Brooklyn is one of the most romantic and wanderlust-inspiring tales to be produced in the 21st-century. The film covers immigration, culture shock, homesickness and finally finding a sense of belonging in another country like no other movie I’ve ever seen. So naturally, the Brooklyn filming locations span multiple countries: Ireland, the USA and Canada.
Based on the 2009 novel of the same name by Colm Tóibín, Brooklyn (2015) is set in the 1950s and follows the naive Eilis (played by Saoirse Ronan). She’s a small-town girl from a village in Ireland filled with small-minded people and few job opportunities. An Irish priest living in New York City sponsors her visa and soon she’s on a boat sailing to the new world, wide-eyed and totally unprepared for what’s to come. The locations and scenery are all incredibly, ridiculously beautiful. Pretty much the whole aesthetic of this film is a pastel-coloured painting. I have no doubt that Brooklyn will make you drop everything, pack a suitcase and move abroad indefinitely. And perhaps find yourself a strapping young Italian-American gentleman or cute ginger Irishman if one happens to be going spare…
If you’re a fan of Brooklyn and want to know exactly where all the Brooklyn filming locations are, I’ve listed as many as I could find below. I usually like to list film locations in movie-order. But since Brooklyn is such a country-hopping film, I’ve listed all the Ireland locations first, then the Brooklyn, New York locations. Also, there are many locations in Montreal, Canada which stood in for 1950s Brooklyn.
Brooklyn Filming Locations in Ireland, New York & Canada
Brooklyn Filming Locations in Ireland
1. 22 Court Street, Enniscorthy, County Wexford
The first scene in the film and the first Brooklyn filming location is in Eilis’ home town, Enniscorthy. It’s a small town in County Wexford, Ireland and they shot the Ireland scenes in the same small town where the film is set. Which is so cool! It gives me all the warm fuzzies when films try to be as authentic as possible with their shooting locations.
The front door is different in the film than it is in real life so it was difficult to know which house is Eilis’. However, much later in the film when she’s greeted by a nervous-looking Mary, she’s clearly waiting outside 22 Court Street because of the stone embellishment on the front of the house. You can’t get nothin’ passed me, pal.
2. St Fintan’s Church, Taghmon, Trinity, County Wexford
I’m not 100% certain on this Brooklyn filming location. But after some deduction, I think this is the correct church.
In the second scene, Eilis attends mass with Miss Kelly early in the morning. My research tells me the interiors of Eilis’ local church is in the nearby village of Taghmon, so I think it’s St Fintan’s Church.
This is the only time we see this church, as the next church in the film is Enniscorthy’s cathedral which has lovely bright white interiors. The church at the very beginning of the film is clearly a lot smaller and darker.
3. The Athenaeum, 13 Castle St, Castle Hill, Templeshannon, Enniscorthy, County Wexford, Y21 C1X3
I realise I’ve missed out Miss Kelly’s shop – I know they shot the shop exterior scenes literally a few doors down from the address mentioned in the book. But I haven’t read the book so I don’t know which street in Enniscorthy it’s on. I’ll have to read the book and get back to you…
But the next filming location in Brooklyn is The Athenaeum. It was built in 1892 as a theatre and town hall. And it still is, but today it’s also home to a County Wexford museum and it’s a regarded as a historic landmark.
The Athenaeum features several times throughout Brooklyn, both the inside and outside! It’s where best friends Nancy and Eilis go dancing before Eilis leaves for America. Nancy also holds her wedding reception here later in the film, too.
4. St Aidan’s Cathedral, Cathedral Street, Templeshannon, Enniscorthy, County Wexford
Back in Ireland, Eilis attends Sunday mass with her mum and walks out of the church to be greeted by her bestie, Nancy. This is the church that’s actually in Enniscorthy, St Aidan’s Cathedral. It’s a gorgeous Gothic Catholic church with a white, ornate interior. For a town with a population of around 11,000, it’s such a grand cathedral!
Nancy also has her wedding here, which is when we see the interiors slightly later in the film (the photo below doesn’t do it justice!). I presume the grave scenes are filmed here too.
5. Curracloe Beach, Coolrainey, Curracloe, County Wexford
This is the filming location that was plastered all over Brooklyn‘s trailer and posters. It’s the location that would have made the most impact on tourism in the area, I’m guessing. While Eilis is back in Ireland visiting her mother, she cavorts with Jim Farrell (played by Domhnall Gleeson) and pals on a nearby beach.
This beach is the silky smooth, untouched Curracloe Beach in County Wexford. There may not be anything particularly attention-grabbing about this beach, but that’s the charm. It appears, on the surface, to be completely unspoiled and serene. Worlds away from the crowds and amusement parks of Coney Island in Brooklyn.
Brooklyn Filming Locations in New York
6. Clinton Street, Brooklyn, New York, 11201
Now, let’s get to the two Brooklyn filming locations actually shot in Brooklyn! Only in New York City will you find those famous brownstone houses with the stoop out the front. So you can rest assured, the exterior for Eilis’ boarding house was shot in Brooklyn. Filming took about one or two days at most, which is crazy when you think about how many scenes feature the exterior of that damn boarding house! But when you’re on a measly budget of $11 million, you’ve got to cut costs where you can.
The part of Clinton Street that featured as a Brooklyn filming location is around number 274 (though the address in the film is 158 Clinton Street). It’s the part of Brooklyn known today as Carroll Gardens which looks like a very nice place to live. Again, I’m not absolutely certain that’s the correct address. But I think I’ve found one or two houses that are a dead ringer for the one in the film around that area.
7. Coney Island, Brooklyn, New York
The only other Brooklyn filming location in Brooklyn (and the only area of the borough I’ve personally visited!) is Coney Island. It’s situated on Brooklyn’s southwest peninsula known for its huge beach, boardwalk, rollercoasters and plethora of wacky entertainment options and nightlife. The Wonder Wheel in Luna Park and Nathan’s Famous fast-food stand are Coney Island institutions.
Tony takes Eilis to Coney Island to celebrate passing her exams and it’s fantastic they actually did shoot on Coney Island considering it’s such an iconic and historic part of the borough. Brooklyn used CGI to strip out all the post-1951 buildings and anachronisms and to make the beach look busier. But apart from that, it’s an authentic filming location!
And the scenes on Coney Island were also shot during those two filming days in Brooklyn. Which I still can’t wrap my head around! The logistics of filming all those scenes in different costumes and times of the day is bonkers. Totally worth it, though.
Brooklyn Filming Locations in Canada
8. Parking Lot in Old Port of Montreal
“But wait!” you may be saying right now. “I don’t remember any part of the film taking place in Canada?!” How astute of you. Ten points to Gryffindor. The reason you don’t remember any part of Brooklyn taking place in Canada is because it didn’t. As you might imagine, the real-life Brooklyn borough of New York City has modernised quite a bit since the 1950s. It’s also quite expensive to shoot there. And remember, Brooklyn was a fairly low-budget period film produced on a pitiful $11 million. So, the production had to shoot north of the border which is common for American films, especially period films.
Most of the Brooklyn-set scenes were shot in Montreal, a city in the Canadian province of Canada. The first of the Canadian Brooklyn filming locations we see is in the Old Port of Montreal. Specifically, a car park/parking lot. It stands in as the Ellis Island Immigration Centre in New York City which is where Eilis docks in America. If Eilis were a real-life person, she would have been one of the last immigrants to arrive at Ellis Island as the film is set in 1951 and the centre closed in 1954.
I have no idea exactly which car park in the Old Port stood in as the centre. But, I’m going to take a wild guess that it’s Les Tours 500 St-Jacques – Lot #854 because it actually does look strikingly similar to the building in Brooklyn.
9. Alpha Delta Phi – Memorial Chapter, 3483 Stanley Street, Montreal, H3A 1S2
When Eilis arrives in Brooklyn, she heads straight to the boarding house where Father Flood (her sponsor) has arranged for her to stay. The interiors for this boarding house, bizarrely enough, were shot in a Canadian frat house in Montreal.
I wonder how long it took them to remove all the stained mattresses, dart boards and pyramids of empty beer cans and replace them with doilies, dark wooden furniture and ornamental plates.
If there’s one thing I love more than authentic filming locations, it’s filming locations that make absolutely no sense but still work really, really well. And now the lads at Alpha Delta Phi have a cool new story about their digs!
10. Mile End, Montreal
All the interiors for the rest of the film, including Bartocci’s Department Store, Eilis’ local Parish Hall and the bar where Eilis and Tony have their first date, were all shot in the Mile End neighbourhood of Montreal.
This neighbourhood is known for its multicultural artsy residents and having lots of lovely cafes, restaurants and bars. A swanky cocktail bar was utilised for Eilis and Tony’s first date in a diner/bar. It needed a lot of set-dressing to transform it into a cosy 1950s Brooklyn haunt with those cute red checked table cloths and low-hanging lights.
Eilis’ Parish Hall was shot in the basement of a Catholic Church and a disused library dating back to the 1920s became Bartocci’s, where Eilis works.
I don’t know exactly where these locations were shot, and some probably aren’t open to the public anyway. But I do know that the majority of the Brooklyn-based scenes shot in this compact area of Montreal. Clearly, Mile End is the place to go if you find yourself in Canada and want to pretend you’re in 1950s New York!
And those are all the Brooklyn filming locations in Ireland, New York and Canada. Have you watched Brooklyn or visited Ireland, New York or Canada? Let me know in the comments below!