Ever since acclaimed Irish writer/director Martin McDonagh’s latest cinematic masterpiece first burst onto the scene there’s been one question on everyone’s lips: Where was The Banshees of Inisherin filmed? The film has been a roaring success, scooping nine Oscar nominations for the film’s director and the stellar cast – but its spellbinding locations have captivated as much as the plot and performances.
Set in the 1920s, the film reunites McDonagh’s In Bruges cast members Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson, who play a couple of longtime pals in a small Irish fishing village, whose friendship is abruptly terminated by one of them out of the blue. From windswept beaches to isolated islands and national monuments, here’s our guide to all the key filming locations in the hit film.
Inishmore (Inis Mór)
If you’ve found yourself pondering over the question ‘Where was The Banshees of Inisherin filmed?’ you’ve most likely tried to figure out where to track down the location that appears in the title. While the island of Inisherin may be fictionalised, McDonagh had a specific idea in mind for just how he wanted that island to look, with the closest fit being Inishmore (also known as Inis Mór), the largest of the three Aran Islands in Galway Bay. ‘Inisherin is a fictional island, so I didn’t want it to be specifically one place,’ McDonagh has said of the location. ‘I wanted it to be more mythical. So, we explored each of the Aran Islands [and] Inishmore ticked most of the boxes.”
The island stood in as the peaceful haven from the Irish Civil War where the agonising falling out of two lifelong friends, Pádraic (Colin Farrell) and Coln (Brendan Gleeson), takes place. With a population of around 760, its stone walls and small plots of land acted as a sort of visual metaphor for the film’s self-isolating characters.
Dún Aonghasa, Inishmore
The ancient cliff-top fort of Dún Aonghasa, one of Inishmore island’s most iconic archaeological sites, forms the backdrop to Pádraic and his sister Siobhán’s (Kerry Condon) cottage, which was purpose built for the film in an area called Gort na gCapall. The prehistoric hill fort is over 3,000 years old and is a national monument of Ireland. It’s also here that Pádraic and Dominic (Barry Keoghan) come to sit for their chat on the cliffs.
Cloughmore, Achill Island
If you’re wondering where you’ll find the film’s famous local watering hole, JJ Devine’s Pub, prepare to be disappointed – it was built from the ground up solely for the film, and has since been dismantled. But if you want to visit the site where it stood, that would be in Cloughmore, which sits in the south east of the remote island of Achill. Located 120 miles north from Inishmore along the Atlantic coast, the beautiful County Mayo isle provides some of the film’s most visually stunning backdrops, with McDonagh saying he wanted to “capture the beauty of Ireland in the film and lean into that.”
Keem Bay, Achill Island
This beach on the western end of Achill has been named one of the best in the world, and it’s not hard to see why – with its white baby powder-soft sand and aquamarine waters, it’s a wild swimming haven where you can come and splash around with 30-foot basking sharks. It also happens to be the location of Colm’s cottage and the backdrop for the film’s beach scenes, including its final scene.
Purteen Harbour, Achill Island
The picturesque harbour of Purteen (pronounced ‘Pur-cheen’) on the south coast of Achill is one of the main focal hubs for the film, a lively spot filled with gossip that propels Banshees’ central narrative. Outside of the film it’s a small, quiet fishing harbour where you’ll find fishermen trying to secure their daily catch of flounder and dab. While it’s a beautiful spot to visit for a day trip, film buffs should note that they won’t find the general store that appears in the movie here, as it was purpose built for the film.
Corrymore Lake (Lough Accorymore), Achill Island
Perched 187 metres up on the eastern slopes of Croaghaun Mountain sits Corrymore Lake (or Lough Acorrymore), a glacial corrie that provides a water supply for the entire island of Achill. It is here that you’ll find the cottage belonging to eerie old Mrs McCormick (Sheila Flitton), where Dominic attempts – and fails – to woo Siobhán. From the lake there’s a path that leads up to the cliffs of Croaghuan, which is one of Ireland’s highest sea cliffs at 688 metres.
‘The Banshees of Inisherin’ is available to stream on Disney Plus