The third season of the HBO production has been given the green light and will shoot in the Paint Hall film studio and sound stage located in Belfast, the Linen Mill Film Studios in Banbridge, County Down and various locations throughout Northern Ireland.
The Emmy® and Golden Globe-winning fantasy series, which began screening its ten-episode third season in April, has won high praise from critics and attracted millions of viewers around the world.
Based on the bestselling fantasy book series by George R.R. Martin, the series follows seven noble families’ fight for control of the mythical land of Westeros.
It stars Sean Bean, Charles Dance, Michelle Fairley, Lena Headey, Peter Dinklage, Emilia Clarke and Jason Momoa, among others.
The vast size and scale of the show has helped put Northern Ireland on the map as a top location for the global screen industry and it has welcomed a number of other high-profile filming in recent years.
Children’s fantasy sci-fi adventure film City of Ember and medieval comedy Your Highness have been among the works filmed in the Paint Hall, while elsewhere a new BBC comedy, Blandings, based on stories of British humourist PG Wodehouse is being shot at Crom Castle in the lakelands of County Fermanagh.
Northern Irish director Terry George of Hotel Rwanda fame also brought home an Oscar© this year for his short film The Shore, again filmed entirely in Northern Ireland.
Game of Thrones location manager Robert Boake says: “Northern Ireland is a superb place for film because you can find spectacular beauty within a very quick car drive from Belfast. It’s just a matter of looking and you will find really great things.”
To give the show’s fantasy world its vivid lived-in feel, the producers have incorporated locations such as Tollymore Forest Park at the foot of the famous Mountains of Mourne and Gosford Castle in County Armagh.
Other locations used include Castle Ward, an 18th-century fortified tower house in County Down, as well as the Antrim Plateau near to the Giant’s Causeway, the famed UNESCO World Heritage Site in County Antrim.
The second series featured picturesque Ballintoy Harbour and the magnificent beach at Downhill Strand, both located along the Causeway Coastal Route, which is regarded as one of Europe’s most magnificent drives.