The recently released film, Irish Wish, is showcasing Ireland West Airport and Westport to a large international audience and hopes are high that it will lead to an increase in visitors to the western region.

Donal Healy, Ireland West Airport’s head of aviation business development, marketing, and communications, said the initial feedback has been very positive and he believes the film can provide a welcome boost to tourism

The romantic comedy is currently the number one film on Netflix in the US and another 40 countries across the world despite suffering some severe criticism from movie critics. There has also been some criticism that only one Irish actor, Aidan Jordan, features in the film.

Lead actress Lindsay Lohan, the cast and crew spent about two days at Ireland West Airport in September 2022, and she stars as a book editor who wishes for true love but finds herself as the bridesmaid at the wedding of the man who is the love of her wife. Days before the pair are set to marry, Maddie makes a spontaneous wish for true love, only to wake up as the bride-to-be. With her dream seeming to come true, Maddie soon realises that her real soulmate is someone else entirely.

The movie contains lots of spectacular footage from Mayo and the wider western region.

“It is showcasing Ireland West Airport Knock as a gateway to the West of Ireland for people who see this movie,” Mr Healy said. “The feedback so far has been quite positive from looking on social media and we will track it as it goes along.” 

There are no direct flights from Ireland West Airport Knock to the US, but Mr Healy said the airport is trying to stimulate traffic through Heathrow and there is optimism more tourists will now visit.

Ireland West Airport also featured in another film Wild Mountain Thyme, a 2020 romantic comedy based on John Patrick Shanley’s play ‘Outside Mullingar’, which starred Jamie Dornan and was filmed in Crossmolina in October 2019.

Mr Healy said while it is fantastic the airport was chosen as a location and featured in these high-profile movies, they need to strike a balance.

“It is great to feature in these films and when you are getting exposure on Netflix and it is promoting the west of Ireland it is all good,” he added. “But will it lead to other movies? It is not our business, and our business is planes and flying because anytime a movie comes down to film it can cause a lot of disruption.” 

Meanwhile, Westport-based Independent Cllr Christy Hyland said he is pleased that the tourist town features in the film.

“It is great for the county, Ireland West Airport, West Mayo that they decided to come here and picked locations in Mayo,” he said. “We would be hopeful further production companies will be coming.” 

Cllr Hyland said Mayo County Council is always willing to work with and support any film productions that come to the region.

Other filming locations included are the Killruddery House, Powerscourt Estate and Lough Tay in Co Wicklow and the Cliffs of Moher in Co Clare.

Westport Chamber of Commerce president Dermott Langan said he watched the movie on St Patrick’s Day following the parade and was delighted with it.

“Anytime you get Hollywood A-listers coming to Westport or Mayo it is bound to be good. The movie itself looks amazing and the scenery is amazing, and it showcases Mayo and Westport in great light.” 

Mr Langan said the weather was fantastic and the town looked very attractive throughout the movie.

“The built environment of Westport really shone and if you are in the States or anywhere in the world and you are watching this and you see The Octagon in Westport in glorious colour you will say, ‘God I want to go and see that place’”, he added.