International journalists – from the US, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Denmark, Austria and China – have been taking part in a Game of Thrones themed visit to Northern Ireland this week. The journalists – whose publications have a combined audience of around 25 million people, or potential holidaymakers for Northern Ireland – were invited here by Tourism Ireland, in conjunction with Tourism NI.
They began their visit with a trip along the Causeway Coastal Route, stopping off at various Game of Thrones locations – including the caves at Cushendun (Stormlands), the harbour at Ballintoy (Lordsport), Portstewart Strand and the Dark Hedges (Kingsroad). The group also had the chance to see one of Tourism Ireland’s Game of Thrones doors in Mary McBride’s Pub in Cushendun and to take part in a special Game of Thrones sea safari around Murlough Bay and Fair Head.
In County Down, the journalists explored Tollymore Forest near Newcastle, checking out where the opening scene in series one of Game of Thrones was filmed, as well as the Cistercian ruins at Inch Abbey (Robb Stark’s Camp). They also visited ‘Winterfell’ at Castle Ward and Audley’s Castle and took part in a Game of Thrones banquet at The Cuan in Strangford. The journalists’ final day was spent in Belfast, where they enjoyed a sightseeing city tour, before visiting the Game of Thrones tapestry at the Ulster Museum.
Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland, said: “The visit by these leading journalists is another important opportunity to highlight our connection with Game of Thrones and to showcase the spectacular scenery of Northern Ireland. Our aim is that the articles they write about the landscapes and locations featured in the series will inspire many more people around the world to come and explore them for themselves.
“Tourism Ireland is undertaking a busy programme of promotions throughout 2018, to build on the growth in overseas visitors to Northern Ireland. We are highlighting iconic experiences like Titanic Belfast, the Giant’s Causeway and our unique National Trust properties, as well as our world-renowned golf and food.”