Eilis Lacey is from a town in County Wexford called Enniscorthy, which is also the birthplace of her creator, Colm Tóibín. The actress Saoirse Ronan (Eilis) was also familiar with Enniscorthy. Born in The Bronx in New York to Irish parents, she grew up in County Carlow — and used to go to the cinema in nearby Enniscorthy.
Eilis goes to a dance at the Athenaeum on Castle Street, an old gentleman’s club where Tóibín’s father ran dances in the late 50s. The wedding scene was shot in St Aidan’s Cathedral where Tóibín went to mass. The streets that Eilis walks — John Street, Court Street, Lower Church Street — really are little changed since the 1950s.
Two Enniscorthy sights didn’t make it into Brooklyn: Vinegar Hill, one of the most important battles of Ireland’s 1798 rebellions against British rule, and Enniscorthy Castle — built in the 16th century and home to the Wexford County Museum.
The beach scenes were filmed at Curracloe Strand, a seven-mile stretch of soft white sand where you can walk for miles without seeing another soul. It’s also a favourite childhood spot of Tóibín’s. It’s not the first time Curracloe Strand has appeared on the big screen: it doubled as Normandy for the D-Day scene in Spielberg’s Saving Private Ryan.
Saoirse Ronan and co-star Domhnall Gleeson on Curracloe Strand
Nearby Curracloe village turns into a resort in summer, or you can cycle the eight miles from Wexford town. There are good walking trails through the pine forests and sand dunes of Raven Nature Reserve at the south-end of the strand.
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