Help Create A New Medieval Heritage Trail

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People are being invited to help create a new medieval heritage trail in County Down as part of Beyond Westeros, a European Year of Culture and Heritage project.

The trail will include many of the film locations used in the television series Game of Thrones and its Kingdom of Westeros, but will tell the true, blood soaked and power crazed stories that marked the lives of Ulster’s twelve medieval, ruling lordships and the south eastern dynasties of the Magennises, Dunleaveys, Savages, O’Neills and de Courcys.

Local De Courcy knights, re-enactors Harry Cheevers and Eddie Sloan.

Caroline Nolan, manager of the Strangford LOugh and Lecale Partnership, said: “Come along to Portaferry Market House on Wed 13 Feb, 7- 8.30pm  to hear incredible tales of the bloody rivalries, intrigue and power fuelled marriages of the overlord families such as the Magennises, Dunleaveys, Savages, O’Neills and de Courcys, told by Dr Colm Donnelly from Queens University Belfast and Dr John O’Keefe from the Historic Environment Division of the Department for Communities.

“You can also give your views on proposals for a new visitor tour of our medieval monasteries, castles, tower houses, landscape and filming locations, and put your name down for a free trial run!       

“Beyond Westeros  will tell the story of the fighting captains and settings that helped inspire the Kingdom of Westeros in the global phenomenon that is the Game of Thrones (GoT). Beyond Westeros will develop a Roadmap for Northern Ireland’s first medieval trail, led by Queen’s University Belfast (QUB), working with the Strangford Lough and Lecale Partnership (SLLP), and supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund and Tourism Northern Ireland.

“Such a trail would leave a lasting legacy from the huge rise in visits to heritage sites used as GOT locations. The project will also enhance work being undertaken by Historic Environment Division to improve visitor access and community engagement with some sites in their care in the area, and they will be closely involved throughout.

“It is hoped that in the future local communities will be able to use and benefit from the extraordinary, rich built heritage on their doorstep and that in particular local businesses, artisans, tour guides and the hospitality industry will all be involved in the development and promotion of our medieval heritage.”