“Leap Year”, the 2010 comedy with Amy Adams and Matthew Goode, is supposed to follow a romantically confused American woman from Boston to Ireland,
to propose to her finance on Feb. 29, the traditional day upon which women may propose to men.
The movie, filmed in 2009, actually has the most cockeyed geography of any movie in recent memory. That doesn’t mean the locations aren’t breathtaking. They are. But they are not what they are purported to be:
1. Boston isn’t Boston. Except for generic b-roll of Boston, the film-makers never shot in Boston. The scenes supposedly in Boston were shot in and around Dublin Castle in Ireland.
2. Wales isn’t Wales. Sets were constructed to resemble an airport in Wales.
3. No one travels by sea from Wales to Dingle, Ireland. To do so, one would have to sail south, and around the eastern and southern coasts of Ireland, and past two major peninsulas on Ireland’s west coast, to even get to the Dingle Peninsula. Such a voyage, in a boat such as the one depicted in the movie, would entail at least week, and several stops for fuel – in other parts of Ireland.
4. Dingle, Ireland, and the Dingle Peninsula are never filmed. If you want to see what the amazingly beautiful Dingle area really looks like, or looked like 40 years ago (when it was very primitive), check out the 1970 movie, “Ryan’s Daughter”. (The lead picture on Garrett on the Road’s site is Dingle Peninsula, by the way.)
5. The filmmakers never shot a scene in Tipperary – either the city or the county of the same name in Ireland.
6. The cliffs depicted were in County Galway, not Dingle, on the Aran Islands
(on Inishmore to be exact, at Dun Aengus where the ending shot was done on the cliffs at sunset.) Counties Mayo and Wicklow were also used for filming locations.
7. The beach at which Ms. Adams is supposedly deposited upon is not in Dingle, but in County Wicklow. (Ironically, this might have been where a small boat going from Wales to Ireland might have feasibly landed – but it is just south of Dublin, her destination, and a 40-mile journey wouldn’t have made much of an odyssey.)
8. The exact castle that they explore does not exist; much of it was computer-generated. (UPDATE: Sharp-eyed reader Kelli – see her comment below – has correctly identified the primary shooting location for the castle scene to be the ruins of Rock of Dunamase near Portlaoise. Funny enough: The new motorway to Dublin,which is just a few miles east, runs right through this area.)
Some of the castle ruins they explore appear to be Ballycastle at Kinbane Head.
There is really no such thing as the ”Ten Wonders of Ireland.” There is a “Seven Wonders of Ireland” list, but they are natural wonders, not man-made.
9. Although rail travel is sparse on a Sunday, some trains do run in Ireland on Sundays – although trains do not service any part of the Dingle Peninsula. Nitpickers may suggest the couple had supposedly already left “Dingle” by then. Hard to tell where they were supposed to be at that time, though.
The train shots, pub shots and Irish wedding in the movie were filmed in the Wicklow Mountains, around Wicklow Gap, Glendalough and Sally Gap (“Ballykissangel”, “Braveheart”, “Excalibur” and “P.S. I Love You” also filmed in this area). The 2009 Tour of Ireland bicycle race, seen on Speed channel, also went through here.
10. Never mentioned is the Connemara area, where many scenes were filmed (some have suggested the Bog Road, but it looks more like the area around Doo Lough Pass on R336). A dead giveaway is the pines trees and the bleak, barren landscapes of Galway and Mayo. Sharp-eyed movie buffs will notice this area of Galway and Mayo was actually the famous filming location of John Ford’s 1952 movie “The Quiet Man” with John Wayne and Maureen O’Hara.
A final tidbit of trivia: Where is the coffee shop, in the scene where they miss the bus? Poppies, in Enniskerry.
In the credits of “Leap Year”, the filmmakers cite help from the official Ordnance Survey Map of Ireland. One wonders if they even looked at it.
January 9, 2010