Looking for Banshees in Achill!
Hey friends! Let me tell you about a summer in Achill Island with a difference! I’m talking about the time the cast and crew of Irish movie ‘Banshees of Inisherin’ set to work filming in Beautiful Achill. Set in a remote part of the west of 1920’s Ireland in the fictional area of ‘Inisherin’, director Martin McDonagh decided Achill Island was a perfect location. And rightly so! Picture the scene. It was 2022 and we were all waiting for normality to return after the…pandemic. (Enough said) News circled that for a couple of months we would be joined by famous Irish Actors Brendan Gleeson, Colin Farrell and Barry Keoghan. Sure enough, the sightings began of the Hollywood movie stars. This caused great excitement on the island as you can imagine. One of the aquarium team were caught behind Farrell in their car one morning, while he was out jogging. I’m sure the image will be imprinted in their mind forever more!
It was a surreal feeling going for walks after work in our usual spots such as Keem Bay, only to find it looking less familiar, having been transformed by the talented set designers. Yet, it still managed to look familiar in ways, as it was so in-keeping with the landscape. Purteen Harbour was another location adapted for the movie. A gorgeous Celtic Cross which features in the film, as well as the Post Office on the harbour, was such a realistic prop. It was hard to believe it had not always been there. The pubs and restaurants, each evening, were full of the tight-knit crew, including director, McDonagh, who were all friendly and lively and added a real buzz to the island. Many of our own friends and family also featured as extras in the motion picture. Each day, the team, looked forward to hearing about sightings of Irish actors Brendan Gleeson, Colin Farrell and Barry Keoghan. Some stories made it to the local news such as Farrell being seen buying potato waffles from the local supermarket and stopping for a photo. Well for some reason, potato waffles were sold out after that for quite some time!
The picture really put Achill on the map and our island is really having a moment right now! Tourists from all over Ireland and abroad have been captivated by the cinematography! Ireland has such a rich history and Achill’s past is equally fascinating and important to remember. Visitors to our historical side of the aquarium often remark on events such as the ‘Kirkontilloch Tragedy’ and even popular phrases such as ‘daylight robbery’ and ‘Boycott’ which originate from the island! (Did you know that?) McDonagh does a great job of capturing the thoughts and feelings of the Irish during harsh times following the Civil War. Although a dark tragi-comedy, there are lighter moments with humour and music throughout. Of course, many of us have had to watch several times. First to spot all the extras we know in the background. Next, to watch Colin, Brendan and Barry and finally to admire the scenery as well as Jenny the donkey, Minnie the pony and Sammy the sheepdog!
With the movie nominated for an impressive, 9 Oscars, Achill will be expecting lots of visitors flocking to admire the stunning scenery for themselves and the aquarium look forward to welcoming you all through our doors! And Colin, if you need a plus one to the Oscars…you know where to find me!
Farrell sums up the story as a representation of "the disintegration of joy". It also depicts male friendship and loneliness.