Categories: adventurefamilyFunOutdoorsHistory

Isn’t it great to get home after a hard day’s work and switch on the telly to lose yourself in a great series or movie?  Well, how about a series or movie which is based in the beautiful area of Mourne, Gullion and Strangford? 

Game of Thrones®

It is a well-known fact that the series Game of Thrones® has used many locations in our area such as Tollymore Forest Park, Castle Ward and Inch Abbey, however, there are a few more places to be added to the list so kick your shoes off and relax while we flick through some of our programmes that have been based in and around our wonderful area of outstanding beauty.  Do you recognise anywhere?

Bloodlands

The wild waters of Strangford Lough with its many grassy islands were used during filming for the crime series of Bloodlands, its eerie remoteness giving the vengeful lead actor the perfect hideaway to commit his first murder.  The familiar black and yellow stripes of St. John’s Point Lighthouse in Killough finally saw the twisted cop meet his well-deserved fate!

Dungeons and Dragons

Tollymore Forest Park has a backdrop of dense forest, rich with lush vegetation and many shapes and sizes of trees and this provides the perfect fantasy-like scenario for the magical action-adventure film, Dungeons and Dragons.                                         

Mickybo and Me

This film about the friendship of two young boys from both sides of the community uses locations in Tyrella, Spelga Dam and just outside Clough so you can be sure of catching a glimpse of somewhere you know well.  There is a comical scene wherein one of the young boys tries to rob the bank in Castlewellan.  There are great shots of the Market House which is now used as a library in the Upper Square and the Main Street can be seen clearly as the boys make their escape on a stolen bicycle!

Derry Girls

Downpatrick and County Down Railway, which has a variety of steam and diesel locomotives, is the perfect location for filming and has had many productions filmed there.  Most recently, the mischievous and hilarious Derry girls boarded the railway’s 450 series trains, formerly used by Northern Ireland Railways and that particular train would have been in use running from Derry to Belfast in the post-troubles of the 1990s.

Dani's Castle

Dani’s Castle, a CBBC television production was filmed on location at historic Killyleagh Castle in County Down, Northern Ireland.

Privates 

This BBC1 drama is the story of the last intake of conscripts for National Service in 1960; eight young men undertake basic training at a windswept camp in Yorkshire, as the end of the era of deference meets the world of rock n' roll. The cast which includes Patrick Baladi (The Office; Mistresses) as Captain Gulliver: Marc Silcock (Hollyoaks, Emmerdale) as Corporal Jimmy Hobbs: and Jack Fox (Fresh Meat) as Private White-Bowne was filmed on location in Northern Ireland at Ballykinler Army Base, Tyrella Beach and South Promenade, Newcastle.

Your Highness 

Universal Pictures’ Your Highness, starring James Franco, Danny McBride and Natalie Portman was filmed on location at Tollymore Forest Park, Mourne Mountains, and Castle Ward.

Whole Lotta Sole 

In a misguided attempt to protect his family and pay back gambling debts to the local Mobster, Jimbo robs a fish market, which is coincidentally owned by the same Mobster.  Downpatrick was the location for much of the filming of this independent movie, directed by local man Terry George.

The Shore 

The Oscar winning short film, directed by Terry George, The Shore is the inspiring story of two boyhood best friends - Joe and Paddy - divided by 25 years of misunderstanding.  Much of the filming was done in Killough, County Down.

Cinderella 

Cinderella is part of the Fairy Tales series - a modern anthology of four classic Fairy Tales for BBCOne.  Strangford and Killyleagh Castle were both used as filming locations.

Undisclosed 

This four-part thriller for BBC Television was filmed around Northern Ireland, even though it is set in London and Paris.The main star of "Undisclosed" is Philip Glenister, best known for his role as Detective Chief Inspector Gene Hunt in the 1970s based BBC Television series "Life on Mars" and its 1980s sequel "Ashes to Ashes".

Part of the filming was undertaken at a Montalto Estate, Ballynahinch, County Down, which was used as the luxurious house for one character and also doubled as a five star hotel.

The Wipers Times 

The Downpatrick & County Down Railway was the backdrop for part of the BBC2 drama, The Wipers Times. Stars Ben Chaplin and Emilia Fox recorded a tearful farewell scene as Chaplin's character, Captain Fred Roberts, heads off to the front in this World War 1 period drama. 

Wilderness

Tollymore Forest Park and Dundrum Castle were of two of  the settings used when filming for Wilderness, a horror feature film.

It tells the story of six young people from a youth detention centre who get sent to a

boot camp island to be "taught a tough lesson".

Disney - The Lodge

A teenage girl runs her grandfather's lodge in rural Northern Ireland. The series is based on an Israeli series entitled North Star. The series is primarily filmed in Montalto Estate and at The Carriage Rooms, in Ballynahinch


TV and Film Legends

Screen Writer - Terry George

Terry was born in Belfast on 20 December 1952.  He and his wife Rita moved to New York in 1981 with their infant daughter.  His wife and daughter later became US citizens but he faced deportation proceedings.  Following a lobbying campaign by Irish-American supporters, he was allowed to stay in the US, where his wife gave birth to their son.

In 1993, Terry made his debut as screenwriter and assistant director on the film In The Name of The Father, which starred Daniel Day-lewis, and was directed and co-written by Jim Sheridan.  The film was nominated for seven academy awards including best adapted screenplay for George and Sheridan.

Terry was named Young European Director of the Year in 1996 for his screenplay of the film, Some Mother's Son which he directed, and which starred Helen Mirren and Fionnula Flanaghan.

In 2004 he received a second Academy Award nomination for best original screenplay for Hotel Rwanda which starred Don Cheadle, which he co-wrote, and also produced and directed.

Terry directed Reservation Road in 2007, and wrote and directed short film The Shore in 2010, which won Academy Award for Best Live Action Short Film in 2012.  The shore was filmed over six days outside his home in Killough, County Down in Northern ireland.  In 2011, he wrote, directed and produced the feature film, Whole Lotta Sole starring Brendan Fraser and Colm Meaney.

TV Personality - Patrick Kielty

Patrick Kielty (born 31 January 1971) is an Irish comedian and television personality from Dundrum, County Down, Northern Ireland.  Patrick won the "Best Newcomer" Award at the1996 Royal Television Society Awards.  In 1997, he set up the Belfast-based TV production company Green Inc with TV director Stephen Stewart. On 20 May 2023, Kielty was confirmed as the new host of RTÉ's The Late Late Show.

Movie Star - Charlie Chaplin  

In 1921, when Charlie Chaplin was one of the most famous celebrities in the world, he signed the register of County Down's majestic Slieve Donard Hotel, Newcastle,  recording his first name as "Charles" and his address as simply "New York".

Come and explore, you might just meet a film star in Mourne, Gullion and Strangford!


Tollymore Forest Park
Forest Parks
Tollymore Forest Park
Castle Ward
The National Trust
Castle Ward

Discover a place of contrasts and creativity at Castle Ward, an eccentric 18th century mansion and estate looking out over the tranquil waters of Strangford Lough in County Down where visitors can explore cultivated gardens, sheltered woodland and the shoreline.

Inch Abbey
Abbey / Priory
Inch Abbey

Located on the north bank of the Quoile River, Inch Abbey was founded by John de Courcy in atonement for his destruction of Erenagah Abbey.

Strangford Lough
Nature and Wildlife
Brent Geese flying over Strangford Lough with Mournes on horizon

Strangford Lough  is located in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and is almost fully enclosed by land. It is the largest sea water inlet in Ireland and the United Kingdom and an important habitat for wildlife.  A regular car ferry links the picturesque towns of Strangford and Portaferry.  Strangford Lough is a significant asset in the Aspiring UNESCO global Geopark.   The Lough was formed at the end of the last ice age. Strangford Lough is Northern Ireland's first Marine Conservation Zone and is a special area of conservation for wildlife. Strangford Lough is a key destination for winter migration for many wading and sea birds.  The lough is home to common seals, basking sharks and brent geese.

Castlewellan, County Down
Town
Castlewellan, County Down

Castlewellan (Caislean Uidhiln meaning "Uidhilin's castle") is a town located  in County Down near the shores of Castlewellan Lake at the foot of Slievenaslat mountain. Castlewellan has a wide main street which runs through two main squares (Upper and Lower Square) lined with chestnut trees. The town was planned by William Annesley in the 1750s and is unique within Ireland due to its tree lined squares both in the old town (upper square) and new town (lower square) as well as its very wide main street. Castlewellan Forest Park is located in a dramatic setting and is home to one of the most notable tree and shrub collections in Europe.  It features a walled garden and the Peace Maze.

Downpatrick & County Down Railway
Steam Railway
Downpatrick & County Down Railway

Travel back to the past with real vintage steam trains through St. Patrick's Country, over the River Quoile and under the graceful Down Cathedral to peaceful ruins of Inch Abbey.

Tyrella Beach
Beach
Tyrella Beach

Tyrella beach and conservation area is a small, enclosed dune complex within Dundrum Bay. It is a wide, flat, sandy beach two kilometres long and backed by 25 hectares of mature dunes in a conservation area.

Killyleagh, County Down
Town
Killyleagh Castle through the trees

Killyleagh is a large village in County Down located on the shores of Strangford Lough and dominated by Killyleagh Castle, a Loire-style chateau which claims to be the oldest inhabited castle in Ireland. The Castle has been the home of the Hamilton family since the 17th century Plantation of Ulster and the turrets can be hired for a self-catering holiday experience. Delamont Country Park is located outside Killyleagh on the road to Downpatrick on the shores of the stunning Strangford Lough. Follow Killyleagh's Heritage trail to learn more about it's famous inhabitants and local history.

Newcastle, County Down
Town
Newcastle town

Newcastle (An Caisleán Nua) is a seaside resort located in County Down at the foot of the Mountains of Mourne and made famous by the Percy French song "Where the Mountains of Mourne Sweep Down to the Sea".  It has high wild mountain passes and curving sandy beaches. Whether you have packed the kids’ bucket and spade or a pair of stout hiking boots, Newcastle will bring you the holiday of a lifetime. Natural environment and stunning scenery are not the only features of Newcastle. The town has been redeveloped and refurbished. It has so much to offer its visitors, whether for specialist activity or for all round family holidays, Newcastle is renowned for the variety of visitor accommodation from family run guesthouses and bed and breakfasts t

Central Mournes
Walking & Hiking
Central Mournes

A circular route in the central Mournes taking in sites such as Annalong Wood, Slievelamagan, Ben Crom Reservoir, Cove Mountain and Annalong Valley, with views over the Irish Sea and to the Isle of Man.

Downpatrick, County Down
Town
Downpatrick, English Street looking towards Down Arts Centre

Downpatrick (Dún Pádraig) is the County town of Down and is a Cathedral town and Downpatrick is the burial place of Saint Patrick, the Patron Saint of Ireland. Downpatrick is one of Ireland's most historic towns and the largest town in the Lecale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

Montalto Estate
Historic Sites, Houses, Castles & Buildings
Picture of Montalto House, Montalto Lake and Boathouse all within Montalto Estate in Ballynahinch.

Montalto Estate in Ballynahinch is a mystical and enchanting estate, set in magnificent natural surroundings. Visitor experience includes access to the estate's beautiful gardens; historic walks and trails and an exciting play area where children can engage, explore and learn.

Dundrum Castle
Castle / Fort
Dundrum Castle

Believed to have been built in or around 1177, Dundrum Castle was built by John De Courcy as part of his coastal defence after he invaded Ulster. Dundrum Castle is located on a wooded hill north-west of Dundrum village near Newcastle.

Slieve Donard Resort and Spa
Hotel
Slieve Donard Exterior

A beloved destination for families, golfers, and holiday travellers, Slieve Donard is a local landmark that’s equal parts homey and breath-taking. The resort sits at the foot of the Mourne Mountains, on the edge of Royal County Down Golf Club, ranked no. 1 in the world by Golf Digest.

Killough, County Down
Village
Saint John's Lighthouse, Killough

Killough is a village and townland in County Down, Northern Ireland. It lies on the Irish Sea shore near Ardglass, five miles southeast of Downpatrick.   Killough is a quaint, picturesque village and is well worth a visit. Killough was once a busy port and village servicing commerce on the East Coast of Northern Ireland. Saint John's Point Lighthouse sits on the outskirts of Killough Village and was designed by George Halpin Senior.  It also features in Van Morrison's song "Coney Island".