TV boost for north Antrim tourism

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Some councillors in Moyle believe there may be issues tour operators need to sort out with HBO - the producers of Game of Thrones - regarding intellectual copyright and use of their name, etc.

But if everything is sorted out they hope tourist buses can roll through north Antrim.

And Pauline McCullagh, manageress of Roark’s Kitchen in Ballintoy, hopes her business will receive a boost if the tours start. They are planned to begin in July. “If it brings more tourists to the area it is to be welcomed,” she said.

Cllr Joan Baird welcomed any tourism boost and Cllr Padraig McShane also wants to see benefits but he said Moyle Council referred a letter sent from a would-be Game of Thrones tour bus operator to HBO.

In the letter, Robert Dowling said he was a director of ‘Games of Thrones Tours Northern Ireland’ which he said aims to bring 16-seater tourist buses to locations associated with the series. He said they are liaising with HBO and added: ‘Customers will visit several film locations, put on costumes from HBO’s costume department, to recreate key scenes from the show, pose for photos. Each photostop will last approximately ten minutes.’

Mr Dowling said one route will take in ‘The Iron Islands’ which includes the Antrim Coast Road, North Antrim Coast and Dark Hedges.

The film locations they want to stop at are: ‘Melisandre’s Cave’ (in real life Cushendun Caves); ‘Renly Confronts Stannis’ (in real life Murlough Bay); ‘The Iron Islands’ (Ballintoy Harbour) and ‘Kingsroad Trees’ (the ‘Dark Hedges’). Mr Dowling said they will organise lunch for the passengers at Roark’s Kitchen.