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07 Dec 2018

Game of Thrones® Tapestry to exhibit in Bayeux

Following the final season of the award-winning HBO series Game of Thrones® – which will air in April 2019 – Tourism Ireland’s Game of Thrones® Tapestry will travel to Bayeux in Normandy, north-western France, home of the world-famous 11th-century Bayeux Tapestry. The Game of Thrones® Tapestry will be exhibited there from September 2019, near its historic counterpart – which was a key source of inspiration for its new neighbour.

Tourism Ireland commemorated the contribution of Game of Thrones® to Northern Ireland with its medieval-style, hand-woven tapestry – created in 2017, to coincide with season seven. The 80-metre long tapestry – woven from linen supplied by Thomas Ferguson’s in Banbridge and hand-embroidered by a team at the Ulster Museum – depicts some of the most memorable and iconic scenes from every episode of the series to date. 

Following the long-awaited worldwide release of season eight in April 2019, scenes from those final episodes will be added to the hand-crafted masterpiece. As the Game of Thrones® saga comes to a close, the tapestry will then begin its own adventure – from the Ulster Museum in Belfast, where it’s been on display since July 2017, to the Norman city of Bayeux. 

“Our Game of Thrones® tapestry has been hugely successful,” said Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland. “It has attracted visitors from all over the world to Northern Ireland and has been seen by around 150,000 visitors to the Ulster Museum. The stellar popularity of Game of Thrones® remains a fantastic opportunity for Tourism Ireland to promote Northern Ireland to a huge audience of potential visitors. Our aim is to engage with fans everywhere, to spike their curiosity about the landscapes and locations featured in the series and inspire them to come and explore them for themselves.”

The Game of Thrones® Tapestry will be exhibited in the historic Hôtel du Doyen, within walking distance of the Bayeux Tapestry, from September to December 2019. Tourism Ireland will be pulling out all the stops to leverage this new opportunity to shine a spotlight on Northern Ireland and our Game of Thrones® connections.

For Patrick Gomont, Mayor of Bayeux, the choice of venue was both natural and symbolic: "This vast 18th-century building and former residence of the Dean of the Cathedral was home to the Bayeux Tapestry just after the Second World War. The tapestry was exhibited there until 1982, when it was transferred to the old seminary, where it is still housed today.”

Tourism Ireland, National Museums NI and the City of Bayeux are pleased to announce this new partnership, which will promote Northern Ireland as ‘Game of Thrones® Territory’ in France, and elsewhere around the world, and will also increase awareness of the historic and cultural significance of the Bayeux Tapestry, an endless source of fascination for historians and the public alike, over 900 years after it was made. 

Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland, continued: "Tourism Ireland has been working hard to build awareness of Northern Ireland around the world, highlighting our connection with Game of Thrones® to fans everywhere. It has been a privilege to work with HBO, Tourism NI, the Ulster Museum and our partners in Northern Ireland, to promote Northern Ireland as ‘Game of Thrones® Territory’. I am confident that the epic journey our Game of Thrones® Tapestry is about to embark upon will inspire French fans – as well as those from further afield – to visit Northern Ireland.”

Antoine Verney, Head of Conservation at the Museums of Bayeux, is delighted to see the Bayeux Tapestry in the limelight: "This exhibition gives us the opportunity to showcase our near millennium-old tapestry to a new audience and we are really looking forward to doing just that. The fact that our tapestry continues to be referred to in popular culture – of which the Game of Thrones® Tapestry is only one example – is further evidence of the timelessness of the Bayeux Tapestry.”

According to Kathryn Thomson, Chief Executive of National Museums NI: “Whilst on display in the Ulster Museum, the tapestry allowed us tell the fascinating stories of our rich heritage and local traditions of textile manufacture and embroidery and showcase some of our collections and their contemporary relevance. The tapestry was loved by visitors and it has become an important part of our collections. We are delighted to partner with Tourism Ireland on this project and to share some of our objects with Bayeux. This loan highlights the centuries-old links between Normandy and Ireland, ranging from the shipping to textile industries, through to the arts and crafts and most importantly our shared linen heritage.”
 

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 65,000 jobs.
  • In 2017, we welcomed 2.175 million overseas visitors to Northern Ireland, delivering revenue of £566 million. 
  • Tourism Ireland’s international website is www.ireland.com, 29 market sites available in 11 language versions around the world, which attracted around 19.3 million visitors in 2017.