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Can Sligo cash in on show?

Sligo's beautiful scenery has been a major talking point about the hit TV show normal people

Star of the worldwide TV success, 'Normal People', actress Daisey Edgar-Jones has said the one of her favourite places to film was Sligo.

Even Hollywood star, Kourtney Kardashian took to her Instagram recently to share a snap of herself watching the very popular show and a still from the show which she captioned, "This show," followed by a love heart and a sad emoji.

The screen adaptation of Sally Rooney's novel has reached cult status and continues to garner rave reviews with even Kourtney Kardashian posting her praise for the series to her 91million followers on her Instagram last week.

With Sligo providing the backdrop for some of the series' most picturesque scenes, will the global success of the show mean an influx of visitors when travel restrictions are removed?

Sile Garret Haran of Sligo Tourism said the fact that Sligo's landscape featured so heavily in the series and the promotion of it, could really work in the county's favour going forward.

"Normal People now has a global following and it's something to tap into.

They used Streedagh Beach and that seems to be used on 90% of the promotional coverage for the series," Ms Garrett Haran explained.

By way of tapping into Irish Tourism following on from the hugely popular series, Tourism Ireland teamed up with the production company Element Pictures which produced it, in order to make a short behind-the-scenes film.

The film includes clips of Ben Bulben and Streedagh Beach.

Speaking about filming locations, Edgar-Jones who plays Marianne, said of Sligo, "It was just the most jaw-dropping entrance to any place I've ever experienced. When you see Ben Bulben in the distance, it's just immense."

While director Lenny Abrahamson, who directed the series along with Hettie McDonald, each taking six episodes respectively also sang the county's praises

"There are so many exquisite places along the Wild Atlantic Way, in the end, we felt that Streedagh Beach was kind of impossible to beat."

He also had high praise for Brennan's Pub on Teeling Street in Tubbercurry where many scenes were filmed last September, thanks to the friendly cooperation of bar owners Nora and Nathy Brennan.

"We shot in an absolutely gorgeous pub ran by a brother and sister.

"That was very magical, it's a particular special experience to go to a genuine Irish pub. I'm glad we got to put that on film."

The series has smashed records too, with BBC chiefs reporting its streaming service, the BBC

iPlayer receiving over 16.2 million requests for the series in its first week of availability on the site.

Five million of those requests came from 16 to 34 year olds, a cohort BBC Three is keen to gain viewership from.

Airing a day behind its UK counterpart, the series also drew unprecedented views on RTÉ One with an average of 371,000 viewers tuning in to watch the first two episodes last month and 301,000 streams on the RTÉ Player making it the strongest drama opening ever on the Player.

Post lockdown will we see visitors stopping off in Brennan's for a pint of cider trying to evoke their inner Connell Waldron, or getting some fresh air on the breathtaking Streedagh Beach? We shall see.

With current restrictions on travel it may be a few months yet before Sligo can see a tourism boost from overseas from the show but it could prove to be a winner in terms of local and national visitors first as the country slowly comes out of lockdown.

The show may have been controversial in some quarters in terms of the many scenes of a sexual nature it featured but it has received critical acclaim and been widely received around the world including in the lucrative US market which the Ireland relies on heavily in terms of tourism and will be even more important post Covid-19 when travel resumes.

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