Film and TV productions from Ireland are breaking records. This year, Irish films, film makers, and stars received a total of fourteen Oscar nominations. Especially “The Banshees of Inisherin,” a dark comedy filmed on a remote island off the west coast of Ireland, is making a significant impact in the international film world.
As a result, Achill Island, where the movie was filmed, is becoming much more popular with tourists this summer. The rugged coastlines and rolling mountains featured in the film have become significant attractions. The remote area, with fewer than 3000 inhabitants, has been put on the map thanks to the movie, according to Mick Lynch, owner of the local café Lynott’s Pub.
“We have noticed a significant increase in American visitors this year. There’s a constant flow of tourists inspired by that film.”
Not only is tourism benefiting from the success of the film industry, but spin-off industries are also flourishing in Ireland. Special effects maker Mark Maher previously worked on miniature models for “The Hobbit” in New Zealand before deciding to return to Ireland to set up his own studio.
In 2017, he invested all his savings in renting a building in Limerick, which he transformed into Odyssey Studios. The studio is filled with gigantic crab claws, zombies, severed heads, legs, and fingers. “Productions like the TV series Vikings and Game of Thrones bring a lot of employment to the island,” he says. Over the past few years, Maher and his crew have worked on films like “Alice Through the Looking Glass” and the horror series “Penny Dreadful.” “There’s a lot of talent here, including supporting crews, for when a major production comes to Ireland.”
The location of Mark Maher’s studio was partly chosen due to its proximity to Troy Studios, where series like “Foundation” for Apple TV+ are filmed. The studio attracts streaming platforms like Netflix, Disney+, and Apple+ to the region.
The Irish film industry has two streams: domestic local productions and international projects. Big companies like Disney and NBC Universal produce films in Ireland and benefit from Irish tax advantages.
“Tax incentives have been crucial for much of the current success,” says Roderick Flynn, a communications science lecturer at Dublin City University.
Successive Irish governments decided to invest in the film and television industry, and the results have been impressive. The audiovisual sector has quadrupled in the past decade and is now worth around €700 million. It is gaining increasing recognition globally.
“Creating tax incentives for the film and TV industry makes absolute sense. The economy benefits from it,” says Flynn. “Moreover, it also bears fruit in other areas. Consider ‘soft power’: how you present Ireland on the world stage. For these reasons as well, it’s a good idea to support the film and television sector.”