TV SERIES Vikings which has been filming in Wicklow for the past 18 weeks has boosted the Irish economy by an estimated €20 million.
The History Channel series has been shooting on location in Ashford Studios in Ballyhenry in Co Wicklow since July. It is estimated that the €30m production has employed over 500 Irish cast and crew, and invested a hefty €20m in the country, from everything to set designs, studio facilities, and employing thousands of extras.
Michael Hirst, the vision behind period dramas ' The Tudors' and ' Camelot', which also shot in Ireland, received funding from the Irish Film Board and benefited from Section 481 for his latest project.
Lead actor Gabriel Byrne, who plays Viking leader Earl Haraldson in the 10-part series, wrapped his scenes almost two months ago. Byrne began production on another TV series called 'Quirke' in Dublin last Monday.
'Vikings' will mark the first scripted series for The History Channel, and follows real-life figures such as Haraldson and Ragnar Lothbrok, who is known as a young descendant of the gods, played by Australian actor Travis Fimmel (Tarzan).
The series will chart Lothbrok's attempts to become King of the Vikings, as he conspires with Haraldson's wife, played by 'Glee' star Jessalyn Gilsig, to overthrow the Viking leader.
Among the 500-strong Irish crew were co-producers World 2000 Entertainment, of which Morgan O'Sullivan was the executive producer along with Octagon Films' James Flynn and Hirst. Canada's Take 5 Productions co-produced.
' The Tudors' director Ciaran Donnelly helmed episodes in the second block of the series, while Emmy-winning production designer Tom Conroy (The Tudors) designed the set, which is reported to have cost millions to assemble.
Line producer Séamus McInerney, costume designer Joan Bergin, hair stylist Dee Corcoran and makeup artist Tom McInerney were all on set to cater for the thousands of cast members.
Irish actors David Pearse ( Trivia), Eric Higgins (The Tudors) and Gerard McCarthy (The Fall) also landed lead roles.
Morgan O'Sullivan said he is ' optimistic' a second series will get picked up by The History Channel. ' Vikings' will air on The History Channel in March in 2013.