INDIA, 12 SEPTEMBER, 2019 (GPN): Writer George R R Martin returned to the dramatic landscapes of Northern Ireland in August for a special Game of Thrones® fan event.
The acclaimed author of the A Series of Ice and Fire novels, on which Game of Thrones® is based, was making a rare public appearance at Castle Ward in County Down, which stood in for Winterfell, home of the Stark family in the show.
The last time the author was at the National Trust-managed property was when the pilot for the HBO blockbuster was filming there.
Lucky fans were able to join an intimate audience with Martin, who shared his experiences of creating the world of Westeros and beyond with broadcaster and Thrones mega-fan Ed Finn in the surroundings of Castle Ward’s theatre.
During his visit, the ‘Father of Dragons’ as he is affectionately known, praised the “marvellous” filming locations for the show, adding: “Seeing Game of Thrones® come alive in Northern Ireland was a unique thrill. My mind is still boggled a little by it. It’s nice to be back – everybody has always been very hospitable.”
Martin also acknowledged the “profound” impact that Game of Thrones® has had on Northern Ireland, which has been the home of the biggest show in the history of TV for a decade.
Its landscapes are where fantasy comes to life. You can imagine White Walkers roaming the forests, direwolves howling in the night and dragons soaring overheard. As a result, thousands of fans now flock to an array of attractions, tours and authentic experiences related to the show, with Winterfell being one of the most well-known and most visited.
In-depth ‘Thrones’ experiences at Winterfell include medieval feasts, glamping, encounters with the real-life direwolves that appeared in the show and archery in the very courtyard where Jon Snow taught his brother Bran to shoot a bow and arrow. The iconic tower where Jamie Lannister pushed Bran Stark from the window is also there to explore.
Situated on the shores of Strangford Lough, Castle Ward is also ideal for those wanting experiences of the great outdoors. There are 10 other ‘Thrones’ filming locations in the grounds of its vast estate, and from walking, cycling, horse-riding and canoeing to ‘Life Below Stairs’ tours of the castle, the National Trust property is alive with things to do.
For those who fancy a weekend in Westeros, or even longer, the time can be filled with an array of Game of Thrones® thrills, including coach, taxi, cycle, walking and helicopter tours among the 26 different filming locations.
And until 8 September, GAME OF THRONESTM: The Touring Exhibition can be seen at the Titanic Exhibition Centre in Belfast. This must-see exhibition offers an interactive and immersive experience featuring authentic costumes, props and majestic settings from the show.
Watch Tourism Ireland’s interview with George R.R. Martin here.