I know what you’re thinking. P.S. I Love You (2007) satiated your thirst for mediocre Hollywood romantic films set in Ireland for a while, but it just wasn’t enough. Luckily, Leap Year (2010) happened three years later. And the Leap Year filming locations, once again, are the winning lottery ticket that saves it from the bargain bin. Just.
Leap Year stars Amy Adams as Anna, a Bostonian desperate for her boyfriend to propose. While he’s on a business trip in Dublin, she learns of a Celtic tradition that allows women to propose to men on February 29th also known as Leap Day. She hightails it to Ireland ASAP to make the date but, as we know, the course of true love never did run smooth.
Let me briefly interject and say it’s perfectly reasonable for a person of any gender to propose on any day of the year. Traditions and societal expectations can get in the bin. Okay, back to our regularly scheduled programming.
If you live in Ireland, your suspension of disbelief for the Leap Year film locations needs to be SUPER high. Leap Year shot entirely in Ireland specifically Dublin, the Aran Islands and the Wicklow Mountains plus a couple of others. But barely any location is “playing” itself, as it were. So, let’s find out where the Leap Year filming locations in Ireland are!
Where Was Leap Year Filmed?
Leap Year Filming Locations in Ireland
1. Dublin Castle Area, Dublin
The first Leap Year movie location is in Ireland, but it’s not set there. The first 10 minutes take place in Boston, but the scenes were shot near (and in) Dublin Castle. I’m not 100% sure where, but that’s what my research tells me.
2. County Wicklow Beach
In a strange turn of events, Anna’s plane from Boston to Dublin is diverted to Cardiff, Wales due to bad weather. She manages to hitch a ride on a fishing boat from Cardiff to Cork, except the continuing bad weather causes the boat to abandon her on a beach in Dingle.
If you look at Cork and Dingle on a map, you would instantly realise that Cork would have been the likelier place to dock. Anyway, this explanation is pointless because the beach isn’t remotely near Dingle.
The beach where Anna is dropped off is not in Dingle but in County Wicklow. At least, that’s what my research tells me but I cannot for the life of me decipher which one. The beach in Leap Year clearly has many visible land masses just off the coast, but not one beach in County Wicklow has any. If you know the beach, I’d love to hear from you!
3. Kilmurvey, Inishmore, Aran Islands, County Galway
Seeking shelter from the storm, Anna barges into the first inn she finds. It’s a cross between a traditional Irish pub and an artist’s cafe with murals, bunting and lots of gaudy colours adorning the exterior. This is Declan’s Pub named Caragh’s Inn, one of the most popular Leap Year locations with film fans! I don’t need to tell you it’s not in Dingle, do I?
Today, the building looks as if someone has completely wiped the canvas clean. The pub is now a white, boarded-up house sitting in the tiny village of Kilmurvey on the Aran Island of Inishmore in County Galway. Whomp-whomp.
4. L1824, County Mayo
It’s nothing short of a miracle that I found this exact Leap Year filming location. I’ve pinned the precise location on the google map at the top of this blog post. The young Declan (Matthew Goode, horrible Irish accent) agrees to drive Anna to Dublin in his little old car. They drive through a gorgeous slice of the Irish countryside, which is down the L1824 between Doo Lough lake and the N59 road.
Declan sadly drives his little car off a wee bridge into a stream, which is how I managed to locate the exact place the characters stop and become stranded.
5. Doo Lough, R335, County Galway
When Anna decides she’s going to walk to Dublin (from Dingle, give me strength), she rolls her suitcase down a road that runs alongside Doo Lough. So we’re not far from the previous filming location, though she starts walking from the top of the lake walking south in the film.
Even though she won’t get to Dublin by walking in that direction, it is a cracking valley! You’d think they were in Scotland. I think some general shots of Connemara feature around this point in the film, too. At least, that’s what other bloggers say but I’m not 100% convinced.
6. Rock of Dunamase, Aghnahily, County Laois
Finally, Anna and Declan have arrived at a train station so they can travel to Dublin. With over two hours to kill before the next train, they climb a hill and explore a local castle. In reality, Ballycarbery Castle doesn’t exist but a historical ruined castle called Rock of Dunamase in County Laois does, which is the one they explore in the film.
Well, it’s kind of the one they explore in the film. I don’t believe the “seven wonders of Ireland” exists and there’s a little bit of CGI trickery going on, too.
7. Glendalough Park, Derrybawn, County Wicklow
Because Declan convinced Anna to explore the castle, they miss the train to Dublin. Luckily, the ticket officer runs a BnB in Tipperary so the pair spend the night at his house. The interior of the BnB is definitely a set, so that location doesn’t make the list.
Yet again attempting to walk to Dublin, the pair stumbles (literally) into a wedding ceremony. Somehow, they bag an invitation. The wedding reception is a marquee on Glendalough Park in County Wicklow, right on the banks of the Upper Glendalough lake. The continuity is appalling, but the Leap Year movie locations in Ireland sure are pretty.
8. Enniskerry Village Square, Enniskerry, County Wicklow
After vomiting on him and sleeping next to him on a bench after the wedding, Anna seemingly leaves Declan asleep while she hops on a bus to Dublin. The bus stop is in Enniskerry Village Square just in front of Poppies cafe (named Emilia’s in the film), which is where Anna’s just nipped in to buy coffee. You may already be aware that most of P.S. I Love You‘s filming locations are in the Wicklow Mountains National Park, too.
Read next: P.S. I Love You Filming Locations in Ireland
9. St Stephen’s Green, Dublin
Finally, a Leap Year Ireland location I recognise! Anna and Declan have finally arrived in Dublin. Anna’s fiancé Jeremy is not at his hotel, so the new pals wander around St Stephen’s Green which is a popular park in Dublin.
Read next: Once Filming Locations in Dublin, Ireland
10. Carton House Hotel, Maynooth, County Kildare
The Carton House Hotel in County Kildare stands in for Jeremy’s Dublin hotel. All the hotels in Dublin and they film in County Kildare?! These Leap Year movie film locations just make ZERO sense to me.
This is where Jeremy proposes to Anna (a rather vanilla, staged proposal) in the lobby.
11. Dún Aonghasa, Inishmore, Aran Islands, County Galway
In a thrilling turn of events, Anna realises her fiancé Jeremy is a douchebag and her luxury lifestyle is a sham. So, she dumps him and flits off back to Dingle. Who saw that coming?! But the final Leap Year shooting location is possibly the best, at least the most famous.
Declan proposes to Anna overlooking the Dún Aonghasa cliffs on the Aran Islands, not far from where his pub is located. Actually calling them cliffs is a bit of a redundant name. They are a prehistoric, dry stone wall fortification if you please.
So, where was the movie Leap Year filmed in Ireland? Hopefully, this blog post has answered that question! Have you seen the movie or visited any of the Leap Year filming locations? Let me know in the comments below!