A giant, stained glass window was unveiled today in the grounds of Belfast City Hall. The impressive installation is part of Tourism Ireland’s brand new Game of Thrones campaign – to showcase and celebrate Northern Ireland as Game of Thrones territory to millions of fans worldwide. This is the first of six installations to be unveiled over the coming weeks.
Epic battles, fire-breathing dragons, ice-blue white walkers and blood-red weddings will be immortalised in stained glass, in locations around Belfast, creating a brand new Game of Thrones pilgrimage for fans to follow in the city where the hit show was filmed.
After a decade of filming and production in Northern Ireland, Game of Thrones is finally drawing to a close. Timed to coincide with the eighth and final season, ‘Glass of Thrones’ – has been created by Tourism Ireland and Tourism NI in partnership with HBO. It kicks off today and will roll out to millions of fans in ten markets – including Great Britain, the United States, Canada, Australia, France, Germany, Spain, Italy, the Netherlands and Scandinavia. It will also be rolled out by Tourism NI in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.
Tourism Ireland is using the ancient art of stained glass-making – but giving it a modern twist – to reflect the regeneration and modernity of Belfast and to further enhance the enduring legacy of Game of Thrones in Northern Ireland.
Over the coming weeks – as each episode of the final season airs – six beautifully crafted, freestanding stained-glass windows will be installed across Belfast. Each window will highlight a key House from the show, with a series of panels depicting the most exciting and talked-about moments from the entire saga. The first window, unveiled today, is all about the House Stark.
Each window will be large enough for fans to pose in front of, for photos and selfies, so they can recreate their own Game of Thrones photo opp. They can then share the photographs on social media and encourage their friends and fellow fans to come and visit Belfast and Northern Ireland and experience it for themselves.
The stained glass panes have been designed by hand illustrators and are being stained in Northern Ireland in Bangor. By the end of series eight, the stained glass windows will form a new Game of Thrones trail, leading fans across the city to the final window at the Titanic Studios, where much of the show has been produced.
Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland, said: “We are delighted to continue our partnership with HBO once again in 2019, to highlight Northern Ireland – through the exciting events of Game of Thrones – on the global stage. This time, we’re taking Northern Ireland’s cultural and industrial heritage in stained glass and glass production and bringing it full circle – to celebrate Northern Ireland’s newest and biggest cultural export! Our campaign is a fun and innovative way to bring the destination to the attention of Game of Thrones fans everywhere. We’re reminding people everywhere that Northern Ireland is Game of Thrones Territory and encouraging them to come and explore it for themselves.”
John McGrillen, CEO of Tourism NI, said: “Game of Thrones has been transformative for tourism in Northern Ireland and our joint campaigns have captured the minds and hearts of Game of Thrones fans around the world, showcasing Northern Ireland as a must see and must experience destination. For ten years, Northern Ireland’s spectacular landscapes, dramatic coastlines, foreboding mountains and ageless forests have formed the perfect backdrop for the fantasy world of Game of Thrones, making Game of Thrones now truly part of our culture. The new stained glass installations will give visitors yet another way to explore the Game of Thrones story in Northern Ireland and to delve deeper into Northern Ireland’s rich heritage.”
Dave Monk, ECD, Publicis London, said: “Stained glass windows are the posters of history. So what better way to celebrate the legacy of Game of Thrones, and the country that helped make it, than building a series of brand new tourist attractions to live both permanently in the heart of Belfast’s old industrial glassmaking district and in the world’s instagram feeds for years to come.”
For fans of the show who are not yet able to come and experience the new Game of Thrones trail in real life, there are other ways for them to sample the experience. People visiting Tourism Ireland’s website, Ireland.com, will be able to upload a photo of themselves – to digitally place themselves in the online version of each stained glass window – and then share that photo with friends and fellow fans on their social channels.
The first window depicts the most searched scenes and storylines of House Stark – whose spiritual home Winterfell is set at Castle Ward in Co Down. The window overlooks Belfast City Hall – home to the city’s more traditional stained glass artworks.
As season eight unfolds, a new window will be unveiled each week at a key location in Belfast, creating a 1.8 mile legacy trail for fans to visit and follow. The experience will continue online, where Tourism Ireland will ‘unlock’ a new window each week on Ireland.com, allowing fans all over the world to be part of Northern Ireland’s Game of Thrones territory.
The campaign will involve Tourism Ireland releasing a mixture of short films and images to fans around the world – via Facebook, Instagram and YouTube. Tourism Ireland will also invite top international influencers to visit Northern Ireland and see the stained glass installations; they’ll be sharing lots of great content – inspiring their fans and followers to come and check the window and Northern Ireland out for themselves.