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The sleepy Irish seaside town that stars in Netflix’s Bodkin

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The historic bridge served as a backdrop to the 1994 film War of the Buttons, and more recently has featured in Netflix’s new series, Bodkin, a dark comedic thriller executive produced by Barack and Michelle Obama, about a motley crew of podcasters who set out to investigate the mysterious disappearance of three strangers in a quaint, coastal Irish town.

While Bodkin is a fictional town, it’s based on a place like Union Hall, where one of the show’s writers, Alex Metcalf, spent a summer as a teenager – and where most of the coastal scenes are shot. 

Bodkin has received mixed reviews in the Irish press, with many viewers enjoying its satirising of true crime podcasts and thrilling plot twists, while others have been triggered by its depiction of Irish life. The Irish Times called it “the worst genre ever – the Irish rural picaresque where booze flows, nuns scowl and everyone enunciates the characters”.

Criticism of this clichéd portrayal of Irish life on screen – where lyrical, country folk roam the rolling hills and cattle-strewn streets, spending half their lives in the pub drinking Guinness and singing ballads or telling yarns – has been well documented. But is Union Hall really like this? What can you expect from a visit? 

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