It has thousands of fans across the globe - and now Tourism Ireland hopes to cash in on some of the hype around Game of Thrones by putting the television series at the centre of a new campaign.
After months of negotiations TV network HBO, which produces the cult series, has agreed to allow its name and logo to feature in the latest advertising drive from the all-island tourism body.
Set in a fantasy world and featuring epic battle scenes, Game of Thrones is filmed in a number of picturesque locations across Northern Ireland.
The program, an adaptation of George RR Martin’s fantasy novel series A Song of Ice and Fire, has amassed a fanatical following since it first aired in 2011.
The three-month advertising push, described as a major coup for tourism and timed to coincide with the beginning of series four next week, began yesterday with Facebook and Twitter adverts running in countries including Italy, Spain and America.
Locations such as the Cushendun Caves in Co Antrim, Tollymore Forest Park in Co Down and Downhill beach in Londonderry become The Stormlands, North of Winterfell and Dragonstone in the fantasy world.
But, despite the undoubted addition of special effects in the television version, Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster said visitors to the Ulster locations will discover the natural beauty here.
“The Tourism Ireland adverts have been developed in close collaboration with HBO and are specially designed to bridge the fantasy of Game of Thrones with the reality of Northern Ireland,” said Ms Foster.
“The hugely anticipated fourth series will air on our television screens next Monday and some of Northern Ireland’s most scenic locations will once again play a starring role.
“Fans from around the world will see our mystical landscapes, crumbling castles, and hidden scenic gems as various local locations provide stunning and atmospheric settings for the cast.
“Images of the same landscapes will then be used in the advertising campaign to encourage fans to visit Northern Ireland themselves. This approach is to be commended as it is important that we maximise the tourism potential that the new series will generate.”
Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland, hailed the project as a way to shine a spotlight on Northern Ireland, encouraging fans to visit the real locations behind their favourite scenes.
He said: “Game of Thrones fans worldwide will see these ads, spiking their curiosity about the landscapes and locations featured in the series and inspire them to come and explore them for themselves.”
For further information visit www.Ireland.com.