Belfast Telegraph

Hollywood returns to Roe Valley for Game of Thrones

Donna Deeney

Hollywood has invaded the Roe Valley for the second time in a year as the Game of Thrones cast begin filming in Magilligan.

The spectacular scenery around St Aidan's historic church, Benevenagh and Benone beach will provide new backdrops for HBO's fantasy world of Westeros.

It is not the first time these unspoiled landscapes of east Londonderry caught the eye of film producers as the majestic old trees in the beautiful Roe Valley Country Park proved ideal during the filming of Dracula Untold, due for release soon.

Once again it is the dense vegetation that proved irresistible to the film crews who set up in the ancient woods at the foot of Benevenagh near St Aidan's church.

They perched themselves precariously at edge of the cliff face at 1,200ft above sea level, no doubt maximising the dramatic background of these unspoiled lands.

In the episode The North Remembers, the beautiful beach at Benone doubled as Dragonstone, where the Seven Idols of Westeros were burned and sorceress Melisandre, flames dancing into the night sky, proclaimed: "For the night is dark and full of terrors".

Former Mayor Gerry Mullan said the location was an obvious choice for any fantasy film.

"These lands would most likely have looked like they do now 500 years ago and hopefully won't have changed much in 500 years to come so you can see immediately why any film producer looking for somewhere timeless would be attracted to this place,

"It is an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and we go to great lengths to promote it – but thanks to the huge number of fans that follow Game of Thrones, people the world over will see for themselves what we have been shouting about for years," he said.

"Last year the Roe Valley Country Park was the location for filming for the new Dracula movie, which like the Game of Thrones provided a great air of excitement for local residents."

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