Belfast Telegraph

Game of Thrones inspires medieval tourist trail in Northern Ireland

Bid to attract show's fans to our real historic sites

The Journeying Beyond Westeros team at Dundrum Castle to launch a heritage trail inspired by Game Of Thrones
The Journeying Beyond Westeros team at Dundrum Castle to launch a heritage trail inspired by Game Of Thrones

By Michael McHugh

A Medieval heritage trail inspired by Game Of Thrones is to be launched in Northern Ireland.

Journeying Beyond Westeros will introduce visitors to the history of the region and aims to exploit the interest of fans of the hit fantasy drama.

HBO's massively successful Game Of Thrones TV series is about to return to screens for its final season.

Ancient monuments here have been used as filming locations for places in the seven kingdoms of Westeros, the main setting for the series.

Dr Colm Donnelly from the School of Natural and Built Environment at Queen's University Belfast said: "Using historic sources such as the Annals Of The Four Masters, the object is to work towards the development of a heritage trail across Northern Ireland where visitors will learn the stories of our powerful past rulers and their families - their wars and rivalries, their alliances and marriages, and their betrayals and assassinations - in and around the year AD 1500." The project will tell the stories of the O'Neill's of Tyrone, the Maguire clan of Fermanagh and the Highland Scots McDonnells' involvement in the Glens of Antrim.

Sites on the trail could include Carrickfergus Castle, Tullaghoge Fort, Dundrum Castle, Bonamargy Friary, Dungannon Castle (Hill of the O'Neill) and Enniskillen Castle.

Journeying Beyond Westeros team member Caroline Nolan explained: "Many of the incidents incorporated into Game Of Thrones come from the medieval world. We have our own events and tales that can be told about our medieval lordships and this project will allow us to present them to the tourists who come to Northern Ireland because of their Game Of Thrones interest, and who evidently have a curiosity about medieval intrigue and power struggles."

In 2016 Game Of Thrones tourism was estimated to be worth £30m to the local economy, while Northern Ireland Screen estimates that £210m has been spent on goods and services during its production since 2009.

Belfast Telegraph


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