Apartments rip apart prime Dublin filming spot
We've lost a key production spot and revenue stream in Clancy Barracks, but it's business as usual, writes Eva Hall
Ireland has lost one of its prime filming locations to property development, setting the film industry back at least €20m in revenue.
Clancy Barracks in Islandbridge, Dublin 8, home to BBC period dramas Ripper Street and Quirke, is being developed by US property investment firm Kennedy Wilson, which owns the Clancy Quay apartment complexes on site.
The former military barracks, spread across 13 acres, was the perfect backdrop for period dramas, with cobbled ground, original red-brick buildings and horses' stables.
Purchased by Kennedy Wilson for €82m in 2013, the barracks was partially developed into apartment blocks. Phase two of Clancy Quay launched last week, with planning permission for 800 units in total.
Edmund Sampson, a film and TV locations manager who scouted the site for Ripper Street and Quirke in 2012, said: "Of course it would be nice for that property to remain within the film industry, but I don't see how we can do anything about that. Clancy Barracks provided a varied mix of red-brick and cottage terraced visual backdrops, which is incredibly attractive, and it was an empty space and a controlled environment."
Ripper Street, a drama set in 19th-century London and based on the Jack the Ripper murders, was shot in Clancy Barracks for two seasons for 19 weeks at a time in 2012 and 2013. The show, which was a co-production between Dublin-based Element Pictures and the UK's Tiger Aspect Productions, brought in ¤8m to the Irish economy. Production on season three had to move to Dublin city-centre locations as construction had begun on Clancy Quay apartments.
Another BBC drama, Quirke, starring Gabriel Byrne as a pathologist in 1950s Dublin, shot all three episodes at the former barracks in 2012.
Other productions filmed there include 2012 film Shadow Dancer and the 12-parter Titanic: Blood and Steel, which contributed ¤12m to the economy. Ireland remains an attractive location, with Section 481 - the incentive allowing film-makers to avail of 32pc tax relief - still in position.
James Hickey, CEO of the Irish Film Board, says Ireland is open for business as usual to UK and overseas productions, despite the UK voting in favour of Brexit. Section 481 still applies to UK productions filming here, as the UK did not vote to leave the Council of Europe, which is the organisation the tax relief programme falls under.
"Our continued membership of the EU is part of the reason we'd be saying to people they should consider locating production in Ireland," he added.