Belfast Telegraph

Keep off the sand... unless you’re a Game of Thrones extra

By Nevin Farrell

Life was a beach in Portstewart as hit TV series Game of Thrones' take-over of the town's world famous strand continued with a total blockade on visitors.

The bucket-and-spade beach ban – and the blocking of any sort of access to the stretch of coast – was in its second full day.

The total ban was due to be lifted today, but there will be restricted access in place until August 12, beach owners the National Trust said.

There was mixed reaction yesterday to the closure, with some visitors having to ditch their plans for a day on the sands, but for Game of Thrones fans it was a day of delight, hoping to see stars from the hit series.

They flocked to the seaside and packed onto the lofty sand dunes overlooking the beach – some with binoculars – in the hope of spotting a star.

The beach was out of bounds yesterday with security personnel on stand-by should anyone attempt to break through.

Signs telling visitors that the beach was closed were in place and a roadblock was set up to stop access to the strand, prompting mixed views from locals and visitors.

One visitor had travelled thousands of miles from south America, although Brazilian Mota Lima (32) was just over on a holiday with his Belfast-born wife Danielle.

He had brought their daughter Isobella (1) and cousin Curtis (15) for a day out, but were then stopped from going any further at the cordon outside Portstewart Golf Club.

Mr Lima said: "I came here to spend some time on Portstewart Strand and we are disappointed we can't get on there.

"I was looking forward to taking some photographs."

Juliet Kantazi (38) was holidaying from London and staying in Belfast.

She said it was a "bit of a shame" that the whole of the beach was closed off, but she said if the weather picked up they might go to a beach in nearby Portrush.

Sarah Pinkerton (28) and her husband Adam (27), from Portstewart, walk their two-year-old Spaniel dog Toby on the beach, but they didn't mind not getting onto the sands yesterday.

Sarah said: "It is not every day a world-renowned TV show comes to town so we can live with it.

"It will be brilliant publicity for the strand and for Portstewart."

Adam said he watched the series and they had spotted Danish actor Nikolaj Coster-Waldau having a snack at a food stall under a gazebo at Portstewart Golf Club, prompting a stampede from listening fans.

Background

The dunes around Portstewart were like a coastal version of Wimbledon's Henman Hill yesterday except the name on everyone's lips was Game of Thrones character Jaime Lannister, played by 44-year-old Danish actor Nikolaj Coster-Waldau. Coster-Waldau, who was apparently out and about in Portstewart town centre during the week and spotted in SuperValu, was reputedly seen grabbing a bite to eat during a break from filming. He was also spotted being filmed riding a horse along the famous sandy beach.

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