Normal People is all about young love, growing up, and moving on. In-between the sex and conversations between protagonists Connell and Marianne, you might notice its scenic European filming locations…
The BBC adaptation of Sally Rooney’s Normal People took us on the journey of young love – but also took us to parts of Ireland, Italy and elsewhere in Europe with its picturesque filming locations.
Perhaps you noticed, perhaps not. To be fair, there was quite a lot of sex. A lot of drama going on. And a lot of beautifully-scripted conversations, delivered engagingly in lead actors Daisy Edgar-Jones' and Paul Mescal’s delightful Irish lilts (his natural, hers not).
Tubbercurry, also known as Tobercurry, is one of Normal People’s shining Irish stars, standing in for the fictional west Ireland town of Carricklea, where both Marianne and Connell grow up, attend school and first meet each other.
The Sligo Champion made note of many local haunts that wound up in the show, including Brennan’s Pub, Killoran’s Pub, and St John the Evangelist church. Quite a pilgrimage around the town for any die-hard Sally Rooney fans.
If you’re wondering where you'd find the sandy dunes and untouched strip of sand where Marianne and Connell spend their days talking, then look no further: Streedagh Point, in County Sligo, is it.
The beach is three kilometres long and, with its views of Donegal and Ben Bulben looming over its natural beauty, is a walkers’ paradise.
The exterior of Marianne’s grand family home wasn’t filmed in Sligo, but near Enniskerry in County Wicklow, roughly a three-hour drive from Tubbercurry, and within touching distance of Dublin.
Knockmore House, which Savills estimates at a cool €1.6million for the unnecessarily nosy amongst us, is an 1850s Regency property with four bedrooms, five bathrooms and 15 acres of ‘internationally-renowned’ gardens.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, Normal People isn’t Knockmore House’s first brush with fame. The residence was the childhood home of former Irish Minister Shane Ross, who told The Independent of the show’s racier scenes: “I think my parents would be absolutely mortified by what’s going on in their house, which was a haven of morality.”
Filming at Trinity College is something of a challenge, revealed location manager Eoin Holohan in an The Irish Times interview. Alas, that’s where Marianne attends university, and in real life Eoin and author Sally Rooney both studied there, too.
So, Trinity plays itself. Eoin noted in the same interview that scenes were largely shot in summer to avoid the hordes of students weaving in, out and around the campus between classes.
For further college shots, St Patrick’s College in Drumcondra, also in Dublin, was used.
The parity of wealth between Connell and Marianne’s families is apparent throughout the show, made more obvious by the difference in size of their family homes.
That’s not to say Connell’s – in the Dublin suburb of Shankill – isn’t lovely. It was built in the 1970s, and stands in for the suburbs of fictional Carricklea.
The affluent neighbourhood of Ballsbridge is where Marianne’s student digs were filmed, according to The Irish Times.
Daisy-Edgar Jones can be seen entering the house on Wellington Road in the show. We don’t know too much about the house itself, other than that it's another 19th century property.
You’d be forgiven for not recognising Fumbally Café in Normal People. It’s a stand-in for a Swedish cafe; one where Marianne drinks coffee alone during her year abroad to a Lapland city during university.
In real life, you won’t often find Fumbally surrounded by snow. Instead, it sits on Fumbally Lane, offering patrons specialty coffee, as well as ‘health conscious’ eats.
Forest Avenue, a popular eatery offering locally-sourced ingredients on Dublin's Wicklow Street, stood in for a Swedish restaurant during filming.
Meanwhile, a restaurant on Capel Street was where Connell, his girlfriend Helen and her family ate. Location manager Eoin Holohan told The Irish Times he was looking for the most authentic Asian restaurant in the city.
During a holiday to Italy, Marianne and Connell are spotted staying in the Tenuta di Verzano ‘Il Casale’ villa, located in the Italian commune of Sant’Oreste.
You’d find Sant’Oreste not far from Rome, about 22km or 40 minutes away by car. Technically, it's part of the metropolitan city of Rome too, and makes a great escape from the frantic pace of city life.
The house itself is gorgeous: two bedrooms, four bathrooms, old-school decor, a villa garden and swimming pool, and eye-watering views of a lush, green mountain.
Admittedly, you might have spotted this villa on screens before. It pops up in the Julia Roberts-led Eat Pray Love movie. Naturally, it’s a dream getaway, which is probably why it does so well on Airbnb.
During her year abroad, Marianne finds herself living in Sweden. Luckily for actor Edgar-Jones, they got to film there, too.
Scenes were shot in Luleå, a coastal city in north-west Sweden. The most striking was in episode nine, with Marianne walking across a completely frozen Baltic Sea.
Reports suggest that filming also took place around the city and in Gammelstad Church Town, a nearby UNESCO World Heritage site. Camera crews returned to Luleå in February 2020 (pre-COVID) to film pick ups, as they needed shots of the city looking significantly snowy.
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