Local locations in the picture for big budget movie scenes

Local locations in the picture for big budget movie scenes

8 May 2024

THREE local areas feature in a new list detailing Northern Ireland’s top 10 film locations.

The stunning Mourne Mountains, Strangford Lough and Tollymore Forest Park are rated second, fifth and seventh respectively on the list.

The Giant’s Causeway in pole position, where Hellboy II and Dracula Untold were shot, is Northern Ireland's most popular film location and has racked up 366,500 related Instagram posts.

Figures for the Mournes are 279,490, with Strangford Lough and Tollymore achieving 36,981 and 25,043 respectively.

Experts at City Tours Belfast analysed the top 50 films and shows with locations in Northern Ireland, according to IMDB. 

The specific locations were identified using Northern Ireland Screen and Discover Northern Ireland, with data gathered on the total number of Instagram posts under relevant hashtags for each location, as well as the Google rating for each. 

The locations were ranked out of 10 in each category based on the highest value and ranked accordingly with an overall score out of 20.  

Each location was ranked based on the total volume of Instagram posts and Google rating to reveal the most famous filming spot in the region. 

The world famous Mournes fell just short of the top spot in the study with the mountain range proving popular in television and film productions worldwide. 

Robert Eggers' Nordic epic The Northman used many locations across Northern Ireland, including the Mournes, where the sweeping back sets the scene for a Viking ball game.

Other productions that used the Mournes include Dungeons & Dragons: Honour Among Thieves and Game of Thrones.   

Strangford Lough is Northern Ireland's fifth most popular filming location and was propelled towards the top of the study due to a high Google rating and 36,981 Instagram posts. 

Local BBC crime drama Bloodlands featured Strangford Lough prominently, while many scenes from Game of Thrones were shot in Castleward.

Tollymore Forest is the only forest park in Northern Ireland to be named.

The location has proven immensely popular with large film and TV productions, featuring in Game of Thrones, Dungeons & Dragons: Honour Among Thieves, Dublin Murders, Philomena and many more. 

Chris Graham of City Tours Belfast said Northern Ireland's appeal as a filming destination has only risen in the last decade with the monumental success of Game of Thrones.  

"While the region's indoor film studios are enticing big productions to bring huge titles to Northern Ireland, the incredible scenery and iconic locations are also proving to be just as appetising to film production companies,” he said.

“With Belfast BBC drama Blue Lights bringing more local spots to TV screens and the live-action adaptation of How To Train Your Dragon filming earlier this year, it will be interesting to see if any Northern Ireland locations rise in popularity among film fans,” he added.