Game of Thrones legacy will live on after finale for NI

Characters like Daenerys Targaryen have gripped Game Of Thrones fans. Credit: HBO

Game of Thrones may have reached its dramatic conclusion after first airing back in 2011, but its legacy will live on in Northern Ireland long after the season eight finale.

Fear not, there are no spoilers lurking in this article for those yet to catch up on the final instalment of the hit fantasy series.

For Northern Ireland’s tourism industry, who ends up on the Iron Throne is largely irrelevant - as long as fans continue to flock from around the globe to perch on a replica.

The Kingsroad in Westeros, better known to NI locals as the Dark Hedges near Armoy in Co Antrim. Credit: HBO

Having served as a home from home for the cast and crew over a decade of filming, a host of local beauty spots have sealed their place in Game of Thrones lore.

And you would be forgiven for thinking pretty much everyone has a story at this point about how they were, or someone they know was, an extra.

“There, look, right there – that’s my elbow beside Jamie Lannister!”

Game Of Thrones themed stained glass windows have been popping up in NI. Credit: UTV

From the Dark Hedges near Armoy, now synonymous with the Kingsroad of Westeros, to the “Dothraki Sea” of Binevenagh Mountain, and Tollymore’s Haunted Forest where White Walkers lurk – Northern Ireland will continue to hold appeal for diehard fans from far and wide.

In fact, there are 26 filming locations with links to Game Of Thrones – plus the major touring exhibition currently on display in the Titanic Quarter.

Numerous installations also honour the show that has put Northern Ireland on the map for a whole new type of visitor – from pubs that now feature themed doors carved from storm-damaged Dark Hedges trees, to stained glass windows across the city that depict key characters from the series.

As well as attracting tourists, Game Of Thrones has also helped boost Northern Ireland’s film industry, opening doors for people who want to pursue careers in front of or behind the cameras.

It may not have been the first production to film locally, or the last, but it is one of the biggest - both in terms of scale and following – and Westeros has certainly left its mark.

  • UTV's Frank Mitchell reports from the Game Of Thrones Touring Exhibition