On Location – The Boyne Valley

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The Boyne Valley has been the location for many movies filmed over the years. The rich historic landscape and historic sites makes it the perfect filming location. When visiting the region why not take in some of these famous sites and enjoy some movie mania in the Boyne Valley.  

On Location – The Boyne Valley

Starting your experience with a visit to Trim Castle in Meath where many scenes from Braveheart were shot. In the Trim Visitor Centre you will find memorabilia from the filming of Braveheart. Trim Castle is the largest, best-preserved & most impressive Anglo-Norman castle in Ireland and its visitor centre also houses a medieval armoury exhibition making it an essential stop on every itinerary. An event celebrating the 25th anniversary of Braveheart called Braveheart 25 is set to take place on the 13-14 August. This 25-year celebration had been delayed due to the pandemic.

Trim Castle Co. Meath
Trim Castle

The Hill of Tara

Then make your way to the Hill of Tara. It is famous for being the crown jewel of the Boyne Valley landscape, and featured in Artemis Fowl (2020) a science fantasy film. The film is based on the 2001 novel by Irish author Eoin Colfer. The Hill of Tara has been in use for more than 5000 years as a place of burial and assembly. It grew to fame as the legendary inauguration site of the ancient High Kings of Ireland.   

The opening scenes for Neil Jordan’s The Crying Game were filmed in Laytown, County Meath. The bridge for the train as you come into the town is recognisable behind the fun fair. While you’re there, the beautiful beach at Laytown is a perfect location for enjoying the summer sunshine.   

Ridley Scott’s The Last Duel

One of the most recent movies filmed in the Boyne Valley was Ridley Scott’s The Last Duel. It was released in 2021 and starred Matt Damon, Ben Affleck and Jodie Comer. Bective Abbey and Bective Bridge in Navan were both locations for the movie. Today, the ruins of Bective Abbey are a maze of passageways with dead ends and interrupted staircases, asking to be explored.

Bective Abbey, Co. Meath

Cal’s Drogheda

Of course, no trip to the Boyne Valley would be complete without a visit to Drogheda, where most of the 1984 Irish drama film Cal was filmed. Starring John Lynch and Helen Mirren and based on the novel “Cal” written by Bernard MacLaverty, the film was entered into the 1984 Cannes Film Festival, where Mirren won the award for Best Actress. 

 Barrack Street and St. Finian’s Park feature in the film. While you’re in Drogheda, why not catch up on the current art scene there by visiting some of the great venues such as the Droichead Arts Centre, TLT Theatre or the Barbican for some top quality thrills, spills and giggles. 

Killeen Castle Co. Meath in Casino Royale  

Higginsbrook House was used in the filming of Northanger Abbey – one of three novels adapted for ITV’s Jane Austen season. The film was shot on location in Ireland in 2006 and the house served as the exterior to the Morland family’s home in the movie. The house also featured in Becoming Jane – the 2007 biographical drama about the life of Jane Austen – which starred Anne Hathaway.

You might also be surprised to learn that the 1967 Casino Royal film was filmed at Killeen Castle in County Meath – the location of M’s Scottish castle. The film stared David Niven as the “original” Bond. If you’re in the area why not call in to Killeen Castle for a delicious Sunday lunch.

Matchmaking at Bettystown

More recently, the 2021 Hallmark movie, As Luck Would Have It starring Allen Leech (Downton Abbey and Bohemian Rhapsody) features beautiful scenes from the seaside retreat of the Cottages located at Seabank, Bettystown.

This hamlet of six three-hundred-year-old thatched cottages is located right on the beach. In the movie it is the location for a B&B which hosts the lead actress JoAnna Garcia Swisher as she and her friends attend a local match-making festival. The movie was filmed entirely on location in Ireland and the cottages and their beautifully-manicured gardens make an idyllic setting for this romantic comedy. 

For more information about the Boyne Valley, see here.

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Joan Scales
Joan Scales
Award-winning journalist, Joan has been writing about travel and tourism for many years principally for The Irish Times and lately for travel2ireland. Joan has appeared many times on television and radio talking about the business of travel and all its component strands. She is also a public speaker and has appeared at many international conventions and conferences.

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