With its stunning scenery, rich heritage and skilled industry experts, Northern Ireland has played host to many excellent television shows and movies, from A-list blockbusters to indie films and hit TV sitcoms.
Please remember not to visit any of the locations below at the minute, but add them to your list to visit at a later date.
The region has also produced some of the world’s best-known stars, including Belfast-born actor and director Sir Kenneth Branagh, and Fifty Shades of Grey’s Jamie Dornan (more homegrown names can be found here.)
Each year, the Belfast Film Festival showcases top local talent alongside features and short films from around the world.
Below is a round-up of some of the finest dramas and comedies filmed in the province, and the locations which enjoyed a starring role.
Disney’s new film, Artemis Fowl will stream exclusively on Disney+ from Friday 12th June. Based on Eoin Colfer’s best-selling young adult book, Artemis Fowl filmed partly on location on Northern Ireland’s Causeway Coast for two weeks during the summer of 2018. Filming spots included Dunluce Castle and Whiterocks Beach, Portrush.
Descended from a long line of criminal masterminds, 12-year-old genius Artemis Fowl finds himself in a battle of strength and cunning against a powerful, hidden race of fairies who may be behind his father’s disappearance.
Line of Duty
Jed Mercurio’s grippingly tense police drama about an anti-corruption unit stars Enniskillen-born Adrian Dunbar as Superintendent Ted Hastings.
What’s more, much of the show was filmed in Northern Ireland with Belfast’s BT Tower, the Invest NI building and multiple well-known streets and locations making an appearance. Watch closely and see how many you recognise!
Series one of the Channel 4 comedy Derry Girls was the most-watched TV show in Northern Ireland since modern records began, pulling in more than half a million viewers in the region per episode. The show’s unique blend of humour, 90s nostalgia and teenage angst struck a chord with people throughout the UK, making it Channel 4’s biggest comedy launch series in 14 years.
The multi award-winning sitcom, with two series under it's belt, has been filmed on location in Derry~Londonderry and Belfast, with north west settings including the Guildhall, Bishop’s Gate on the historic Derry Walls, and the Bogside Shops.
Did you know: There’s even a selfie-friendly mural of the show beside the city’s Foyleside Shopping Centre so smartphones at the ready.
Game of Thrones®
Northern Ireland’s dramatic, breathtaking landscape made it an ideal filming location for global TV hit Game of Thrones®.
There are lots of experiences and tours on offer in the numerous settings which have appeared in the HBO series. But whether or not you’re a GoT fan, these stunning sites are well worth a visit in their own right.
Locations include Tollymore Forest Park in County Down (the Haunted Forest in series one) and the Cushendun Caves in County Antrim (which appeared as a cove in the Stormlands) to the Castle Ward Estate in County Down (Winterfell) and County Londonderry’s Downhill Beach and Mussenden Temple (Dragonstone).
Other scenes were filmed at the famous Dark Hedges in County Antrim (the Kingsroad) and Pollnagollum Cave in County Fermanagh (Hollow Hill).
Holywood, County Down actor Jamie Dornan and The X-Files’ Gillian Anderson star in this slick, gripping thriller about a serial killer and the detective trying to catch him.
Among the locations featured in the BBC show, which ran for three tense series, are Belfast’s Merchant Hotel, the Botanic Gardens, the Waterfront Hall and the Malmaison Hotel.
Did you know: Ex-model Dornan, who ended up starring as wicked Paul Spector, originally auditioned to play a police officer.
This period drama set in the 1890's revolves around the daughter of a wealthy landowner and her relationship with her father's valet. Starring Colin Farrell and Jessica Chastain in the lead roles and filmed on location at Castle Coole, a National Trust country house, in County Fermanagh.
Belfast’s vibrant musical heritage is celebrated in this 2012 film, based on a true story. It stars Richard Dormer as Terri Hooley, whose Good Vibrations record shop and label championed the city’s underground punk scene at the height of the Troubles.
Locations used in Good Vibrations included the Tavern Bar, the Oh Yeah music centre, and Queen’s University.
Did you know: Hooley’s most famous signing were The Undertones, whose song Teenage Kicks was famously described as “the most wonderful record you’ve heard in your life” by DJ John Peel.
Philomena tells the true story of a mother's desperate search for her lost son. Dame Judi Dench and Steve Coogan star in this heart-rending drama filmed in and around Killyleagh, Rostrevor and Bryansford.
The Lost City of Z
This 2016 film tells the story of Percy Fawcett, who led explorations into the Amazon in 1925 in search of a lost civilisation. Its star-studded cast includes Charlie Hunnam, Robert Pattinson and Sienna Miller.
Filmed in Northern Ireland and Colombia, local locations included Castle Ward in County Down, and the Antrim Hills, which doubled as the battlefields of the Somme.
This period drama, set in 1929 and starring Timothy Spall and Jennifer Saunders centres around a chaotic family trying to keep it together in fictional Blandings Castle.
Filming Locations include Crom Castle and Colebrooke Estate in County Fermanagh.
Northern Ireland hasn’t just played host to live action film and TV shows; it’s also a rich source of animated shows, including Puffin Rock, produced by Derry~Londonderry media company Dog Ears.
In addition to its narrator, Bridesmaids star Chris O’Dowd, the cast is comprised of local actors and schoolchildren who voice characters including young puffins Oona and Baba, and Bernie the hermit crab.
Dog Ears have also produced new animation Saturday Club, which aims to encourage empathy in children.
A Bump Along the Way
Bronagh Gallagher stars in A Bump Along the Way as an immature mother who becomes pregnant after a one-night stand.
Settings for the film include Brooke Park in Derry-Londonderry, and the city’s stunning Peace Bridge.
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