Directed by Joe Murtagh, ‘The Woman in the Wall’ narrates a poignant tale of mystery and loss inspired by the true events of the Magdalene Laundries in Northern Ireland. Lorna Brady had borne a baby of wedlock as a teenager, who was taken away by the church, while she was sent to their penal center to be re-educated. The BBC One show begins with an older Lorna receiving a letter promising to tell her the whereabouts of her long-lost child. She suffers from extreme bouts of sleepwalking, and after a mishap at a bar, awakens to find a deceased woman in her house.
Lorna Brady becomes a prime suspect in the investigation led by Detective Colman Akande, who thinks there is more to the killing as a priest is found dead simultaneously. The mind-bending mystery thriller series takes us on a riveting journey through the Irish countryside, with its thick atmosphere obscuring the dark realities of the quaint town. The show’s settings vary between austere and ghastly, aptly complementing the narrative, and prompting questions about the real-world locales in its scenes.
The Woman in the Wall Filming Locations
‘The Woman in the Wall’ is filmed on location across towns in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. Principle photography began in October of 2022 and was carried out over eighteen weeks before being wrapped up on February 22, 2023. Speaking about the filming team, lead actress Ruth Wilson said, “The cast and crew across the board were phenomenal. We filmed in Northern Ireland, and I think it was one of the best crews I’ve worked with. They all knew each other because it was a very small community. For many of them, it was particularly personal as it’s their story.” Let us take a closer look at the filming sites of the series, which are located in the very communities its subject matter is based on.
Portaferry, Northern Ireland
The fictional town of Kilkinure in the series was actually the coastal town of Portaferry in Down County, Northern Ireland. Sitting at the southern edge of Ards Peninsula, the town’s colorful, antiquated houses with sloped roofs can be spotted from early in the series, as it stands in for Lorna Brady’s neighborhood. In multiple cinematic landscape shots, we can see the stretch of sea which narrows into the Strangford Lough beyond its shores.
Mayo County, Republic of Ireland
Situated on the northeastern shore of the Republic of Ireland, filming for a major portion of ‘The Woman in the Wall’ is carried out in Mayo County. Falling within the province of Connaught, the territory has a truly diverse landscape, ranging from desolate to verdant, with both rocky coasts and rolling hills. It contains multiple charming villages like Westport and Cong, with their cobblestone streets and traditional architecture, evoking a timeless allure felt in the series.
The county’s diverse geography, from the windswept cliffs of Achill Island to the serene shores of Lough Mask, has attracted productions such as ‘The Banshees of Inisherin,’ ‘Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves,’ ‘Reign,’ and ‘Reign of Fire.’
Strangford, Northern Ireland
Another location featured in the show is the Strangford village, lying across from Portaferry, separated by a small stretch of the Irish Sea. This quaint village is steeped in history and is surrounded by stunning landscapes, from the picturesque shores of Strangford Lough to serene pastures and farmlands. Strangford’s narrow winding streets, lined with centuries-old stone cottages, evoke a sense of nostalgia in the show.
Belfast, Northern Ireland
The real-life Magdalene Laundries were located in Belfast, and thus it is only fitting for the film crew to use sites in and around the capital city to lens their scenes. Sprawled along the banks of the River Lagan, Belfast boasts a diverse range of environments, blending a rich historical tapestry with modern urban vibrancy, within the trademarked haunting beauty of the Irish Isle.
About creating the show in Dublin, actor Daryl said, “I love coming home to shoot. I think we have some of the best crews in the world. This was my third time shooting in Belfast. I previously worked on a film called ‘Pixie‘, and some of ‘Bad Sisters‘ was shot in Belfast too, so to be back there felt good because I know the city. There is also something nice about telling an Irish story in the country.”
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