfriend on Leap Day or February 29.

Apparently, Irish legend says that Leap Day proposals a Yes.

However, on the days leading to that day, something unexpected happens. She’s not quite sure about her original plans anymore.

See if you’ll recognize where in Ireland certain scenes were filmed. You’ll most likely recognize Dublin and Temple Bar.

The breathtaking scenery of Aran Islands, Connemara, County Galway, County Mayo, Wicklow National Park, and Olaf Street in Waterford were also featured. 

Get it here.

5. Michael Collins (1996)


The gripping 1996 film Michael Collins offers a dose of Ireland’s history. It was set particularly during the War of Independence and the Irish Civil War.

The film is based on the life of Michael Collins, an Irish patriot and revolutionary. The story is quite gripping, a definite must-watch whether you like history or simply want to see a good film set in Ireland.

It also features stellar performances from Liam Neeson as Michael Collins himself and the late great Alan Rickman as the villain De Valera.

Much of the film was done with either Dublin or the Wicklow Mountains, offering a great backdrop to the compelling story. 

Get it here.

6. Once (2007)


Filmed in Dublin, this romance musical is about two struggling musicians who fell in love. It’s another of those critically acclaimed films that even got nominated to various award-giving bodies.

Its theme song ‘Falling Slowly’ won the Oscars for Best Original Song. Once also had a Tony-award winning stage version.

While watching the film, viewers will easily spot Grafton Street in Dublin. It was said that the filming budget was so tight then that they couldn’t even get permits.

There were even scenes where pedestrians weren’t aware that they’re being filmed. The result is a film that’s authentic and heartfelt. 

Get it here.

7. P. S. I Love You (2007)

Both a heartbreaking and hopeful film, P.S. I Love You is a recent classic.

Whether you’re into love stories or simply fascinated with Ireland, this is a lovely film to watch. P.S. I Love You follows the journey of a young widow who received mysterious letters from her dead husband.

The letters were apparently written by the deceased to help her cope with the loss.

She was instructed to go to Ireland and that’s where all the fun took place. The film features breathtaking scenery, and practically the best of Ireland.

Viewers will see glimpses of the Wicklow Mountains National Park, Blessington Lakes and The Sally Gap in County Wicklow

Get it here.

8. Sing Street (2016)


Another musical set in Dublin but with a younger cast and vibe is Sing Street. This was also directed by the same guy who did Once, John Carney.

Expect more great music and compelling performances from its young actors.

The story is about Conor, a Dublin teenager. He wanted to Impress the girl he likes so he started up a band.

Throughout the film, viewers might recognize certain Dublin attractions. There are also parts filmed in St. Catherine’s Park, and Dalkey Island.

Sing Street is another darling of the critics, and if you want to watch, it’s still streaming on Netflix. 

Get it here.

9. The Young Offenders (2016)


A film inspired by the biggest cocaine seizure in Ireland back in 2007, The Young Offenders is currently streaming on Netflix.

The story is about two Irish teens who stole bikes and set out to find a huge cocaine shipment. The shipment was worth 7 million euros and said to have gone missing after a ship capsized in West Cork.

Most films in this list have scenes filmed in Dublin, but The Young Offenders gives glimpses of County Cork, particularly the Southwest part. 

Get it here.

10. Waking Ned Devine (1998)


Set in a fictional Irish Town, this fun film follows two elderly best friends.

They just discovered that someone in their tiny town won the lottery, and wanted to find out if he’s in a sharing mood.

However, they both got a strange surprise when they visited his house. The rest of the town now has to get involved, too. The film location was mainly on the Isle of Man, in the Irish Coast. 

Get it here.

Are you looking for movies to watch on Netflix instead? Here’s our list of best Irish films on Netflix. 

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