Just as Harry Potter made his magic on the Cliffs of Moher, Chris O’Dowd has been bringing it back to Boyle. But while the majestic Moher is renowned worldwide, the lesser known Lough Key has been more of a hidden treasure. Until now that is….
Success in the States
After playing a charming cop in Bridesmaids and trying to woo Megan Fox in This Is 40, Irish actor Chris O’Dowd has become hot property in Hollywood. He’s appeared in hit HBO drama Girls, been heard in Family Guy, and even has a cameo in the sequel to superhero flick Thor.
In the UK, after starring in The IT Crowd Chris has gone on to both write and star in the critically acclaimed Moone Boy. The success of the sitcom has been massive, resulting in a second series being commissioned before the first had even aired!
A world of fact and fiction
The comedy series follows the antics of a young boy and his imaginary friend growing up in rural Ireland and is based on O’Dowd’s own childhood in Boyle, County Roscommon. Chris grew up there and is so proud of the fact his username on Twitter is @BigBoyler. So it was a natural choice of location for filming Moone Boy.
Pride runs in the family
Dad Sean O’Dowd is also a proud "Boyler" and has set up a website, Facebook page and Flickr account to promote the town. Chris's dad assists the production crew with finding locations to film in, as he knows every nook and cranny in it. “It’s a peaceful place,” Sean says. The numerous fishing scenes in the show are filmed at Lough Key; and you’ll certainly find plenty of peace and quiet there.
A great escape
Lough Key is one of the most beautiful lakes in Ireland. It’s a great place to get away from it all. So much so that the husbands of Moone Boy use it as an excuse to get away from their wives! Avid anglers should take note there’s plenty of pike to be found, along with boat tours if you’d prefer to focus on taking in the scenery. There are also underground tunnels from the 19th Century to be checked out if you’re feeling a tad more adventurous.
Places with personality
Another character that’s been in the background of Moone Boy scenes is Boyle Abbey. The 12th century monastery has endured against the odds. The Elizabethans converted it into barracks and the abbey was besieged by Cromwellians in 1645, but the cloister still stands proud.
And if you’ve grown thirsty just reading that, Mattimoes pub is where to get your pint. Not only has this been used as a set in the series, but Chris actually used to work here before he found fame. Goes to show you should always be nice to your barman in Ireland – you never know when you might see him next.
Amazingly, searches for hotels in County Roscommon almost tripled in October 2012 – just as the first series of Moone Boy began airing. Seems Harry Potter’s not the only one who can cast a spell.