Be ready to be whisked across the pond to Ireland in Hallmark's Christmas at Castle Hart starring Lacey Chabert and Stuart Townsend. No passport required. The brand-new flick, one of the 41 gifts we are getting thanks to the network's massive Countdown to Christmas offerings this year, was filmed entirely on location in Ireland.
Chabert plays Brooke Bennett, who is newly single and unemployed let's her much more impulsive sister Margot convince her to go with her to Ireland to trace their family's Irish roots. Soon after they arrive on Irish soil, Brooke meets Aiden, played by Irish actor, Stuart Townsend, who is the Earl of Glaslough. Aiden has just returned home after years abroad working as an architect, having left his sister Siobhan to the financially troubled Castle Hart in his absence. Siobhan is less than pleased at her brother's return and she is under stress because with just a few weeks before the castle is to host a gala, their event planner cancelled. Due to an unintentional mix-up, Aiden believes Brooke and Margot are high profile event planners, and he hires them to save the gala. The movie unfolds as part comedy, part love story, and part caper. All set to the most beautiful, authentic Irish backdrop you could imagine.
Chabert and Townsend spoke to Southern Living back in September right after returning from Ireland about the experience. For Chabert, the Mississippi born actress, it was her first trip to the Emerald Isle, and for Townsend, a native of Howth, County Dublin, it was a home coming.
"I had never been to Ireland before and I was so thrilled to just to be there and see how beautiful it is, and the most kind people and so genuinely welcoming. Ireland really is a character in the movie and I just love that the audience is going to hopefully feel like they've been there with us," Chabert said.
"I hadn't been back for three years, so it was really exciting to go home. We did a lot of work but at the end, after the shoot finished, I got to go and take my two boys, so I had my family with me which was amazing. I got to take them to all these special places that are really dear to me in Ireland. And then they got to meet their cousins. We got to see the next gen all hang out together, which was really sweet. And just to be around family and be back home and be around my countrymen, it was just a beautiful experience. And then to make such a lovely movie. You know, it was really a magical month," Townsend said.
They filmed in County Clare in the west of Ireland and at three different castles. One castle even served as the cast and crew's lodging for several days. "We got to stay at Dromoland Castle for a few days while we were filming there. And it's all decorated for Christmas for the movie, and it was just so magical," Chabert told us.
As with most of these movies, the production schedule was tight, so they didn't have much time off set. But Chabert made sure to play tourist as much as she could. "I just wanted to see as much as I could so we just got in the car and drove around. We got to see the Cliffs of Moher, I mean, I think the prettiest thing I've ever seen. And the weather was incredible. I thought it was going to be raining the whole time. And it wasn't. We had this beautiful warm weather."
©2021 Crown Media United States LLC/ Michael Mc Laughlin
If you want to travel to Ireland without leaving your couch, be sure to watch Christmas at Castle Hart, premiering Saturday, November 27 at 8PM/7PM CST.