How HBO’s ‘Game of Thrones’ has turned Northern Ireland into a tourism hot spot

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The popularity of the fantasy television saga, which returns on April 14 for its eighth and final season – as excited as we are, sees 30 coaches of tourists a week travelling to filming locations, and who would blame them?!

What we would do to tour at the Game of Thrones location at this point! Lol

The group, tourists from Britain, Germany, the United States and half a dozen other countries, followed the guide deep into Tollymore Forest and gathered around a tree stump.

Tourists at the Game of Thrones location Northern Ireland
Guide Eric Nolan (centre), shows a group of tourists ‘Game of Thrones’ filming locations in Tollymore Forest, Northern Ireland. Photo: The Guardian

“Ladies and gentlemen, cameras ready,” said Eric Nolan, who had chaperoned them from Dublin to this state park in Northern Ireland this week. “This,” he said pointing, “is where [actor] Kit Harington’s arse sat.”

Nolan grinned and held a poster-sized screenshot showing Harington, the actor who plays Jon Snow, indeed sitting on the stump in an early episode of Game of Thrones.

The visitors clustered around the stump and aimed their cameras. Click, click, click. It was probably the least dramatic moment of the day-long tour – there would be a castle, replica weapons and petting of wolf-like dogs – and still they were enchanted.

Such is the spell cast by the HBO fantasy television saga, which returns to screens on April 14 for the eighth and final season, a television phenomenon with 30 million devotees in the US and millions of others in the UK, where it is broadcast on Sky Atlantic.

SCMP

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