Bective Abbey
Bective Abbey

Bective Abbey Used for The Last Duel Film

The well-preserved ruin called Bective Abbey in Co. Meath was the setting for the movie “The Last Duel” starring Hollywood A-listers Matt Damon, Ben Affleck, Adam Driver, and Jodie Comer, which was released in 2021.

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Other locations in Ireland used for filming include Cahir Castle in Co. Tipperary and the Ardmore Studios in Co. Wicklow.

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The movie, directed by Ridley Scott, is based on the novel, “The Last Duel: A True Story of Trial by Combat in Medieval France,” by Eric Jager.
An aerial shot of Bective Abbey in Co. Meath. Photo: Klennon77 – CC BY-SA 4.0,

The story centers around a duel between Knights Jean de Carrouges (played by Damon) and Jacques Le Gris, played by Driver.

Affleck was originally slated to play the role of Le Gris, but scheduling conflicts made it impossible.

The duel took place in Paris on Dec. 29, 1386.

It all began when Carrouges accused Le Gris of raping his wife Marguerite (played by Comer). When the case couldn’t be solved in court, the King of France Charles VI suggested the two end it in a duel to the death.

Here is some information on the tourist attractions used in the movie.

Bective Abbey, Co. Meath

Bective Abbey was founded in 1147, but the well-preserved ruins you see today are from the 13th through the 16th centuries.
Bective Abbey in Co. Meath, a popular spot for filmmakers. Photo: Gary Le Strange Photography for Getty Images.

Managed by the Office of Public Works, the abbey includes a church, a cloister, and a tower. It is typical Cistercian architecture, with its notable gothic arches.

Murchad O’Maeil-Sheachlainn established the abbey as a “daughter house” of Mellifont Abbey located close to Drogheda, Co. Louth, about 30 km away (18 miles).

The abbey and surrounding land were confiscated by the British during the Dissolution of the Monasteries in the 1530s, a decree from Henry VIII.

During the 17th century, the abbey buildings were partially converted for use as a manor house.

A maze of passageways with dead ends and interrupted staircases make Bective Abbey a fascinating place to explore.

Admission is free.

Bective Abbey has been a popular location for filmmakers.

In 1955, it was used to film “Captain Lightfoot” starring Rock Hudson and in 1995, it was used to film “Braveheart” starring Mel Gibson.

Cahir Castle, Co. Tipperary

This is one of the country’s largest and best-preserved castles.

It was built in the 13th century by the O’Brien clan, most notably Conor O’Brien, Prince of Thomond.
Cahir Castle in Co. Tipperary. Photo: Liam Murphy, Failte Ireland.

The castle was granted to the powerful Butler family in the late 14th century and was later enlarged and remodeled between the 15th and 17th centuries.

During the Irish Confederate Wars (between 1641 and 1653), it was besieged twice even though at the time, the castle was considered one of the most heavily fortified in terms of building design.

It fell into ruin in the late 18th century and was partially restored in the 1840s, at which time the castle’s Great Hall was partially rebuilt.
An archway inside Cahir Castle. Photo: Getty Images Signature.

In 1981, it was used as a location for a battle scene in the movie, “Excalibur.”

It was also used as a location for the TV series, “The Tudors.”

Admission is €3 for adults, €2 for seniors, €1 for children, and €8 for a family.

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Ardmore Studios, Bray

Ardmore Studios in Bray, Co. Wicklow, is Ireland’s premier TV and film studio.

It has been in operation since 1958. Some of the popular TV shows made at the studios include “Penny Dreadful” and “The Tudors.”

Movies filmed at Ardmore Studios include “Braveheart” and “Excalibur.”

While there is no official tour of the working studio, there are plenty of things to do in Bray and the surrounding area. They include the following:

Bray Victorian Promenade

Bray’s proximity to Dublin City as well as the opening of the Dublin and Kingstown Railway in 1834 made the town a popular seaside resort.

a boardwalk Bective Abbey
The Bray promenade and seafront. Photo: William Murphy,

The promenade dates to Victorian times when William Dargan, the man who established the railway line to Bray, built it as part of his plan to turn Bray into “The Brighton of Ireland.”

The promenade begins at the harbor near 1 Martello Terrace, one of the places where James Joyce lived as a child. It ends at Bray Head.
The Sugarloaf Mountain in Co. Wicklow. Photo: Tourism Ireland

The sea views and glimpses of the Sugarloaf and Wicklow Mountains are just some of the region's natural beauty that you can enjoy on this mile-long walk.

Kilruddery House

This large house, on the outskirts of Bray, is an Elizabethan-style building that dates from the 17th century.

It has been the home of the Earls of Meath for over 300 years.

The current Earl of Meath is  Anthony Jacques Brabazon, who lives there with his wife, the Countess of Meath, and their family.

a large house with water in front of it Bective Abbey
Kilruddery House in Co. Wicklow. Photo: Sonder for Failte Ireland.

His title and that of others, such as duke, marquess, viscount, and baron, is part of the Peerage of Ireland established in 1627.

The nobility titles were created by various English monarchs over the years.

The custom ended in the 19th century, although several families hold similar titles all across Ireland to this day.

Guided tours of the house are available from May through September and at weekends during the month of October.
The beautiful Powerscourt Gardens in Co. Wicklow. Photo: Malayac for Getty Images.

The estate has been used in the past as a filming location for a number of films and TVs series, including “My Left Foot,” “Far and Away,” “Angela’s Ashes,” “The Tudors,” “Into the Badlands,” “The Turning,” and “Camelot.”

The Kilruddery Gardens are home to the annual Groove Festival.

Other places to visit within easy reach of Bray include the Powerscourt Estate, the Powerscourt Waterfall, and Wicklow Mountains National Park.

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