There are three driving film trails sign posted in Co. Wicklow. The Wicklow Movie Map accompanies the trails and a copy can be requested from: LHealy@wicklowcoco.ie
The West Wicklow Film Trail – The Braveheart Drive – is a 50 mile round trip around the west of the Wicklow Mountains. The route starts in Hollywood and sets off in the direction of the Wicklow Gap. After a couple of miles, the Braveheart Drive veers off left to Ballyknockan, Lacken and Manor Kilbride, with a possible whistlestop in Blessington. From Manor Kilbride, the drive brings you right through the West Wicklow Mountains past the peat bogs of the Sally Gap and the villages of Laragh and Glendalough and then returns to Hollywood by the Wicklow Gap.
The North Wicklow Film Trail – The Excalibur Drive – is a 42 mile round trip that starts and finishes in Roundwood and brings you through some of the most spectacular and varied landscape in Co. Wicklow. The isolated Wicklow Mountains with their domed granite peaks reach heights of over 2,500 feet, and form the largest undisturbed uplands blanket bog in Ireland. There is an abundance of flora and fauna to be found here amongst the hidden lakes, rivers and numerous waterfalls. Look out for deer, foxes, badgers, flacons and merlins. This area is popular with film makers as the scenery shows the very best of the Irish landscape. That said, the mountains, towns woods, lakes and beaches in Co. Wicklow have also served as a backdrop for films set in countries as diverse as France, America, Russia, Italy and Germany.
Michael Collins Drive
South Wicklow Film Trail – The Michael Collins Drive – is a 45 mile round trip that starts in Wicklow Town and brings you through a landscape of rolling hills and lush valleys dotted with picturesque villages. The Michael Collins Drive starts in Fitzwilliam Square in Wicklow Town and brings you through Rathnew and Glenealy to Rathdrum, the film capital of Ireland. Next on the drive is the now world-famous Avoca, the living television set for the BBC series Ballykissangel. The beautifully lush Vale of Avoca brings you down to historic Woodenbridge and Arklow, a seaside resort exuding a warm welcome to visitors looking for entertainment and activities. After the buzz of Arklow, the drive returns to the peaceful countryside and rolling hills of Redcross and further on to the mile-long golden beach of Brittas Bay.
It all started with Ballykissangel...
Kieran Prenderville's highly acclaimed story of an English priest abroad in the Irish village of Ballykissangel won a huge following all over the world. The sheer number of webites dedicated to the adventures of this fictitious Irish village is a testimony to its outstanding success in England, America, Australia, and the rest of Europe. The series is a warm and witty tale of a contemporary rural community enlivened by colourful characters and unexpected love, friendship and rivalry - especially the suppressed attraction between Father Peter and Assumpta Fitzgerald, which kept the fans hooked. When first shown in the UK it attracted 15 milllion viewers and it has drawn thousands of visitors to the village of Avoca, set in the beautiful lush Vale of Avoca, since its start in 1995.
Other locations for Ballykissangel include Enniskerry, Wicklow Town, Wicklow Gaol, Delahunts Hardware Shop, The Mariner Pub and South Quay in Wicklow Town. St. Kevin's Cemetery in Glendalough, the Glencree Vallay, Brittas Bay and the foot of the Sugarloaf Mountain also play a part in the series, and all of these are well worth a visit.