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Achill expected to reap benefits of Hollywood films

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ON THE RUN Achill Half Marathon and 10k’s Emmet Callaghan bumped into movie star Colin Farrell, who was taking in part of the race route last week while out on a jog, after completing filming of The Banshee of Inisheerin.

Anton McNulty

Hollywood rolled out of Achill last the weekend as the shooting for two films came to a close. However, the knock-on benefits are expected to be felt on the island for years to come.
The two films – ‘The Banshee of Inisheerin’ and ‘My Sailor, My Love’ – caused a huge stir on Achill, with locals only too delighted to be mingling with stars and crew.
‘The Banshee of Inisheerin’, directed by Martin McDonagh and starring Brendan Gleeson and Colin Farrell, was filmed at a number of locations across the island, while ‘My Sailor, My Love’ was filmed predominately in Currane. The latter stars James Cosmo, whose credits include ‘Highlander’, ‘Braveheart’, ‘Trainspotting’ and ‘Game of Thrones’.
A number of sets, including full-scale villages, were built especially for the films, with 260 people between casts and crew living among the community for the last number of weeks. A large number of islanders also got to experience the world of filmmaking, with a number of people getting roles as extras during the production.

‘Blown away’
Chris McCarthy of Achill Tourism said that both films’ location managers were absolutely delighted with how smoothly their productions ran over the last month. He added that the cast and crew of the two movies were awe-struck by the beauty of the area and really taken by the warmth and hospitality shown to them by the people of Achill.
“The location managers had nothing but praise for Achill and were very complementary. They said they would have no hesitation in coming back to work with the community again. We have made a lot of contacts with crew members in these two films, and they were blown away by the scenery. So hopefully they will come back, or recommend Achill as a location for filming in the future,” he said.
The decision to locate the shooting in Achill was not just down to the scenery. It was also thanks to the cooperation of landowners, who allowed access to their land.
McCarthy added that the location managers also praised the role played by Mayo County Council, which allowed parts of the Wild Atlantic Way to be closed for filming, citing this as another major reason for choosing Achill as a location.

Beauty showcased
With some of Hollywood’s biggest stars walking around Achill over the last five weeks, locals had plenty of opportunities to get to meet the celebrities. However, the actors were also given space, which they very much appreciated.
“The actors were so grateful to everyone. They made a special thank you to the people of Achill for their welcome. Colin Farrell is big into his running and would run home from the film location to his accommodation most evenings. He was delighted with the freedom and the non-invasion of his privacy afforded to him during his stay. That was a big thing,” McCarthy revealed, saying the space gave him and the other actors the freedom to really enjoy the beauty of the island.
‘The Banshee of Inisheerin’ is expected to be on general release for Christmas 2022, and given the stature of the director and leading actors, it will be shown in cinemas the world over.
The majority of the film was shot on Achill, and McCarthy reckons it will make the island a huge draw for more visitors, as will ‘My Sailor, My Love’.
“We will be all eagerly awaiting the release of the two films and looking at the different sections of Achill which will feature. The film sets may not be remaining, but the beauty of the Atlantic Drive and Keem along the Wild Atlantic Way will remain the same, and we are in no doubt that it will result in people visiting Achill,” he said.