Behind the scenes of The Banshees

Staying In

DRAMATIC VISTAS Colin Farrel and Brendan Gleeson in The Banshees of Inisherin.

Achill’s stunning landscapes showcased in tourism promo

Ciara Moynihan

Unless you’ve been hiding under a rocky cliff, you’ll be aware of the recent release of a certain film shot on Achill Island. You can’t open a newspaper or turn on the telly these days without being greeted by the lustrous eyebrows and mischievous demeanors of Collin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson.
It seems Academy Award and BAFTA-winning director Martin McDonagh’s latest movie is causing a stir here and abroad, and not only for its mesmeric storyline: The stunning backdrop is being hailed as almost a character in its own right, echoing the drama, reflecting the mood and helping to set the tone throughout.
Shot on Achill and the Aran Island of Inis Mór in 2021, ‘The Banshees of Inisherin’ is the first film McDonagh has made in Ireland since his Oscar-winning, Gleeson-starring 2004 short, ‘Six Shooter’ (if you haven’t seen it, seek it out – it’s both heartbreaking and darkly funny.) When it premiered at the Venice International Film Festival in September, it got a 15-minute standing ovation. Farrell won the Best Actor award for his portrayal of Pádraic Súilleabháin in the film, while McDonagh was awarded Best Screenplay. It went on wide cinema release in Ireland, Britain and the US last weekend, and it’s already raking it in at the box office.
Keen not to miss a trick, Tourism Ireland, in conjunction with Searchlight Pictures, has created a short, behind-the-scenes featurette using footage shot during filming for the film. The short highlights our stunning scenery and shows audiences why the islands were chosen as a location, with the aim of enticing new visitors to our shores.
McDonagh, Farrell and Gleeson feature, as do fellow actors Kerry Condon and Barry Keoghan, all sharing their feelings about their time on Achill and Inis Mór. While on Achill, the film crew shot at a range of locations, including Keem Bay, Lough Acorrymore, Purteen Harbour, St Thomas’ Church and Cloughmore.
“The places that we have been lucky enough to inhabit [while filming] have really held the story together – our dreams and our disappointments and our fears… and our need to allow the story breadth and vastness,” Farrell says.
For Dublin-born Keoghan, his time in the west was a welcome embrace of home. “When you’re living in London or working in the States, you miss it [Ireland] more, because you realise how good the people are and how beautiful your country is.”
And it was exactly this, the heart-stirring nature of the landscape, that McDonagh hoped to convey. “What we wanted to capture in the film was the beauty of Ireland and the cinema of it,” McDonagh says. “We just wanted to make one of the most beautiful Irish films we could possibly make.”

‘Behind the Scenes: The Banshees of Inisherin’ is available to watch on YouTube and on Tourism Ireland’s social media platforms.