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Irish Wish: Discovering all the dreamy film locations to visit in Ireland

The emerald isle’s landscapes will wow audiences in a new Netflix movie starring Lindsay Lohan, says Chynna Jones.


Visit Ireland

The wind whips around me as I gaze across the Atlantic Ocean. I’m approximately 5,000 miles away from Hollywood, the home of countless celebrities, but the place I’m standing in is about to gain its own A-list status when the highly-anticipated movie Irish Wish is released on Netflix this week.


I’m in Ireland for the next four days checking out some of the key filming locations in Wicklow, Clare and Mayo. Directed and produced by couple Michael and Janeen Damian, the plot follows the story of Maddie (Lindsay Lohan), who is forced to set aside her feelings when the love of her life, Paul, becomes engaged to her best friend. Emotions run high when she is asked to be the bridesmaid, forcing her to make a wish she never imagines will come true.


With backdrops as electrifying at the plotlines, the film is tipped to make Ireland a set-jetting star.


County Wicklow


Lough Tay (Tourism Ireland/PA)

Lough Tay, or Guinness Lake as it’s also known, is used as the setting for a key turning point of the film, when Maddie wakes up to find her wish has come true.


I don’t know if it’s the shadow of the mountains or the depth of the water, but coupled with the strip of sand around it’s edge, the lake really does look like a pint of Guinness when I arrive.


Lindsay Lohan in Irish Wish (Netflix/PA)

Peter Conway, the location manager for Irish Wish, explains to me that mountain-wrapped Lough Tay is often used in films and TV productions, such as Braveheart, Excalibur and Vikings, due to its picturesque setting. The lake itself is part of the 5,000-acre Luggala Estate, which was previously owned by the Guinness/Browne family, but was sold to an Italian aristocrat in 2019.


Although the estate is closed to the public, there are cottages available to rent on the land, which have been used by the likes of Michael Jackson and The Beatles. Interestingly, a member of the Browne family, Tara, inspired The Beatles’ song A Day In The Life after his death in a car crash. He is buried on the estate, and I can just about see his grave from where we’re standing.


The cottages on the estate are undergoing renovations, so are not currently available to rent, but will be back on the market once the work is finished.


Killruddery House (Tourism Ireland/PA)

Our next location is Killruddery House, which is used as the Kennedy Estate in the film. Peter introduces me to Anthony Brabazon, a British and Irish peer previously known as Lord Ardee. He and his family live in the house, which is open to the public between April and October.


Dating back to the 17th century, the house has been rebuilt several times. Anthony shows us around, pointing out the various rooms used in the film, including the Orangery (the domed section of the house) where the wedding scene was filmed. Anthony tells me that Killruddery hosts around 25 weddings a year, although none quite like the one in Irish Wish.


Our next stop of the day is Powerscourt Distillery, where one of the bars was used as a New York bar in the film. Peter chose it as a location because it has an Art Deco feel to it.


Gerry Ginty, the director at the distillery, gives us a tour and takes us through the process of whiskey making. I taste some of the Fercullen Whiskey, the Powerscourt brand. I’m not a whiskey drinker, so the flavour is a bit strong for me, but I can detect a slight hint of florals in one, while another reminds me of bonfire toffee.


Chynna Jones and Peter Conway (Gerry Ginty/PA)

Our final stop for the day is Tutty’s Bar, used as the interior of Scruffy Murphy’s in the film.


One of the owners, Pauline Rafter, lets us inside to take a look around before they open for the day. She tells us it hasn’t changed much since it first opened in the 1870s, with the panelled interior being fitted some time in the early 1900s. There’s even a picture of Meryl Streep with the late owner on the wall from back in 1997, when she was filming Dancing At Lughnasa in the area.


County Clare


The following day, we drive for three hours across the country to County Clare, where I visit the Cliffs of Moher. I take one of the many routes across the cliffs, enjoying the stunning view of the Atlantic Ocean spread out before me. Being from the East coast of England, I’ve never seen the Atlantic before, which is a lot calmer than the North Sea.


In the film, Maddie and James spend a lot of time walking the cliffs, while Maddie reflects on what she truly wants in life. There’s something very liberating about standing on a clifftop with nothing but the sound of the wind and the waves (and the occasional seagull).


County Mayo


Westport (Tourism Ireland/PA)

My final destination on this trip is Westport, a town in County Mayo. Westport’s primary purpose in the film is to host the wedding dress shopping scene.


Kelly’s Tweeds & Knitwear, in the Octagon, was transformed into a bridal shop for the scene. It’s stocked with local knitwear, including jumpers, hats, gloves and some very lovely socks, as well as artisan products like soaps and pottery.


Maddie in her wedding dress (Netflix/PA)

I round off my trip with a visit to Matt Molloy’s, one of the local Westport pubs. As well as being used as the exterior for the film’s Scruffy Murphy’s, this pub is also known for its trad music sessions – a genre of folk music developed in Ireland.


Reminiscent of Celtic jigs and reels, the songs are either extremely high energy or slow and often sad ballads, played with a fiddle, guitar, drum, tin whistle, flute or oboe and uilleann pipes (like Scottish bagpipes, but inflated using the elbow instead of the mouth).


The atmosphere is merry and the Guinness is flowing; everyone is singing or clapping along to the music. I’ve definitely ended my trip around Ireland on a high note.


How to plan your trip


Irish Wish is available to stream on Netflix from March 15.


For more information on the destination, visit ireland.com.

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