Vikings is loosely based on the legend of Ragnar Lothbrok, the fierce Viking leader who invaded Britain with his men like a plague in the 13th Century. With Warcraft actor Travis Fimmel in the lead role, history buffs and drama enthusiasts are lapping up brand new episodes currently airing from season four.
The History channel series is mainly filmed in Ireland where it makes full use of the Emerald Isle’s stunning beauty. Appropriately enough, Ireland itself was invaded by the Vikings, with the capital Dublin owing its origins to the Scandinavian visitors.
You can plot your own more civilised trip by taking in some of the most spectacular locations used for filming the TV series.
The beautiful Glendalough sits south of Dublin, not far from Ashford Studios where Vikings is shot. It is part of the Wicklow National Park, a sprawling area of 20,000 hectares. County Wicklow is known as the “Garden of Ireland” and it’s not hard to see why. The valley of the two lakes is renowned for its spectacular scenery and is also famous for its monastic settlement with its imposing round tower founded by St. Kevin in the 6th Century.
There are plenty of car parks in the region including at the Visitor Centre, while a daily bus service travels to and from Glendalough. As well as hiking, the area is also a popular rock-climbing location.
Seventy per cent of Vikings’ first season was shot outdoors with much of it taking place near Lough Tay. This small lake in the Wicklow Mountains is part of the Luggala estate owned by members of the Guinness family. The shape of the lake with a beach of white sand is often likened to a pint of the black stuff. The programme makers use the location to recreate Kattegat and the Viking port.
While the lake is private, a road circumnavigates the area offering stunning panoramas and is popular for driving trips, especially when the Vikings set is in full view.
The Vikings were famous for their mighty longboats and the series uses real, ocean-going vessels. But filming at sea can be difficult which is why much of the shooting is done on Blessington Lake, a manmade lake created when the Poulaphouca Dam and hydroelectric station were built 50 years ago.
The Wicklow Way is an 81-mile long trail crossing the Wicklow Mountains to the south of Dublin city. The show makes use of the meandering trails, forests, lake views, and mountain scenery along the walkway, all within close proximity to the studio facilities.
The route also takes in Lough Dan, another shooting location for Vikings. During filming, hikers often get a bird’s eye view of the production from the trail.
The breathtaking Powerscourt Waterfall was the location for the introduction of Aslaug, Ragnar’s future wife. The waterfall, the highest in Ireland at 121 metres, served as her bathing spot, while the Powerscourt Estate where it’s located has provided the backdrop to countless TV programmes and films including The Tudors and King Arthur.
The Powerscourt Waterfall is situated about four miles from the main Powerscourt Estate. Walking is not recommended as there are no footpaths for sections of the way.