~ George R.R. Martin visits the real-world Westeros ~
Tourism Ireland has unveiled a new online film – fronted by George R.R. Martin, the bestselling author of the Song of Ice and Fire saga, the books that became the TV phenomenon Game of Thrones®.
George R.R. Martin was here last month, to accept an International Recognition Award as part of this year's Irish Book Awards – but made sure to take a trip to Castle Ward in Co Down, where some of the key Game of Thrones® scenes were filmed. Tourism Ireland took the opportunity to interview Martin and hear from him what it was like to return to Northern Ireland and re-connect with the real-life locations which brought the characters, scenes and stories in his books so vividly to life on screen in Game of Thrones®.
The Tourism Ireland video showcases Northern Ireland’s beautiful landscapes and some of the locations used in Game of Thrones® – including Binevenagh, Downhill Beach, Carnlough, Castle Ward and Tollymore Forest – reminding people everywhere that Northern Ireland is ‘Game of Thrones Territory’ and encouraging them to come and explore the landscapes and locations featured in the series for themselves. Tourism Ireland’s message to Game of Thrones® fans around the world is that while Westeros might feel like another world, the Seven Kingdoms are very real! As one of the key filming locations for the hit HBO show, Northern Ireland is a place where fantasy comes to life.
In the video, Martin talks about his delight at seeing Game of Thrones® brought to life in Northern Ireland, about Winterfell as the site of the story’s most crucial scene and what it is like to witness the profound effect that Game of Thrones® has had on Northern Ireland. His last visit to Castle Ward was during filming for season one of Game of Thrones®, when the location was chosen as the setting for Winterfell.
“Seeing Game of Thrones® come alive here in Northern Ireland was a unique thrill. My mind is still boggled, a little, by it,” said George R.R. Martin, on his visit to Northern Ireland. “The fact that Game of Thrones® has had this impact on Northern Ireland has been profound as well ... it's a pretty heady feeling.”
“This is only the second time I've visited Castle Ward. It's like Winterfell is coming to life here. So, that's a little surreal and a little mind-boggling,” he explained. “It's the crucial scene that drives the entire book with Bran's fall. When Bran sees Jaime and Cersei, Jaime shoves him out the window and says ... ‘the things I do for love.’ That's a powerful moment, I think, in the television show and certainly in the books.”
The film will be promoted by Tourism Ireland through its social platforms – including Facebook (more than 4.4 million fans worldwide), Twitter (522,000 followers) and YouTube.
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 2018, we welcomed 2.218 million overseas visitors to Northern Ireland, delivering revenue of over £560 million.
- Tourism Ireland’s international website is www.ireland.com, 29 market sites available in 11 language versions around the world, which attracted around 20+ million visitors in 2018.