It is estimated that 70 to 80 million people worldwide are of Irish heritage, which is astonishing considering that Ireland’s population is estimated at just under 5 million. But whether you are of Irish descent or not, MFF’s newest giant screen film, Ireland, will transport you with its sweeping visuals on a joyful adventure to the Emerald Isle, where green really does come in 40 shades.
Slated for release in May this year, Ireland follows Manchán Magan, an acclaimed Irish television personality and travel writer, whose mission is to reconnect Irish youth with their land, culture, and history. He is joined by four young students with a passion for music, and together they travel across the country making stops at some of the nation’s most spectacular and historic sites.
The MFF crew and film stars descending the steps of Skellig Michael.
Premier violinist Patricia Treacey (middle) and four of the teen orchestra students featured in “Ireland”.
“The country’s gorgeous landscapes are just begging to be on the IMAX screen,” says unit production manager, Meghan MacGillivray. “Audiences can expect to experience Ireland’s immense natural beauty and rich history, language, arts, and music without ever having to hop on a plane.”
The MFF production crew filmed for six weeks in both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland where they captured images in Belfast, Dublin, Galway, Cong, Donegal, Lahinch, and in such epic locations as the Cliffs of Moher, Giant’s Causeway, Dark Hedges, and Skellig Michael.
Skellig Michael is an especially special place. It is a protected UNESCO heritage site due to the rich history of past monk dwellings, dating back to the 6th century. The crew had a difficult time obtaining permission to film on the island, especially for aerial drone photography. But they prevailed, and the footage is absolutely one-of-a-kind.
Photo of Skellig Michael.
A puffin photographed on Skellig Michael.
Before the production team left for Ireland, director Greg MacGillivray told the crew to bring a book because they would likely be reading a lot while waiting for clear weather. Ireland is known, after all, for its rain. But, as it turned out, it was the sunniest six weeks the country had ever seen in recent history. “Our production team is known to have what we like to call ‘MacGilla-luck’ because we always seem to get the shot, no matter what the challenge is,” said Meghan. “With the incredible weather we had on location, I’d say our MacGilla-luck saved us again.”
Ireland star Manchán Magan and the four orchestra students featured in the film photographed at sunset.
Ireland director Greg MacGillivray and Manchán Magan.