A former councillor and Portstewart business has hailed last week’s filming of the HBO blockbuster, Game of Thrones, as a fantastic boost for local tourism.
Barbara Dempsey was thrilled that scenes from series five of the hit fantasy series were shot on the picturesque Strand Beach.
Barbara, a former Alliance councillor, tweeted: “Brilliant marketing opportunity for Portstewart in particular and Northern Ireland in general, boosting tourism, the economy, the Arts, etc.
“Well done National Trust for signing up this super initiative. Money couldn’t buy this type of worldwide exposure. Anyone who complains about very slight inconvenience needs a priority check.
“Hamish is delighted. He doesn’t have to walk to the Barmouth for a couple of mornings, but don’t worry H, there are lots of other great walks in the area!”
Some members of the public complained about not getting access to the beach which was closed off to allow filming to take place.
A fleet of lorries and generators occupied the National Trust owned beach and scenes were shot using horses and small boats.
Game Of Thrones storylines are closely guarded as the film-makers are keen not to ruin the plot which is viewed by millions of fans around the world.
Portstewart councillor, Maura Hickey, said that despite grumblings about the beach being closed off the reaction to the location shoot was positive.
She said: “The general consensus is that it is a bit disruptive, but people are accepting it. People are fascinated by what is happening and would perhaps like to get closer to what is going on.
“People are looking at this as something positive and there has not been much negativity because it can only be good for us from a tourism perspective – and is a great advert for the beach.”
Robert Barnes also tweeted: “Great opportunity for the NT (National Trust). I hope any tourists from abroad understand when they can’t get access to one of the most beautiful beaches in the country.”
A spokesman for the National Trust said: “We are pleased to welcome another filming production to Portstewart Strand and expect there to be many benefits for the town and the wider north coast.
“As well as showcasing this amazing beach to people on a world stage, filming brings a number of economic benefits to the local town with many crew members spending time and money in the local economy.
“To facilitate this opportunity, there will be some short-term inconvenience to visitors who wish to access the beach between August 4 and 11.
The name on everyone’s lips was Jaime Lannister played by 44-year-Danish actor Nikolaj Coster-Waldau.
Portstewart was abuzz with reported sightings of Coster-Waldau who was apparently out and about in Portstewart town centre during the week and spotted in SuperValu whilst yesterday he was reputedly seen grabbing a bite to eat during a break from filming.
As a sign of the veil of secrecy Game of Thrones throw over their filming one fan said they heard a local asked for a photo with Lannister but he said he couldn’t as he was in costume.