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Environment Minister Unveils Game Of Throne Signage At Quoile Pondage
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Environment Minister, Mark H Durkan has unveiled new signage at the location where the Game of Thrones was filmed at Quoile Pondage Nature Reserve near Downpatrick.

On(Thursday, 3 April 2014, the jetty at Quoile Pondage Nature Reserve was the scene of a film shoot once again as the MInister posed for a photo with local film actor Mark Davis who who played a Stark Guard in the hit film series and South Down MP Margaret Ritchie. The landing platform now a venue for local anglers,  was specially built by the Game of Thrones production company, Home Box Office (HBO) in July 2012 for a scene in Game of Thrones Season three, Episode three. After filming was complete, HBO left then jetty for visitors and anglers to the Quoile Pondage to enjoy.

At the Quoile Pondage near Downpatrick were actor Mark Davis, who played a Stark Guard in the Game of Thrones, with South Down MP Margaret Ritchie and Environment Minister Mark H Durkin at the unveiling ot the Game of Thrones signage by the stand built for the filming for the popular series last year.

At the Quoile Pondage near Downpatrick were actor Mark Davis, who played a Stark Guard in the Game of Thrones, with South Down MP Margaret Ritchie and Environment Minister Mark H Durkin at the unveiling ot the Game of Thrones signage by the stand built for the filming for the popular series last year.

Given the global popularity of the show, signage has now been produced to highlight the site’s link to the series with the aim of putting this site on the tourist trail.

Mark H Durkan said: “Game of Thrones is a globally popular television series so this new signage at one of its filming locations will undoubtedly appeal to those interested in the series.

“Today’s unveiling is the first in a wider interpretation scheme at Quoile to attract visitors to this place of natural beauty. The new Game of Thrones signs directly link the jetty and landscape at Quoile to scenes in the acclaimed television series, displaying still shots in the context in which they were created. I hope that this visual explanation of the reason for the jetty being built will encourage visitors to come and explore the beauty of the Quoile Nature Reserve for themselves.”

The production of this signage links to the development of a wider interpretation project at Quoile Pondage. An additional five interpretation signs are currently being developed to provide more information on the environment and heritage of the Pondage and Quoile Castle and to teach visitors of its environmental significance.

South Down MP Margaret Ritchie, speaking after the launch of the Game of Thrones interpretive signage at the Quoile with her SDLP colleague Minister Mark Durkan, said: “This new opportunity to showcase our wonderful natural heritage in the guise of the set locations for the Games of Thrones has great potential for our local tourism industry. Castleward and the Quoile are among a number of locations in South Down used by HBO in the filming of Games of Thrones.

“I am very pleased that after my intense lobbying of the NIEA back in 2013 they agreed to retain the pontoon structure at the Quoile River. This structure was constructed by HBO and used in the filming of Games of Thrones.  It is very clear that these links with Games of Thrones, particularly those like the pontoon, that complement and enhance our natural environment, have the potential to create revenue and income for our local tourism industry.

“I believe we can do much more to promote our natural heritage for the economic benefit of the area and I will be making representations to NIEA to carry out further works on the site at the Quoile River to enhance the visitor experience.”

The Game of Thrones Season 4 series starts on 6 April 2014. It  is a globally popular television series, based on American author George R.R. Martin’s best selling series of novels, ‘A Song of Ice and Fire’.

The Quoile Estuary is historically associated with legends of Saint Patrick who landed in the area and Viking raids. Two old quays and the timbers of a sailing ship remind us that the Quoile was once a busy port serving the town of Downpatrick. The present freshwater pondage was created by the construction of a tidal barrier across the estuary of the River Quoile in 1957. The resulting dramatic change from salt water to fresh water is illustrated by the succession of developing habitats rich in wildlife.

An excellent site for birdwatching, the Quoile attracts migrating wading birds in the spring and autumn. In summer, swans and many breeding wildfowl appear, including the scarce gadwall. In winter, large numbers of wigeon and other ducks are easily viewed. The river bank between the Old Floodgates and Steamboat Quay has been developed as an attractive amenity area with scenic riverside walks. The remainder of the reserve has been established as a sanctuary for the wildlife.