Angela Lansbury has a particular love for Ireland. Her mother, actress Moyna Macgill, was born in Belfast. Whereas Angela was raised in London and then moved to the US at the beginning of the second world war, she moved to Ireland later in life. In 1970, she and her husband moved their kids from Los Angeles to a town in County Cork. After moving back to the US in the 1980s and filming several seasons of Murder, She Wrote, the couple once again purchased land in County Cork and built a vacation home there in 1991.
Angela’s love of Ireland comes through in the many Murder, She Wrote episodes that were set there. As today is St. Patrick’s day, I thought it would be nice to highlight those episodes for those of you who want to watch them and get into the Irish spirit.
Episodes set in Ireland
“The Wind Around the Tower” Season 9 Episode 4
While being visitors at an estate in Ireland, Jessica and her friend are convinced that their host’s demise is not from natural causes. This episode is set in County Galway, which makes it the only Irish Murder, She Wrote episode not sent in County Cork.
“A Killing in Cork” Season 10 Episode 7
While visiting Ireland, Jessica searches for clues when a widowed friend’s son is suspected of killing an American relative.
“Another Killing in Cork” Season 11 Episode 20
While Jessica is enjoying her stay at a fishing lodge in Ireland, she finds out the owner is beset by a consortium that wants to buy his land for a strip mine.
“Nan’s Ghost” Season 12 Episode 6 & 7 (it’s a two-parter)
A haunted spirit and antique smugglers are just a few challenges Jessica faces on her Irish vacation.
Murder, She Wrote: The Celtic Riddle (2003 TV Movie)
Jessica Fletcher travels to Ireland, where she becomes involved in a clue-driven hunt for secret treasure.
Interestingly, the TV movie is based on the book The Celtic Riddle by Lyn Hamilton and originally features the series sleuth Lara McClintoch (a Toronto-based antiques dealer).
Episodes featuring Irish characters
“To the Last Will I Grapple With Thee” Season 8 Episode 17
Jessica tackles the mystery of a man who apparently migrated from Ireland to New York for the sole purpose of taking revenge on an old friend of hers, but is killed himself. Features the character of Sean Cullane/Culhane who also appeared in “The Wind Around the Tower”.
Angela and her family moved to the US in 1940 during the second world war not the first.
Eek, of course! This is what happens when I rush to post. Thanks for pointing this out! I’ve now fixed it 🙂
Wow, I’ve seen all these, except the 2003 TV movie, but it’s been a while. Didn’t realize there were quite so many Ireland episodes.
I just watched all the Ireland episodes and thought it was funny how they used the same scenery for the opening shot in each. Red car driving through the countryside. Same red car at that. 🙂
Thanks for sharing that observation! I’ve actually never watched all of them in a row like that so haven’t noticed it. Though I have noticed in general how much they use stock footage of places. I’ll definitely keep an eye out for that red car next time I watch an Ireland episode 🙂
I wonder if ANY of the Ireland episodes were actually filmed in Ireland–except for the establishing shots and back-projection or blue- or green- screen sfx bits. Still much better than, for instance, the several screaming-California eps in which alleged moister places were “played” by dry scrub oak forest or even caught eucalypts and Washingtonia palms. Some folks must have complained about the first “New Orleans” episode, which was so Los Angeles that you could even glimpse mountains and a twink of the distinctive Capitol Records building (fine script and cast, though, especially “no relation” [?] Stan Shaw, who came back in different incarnations in other episodes… Because the next set-in-Nawlinz was much more credible in scenery. ‘Spose we were ever meant to take some of the series with all the whimsy of XENA. The foxhunt… Well, compare it to (genuine Master of Fox Hounds) Rita Mae Brown’s Sister Jane Mysteries and all their info on the real thing, the Canadian court scene with wigs and ruffles as if lifted from RUMPOLE OF THE BAILEY or a Margaret Rutherford Miss Marple, and other fun; just suspend disbelief on the same hanger as Mrs. Fletcher getting away with (being on the spot for another and another) murder.
This site is delicious! Thank you!
Thanks for your comment! Yeah, as far as I know they always stayed in LA for filming. As a Canadian, I do also chuckle about the episodes set in Canada. Like you said, wigs and ruffles and ENGLISH accents in a province that is supposed to be French!