Ireland’s Valhalla landscapes dominate the screens
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Elaf: Season 2 of MGM Television’s series Vikings: Valhalla on Netflix features the most stunning scenes from ancient Eastern Ireland and the Wild Atlantic Trail.
Set over a thousand years ago in the early 1100s, the popular series chronicles the heroic adventures of some of history’s most famous Vikings, legendary explorer Leif Ericsson (Sam Corlett), his headstrong and fearless sister Fredis Eriksdotter (Frida Gustafsson) and the ambitious Northern Prince Harald Sigurdsson (actor Leo Sutter). The series, based on real characters and events but not without fictional main characters, was filmed in several locations in County Wicklow in ancient Ireland and in counties Meath and Kerry.
The second season is set shortly after the catastrophic collapse of Kattegat; The event that shattered the heroes’ dreams, changed their fates, and quickly scattered them across Scandinavia, testing their ambitions and courage in worlds beyond the Kattegat fjords.
Season 2 of Vikings: Valhalla was filmed in various locations across County Wicklow, using Ashford’s state-of-the-art studios and taking advantage of some of Wicklow’s most breathtaking scenery.
One of the main filming locations this season is Lugala Estate or Lough Tay, known as the ‘Lake of Guinness’ due to its shape and white sandy edges which make it the perfect location for the town port of Kattegat. Commenting on his reasons for choosing this location, production designer Tom Conroy said: “The rugged beauty of the lakeside scenery was the main reason we chose this location and the lake is deep and navigable. shooting at water level, the mountains become towering and majestic, and so, it was the most appropriate space that allowed us to use visual effects to extend the surrounding mountains and the lake bottom to a manner that suggests it resembles a Norwegian fjord.On site, the production also built piers, defensive towers, side buildings and a defensive wall to create the harbor where some 14 Viking ships and hundreds of boats for the sailors and townspeople moored.
To add to the visual drama of the production, the Roundwood quarry is depicted as the legendary Viking stronghold of Jomsberg on the southern Baltic Sea coast, while the Ballyhorse quarry marshes are depicted as the “river ice” of series.
Ashford’s less rugged farmland became the “Novgorod Republic” in the series; while Lough Dan became “Campbell’s Land”. Other filming locations in County Wicklow included Childers Forest, which also appeared in the 1981 film Excalibur; and the Ballenrich and Clara Lara sites.
Charming filming locations also included some of Wicklow’s majestic rocky coastlines and soft-sand beaches such as Noon Beach in Magirmore; Bray Head, part of the Wicklow Mountains and home to the wreck of Blackcastle, tells countless stories of adventures and fierce battles that took place just outside Wicklow.
New filming locations for the series include Castles Slain and Boyne in County Meath, as well as spectacular aerial views of County Kerry which have been used to depict Viking Age landscapes.