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Braveheart is the tale of Scottish warrior William Wallace, who leads a rebellion alongside his fellow countrymen against the oppressive ruler King Edward I. The movie has been touted by many as a historical masterpiece – an opinion validated by the 5 Academy Awards it bagged, including Best Picture and Best Director.
If you were captivated by this story of bravery and sacrifice, you would revel at the opportunity to explore the real-world locations where this film’s enchanting scenes were crafted.
Tag along as Wego sets off on a journey across Scotland and Ireland, exploring the majestic landscapes and historic sites that played a pivotal role in bringing Braveheart to life.
Disclaimer: If you haven’t watched the ‘Braveheart’ movie yet or are currently in the midst of it, this article contains spoilers. Proceed reading at your own discretion.
Nestled at the base of Ben Nevis, the highest peak in the UK, Glen Nevis stands as a testament to the natural beauty of Scottish glens. The River Nevis, fed by the cascading rainfall from Ben Nevis and the neighbouring mountains, gracefully winds its way through the glen, creating a series of stunning waterfalls.
This picturesque locale served as the setting for the village of ‘Lanark’ in Braveheart, where the young William Wallace grew up and fell in love with Murron. Although the film set was dismantled post-production, the Braveheart Car Park, made for servicing the location, still stands proudly.
The location is only a 15-minute drive from Fort William, which can be accessed by flying to the Inverness Airport in Scotland.
The Mamores, with their lofty summits and steep slopes, encapsulate the essence of the Scottish wilderness. These mountains, including iconic peaks like Binnein Mòr and Na Gruagaichean, comprise a series of peaks, ridges, and glens, offering a dramatic backdrop for key scenes in the film.
Braveheart was shot at one of the peaks called the Am Bodach. This was one of the formative scenes for Wallace, as he makes the trek to the summit of this mountain right after his victory in the Battle of Falkirk. Enthusiasts can undertake the same trek, enjoying the breathtaking views that Wallace experienced in the aftermath of his victory!
To access the Mamores mountain range from the south, it is necessary to travel to Kinlochleven. The easiest way to reach Kinlochleven is through Glasgow, from where you can take either a train, bus, taxi or drive yourself.
While Braveheart is a story based in Scotland, much of the film was shot in the neighbouring country of Ireland. The movie’s production team scouted several locations in and around the Irish capital of Dublin, making for some truly picturesque and captivating moments.
One of these locations is the Church of St Nicholas in the Dunsany Castle estate, not too far from Dublin. This was the scene of Prince Edward’s wedding, depicted in the movie as Westminster Abbey.
Many of the interior scenes of the movie were filmed in the famous Ardmore Studios, just 12 miles from Dublin in the seaside county of Bray.
Wicklow Mountains National Park
Wicklow Mountains National Park is one of the six national parks of Ireland, and also the largest among them. It features wide-open vistas, winding mountain roads and fast-flowing streams that descend into the deep lakes of the wooded valleys, including St Kevin’s monastic settlement at Glendalough.
The scene where Wallace and his men infiltrate and attack an English stockade was shot in this National Park, at a location known as the Sally Gap. If you’re a Braveheart fanatic, you are sure to feel the adrenaline of vengeance that Wallace felt as you journey through this park!
Wicklow Mountains National Park can be easily reached from Dublin, with taxis and buses available. Entry to the Park is free of charge. However, if you are arriving by car, you will have to pay the parking fee.
The Curragh Plains
Braveheart featured some epic battle scenes, and the Curragh Plains was the site of the filming of the Battle of Stirling Bridge, where Wallace led his new army into battle. This elaborate battle scene was shot across six weeks, featuring improvised long spears, and over 2000 extras, but famously, there was no bridge.
With a 5,000-acre stretch of walkways from Kildare Town to Newbridge, the Curragh is a horserace course that also offers expansive walkways to explore. While ambling through the lush grasslands, visitors can also stop off at the Military Museum located in the Curragh. For fans of Braveheart, this location is a must-see as this is where Wallace delivers his immortal line: “They may take our lives, but they will never take our freedom!”
Dublin is the closest city to the Curragh, with the drive being a little over an hour.
The Trim Castle is the most prolific of the Braveheart locations and one that attracts its fans in hordes. This castle, built in 1172, is the largest, best-preserved & most impressive Anglo-Norman castle in Ireland. While the castle is exceptionally prominent in Irish history and heritage, one of its major claims to fame in pop culture is being the site of filming for Braveheart. The castle is open to the public only on weekends from November to February.
Connoisseurs of cinema remember the Trim Castle as the filming location of London Square, where William Wallace meets his death at the very end of Braveheart.
Trim Castle, like most of the locations for Braveheart, can be easily reached via Dublin via taxi, local buses or driving your own vehicle, with a drive of about 2 hours.