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Achill needs tourism infrastructure to capitalise on Banshees’ success – McNamara


LEAVING A MARK Colin Farrell pictured waling along Achill’s Atlantic Drive whilst playing the role of Pádraic, with his donkey Jenny, in the hit movie The Banshees of Inisherin. Farrell’s praise for Achill has helped to swell interest in the island, where many of the memorable scenes in the movie were filmed.

Influx of tourism expected to Achill following Golden Globe success

Anton McNulty

MAYO County Council will have to take ‘step up to the plate’ and improve tourism infrastructure on Achill Island in order to capitalise on the success of the award-winning movie, ‘The Banshees of Inisherin’.
The Martin McDonagh directed movie was the big winner at the Golden Globes, winning the Best Motion Picture Award with Colin Farrell winning the Best Actor. The movie is also favoured to capture a number of Oscars at the Academy Awards next month.
The movie was partly filmed on Achill Island in 2021 and locations like the Atlantic Drive, Keem Bay and Purteen Harbour featured prominently throughout.
It is expected that The Banshees of Inisherin will have a positive impact on tourism to Achill and local councillor Paul McNamara says that tourism infrastructure will have to be upgraded to deal with the increase in tourism.
“The Banshees of Inisherin will benefit Achill going forward but it is important the infrastructure is there to provide for the people who are coming to see its natural beauty. There has been so little put into the Wild Atlantic Way besides a few marking posts and it is time for Mayo County Council to step up to the mark and provide the basic infrastructure needed along the Wild Atlantic Way.
“The movie was filmed along the Wild Atlantic Way but if you go along the Atlantic Drive where the movie was shot, there are no toilets provided and that needs to be addressed.
“There is investment which needs to happen fairly quickly along the Wild Atlantic Way in Achill. We are not talking major investment, we are just talking the basics. The movie is giving Achill worldwide publicity and people will come but if their experience is not good that will remain in their minds. The scenery cannot be changed and is world class but the infrastructure has to be in place to cater for an upswing in our tourism industry,” he told The Mayo News.
He added that traffic issues during the summer at Keem Bay will have to be addressed and ‘drastic investment’ has to be invested into Purteen Harbour.

A week like no other
Chris McCarthy, the Manager of Achill Tourism, said it has been a week like no other for Achill Tourism with the organisation being inundated with enquiries from people all over the world.
During Colin Farrell’s acceptance speech, he thanked the people of Achill Island for their hospitality during the filming and Chris said this has had a major impact on enquiries to their office.
“We have seen the significance of Colin Farrell’s acceptance speech and I’d say those few words have done more for Achill tourism than anything in our lifetime,” he told The Mayo News.
He explained that the set was always temporary but along with Mayo County Council and Fáilte Ireland, they were in the process of placing information boards at the key locations where the movie was filmed.
Since the movie was released there was been a number of articles in international press about the scenery and how people can get to Achill. Music sensation Taylor Swift also mentioned the movie in a recent interview where she said she would like to visit the fictional pub which was located on Achill’s Atlantic Drive.
Chris explained that they are confident that the island has the accommodation to absorb the extra tourism and believes the movie will still be attracting people to the area similarly to how The Quiet Man still attracts people to Cong.
“The brilliant thing about McDonagh movies is they are deep and long lasting and this will be something which will not go away. This will be a cult movie down the road and this will be a slow burner.
“Working with the tourism body in Bruges, they say they still have tourists coming to see the city because of McDonagh’s movie, In Bruges, which was filmed in 2008. All the indicators are pointing towards the same with this movie. You will never take away the scenery that McDonagh wanted from the movie and that is what people are responding to.”