Game Of Thrones returns to Northern Ireland to start on season 3 – season 2 more popular than ever!

The Game Of Thrones team have begun work again in Northern Ireland, preparing a number of venues around the area for the filming of the third season of the hit HBO show.

Much of the popular fantasy series has been shot in and around Belfast and the north coast of Antrim and anyone familiar with the area couldn’t help but spot a reconstructed Kinbane Castle and the iconic Carrick-a-Rede rope bride, as a ship sailed into harbour in a recent episode and Ballintoy’s small quaint harbour was very much recognisable as the armies docked into shore.

This year the production team have chosen a new location for filming and for the first time, the actors and crew will descend upon Ulster Weavers bleachworks factory in Banbridge for various scenes.

Reconstruction and preparation is already underway in the old factory and the crew will also be using some of the surrounding countryside for filming.

Linen Mill Studios used to employ 180 people, before it’s closure in 2008, now it will be humming and buzzing with people once more. Robert Wilson, director of development at Linen Mill Studios told the BBC that he has been working since the linen production stopped, to find a new use for the premises and it seems he has struck gold.

He explained:

“We had film and television as an option because of the sheer size of the chambers and the fact that we’re sitting on 23 acres and it’s a lovely quiet part of County Down.

“It seemed like it might work so we went to the big TV companies in America.”

He added:

“It’s good to see the film crew here. If it wasn’t, this factory would probably be deserted and flattened.”

Meanwhile, Game Of Thrones is more than holding it’s own, as it’s second season airs around the globe. While its ratings aren’t particularly huge, it is clear that the series is one of the most popular Television shows of the moment.

The fanbase seems to be growing, with many viewers purchasing the first season boxset, to bring themselves up to speed and find out what they were missing out on when the second run started last month. In America alone, the first season sold 350,000 copies the first week of it’s release and it has been a steady shifter ever since.

Variety reported this week:

“Spring tends to sap the ratings strength of just about every show, but some – including HBO’s Game of Thrones – are holding up better than most.”

GOT kicked off it’s second season with a peak of 3.8 million viewers, and it has held it’s audience share throughout the first four episodes, which is even better news considering that factors such as daylight saving time, and the recent spring holiday 

normally hit long running TV series.’

On Sunday past, Thrones attracted approximately 3.65 million viewers, which placed it comfortably ahead of the 2.66 million who tuned in for the most recent episode of AMC’s “Mad Men” on the same evening.

We have some wonderful teaser clips, promo videos and spoilers from the next episode – The Ghost Oh Harrenhal – which will broadcast this Sunday in the US, next Monday in the UK.

Also, if you are a dedicated fan, then you won’t want to miss the most recent uncut interview with young Sophie Turner – Sansa Stark – which was only uploaded today.