Movies Set in County Galway

Movies Set in County Galway

One of life’s simplest pleasures has got to be dragging your duvet from the bed to the couch, piling up a tower of snacks and embarking on the movie marathon of a lifetime. Since we’ve all got a little more time on our hands for some good old fashioned lounging, we’ve put together a list of films that are either set in or feature great Galway landscapes. That’s the next few evenings sorted!


If you haven’t already spent a rainy afternoon with John Wayne and Maureen O’Hara, a true cinematic classic awaits. Set in the town of Cong - between Galway and Mayo - the film has all the elements of a vintage romance. Telling the tale of Sean Thornton (Wayne) on his return to Ireland from across the pond and his love affair with the fiery Mary Kate Danagher (O’Hara), The Quiet Man went on to win awards galore and holds a special place in the hearts of many to this day. Watch closely and you’ll see the familiar backdrop of Connemara, Lettergesh Beach in Renvyle and the iconic Ballyglunin Railway Station, where the emblematic ‘Castletown’ sign can still be found. The stunning bridge in this article's feature photo also features.

MARLEY & ME (2008)

An absolute tear jerker of the highest order, Marley & Me follows Owen Wilson and Jennifer Aniston as they navigate the trials and tribulations of their marriage alongside their boisterous Golden Retriever. The pair journey to the West of Ireland for their honeymoon and though it is only seen briefly, the Irish landscape makes quite the impression. Between Inagh Valley, Lough na Fooey and parts of Mayo, the green grass of Galway is unmistakable. Who hasn’t had a flock of sheep surround their car at one point or another?

Marley & ME

THE FIELD (1990)

It’s safe to say that there’s not a household in Ireland yet to be blown away by this powerful adaptation of John B. Keane’s The Field. Beloved by many, the film follows the Bull McCabe (Richard Harris) as he deals with the threat of losing the land he has put blood, sweat and tears into for years. Set in the 1930s, The Field deals with passion, intimidating and crippling loss. Though it was mostly shot against the backdrop of County Mayo, the keen eye will spot the green fields of Connemara popping up every now and then.

THE GUARD (2011)

If you’re in the mood for a laugh, The Guard sees a straight-laced FBI agent meet an irreverent Irish Garda as they investigate a case of drug trafficking out in Connemara. As with much of Brendan Gleeson’s work, it’s comedy gold and the quick Irish wit is complemented by raw rural Ireland. The landscapes of Spiddal, Barna and Lettermullen feature throughout and will leave you with a hankering to get back to the Gaeltacht region.


Are you a sucker for a good love story? Sent to Ireland to trace the roots of her boss, Marcy Tizard (Janeane Garofalo) arrives just in time for the annual matchmaking festival and it’s not long before bets are being made that she’ll be fixed up with the man of her dreams in no time. Galway’s very own Roundstone was the setting for the fictional destination of Ballinagra (‘town of love’) and during the course of filming, O’Dowd’s Seafood Bar & Restaurant was turned into a funeral parlour! The more you know...

O'Dowd's Roundstone
Photo courtesy of O'Dowd's Facebook Page


Over a period of five to six weeks in 1979, the Galway City Docks were given a complete makeover in order to replicate a Norwegian port, filming also took place in Kinvara around Dunguaire Castle. North Sea Hijack follows the story of a few terrorists who hijacked the supply ship ‘Esther’ in order to hijack a North Sea oil rig. Did you know that the film has been released under several different title? Released as North Sea Hijack in the UK and Ireland. As ffolkes in the US and other English speaking countries. However, when it was first broadcasted on American screens in 1983 it was renamed Assault Force. In West Germany it was known as Sprengkommando Atlantik (Demolition Squad Atlantic).


A heartwarming classic that follows brothers Tito and Ossie as they leave an impoverished Dublin on their horse - Tír na nÓg - for a better life in the West. Adventure, grief, magic and societal norms all appear throughout this film. Their father - played by the great Gabriel Byrne - is a settled traveller king who is unable to face up to the loss of his wife, but with the magical connection of everlasting youth and nature’s beauty, solace is found.


A romantic adaptation of the legendary medieval love story of Tristan and Isolde. After a severely wounded Tristan washes up on the shore, he is discovered and nursed back to health by Isolde. The two fall madly in love with one another and yet their duty to their Kings separates them once again. Many of the film’s scenic shots were filmed along the breath-taking Killary Harbour and in areas around the Renvyle Peninsula, along with other locations throughout Connemara. Both Glassilaun and Lettergesh beach were used as the setting for the fort of King Donnchadh’s Castle.

BLACK ‘47 (2018)

Set against the backdrop of Connemara’s vast landscapes around the Maumturk Mountains. Black ‘47 follows the challenges faced by a young Connacht Ranger named Feeney as he seeks revenge for the death of his family while he’s on the run from a former army comrade. The film is set during the worst years of the famine and portrays some of the difficulties faced by the Irish people during this period of turmoil. It’s an adaptation of the award-winning Irish language short film ‘An Rangerand here’s a fun fact for you, the train journey seen in the film is historically inaccurate as the first train to Galway was actually put into service in 1851, when the first Galway railway station was built. The rail was also a single line opposed to the double track seen in Black ‘47.

Irish bleakness

LEAP YEAR (2010)

How could we mention the Galway landscape without romance being involved? On a quest to proclaim love, Leap Year follows the real estate worker Anna played by Amy Adams, as she travels to Ireland with the intention to propose to her boyfriend on Leap Day. Her plans don’t work out exactly as planned however, when the Irish weather causes some unexpected travel complications and she has to hire someone to help her travel across Ireland to get to Dublin in time. Declan’s pub can be found in Kilmurvey on Inís Mór, with the romantic atmosphere of the film’s final scene having taken place along the coastline of the Aran Islands. Did you recognise that Declan’s engagement ring is the famous Galway Claddagh ring?


Mysterious and tantalizing, the French, Irish, Italian The Purple Taxi will capture your imagination. Shot in locations across Connemara but in particular around Renvyle Peninsula. The stunning scenery is the unique backdrop to a puzzling tale, which tells the story of three troubled expatriates, an Irish-American, Frenchman and a Russian living in a remote rural Irish village. In his final feature film, Fred Astaire plays the clever Irish Dr. Scully who plays as their confidant and attempts to help them find their way. The incredible cast played a vital role in making this a rich masterpiece.


A flying saucer in Galway. Who would have thought it? Robert Sheehan stars as Dan, a young student who recently returned home. After a flying saucer crashes onto his farm he finds himself facing a series of complications, especially when he ends up falling in love with the alien girl. The majority of filming took place in Kilkerrin village with picturesque shots of Lavally and Cortoon. Many people of Kilkerrin and the surrounding areas are able to spot themselves as extras in many of the film’s scenes.


A gorgeous rocky isolated locale, containing beautiful shots of seaside cliffs and stony expansions. The Man of Aran is a fictional documentary about premodern life on the Aran Islands, it portrays hardships they faced on a daily basis, including hunting basking sharks and farming potatoes in areas where there is little soil. The impressive seascapes and commanding environment helps to make this tale a riveting documentary drama.


Many resources went into transforming parts of Galway into Wessex in the 9th century AD. See if you can spot all the different locations around Galway that make an appearance throughout Alfred the Great, such as the stunning Castle Hackett in Tuam, Kilchreest and Ross Lake. With the final battle having been shot at Knockma, in Tuam. Starring David Hemmings and Ian McKellen, the film portrays Alfred the Great’s struggle to defend the Anglo-Saxon Kingdom of Wessex from a Danish Viking invasion in the 9th century. When they were filming key battle scenes, members of the Irish military served as extras during these critical moments.

Alfred the Great


The lives of an Irish girl, Hannah O'Flaherty and an Australian boy, Brett Miller are brought together from opposite sides of the world through a secret transfer portal which connects the basement of Brett's house to the basement of Hannah's boarding school. The Irish film set was located at Castle Hackett House, Tuam.

JACK TAYLOR (2010-2016)

Irish mystery TV programme set in Galway. Based on noir crime fiction writer Ken Bruen’s novel of the same name. Iain Glen stars as Jack Taylor, a former member of the garda síochána who becomes a private investigator, taking on cases the police will not investigate.

FATHER TED (1995-1998)

A comedic take on the lives of three priests who live on Craggy Island. Starring Dermot Morgan as Father Ted Crilly, it follows his chaotic life living with Father Dougal McGuire, Father Jack Hackett and their housekeeper Mrs. Doyle. The opening sequence includes shots of Inís Oírr and the Plassy shipwreck. If you haven’t already seen it this is one series that will leave your side aching from laughter. Ah go on… give it a go.

Plassy Shipwreck

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