Game Of Thrones ice wall could become permanent tourist attraction
Published 30/07/2015 | 15:17
The colossal Game Of Thrones ice wall could become a permanent fixture in Northern Ireland.
Filming for season six of the hit HBO show has just started.
The 300-mile barrier defending the realm from Wildlings, White Walkers and giants in the popular fantasy series is actually a disused cement works in Co Antrim overlooking the Irish Sea.
It has been transformed into a barricade of ice manned by the Night's Watch military order.
Now local councillors want HBO to leave the set behind once filming ends.
East Antrim DUP MP Sammy Wilson said: "It is a magnificent site and it would be a massive tourist attraction. The number of buses and people who stop to try and get views of it."
He had been at Magheramorne Quarry at midnight to watch filming and recalled "sword fights" on neighbouring cliff tops complete with papier mache snow.
Mr Wilson said wider development for recreation is planned once the production crews have left.
"To have the set there as well would be the icing on the cake," he added.
Local councillor Robert Logan said a lot of people would be attracted to the area.
"I know that it does create quite a bit of interest," he said.
Much of the large budget production, based on George RR Martin's series of books, is being shot in Northern Ireland.
HBO's set designers have brought the fantasy kingdom of Westeros to life.
It is always winter in the frozen North, which is protected by The Wall - a barricade of ice manned by the Night's Watch - while the South, home to the King's Landing capital of the Seven Kingdoms, is bright and warm.
Fans are debating whether Jon Snow, played by Kit Harington, will be returning after being killed in the last episode of season five.
Harington has been spotted in Belfast by Game Of Thrones fans who were quick to snap pictures of him.
The city's Paint Hall studios and various locations in counties Down and Antrim have provided spectacular settings, along with locations in Morocco, Iceland and Croatia.
Magheramorne Quarry, which is owned by Lafarge Tarmac, doubles as The Wall and the Wildling village of Hardhome.
Another famous location is the beech tree-lined road known as the Dark Hedges at Stranocum, Co Antrim, which was the King's Road during the series.
The show centres on the struggle for power between a number of families in the mainland of Westeros.
The Northern Irish economy has seen a boost thanks to Game Of Thrones fans wanting to visit the real-life places where the show is filmed. It is heavily watched in the US and UK.
Other major production sets have drawn large numbers of holidaymakers in the past. In parts of New Zealand sets used to make Lord Of The Rings have been restored, including the home of the Hobbit.