One of the great advantages of filming in Ireland is the amazing view that greets us every day on set. There is no shortage of natural beauty, so it provides a great backdrop for a historic epic like Vikings.
As Vikings location manager, Manus Hingerty scouts out the most unique and visually interesting locales, which so far have included an abandoned mine, a deep valley, several beaches, plenty of large fields and a waterfall.
While you can expect Irish weather to often be cold and rainy, for Hingerty, the weather has become an important stylistic factor for the show itself. “Rain and the resultant mud are facts of life. The directors and director of photography love the bleak, raw look of bedraggled grim Saxons and Vikings battling their way through a quagmire of muck and blood,” he says. “I’m not so sure about the costume department, though, as they have to repair, clean and dry the costumes for the next day’s onslaught.”
But finding the right locations can be difficult. They need to be large and free of incorrect period features that can’t be camouflaged or hidden by props. There’s also the painstaking task of ensuring that the plants and foliage in that location would have grown in Scandinavia during the Viking age, as it is not uncommon in Ireland to find foreign plants imported by the Victorians from South America and Asia.
A few more of our favorite settings:
Lough Dan in County Wicklow:
Luggala, also known as Fancy Mountain: