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Game of Thrones chose Northern Ireland over Scotland and it still hurts

Games of Thrones Northern Ireland locations Close

Game of Thrones film location - Stranocum Dark Hedges - Ballymoney

Game of Thrones film location - Stranocum Dark Hedges - Ballymoney

Game of Thrones Film Location - Iron Islands - Ballintoy

Game of Thrones Film Location - Iron Islands - Ballintoy

Game of Thrones Film Location - Dragonstone Mussenden Temple

Game of Thrones Film Location - Dragonstone Mussenden Temple

The Dark Hedges lining the Bregagh Road in Co Antrim have attracted visitors from all over the globe

The Dark Hedges lining the Bregagh Road in Co Antrim have attracted visitors from all over the globe

Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge near, Ballintoy, County Antrim, Northern Ireland.

Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge near, Ballintoy, County Antrim, Northern Ireland.

Northern Ireland Tourist Board

The Cushendun Caves

The Cushendun Caves

Murlough Nature Reserve

Murlough Nature Reserve

Arlene Foster wants to use tourism jewels like Ballintoy harbour to tempt Asian and Arab tourists

Arlene Foster wants to use tourism jewels like Ballintoy harbour to tempt Asian and Arab tourists

Ballintoy harbour

Alfie Allen, who plays Theon Greyjoy, during filming at Ballintoy

Alfie Allen, who plays Theon Greyjoy, during filming at Ballintoy

PA

Game of Thrones
Arya remains under the watch of the The Hound
HBO

Game of Thrones Arya remains under the watch of the The Hound HBO

HBO has defended graphic scenes of sex and violence in fantasy epic Game of Thrones

HBO has defended graphic scenes of sex and violence in fantasy epic Game of Thrones

Maisie Williams as Arya

Maisie Williams as Arya

Game of Thrones
King Joffrey and his smirk of contempt are back
HBO

Game of Thrones King Joffrey and his smirk of contempt are back HBO

Game of Thrones
Jaime and Cersai in heated discussions
HBO

Game of Thrones Jaime and Cersai in heated discussions HBO

Game of Thrones
Sansa and Tyrion have a heart-to-heart
HBO

Game of Thrones Sansa and Tyrion have a heart-to-heart HBO

Game of Thrones
Oberyn with Ellaria, mother of the four youngest Sand Snakes
HBO

Game of Thrones Oberyn with Ellaria, mother of the four youngest Sand Snakes HBO

Game of Thrones
Tyrion and Shae have words
HBO

Game of Thrones Tyrion and Shae have words HBO

Game of Thrones
The Hound strides the fields in heavy armour
HBO

Game of Thrones The Hound strides the fields in heavy armour HBO

The battle for the wall: Jon Snow (Kit Harington) continues to fight the Wildlings in the Game of Thrones Season 4

The battle for the wall: Jon Snow (Kit Harington) continues to fight the Wildlings in the Game of Thrones Season 4

© HBO

 Dragon lady: Emilia Clarke

Dragon lady: Emilia Clarke

Game of Thrones
Daario will be a new arrival in season 4
HBO

Game of Thrones Daario will be a new arrival in season 4 HBO

Game of Thrones
Tywin wearing the Hand of the King brooch
HBO

Game of Thrones Tywin wearing the Hand of the King brooch HBO

Game of Thrones
Ygritte and Tormund prepare for battle
HBO

Game of Thrones Ygritte and Tormund prepare for battle HBO

Game of Thrones
Sam, a steward of the Night's Watch
HBO

Game of Thrones Sam, a steward of the Night's Watch HBO

Game of Thrones
Margaery and Olenna in the courtyard
HBO

Game of Thrones Margaery and Olenna in the courtyard HBO

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Game of Thrones film location - Stranocum Dark Hedges - Ballymoney

Game of Thrones producers choose Northern Ireland over Scotland to film the award-winning show - and the country's film and television production industry is still smarting over it.

The hit show based on George R Martin's best-selling books has not only put Northern Ireland on the international film production map but also provided a huge boost to the tourism industry.

The depth of Scotland's pain of losing out as a location to the world's top television series has been revealed in an Economy Committee hearing in Holyrood.

Northern Ireland has provided locations for the fictional land of Westeros in the drama over the last six years.

The "aggression" and incentives offered by Northern Ireland Screen to secure Game of Thrones to go for Northern Ireland as a main location was described as having made the difference.

The hit series was attracted to Northern Ireland by the package of incentive finance, UK tax relief, studio facilities, crew and locations.

Northern Ireland was described as having "stolen a march" over Scotland in attracting the show to film over the last six years, according to Drew McFarlane of Equity Scotland.
 

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Mr McFarland told the hearing: "It seems to me that what we don't have in Scotland, which we do in Northern Ireland, is one lead body who is fairly aggressive, out there trying to work on behalf of the film and television industry, and that's Northern Ireland Screen.

"A lot of people outside of Northern Ireland would see it as a mickey mouse organisation, because it doesn't have a huge budget, yet it seems to be a great driver and that is what we have lost with the loss of Scottish Screen and the way it has been metamorphosed into Creative Scotland."

He added that Scotland's infrastructure was "sadly lacking" compared to Northern Ireland.

The committee heard that Glasgow had been tipped to become the second centre of production outside London for the show but it had slipped to fourth or fifth place due to inaction.

However, Culture secretary Fiona Hyslop later tolds MSPs that she supported the idea of setting up a Scottish film studio.

The pain of losing out to Northern Ireland has been further exacerbated as a written submission from Film Edinburgh on behalf of the Scottish locations network revealed that several Scottish members of the crew had since moved to Northern Ireland to work on the show.

The submission said that Game of Thrones producers received an investment of £12.45m from Northern Ireland Screen and provided a return on investment to the Northern Ireland economy of £110.7m including crew salaries, accommodation and catering, facilities fees and location fees.

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