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Normal People: Tourism chiefs 'selective' in how controversial drama promotes Ireland

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Paul Mescal as Connell and Daisy Edgar-Jones as Marianne (Enda Bowe/BBC/PA)

Paul Mescal as Connell and Daisy Edgar-Jones as Marianne (Enda Bowe/BBC/PA)

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Paul Mescal as Connell and Daisy Edgar-Jones as Marianne (Enda Bowe/BBC/PA)

Tourism chiefs have been "selective" in choosing what images to use from the controversial drama 'Normal People' to promote Ireland.

The adaptation of the Sally Rooney novel has sparked a furor over the sex scenes, described by critics as “something you’d expect to see in a porno movie”.

The programme scandalised listeners of 'Liveline' last week with complaints about the prurient sexual content.

Tourism Ireland has been using scenery from ‘Normal People’ to promote Ireland as a holiday destination when the lockdown ends.

In an apparent reference to the more racy scenes, Tourism Minister Brendan Griffin said "not everything is suitable" in the TV drama for tourism promotion.

Mr Griffin said Tourism Ireland was still promoting the country to visitors during the lockdown.

"They are making the most of the time that is available there now, in terms of people looking at social media, people looking for, effectively, escapism, I suppose in situations where they are in self-isolation or they are in lockdown.

"So they have been very active online in terms of promoting Ireland and imagery from Ireland," he said.

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Bestseller: Paul Mescal and Daisy Edgar Jones in the TV adaptation of Sally Rooney’s ‘Normal People’

Bestseller: Paul Mescal and Daisy Edgar Jones in the TV adaptation of Sally Rooney’s ‘Normal People’

Bestseller: Paul Mescal and Daisy Edgar Jones in the TV adaptation of Sally Rooney’s ‘Normal People’

Mr Griffin said some parts of 'Normal People', filmed in Sligo, were being used for tourism promotion.

"And actually some of that imagery included Sligo very recently from some of the cinematography from 'Normal People' actually, which was filmed partly in Sligo as well.

"So they have to be selective with the cinematography. Not everything is suitable for worldwide distribution from a tourism perspective," he said with a grin in the Dáil.

"But Sligo looks fantastic on screen always."

Mr Griffin's successor, Transport Minister Shane Ross, has discussed his personal connection to the programme.

The intense on-screen romance between lead characters Marianne and Connell starts with a kiss in the childhood home of Mr Ross.

Mr Ross, who lost his seat in Dublin-Rathdown earlier this year, joked that his parents would be "absolutely horrified" with all the "shenanigans and antics" in the series, which is famed for its intense and frequent sex scenes.

Knockmore House in Enniskerry, which dates back to 1850, was chosen to be the set of Marianne's family home in the 12-part TV adaption of Sally Rooney's successful novel.

Marianne, who is played by British actress Daisy Edgar-Jones, comes from a rich family.

She falls in love with Paul Mescal's character Connell, whose mother works as a cleaner in Marianne's house.

Knockmore House, which was owned by Mr Ross's late parents, is the backdrop for the blossoming romance which starts with a kiss in one of the manor's grand front rooms in episode one.

"I think it's great myself," Mr Ross told the Irish Independent.

"I think my parents would be absolutely mortified by what's going on in their house, which was a haven of morality."

Online Editors