Business Irish

Sunday 22 July 2018

Vikings film studios given green light for €90m extension

The TV series Vikings is inspired by the sagas of Danish/Swedish Viking Ragnar Lothbrok, one of the best-known legendary Norse heroes and notorious as the scourge of England and France
The TV series Vikings is inspired by the sagas of Danish/Swedish Viking Ragnar Lothbrok, one of the best-known legendary Norse heroes and notorious as the scourge of England and France

Gordon Deegan

Planning permission has been granted for a €90m extension to the Co Wicklow studios where the hit series ‘Vikings’ is shot.

The plan by Ashford Studios has the potential to create 1,500 movie related jobs and the plan includes four new film studios of 40,000 sq ft each, a TV studio, offices and support space. Phase one of the studios was completed in May 2012 and during six years of operation, the ‘Vikings’ series has been located there, utilising 33 acres of space and hiring up to 450 people.

Yesterday, Ashford Studios MD Shelley Hargadon welcomed the decision and she said that the target is to commence work on the project in mid-June “once the prior to commencement conditions have been signed off”.

She said: “Wicklow has a long history of filmmaking. We have highly-skilled crews in the area, beautiful locations and are close to Dublin International Airport but we have been lacking infrastructure.

“With this permission, investment can now be made in purpose-built studio infrastructure of scale that can compete with other jurisdictions.”

Ms Hargadon stated that Ashford hopes to build on the success of ‘Vikings’.

On the prospect of Ashford Studios securing new clients, Ms Hargadon added: “Without the green light on planning, obviously there is zero chance of attracting studio-based film productions of scale.”

She said that the planning approval gives the opportunity to market Ireland and particularly Wicklow, as a serious film destination.

“Having said that, as film production is transient and temporary, there is financial risk vis-a-vis investment versus return.

“So while we are confident the studio will secure more business we are also unclear of how successful it can be as there are so many variables.”

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