Seán Hall recalls the filming of Saving Private Ryan on Ballinesker Beach in County Wexford twenty years ago.

Many in Ireland, particularly the humble people of Wexford, this writer included, are wont to remind others of the fact that the opening scene to the film Saving Private Ryan, was in fact filmed at Ballinesker Beach in Curracloe twenty years ago, from June to August 1997.

The backdrop to Saving Private Ryan is the Battle of Normandy in 1944, which was the liberation of France from occupation by the Nazis during the Second World War, by combined Allied forces.

The opening scene at Curracloe depicts the landing of Allied troops at the codenamed ‘Omaha Beach’, a landing point designated for American soldiers, on D-Day, which was the first day of the battle.

The film mainly focuses on a troop of soldiers of the United States 2nd Ranger Battalion, led by Captain John Miller (Tom Hanks) who manage to break out from the beach but leave behind a fallen comrade: Private Sean Ryan. We then discover that two more brothers Peter and Daniel Ryan have also lost their lives on the beaches of Northern France.

Continue reading in this week’s Ireland’s Own (issue 5615)