Belfast Telegraph

'Garda Station' sets up shop in Belfast city centre

By Jonathan Bell

A bemused public spent most of Friday rubbing their eyes and doing a double take after a "Garda Station" appeared in Belfast city centre.

But no, there has not been a change in policing arrangements but rather filming for a new BBC drama.

The former First Trust bank at Custom House Square has been transformed - at least on the outside - into a fully- fledged Garda station, supposedly in Dublin.

The transformation is for the filming of a BBC eight-part drama The Dublin Murders - based on the novels of crime novelist Tana French.

The Dublin Murder Squad novels have won major awards and topped bestseller lists across the world. Each novel is led by a different detective from the same Dublin squad and their signature is an intense emotional connection between cop and crime, underpinned by a disturbing tremor from another darker influence.

Casting has yet to be announced but it is said to be an all-Irish line-up with many recognisable names.

Executive producer Sarah Phelps, who re-imagined the works of Agatha Christie for a major BBC production, said: "Tana’s compelling novels are both nail-biting thrillers, enquiries into the nature of evil and heartbreaking stories of human frailty, love and loss. I couldn’t be more excited to be bringing The Dublin Murders to audiences.”

It's not the first time Belfast has been turned into a crime capital for a major television production.

Indeed it is not the first time the former bank building at Custom House Square has been transformed into a Garda station.

In 2016 it was once again dressed to look like a police station in the Republic for the BBC Two drama Paula.

Belfast has a reputation as a preferred location for major television productions.

As well as Game of Thrones - which is shot in the docklands area - the epic Line of Duty has since its second season used Belfast as its backdrop for the show based on the work of AC12 which seeks to root out corruption in a fictional police force.

And who can forget The Fall - as Gillian Anderson's Stella Gibson led a cat and mouse game with serial killer Paul Spector, played by Jamie Dornan.

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