Belfast Telegraph

Northern Ireland Thrones sites are an Instagram hit

By Mark Bain

Game Of Thrones fans have made filming locations in Northern Ireland among the most photographed on social media website Instagram.

The top 10 most-Instagrammed locations include the Dark Hedges in Antrim at number three and Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge at four.

Researchers compiled a list of locations from the online Game Of Thrones Wiki factfile and then found out how often each is hashtagged on Instagram. The top location was Krka National Park in Croatia with 92,343 hashtags.

The Dark Hedges near Armoy - the famous tree-lined road that provides Arya Stark with her escape route from King's Landing - amassed an impressive 43,403. Just behind in fourth spot was Carrick-a-Rede with 38,007.

Game Of Thrones coach tours have proven a real hit, and the show's stunning locations have become a must see for tourists over the last eight years.

Estimated to be worth over £30m a year to the local tourist industry, 120,000 extra visitors were welcomed in 2016 to see for themselves where the dramatic battles and key moments unfolded.

The north coast fares particularly well with visiting Instagrammers. Ballintoy Harbour has 7,718 hashtags; the Glens of Antrim 7,480; Portstewart Strand 6,487; Murlough Bay 4,285; Mussenden Temple 2,973, and Cushendun Caves 1,409.

The final season of Game Of Thrones starts in April, although a spin-off is due to start shooting later this year.

The research was carried out by Buzz Bingo at www.buzzbingo.com.

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