The eighth and final season of Game of Thrones has come to an end – with the season finale airing in May – and scenes from that final season have now been added to complete Tourism Ireland’s Game of Thrones Tapestry. The new section of the tapestry – featuring some of the most memorable and exciting scenes from season eight – was unveiled in the Ulster Museum in Belfast, today (11 July).
Sarah Dee, Tourism Ireland; and Valerie Wilson, Curator of Costume and Textiles at National Museums Northern Ireland, at Tourism Ireland’s Game of Thrones Tapestry in the Ulster Museum
Tourism Ireland commemorated the contribution of Game of Thrones to Northern Ireland with its medieval-style, hand-woven tapestry – created in partnership with HBO in 2017, to coincide with season seven. The tapestry – woven from linen supplied by Thomas Ferguson’s in Banbridge and hand-embroidered by a team at the Ulster Museum – depicts the entire story of the epic TV drama, from season one to eight. It is now 87 metres long.
The Game of Thrones Tapestry is a campaign which celebrates Northern Ireland and its historic contribution to the legacy linen mills which once was the largest linen and textile industry of its time. At the end of the 19th century, it had been estimated that over 100,000 people in the north of Ireland were employed in the manufacture and decoration of linen.
Today, the Irish linen and textile industry is much smaller, whereas a growing number of the Northern Irish have found direct or indirect employment in the Game of Thrones tourism industry.
The tapestry was commissioned by Tourism Ireland and HBO. Publicis London, the advertising agency, generated this campaign to help a global audience understand this shift in employment.
The tapestry was made from material which represents that of the late 18th century (linen) and a technique passed on from generations (embroidery). The tapestry was hand-embroidered by some of the last few people remaining in the industry in Northern Ireland.
Over the coming weeks, the hand-crafted masterpiece will travel to Bayeux in Normandy, home of the world-famous 11th-century Bayeux Tapestry. Tourism Ireland’s Game of Thrones® Tapestry will be exhibited there, from September to December 2019, near its historic counterpart – which was a key source of inspiration for its new neighbour.
Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland, said: “Our Game of Thrones Tapestry has been hugely successful, attracting visitors from all over the world to the Ulster Museum, Belfast and Northern Ireland. The stellar popularity of Game of Thrones remains a fantastic opportunity for Tourism Ireland to promote Northern Ireland to a huge audience of potential visitors. Our aim is to engage with fans everywhere, to spike their curiosity about the landscapes and locations featured in the series and inspire them to come and explore them for themselves.”
The Game of Thrones Tapestry will be exhibited in the historic Hôtel du Doyen, within walking distance of the Bayeux Tapestry. Tourism Ireland will be pulling out all the stops to leverage this new opportunity to shine a spotlight on Northern Ireland and our Game of Thrones connections.