Director Vic Sarin reported that Connie Nielsen was so immersed into her role that she spent the entire 28-day shoot speaking with an Irish accent, even when off-set.
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Maire and Alec's cottage is a construction of scaffolding and timber, which had to be built for the film because no suitable house could be found in the location.
Spectacular rainbows and double rainbows are a common occurrence in the part of Ireland where the film was shot.
The monument of standing stones on the island was built for the film. Some of the huge 'stones' were made from concrete, others from polystyrene. However, many tourists to the area mistook the monument for a real stone age site.
The actors intentionally speak a very toned down Donegal accent, because international audiences would not understand the much stronger genuine accent spoken by the islanders off the Donegal coast.
Filming in the north of Donegal took place in May, because this month traditionally has the best weather in the rough climate of the region. The producers were lucky and the weather was suitable for filming. It was, in fact, so good that they found it hard to get the moody scenes set in bad weather.
At his audition 'John Bell (XXiV)' was asked to perform an emotional scene which required him to cry. When he came out of the audition, parents of other young hopefuls took his tears to be real and commented on the stress of the situation, thinking the boy had been put under pressure by ambitious parents.
The opening scenes in the orphanage were filmed in the abandoned building of a mental hospital.