Northern Irish beauty spot revealed as nation's most popular filming location

Northern Irish beauty spot revealed as nation's most popular filming location

A BEAUTY spot in Northern Ireland has been revealed as the nation’s most popular filming location.

The Giant's Causeway has been named the most popular filming location in Northern Ireland, according to a new study by City Tours Belfast.

Located in Co. Antrim, where it is flanked by the Atlantic Ocean and a landscape of dramatic cliffs, the historic site is a popular tourist attraction, known for its iconic hexagonal basalt stones and its central part in the legend of Finn McCool.

With its dramatic natural beauty and stunning landscapes, it is a popular setting for filmmakers, with Hellboy II and Dracula Untold both filmed there.

The Giant's Causeway in Co. Antrim

Chris Graham, of City Tours Belfast, claims Northern Ireland is increasing in popularity for filmmakers, largely due to the "Game of Thrones effect".

"Northern Ireland's appeal as a filming destination has only risen in the last decade with the monumental success of Game of Thrones,” he said.

"While the region's indoor film studios are enticing big productions to bring huge titles to Northern Ireland, the incredible scenery and iconic locations are also proving to be just as appetising to film production companies,” he added.

The firm's study analysed IMDB’s top 50 films and shows which feature filming locations in Northern Ireland.

Each location was ranked based on the total volume of Instagram posts and Google rating to reveal the most famous filming spot in the region.

But the Giant’s Causeway, which is Northern Ireland’s only UNESCO World Heritage site, easily topped the study with a popularity score of 19.59 out of 20.

The tourist destination soared above every other spot on the list with 366,500 Instagram posts and a Google rating of 4.7.

County Down’s Mourne Mountains came next, with a score of 17.63 thanks to 279,490 Instagram posts and a joint-highest Google rating of 4.9 out of 5.

The Mourne Mountains in Co. Down

With Slieve Donard as its peak, the County Down mountain range has proven popular in TV and film productions worldwide, featuring in the likes of Robert Eggers' Nordic epic The Northman, where the sweeping backdrop sets the scene for a Viking ball game. Other productions featuring the Mournes include Dungeons & Dragons: Honour Among Thieves and Game of Thrones.

The Dark Hedges came out as the third most popular filming location in Northern Ireland.

Accumulating around 126,993 Instagram posts and a Google rating of 4.3, the famous route of intertwining beech trees achieved a score of 12.24.

Synonymous with Game of Thrones as the King's Road, the Dark Hedges has become a popular location for fans to visit, featuring as one of the prime destinations on Northern Ireland's Game of Thrones tours.

The Dark Hedges in Co. Antrim

While the 18th-century trees shot to worldwide fame via the HBO show, they also served as a filming location for the 2017 American blockbuster Transformers: The Last Knight.

Titanic Belfast took the fourth spot in the study.

Despite its status as a museum and visitor centre in Belfast, its halls can also be seen in the 2014 TV mini-series Halo Nightfall, produced by legendary film director Ridley Scott. More recently, the museum served as a secret rendezvous in series 2 of the hit BBC series Blue Lights, set in Belfast.

Strangford Lough is Northern Ireland's fifth most popular filming location, boasting a score of 10.8 out of 20.

The lough was propelled towards the top of the study due to a high Google rating of 4.8 and 36,981 Instagram posts. Local BBC crime drama Bloodlands featured Strangford Lough prominently. The plot revolves around a car with a suicide note being recovered from the lough.

Dunluce Castle, Tollymore Forest, Mussenden Temple, Belfast City Hall and Mount Stewart complete the top ten list of most popualr filming locations.

“With Belfast BBC drama Blue Lights bringing more local spots to our TV screens and the live-action adaptation of How To Train Your Dragon filming earlier this year, it will be interesting to see if any Northern Ireland locations rise in popularity among film fans," Mr Graham added.