Martin McDonagh’s new film The Banshees of Inisherin is already garnering rave reviews, including The Irish Independent’s, which called it “a triumph”.
Seeing the trailer and production shots, featuring sweeping landscapes, craggy coastline and stone-built cottages under glowering skies, many viewers are wondering where this tale was captured.
If you’re googling “Inisherin”, however, you’ll be disappointed – the titular location is a fictional island director Martin McDonagh envisaged off the west coast of Ireland.
Where was The Banshees of Inisherin filmed?
The movie was filmed partly on Inis Mór, one of the Aran Islands, and partly in Achill Island near Mulranny in Co Mayo.
Inis Mór is the largest of the Aran Islands, which can be reached by a 40-minute ferry from Rossaveal in County Galway, or a 90-minute seasonal ferry from Doolin, a gateway to the Cliffs of Moher as well as the Arans.
The Aran isles’ population of around 1,200 people primarily speak Irish, and Inis Mór itself is inextricably linked with Ireland’s folklore and mythology. Achill Island, further north, is accessible via a bridge from coastal Co. Mayo.
Achill’s Keem Bay was recently named “ best wild swimming spot” in the UK and Ireland, as well as one of Lonely Planet’s Top 20 beaches in Europe.
Which exact locations does the movie feature?
On Inis Mór, the prehistoric hill fort of Dun Aonghasa provides one backdrop for the film.
Meanwhile, the cottage that Colin Farrell’s character shares with his sister (played by Kerry Condon) was built especially for the film in the island’s town of Gort Na gCapall.
Production designer Martin Tildesley told Conde Nast Traveler: “Martin basically chose the view that he wanted, so that if he shot through the open door it would have this very particular framing of the sea. We went to the coastline and took a few steps back and there was the view that he wanted.”
On Achill, the famously beautiful Keem Bay or Keem Strand, a beach that had made many of the ‘world’s best beaches’ lists, features in one scene.
Tildesley told CNT: “The idea was that they would be on this beautiful beach overlooking a vast and misty body of water, but that mainland Ireland really wasn’t that far away.”
The mountainous landscape on the island provides the scenery for certain scenes. A fisherman’s cottage on the island was converted into Colm’s (Brendan Gleeson) cottage, with a bright yellow and red interior adding character.
Tildesley told reporters that the production team made every effort to use local craftspeople and builders on the various constructed bits of set.
Does the J.J. Devine Pub actually exist?
Sadly, no. Much of the action in the film centres around the fictional J.J. Devine Pub, which was built and dismantled as a set especially for the production on Achill Island.