Tourism Ireland has launched a new film to help consolidate and promote Derry’s status as the Hallowe’en capital of the world ahead of the 2016 celebrations.
The national tourism body this week launched the 57 second video which is geared towards promoting the city on an international stage.
1. Go back in time with a visit to the moving Titanic Museum.
Stunning architecture, and a museum which houses the world’s largest display of Titanic memorabilia.
2. Walk in the footsteps of TV stars from Game of Thrones on the Game of Thrones tour!
3. Discover one of the best beaches in the world. Murlough’s wide, flat 6km long sandy beach is a 50 min drive from the city.
It’s backed by an ancient sand dune system and is an excellent area for walking and bird watching due to its spectacular location at the edge of the Mourne Mountains.
4. Get cosy in the Crown Liquor Saloon. Don’t miss this Victorian pub in Great Victoria Street.
It was once a Victorian Gin palace but today offers great beer and pub food. It also has stunning stained glass windows, wooden booths and a great atmosphere. A historic gem.
5. See a show at the Waterfront Hall Conference and Concert Centre.
The impressive, circular building, nestling on the water front was built in 1997 and has been a Belfast favourite ever since.
See the opera La Traviata there in April, or groove with 80’s band Hot Chocolate, plus The Three Degrees in May.
6. Tuck into soda bread. It’s an Irish speciality.
TV celebrity chef Paul Rankin helped make it popular, and you can buy it everywhere in Belfast.
7. Walk the Giant’s Causeway in County Antrim.
The amazing hexagonal-shaped columns of rock were formed from a volcanic eruption 60 million years ago and it’s the only UNESCO World Heritage Site in Northern Ireland.
Four stunning trails to walk and an easy drive from Belfast. Park at Bushmills village and, from now until October, use the ‘park and ride’ service.
8. Go whiskey-tasting at The Old Bushmills Distillery, on the coast road, not far from the Giant’s Causeway.
It’s been lovingly made here since 1608 and you’ll find it on Distillery Road.
9. Chill out and find a great buy at the Sunday craft and vintage stall at St George’s Market, Belfast.
10. Stay and play with a golf break at Hilton Belfast Templepatick Golf & Country Club.
It’s home to one of the finest parkland courses in Ireland and the Ulster PGA Championship has been hosted here six times.
It’s an ideal base to discover why Northern Ireland is the home of golfing champions.
The Northern Ireland tourism board hopes to attract tourists by billing itself as “The Real Westeros,” thanks to its large number of Game of Thrones filming locations.
Game of Thrones has already brought more than £87 million to Northern Ireland, where many of the show’s scenes filmed, but that hasn’t stopped local officials from looking for new ways to cash in on the hit HBO show. With GOT’s fifth season debuting on April 12, the Northern Ireland Tourist Board has put together a map of the series’ filming locations, including a three-day itinerary for the ultimate Game of Thrones road trip. The new, free resources are designed to bring more tourists, and tourism dollars, to the region.
The Discover Westeros tour includes stops at Castle Ward, better known to fans of the show as the Stark’s home, Winterfell; Ballintoy Harbour, which stood in during a pivotal scene for Theon Greyjoy in season two; and The Dark Hedges, which is featured during Arya Stark’s escape from King’s Landing with Yoren, of the Night’s Watch.
You can download the full itinerary, maps, and details about where Game of Thrones will be filming next at www.discovernorthernireland.com/gameofthrones.
The only Irish attraction to make Conde Naste Travel Magazine’s “20 Most Beautiful UNESCO Word Heritage Sites” was County Antrims’s Giant’s Causeway. The 40,000 basalt stone columns that stretch into the sea towards Scotland were formed, geologists say, by volcanic lava. But Irish mythology says the strange formations were the work of the hero Finn McCool, who built the causeway as a path to cross the Irish Sea and do battle with a rival Scottish giant.
Whatever the derivation, the Giant’s Causeway is a scenic wonder that you can not only gawk at, but climb over and around as well. And that’s what hundreds of thousands of visitors do each year, after taking a short bus ride from the visitors’ center, operated by the National Trust. In addition to climbing on and among (weather permitting) the columns, there are hiking trails to the top of the impressive cliffs which tower over the causeway itself.
The visitors’ center also provides an informative and entertaining film, which outlines both of the conflicting accounts of the causeway’s beginnings. You can also purchase Irish handicrafts and souvenirs at reasonable prices (the causeway is no tourist trap), and get information on other attractions along the ruggedly beautiful coast of County Antrim.
Other nearby sites worth visiting include:
Imposing ruins, dating from the 16th century, dramatically situated on a cliff overlooking the Irish Sea.
The Glens of Antrim
Take a breathtaking ride along the coast, detouring into the nine glens, where you’ll find lovely hidden coves, time-warped fishing villages, forests, waterfalls, and even the mountain where St. Patrick is reputed to have tended sheep while in slavery.
Here, you can walk, if you dare, across a rope bridge that spans an 80-foot chasm.
The Old Bushmills Distillery
Recover from the rope bridge experience at Bushmills Distillery with a taste of Irish malt whiskey, after touring the world’s oldest licensed whiskey distillery.
The historic village of Bushmills is literally minutes away from the Giant’s Causeway. A great place to stay is the Bushmills Inn, which provides one of the warmest welcomes you’ll find in an island famous for hospitality. Having a Bushmills double malt before a turf fire in one of the inn’s cozy sitting rooms is only topped by the superb dining in the inn’s acclaimed restaurant, where you can feast on Irish smoked salmon or succulent New Zealand lamb.
The Giant’s Causeway and Bushmills are about a four-hour drive from Dublin, mostly on modern highways. If you decide to say in Belfast and tour one of Europe’s emerging “hot” cities, try the Fitzwilliam International Belfast, a boutique hotel adjacent to the Opera House. While Belfast was for years considered “off limits” due to the sectarian troubles, with the current peace initiative, it’s actually one of the safest places in Europe these days.
Northern Ireland has long been an inspiration for local writers and playwrights such as C.S. Lewis (Chronicles of Narnia) and Colin Bateman (Divorcing Jack).
More recently, it has also been the go-to location for film and TV executives looking for the ideal location for the new productions.
Northern Ireland offers an unrivalled variety of landscape and setting, all within a compact and easily accessible area – hence its popularity with film-makers and crews.
Game of Thrones (2011 – Present) – An epic fantasy television series created for HBO. This production is an adaptation of George R R Martin’s series of fantasy novels, and is filmed at the Paint Hall Film Studios in Belfast as well as a number of locations around Northern Ireland including Ballintoy Harbour, Tollymore Forest Park and Castle Ward Estate.
Keith Lemon – The Film (2012) – Comedy starring Celebrity Juice host and comedian Keith Lemon and Kelly Brook, Keith Lemon The Film is filmed in various Belfast locations including Linenhall Street, Titanic Drawing Offices, House of Fraser (Victoria Square), The Waterfront Hall, W5 at Odyssey, The Merchant Hotel, Bedford Street, Linen House Hostel, Old Northern Bank on Waring Street, Café Vaudeville, Donegall Square North.
The Fall (2013 – Present) – A BBC2 thriller currently in production in Belfast, stars former ‘X Files’ actress Gillian Anderson, as well as Irish actors Jamie Dornan, who will feature as Christian Grey in the upcoming movie and Gerard McCarthy of Hollyoaks fame. The psychological thriller follows a serial killer who stalks his victims in and around the city of Belfast. The second series is due to air in November 2014.
Dani’s Castle (2013 – 2014) – This CBBC television production was filmed on location at historic Killyleagh Castle in County Down. Series 3 has been commissioned to be filmed in County Down in 2015.
Good Vibrations (2012) – This film is based on the story of Terri Hooley, who owned record store Good Vibrations, and championed the emerging Belfast punk scene in the 1970’s. Terri started a small record label, and is famous for discovering and launching famous Derry band The Undertones.
The Shore – Short Film (2012) – This Oscar winning film (best live action short) is the story of friendship and reconciliation starring Ciarán Hinds and Conleth Hill as childhood friends Joe and Paddy. The film has won Best Live Action Short Film at the 2012 Oscars. Written and directed by Belfast local Terry George, and produced by his daughter Oorlagh, the film was shot entirely in Killough, Co. Down.
The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby (2012) – The BBC’s drama department’s modern-day take on the 1839 novel was filmed at various locations across Northern Ireland including Belfast City Hall, and Brownlow House. The production, supported by Northern Ireland Screen, features local names such as Adrian Dunbar, Bronagh Gallagher, Jayne Wisener and Andrew Simpson among its cast.
Blandings (2013 – 2014) – The series is based on author PG Wodehouse’s hilarious accounts of the life and times of Lord Emsworth of Blanding Castle. It was filmed at Crom Castle, Co. Fermanagh and stars well-known actors such as Timothy Spall, Jennifer Saunders, David Walliams and Mark Williams, just to name a few.
Privates (2012) – This BBC1 drama is the story of the last intake of conscripts for National Service in 1960; eight young men undertake basic training at a windswept camp in Yorkshire, as the end of the era of deference meets the world of rock n’ roll. The cast which includes Patrick Baladi (The Office; Mistresses) as Captain Gulliver: Marc Silcock (Hollyoaks, Emmerdale) as Corporal Jimmy Hobbs: and Jack Fox (Fresh Meat) as Private White-Bowne filmed on location in Northern Ireland at Ballykinler Army Base, Tyrella Beach and South Promenade, Newcastle.
The Wipers Times (2013) – Filmed on location at Ballywalter Park Estate, Co Down, Belfast City Hall and the Co. Down Railway Museum. Starring Ben Chaplin, Michael Pain and Emilia Fox amongst its cast members, the film tells the true story of how one man turned the horrors of war into a black comedy.
Miss Julie (2014) – Set on Midsummer’s Eve in 1890 in Crom Castle in County Fermanagh, Miss Julie details a battle of both sexes and classes, staring well-known actors Colin Farrell and Jessica Chastain.
Dracula Untold (2014) – Vampire mythology combined with the true history of Prince Vlad tell the origin of Dracula starring Luke Evans. Filmed at many locations across Northern Ireland including: Tollymore Forest Park, Roe Valley Country Park, Mount Stewart House and Gardens, Giant’s Causeway, Divis Mountain and Scrabo Country Park. Find out more about Dracula Untold.
Shooting for Socrates (2014) – Starring local actors Conleth Hill, Bronagh Gallagher and Ciarán McMenamin, Shooting for Socrates depicts the story of Mexico 1986 when Northern Ireland met the mighty Brazil in the World Cup finals, filmed at Windsor Park, Belfast and around Belfast City.
Line of Duty (2014) – Series two was filmed entirely in Belfast, telling the story of police corruption.
City of Ember (2007) – A science fiction fantasy film filmed at the Paint Hall Film Studios in Belfast and Cavehill, starring Holywood actors Bill Murray and Tim Robbins.
Your Highness (2011) – A Universal Studios Picture comedy that was filmed on location in Northern Ireland. Starring Natalie Portman, the production was filmed in the Paint Hall Film Studios in Belfast and utilised many of Northern Ireland’s stunning locations to create their very own ‘Kingdom of Mourne’ including; Tollymore Forest Park, Castle Ward, Cairncastle, Dunluce Castle and the Giant’s Causeway.
Robert Overlords (2013) – Starring Sir Ben Kingsley and Gillian Anderson, Robert Overlords is a science fiction film where Earth has been conquered by Robots from a distant Galaxy. Survivors are confined to their houses and must wear electronic implants, risking incineration by Robot Sentries if they venture outside. Filming locations include: Belfast Met, Donaghadee, Greencastle Beach, Tollymore Forest Park and Carrickfergus Castle.
Philomena (2012) – Philomena is the true story of one mother’s search for her lost son. Starring Judy Dench and Steve Coogan with filming in various County Down locations including Bryansford, Killyleagh, Rostrevor and featuring the Mourne Mountains.