Wednesday 19 June 2019

Lights, camera and a tidy €450m in tourism

AN ORNATE cathedral, country homes, a grandiose castle and rectory are some of the locations expected to reap benefits from Irish-made television programmes and movies being shown overseas.

The Irish Film Board (IFB) revealed both television and film have proved firmly influential in attracting prospective visitors to the isle.

It is estimated movies, tele-vision series and documentaries attract as much as €450m in tourism revenue a year.

Last year, 10pc of tourists said they were influenced to travel to Ireland by films, according to a survey by Failte Ireland.

And many locations across Ireland will be hopeful of a tourism boost in the coming years following a series of Irish-made productions including the multi-million euro The Tudors, starring Jonathan Rhys-Meyers, which has aired to acclaim in the US.

The mini-drama, which scooped Emmy nominations earlier this year, sees Rhys-Meyers as Henry VIII arriving into Dublin Castle in a horse-drawn carriage, and shows the Royal Hospital, Kilmainham and the Phoenix Park.

"The Tudors is apparently a huge success in the US and we expect we will really begin to see the benefits of that in the next year or so," said Tommy O'Shaughnessy, general manager of Dublin Castle and location's co-ordinator with the Office of Public Works.

Picturesque Avoca in Co Wicklow continued to reap the benefits long after the television series Ballykissangel proved a major hit for the BBC.

And the 1996 box-office hit Michael Collins has resulted in a major tourism boost for Dublin Castle, with key scenes in the movie featuring in tours of the landmark's grounds.

Movie shoots at landmarks also help fuel tourism, as everyone wants to see a movie being made, the locations manager said.

Although difficult to quantify in monetary terms, "exposure from films and other programmes have very definite benefits," he added, although difficult to quantify in monetary terms.

Television productions expose locations and the countryside to larger audiences in established markets such as the UK, North America and Europe, a spokeswoman for the IFB said.

"Feature films such as Lassie, Once, or The Wind that Shakes the Barley are seen by millions around the world already, and they will be seen for years to come," she said.

Films are also seen as cost-effective ways to reach mass audiences in developing tourism markets such as South Africa and India, she said.

Brazilian soap opera, Eterna Magia, shot in Ireland last May, has provided a boost as several newspapers in Brazil ran features on holidaying in Ireland ahead of its screening, Tourism Ireland said.

The soap, produced by Globo TV, the biggest producer of drama in the world, was shot in locations in Dublin and Wicklow including Fitzwilliam Square, Johnnie Fox's Pub, Kings Inns, the Phoenix Park and Glendalough.


Miramax's Becoming Jane, starring Anne Hathaway and James McAvoy, was shot in Kilruddery House, Co Wicklow, as well as Charleville Castle, Tullamore, Co Offaly.

Famous landmarks, includ-ing Christ Church Cathedral, provided the backdrop for the costume drama based on Charles Dickens' The Old Curiosity Shop, to be aired on ITV. And Dublin Castle made another appearance in the period film Jane Austen's Northanger Abbey.

Others shot around the capital include the fifth series of BBC's gritty drama Murphy's Law starring James Nesbitt, which filmed at several locations around Dublin during a seven-week shoot.

More than five million people tuned in to each episode of the fourth series, and the fifth is due to be aired later this year.

Earlier, this month the cast of My Boy Jack, which stars Harry Potter's Daniel Radcliffe and Kim Cattrall, were spotted at the Olympia theatre, Dublin Castle, Farmleigh House and part of the Phoenix Park.

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