More needs to be done to capitalise on Carrickfergus Castle’s tourism potential, it has been suggested.
The call comes in the wake of an increased number of visitors to the East Antrim areas used as filming locations in the hit fantasy series Game of Thrones.
The castle is currently the subject of a joint innovation pilot between Northern Ireland Environment Ageny and the local authority which seeks to make better use of its facilities.
Speaking in the Assembly, East Antrim MLA Roy Beggs asked Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster how the locations used in the filming of Game of Thrones are being promoted to encourage additional tourism.
Mr Beggs said: “The spectacular rugged scenery in my constituency of East Antrim and on the Causeway Coast has been widely promoted by the series. Can the Minister advise how she is cooperating with the NIEA to develop the medieval Carrick Castle and other such facilities to capture the imagination and enhance the tourism product that visitors might have when they come?”
In response, the minister indicated her department, through the Northern Ireland Tourist Board and Tourism Ireland, had undertaken new campaigns to promote the locations in the series.
Adding that the castle been used for filming projects other than ‘Game of Thrones, Ms Foster said: “I know that the minister has plans to open the castle to the wider public. It is a fantastic resource to have. I hope that, when we do that, we do not lose some of the authenticity that we have in Carrick Castle but instead capture that and allow everybody to take advantage of it.”
The medieval location was also used to film scenes for sci-fi movie Our Robot Overlords, starring Ben Kingsley and Gillian Anderson. Shot in and around the castle last May, it is currently in the post-production stage. Production company Embankment Films confirmed that while no UK release date had been set, it is expected that the film will appear in cinemas at some point this year.