5 of the best… Dublin films

Remember this unlikely soul band?


It might not be as well known as Hollywood, New York and London when it comes to movie-making, but Dublin has long been a favourite with filmmakers. 


This week Dublin-based Staycity Serviced Apartments picked out their favourite movies set or filmed around the city – and a couple of them might surprise you. Did you know Educating Rita was shot in Ireland’s capital, not Liverpool?

Let us know your favourite Dublin movie in the comments box below.  

1. My Left Foot (1989)

This British-Irish biographical film, starring Irish actor Daniel Day-Lewis in his very first Oscar-winning performance, tells the story of Christy Brown, a young boy born with cerebral palsy who is confined to a wheelchair until the age of 5 when he miraculously becomes able to use his left foot to draw with chalk. Through hard work, determination and the help of those around him, the adult Brown (portrayed exquisitely by Day-Lewis) succeeds in becoming a painter, author and poet.

While preparing for the role, Daniel Day-Lewis spent time at Brown’s alma mater in Dublin. After winning Best Actor at the 1990 Academy Awards, he returned to thank those who’d helped him with his Oscar statuette in tow. Eagle-eyed Dubliners will recognise the famous 18th century pub Mulligans Bar during an early scene of the film. You can still visit the pub, which is known for the quality of its Guinness.

2. The Commitments (1991)

An adaptation of Roddy Doyle’s novel, this film follows passionate music fanatic Jimmy Rabbitte in his quest to form a soul band with a group of working-class youths all living in the Dublin Northside. It was shot entirely on location in Dublin and starred local young musicians specifically scouted to appear in the production. 

3. Educating Rita (1983)

Starring two of Britain’s finest actors, Michael Caine and Julie Walters, Educating Rita is the story of a working-class young woman who wants to better herself by studying literature and the friendship that she  develops with her Open University lecturer, an alcoholic who has lost his passion for the arts. Although set in Liverpool, it was actually filmed around Dublin. Those familiar with the city will recognise such landmarks as Trinity College, Dublin Airport, Pearse Station and The Stag’s Head pub on Dame Court.

4. Frank (2014)

This movie stars Irish actor Michael Fassbender as papier-mâché mask-wearing band leader Frank, based on Frank Sidebottom – a Mancunian cult legend who was the comic persona of musician Chris Sievey.

The off-beat comedy centres on young musician Jon joining Frank’s avant-garde pop band, and co-stars Maggie Gyllenhaal as a bandmate of Jon and Frank. It was mostly filmed in County Wicklow, but features scenes outside The Bray Head Inn in Dublin.  

 5.  Love & Friendship (2016)

The most recent film on our list is a tongue-in-cheek period comedy starring Kate Beckinsale, Chloe Sevigny and Stephen Fry, which is based on Jane Austen’s early, unpublished novella Lady SusanBeckinsale plays Lady Susan Vernon, a beautiful, conniving widow who effortlessly charms every gentleman she meets. From the Empire-line gowns and breeches to the witty dialogue, it’s a deliciously playful, impeccably turned-out English comedy – yet it was all filmed in Ireland.

In the 18th century, Dublin was the second most populous city of the British Empire and grand public buildings, townhouses and squares were built. Love and Friendship also used the Georgian mansion Newbridge House and Russborough House, a Palladian stately home in lush parklands in County Wicklow. It isn’t the first Austen film adaptation to be shot in Georgian Dublin and the country houses nearby; the 2006 film Becoming Jane and ITV’s 2007 Northanger Abbey were also shot here.

Staycity Serviced Apartments offer quality self-catering accommodation across Europe.

Radio Times Travel holidays

Waterford, Wexford and the Garden of Ireland tour, 5 nights from £549pp. Based in the charming riverside town of Enniscorthy, this six-day break offers a fascinating insight into this lovely and varied part of Ireland. See the dramatic landscapes of the Wicklow Mountains and Glendalough, watch skilled craftsmen at work at the Waterford Crystal factory and discover the stories of the Great Famine and the American Migration. Click here for the full itinerary and to book


Visit radiotimes.com/ireland for our collection of short breaks