Cahir Castle, which has stood proudly for more than 700 years on its rocky island over the River Suir and is managed by the Office of Public Works (OPW), has won the European Film Commissions Network (EUFCN) Location Award 2021. Nominated by Screen Ireland as the location for The Green Knight, Cahir Castle won by public vote against four other shortlisted European film locations in Norway (Dune), Spain (The Crown), Croatia (Murina) and Germany (The Queen’s Gambit). The award was announced at the Berlinale’s European Film Market on Tuesday night (15.02.2022).
One of Ireland’s largest and best-preserved historic castles, Cahir Castle has captured the imagination of multiple filmmakers over the past decades. In David Lowery’s 2021 film – a fantasy retelling of the famous medieval story of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight – the 13th-century fortress features as the Camelot of Arthurian legend, a role it has starred in before in the 1981 film Excalibur.
Receiving the award trophy in Cahir Castle on Tuesday, Minister of State with responsibility for the Office of Public Works (OPW), Patrick O’Donovan, T.D., said, “I am delighted and I wish to thank all the people here in Ireland and abroad who answered our call and voted for Cahir Castle to win the EUFCN Location Award 2021. Winning this award is deserved recognition for one of Ireland’s stunning locations as well as for the dedicated OPW team of heritage and conservation experts committed to restoring, preserving and promoting Ireland’s cultural heritage for present and future generations to enjoy. The OPW cares for 780 of Ireland’s most iconic heritage sites. As part of its mission, it is proud to offer access to its sites to filmmakers from all over the world, working closely with film crews to maintain the highest standards of safety, integrity and authenticity.”
Welcoming the news of Cahir Castle’s award, Rosemary Collier, Assistant Secretary and Head of OPW’s Heritage Services and Capital Works Delivery, said, “the Office of Public Works and indeed the local community are thrilled that Cahir Castle has won the prestigious European Film Location Awards this year. Anybody who has visited it will easily see how its impressive battlements rising above the River Suir make it a dream location for internationally acclaimed fantasy films such as The Green Knight last year or Excalibur. We are privileged to care for and conserve Cahir Castle and we hope to welcome many of the viewers near and far who have seen it on the screen to this iconic Irish heritage site.”
Eleanor Morrissey, the OPW site manager at Cahir Castle added, “all of us working in Cahir Castle are immensely honoured and feel proud of this fantastic achievement that acknowledges how special Cahir Castle is not only in Ireland but in Europe. Working on site during the filming of The Green Knight was a wonderful experience which allowed us to see the courtyards dressed for filming, re-creating the appearance and atmosphere of how they may have been in centuries past. The craftsmanship of the medieval masons provided a wonderfully authentic backdrop for this tale of honour, bravery and courage, but Cahir Castle’s own history is no less fascinating and really comes to life in our guided tours and multilingual audio-visual show.”
The OPW will launch a brochure of historic locations available for filming later this month during the Dublin Film Festival.