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05 Mar 2014

60 million American music fans to see and hear the sights and sounds of Belfast and Northern Ireland

A popular American TV music show, Music City Roots, which airs on PBS (Public Broadcasting Service, a public TV network in the United States), was invited to Belfast this week by Tourism Ireland, to record material at this year’s Belfast Nashville Songwriters Festival.  

The TV crew has been filming performances and interviews with musicians like Donovan and Midge Ure, as well as with home-grown artist, Gareth Dunlop, who is carving out a successful career, both in the US and here at home. The material will be used to create a one-hour programme presented by acclaimed performer and songwriter Jim Lauderdale, together with BBC Radio Ulster presenter Ralph McLean – which will be seen by an estimated 60 million music fans across the US when it airs on PBS this autumn.

As well as the music of the festival, footage is also being recorded along the Causeway Coastal Route, including at Ballintoy, to check out one of the locations used in the hit series Game of Thrones, as well as the iconic Giant’s Causeway.

Aubrey Irwin, Tourism Ireland’s head of Northern Ireland, said: “BelNash Festival, now in its tenth year, is a great way for Tourism Ireland to showcase the vibrant music scene of Belfast and shine a spotlight on the many links between the two musical traditions.

“International broadcast opportunities such as this are extremely important, helping Tourism Ireland to build awareness of what’s on offer in Belfast and Northern Ireland and bringing the destination to the attention of millions of music lovers and potential holidaymakers alike. This TV programme will showcase not only some amazing gigs and local acts, but also the unique vibe of Belfast and the spectacular scenery along our Causeway Coastal Route – helping to reinforce our message that Northern Ireland is a ‘must visit’ destination with so much to do and see.”

Tourism Ireland also invited a crew from a radio programme called The Music Row Show, which airs on WSM radio, to the Belfast Nashville Songwriters Festival. The two-hour show aired live, from Belfast, in Nashville and across 38 US states last Sunday morning (2 March).

Tourism Ireland has a busy promotional programme under way in the US this spring, to highlight Northern Ireland to prospective holidaymakers. Millions of Americans will see Tourism Ireland’s ads and holiday features this spring; and some of our local tourism providers will join Tourism Ireland in the US this year, ‘pounding the pavements’ through a series of sales blitzes, targeting hundreds of travel agents in key cities.


Notes To Editors

  • Tourism Ireland is the organisation responsible for promoting Northern Ireland and the island of Ireland overseas as a leading holiday destination.
  • Tourism is responsible for in excess of 5.2% of GDP in Northern Ireland and supports approximately 43,000 jobs.
  • In 2014, Tourism Ireland estimates that almost 1.8 million overseas visitors came to Northern Ireland, delivering revenue of approximately £508 million.
  • Tourism Ireland’s international website is, available in ten different language versions for 30+ markets around the world this year.

Previous Press Release

04 Mar 2014

Showtime for Ireland in Toronto