A FOURTH series of the smash hit fantasy series Game Of Thrones will be filmed in Northern Ireland, it was confirmed last night.
First Minister Peter Robinson and Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness made the announcement after the president of Home Box Office (HBO) Michael Lombardo said it had renewed its option on the series.
Game Of Thrones, which stars Ciaran Hinds, is an epic story of treachery and nobility based on the bestselling fantasy book series by George RR Martin and has been a success around the world. Series four will receive funding from NI Screen, Invest NI and is part funded by the European Regional Development Fund.
The two ministers met with HBO chiefs at the Season 3 premiere in Los Angeles last month, where they pressed Northern Ireland's case as a first-class production location, as well as the benefits afforded by the upcoming television tax breaks for the UK.
Mr Robinson said: "Securing the filming of series four is proof that Northern Ireland can host large-scale productions with positive spin-off into other sectors such tourism, where we can showcase stunning locations such as the Causeway Coast and Glens, Ballintoy, Murlough Bay to name but a few.
"The success of Game Of Thrones shows our commitment to leave no stone unturned when seeking to secure such international productions.
"We have seen the economic impact of an estimated £65m across the three seasons and we want to grow our local film industry to attract more international projects of this scale."
Mr McGuinness added: "Meeting with HBO executives shows we are prepared to go the extra mile to secure such an internationally renowned production for our local film industry."