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Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland Film & Photography Production Services & Camera Crews

Are you a media company, brand, ad agency or production company looking for film / photography production support or shooting crew in Northern Ireland? Contact us for trusted fixers, producers, directors, DoPs, videographers, photographers, and full shooting crews tailored for the specific needs of your project.

Filming in Northern Ireland

For an introduction to shooting in Northern Ireland see below notes on film locations, permits, when to shoot, unique local stories, costs, tax incentives, crews, talent, fringes, premiums, equipment, communications, art department, studios, post facilities, visas and work permits for filming, transport, film-friendly accommodation, and safety advice.

Northern Ireland Film Locations 

Located in the northeast of the island of Ireland, Northern Ireland is best known for its castles, stately homes, nature reserves, glens, forests, mountains, and rugged coastal looks.

Agricultural film locations include fields of sheep, cattle, potatoes, barley, wheat, oats, and apples. Fishing trawlers are available for filming. Northern Ireland has shipbuilding facilities. The country mines basalt, limestone, chalk, clay, salt, and shale. The services industry is the economic mainstay. Energy locations include coal, oil, and gas-fired power plants, as well as wind farms.

Given Northern Ireland’s relatively small size, all locations can be reached within a 2 hour drive from Belfast.

The Game of Thrones (2011-2019) series was filmed at Paint Hall Studios in Belfast along with various locations around Northern Ireland. Northern Ireland has also hosted films such as The Northman (2022), The Lost City of Z (2016), The Fall (2013-2016), Dracula Untold (2014), The Amazing Race 22 (2013), Philomena (2013), and Your Highness (2011).

Film locations can be divided into the following regions:

Belfast

Belfast is the capital and largest city. Film locations of note include the Grand Opera House, Botanic Gardens, Queen’s University, Belfast City Hall, Belfast Castle, St Anne’s Cathedral, Stormont, Albert Memorial Clock, Ulster Hall, Ulster Museum, St George’s Market, Waterfront Hall, Titanic Quarter, HM Prison Crumlin Road, and Crown Liquor Saloon which is an elegant Victorian era pub. Harland & Wolff is a long-standing shipyard where RMS Titanic was built. McArthur Hall in Methodist College featured in The Lost City of Z (2016), and Dracula Untold (2014).

On the outskirts of Belfast you can find Wolf Hill Quarry, which featured in Game of Thrones (2011-2019), and Dracula Untold (2014).

Antrim

Antrim county is located in the northeast of the country.

Giant’s Causeway is an iconic location of coastal interlocking basalt columns. The location doubled as Transylvania in Dracula Untold (2014).

Rathlin Island is a rugged location.

Glenoe Waterfall is a beautiful waterfall location nestled in the glens of Antrim.

The Dark Hedges of Gracehill House is an avenue of beech trees that featured in Game of Thrones (2011-2019).

Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge connects the mainland to the tiny island of Carrickarede.

Magheramorne Quarry played Castle Black, Hardhome and The Wall in Game of Thrones (2011-2019).

Carrickfergus Castle is a Norman castle in the town of Carrickfergus.

Shane’s Castle also featured in in Game of Thrones (2011-2019).

Glenarm Castle is one of Northern Ireland’s oldest estates.

Clotworthy House and Antrim Castle Gardens is located in this county.

Cairndhu House is a great haunted house location.

Old Bushmills Distillery is a famous Irish whiskey distillery.

Down

Down county is located in the southeast of the country.

Tollymore Forest Park featured in Game of Thrones (2011-2019) and Dracula Untold (2014).

Murlough National Nature Reserve has views of Slieve Donard, the highest peak in the Mourne Mountains.

Scrabo Country Park featured in Dracula Untold (2014).

Mount Stewart house and garden featured in Dracula Untold (2014).

Castle Ward played Winterfell in Game of Thrones (2011-2019).

Castlewellan Forest Park has a large hedge maze.

Hillsborough Castle and Gardens is an impressive location.

Grey Abbey House & Gardens, located in Newtownards, featured in The Lost City of Z (2016).

Myra Castle, located in Strangford, featured in The Lost City of Z (2016).

Killyleagh Castle is located in the village of Killyleagh.

Clandeboye Estate featured in Your Highness (2011).

Armagh

Armagh county is located in the south of the country.

The Argory is a wooded riverside estate.

Gosford Castle is located in this county.

Armagh Observatory and Planetarium is also available for filming.

Fermanagh

Fermanagh county is located in the southwest of the country.

Marble Arch Caves are located near the village of Florencecourt.

Florence Court House is a beautiful film location.

Castle Coole is located in Enniskillen.

Belle Isle Estate, Castle and Cottages is another beautiful film location.

Tyrone

Tyrone county is located in the west of the country.

Springhill is a 17th-century plantation house.

Wellbrook Beetling Mill is located in this county.

Derry / Londonderry

Derry / Londonderry county is located in the northwest of the country.

Londonderry is the second-largest city in Northern Ireland. Film locations of note include the Guildhall, Tower Museum, Museum of Free Derry, Peace Bridge, St Eugene’s Cathedral, St Columb’s Cathedral, and the Derry Walls.

Dunluce Castle ruins are an interesting film location.

Mussenden Temple is a small circular building located on cliffs near Castlerock.

Downhill Strand is a long rugged beach.

Portrush Whiterocks Beach is a beautiful sandy beach surrounded by limestone cliffs.

Northern Ireland Film Location Permits

Northern Ireland film location permits costs, rules and timing vary depending on the location and extent of location control required. Shoots looking for exclusive use of public locations such as city streets generally take around 2 weeks to permit. Northern Ireland authorities are very film-friendly. Please contact us for more location specific information.

When To Shoot?

Northern Ireland has a predominately wet climate that can change in an instant. The winters are mild and the summers are relatively cool. June through September are the best months to film for sunny weather and long daylight hours. For monthly weather statistics please see here.

St Patrick’s Day is widely celebrated in March.

Many Northern Irish are non religious. Christianity is the largest religion, so those holidays are observed.

Public holidays may affect timing, availability and costs. See here for public holiday dates in Northern Ireland.

Unique Local Stories

Brands are looking for local stories that match their brand narrative. Our local teams are a great lead for sourcing those unique stories and characters.

If you are looking for stories for your next shoot, send us your brief and we will pitch you ideas.

If you have a unique story you would like to pitch to a brand anywhere in the world, pitch us your idea. We have well-established processes to ensure that your ideas are properly seen and protected.

Costs & Tax Incentives

Costs. Northern Ireland trades in the Great Britain Pound. It is similar in costs to the rest of Great Britain. Our Northern Irish fixer / service producer will negotiate local deals and provide the appropriate level of production support to match every budget. See here for the current VAT rate.

Tax Incentives. Films that pass the cultural test or qualify as a co-production are eligible for 25% UK Film Tax Relief of the qualifying UK production spend. See here for more information. See Northern Ireland Screen for more information.

Film Crew & Talent

Crews. Northern Ireland has a small but good pool of locally based directors, directors of photography and stills photographers. Local crews are of a high international standard.

If need be, additional crew can drive in from Dublin. Specialists can easily be brought in from nearby European production centres.

Some crew are in unions, but there’s flexibility and our producer / fixer is able to package deals.

Contact us if you are looking for a director, DP, photographer, videographer (cameraman / camera operator), camera assistant (focus puller), sound operator, grip, gaffer, stylist, hair and makeup, PA / runner, production driver, or any other film crew for your shoot in Northern Ireland.

Talent are generally union members so costs are based on those standards. That said, agents are flexible to negotiate rates.

English is the official language.

Most people of Protestant background consider themselves British, while a majority of people of Catholic background consider themselves Irish. Northern Ireland is almost entirely caucasian, with a very small pool of African and Asian talent also available.

Fringes and Premiums. No hidden extras. The standard shoot day is 8 hours with 1 hour lunch included. Lunch penalties apply after 5 hours from unit call. For night shoots overtime is charged at 1.5 until midnight and double time after midnight. Weekend work is charged at 1.5 for Saturday and double time for Sunday. Bank Holiday work is charged at 1.5.

Northern Ireland Film Equipment

Equipment. Northern Ireland has several equipment houses and studios that service productions from all over the world. For productions looking to bring in film equipment Northern Ireland is an ATA carnet country.

Communications. Communication is key. Our agility and global experience allows us to customise the right communications systems for every shoot.

Web posted casting, scouting, and videoconferencing.

For clients that are unable to attend set we offer a virtual video village solution. This dedicated and secure high-resolution video streaming platform allows clients from one or multiple timezones to view setups without compromise and to participate in real-time with the team on set. Separate systems can be set up for the discrete conversations that are required to make a job run right. Working remotely with our local teams reduces your content production costs, turnaround times, carbon footprint, and risks associated with unpredictable global events.

Art Department, Studios, Backlots, & Post Production

Art department and set construction. Some teams available locally. Additional specialists can be brought in from London and Dublin.

Studios and backlots. Northern Ireland has several cutting edge studio facilities including Belfast Harbour Studios, Titanic Studios, Britvic, and the Linen Mill Studios.

Post Production. Post facilities exist locally.

Visas & Work Permits

Northern Ireland is part of Great Britain. Entry is subject to regulations from country of origin. Contact your local British High Commission for more information.

Transport & Accommodation

Transportation Infrastructure. Roads are up to expected European standards. Several international and budget airlines service flights to Northern Ireland.

Accommodation. Recommended film friendly hotels in Belfast include:

Merchant Hotel
The Fitzwilliam Hotel

Tara Lodge
Benedicts Hotel

Please contact us for corporate rates.

For longer stays we can also organize serviced apartments.

Final Notes

Safety. See here for up to date travel advice.

Down Time. For breakfast, try the Ulster Fry – eggs, bacon, soda farls and potato bread.

Projects. For an example of TV commercials, stills campaigns, online content, corporate videos, virtual reality 360 content, feature films, TV series and documentaries shot in Northern Ireland, please see below:

Hire Northern Ireland Production Support & Shooting Crew

If you are looking for a film or photographic production service company, line producer or fixer for your shoot in Northern Ireland, please contact us.

If you are looking for a shooting crew for your shoot in Northern Ireland, such as a director, DoP, photographer, videographer (cameraman / camera operator), camera assistant (focus puller), sound operator, grip, gaffer, stylist, hair and makeup, PA / runner, production driver, please contact us.

We are able to provide you with answers, references and bids quickly.