NORTHERN Ireland will once again hit the big screen when Dracula Untold is released in cinemas around the world this week just in time for Halloween, a time of year when all of us enjoy nothing more than good scare or spooky day out.
Filmed exclusively in Northern Ireland, with a $100,000,000 budget, it is set to be one of the biggest films worldwide this autumn and will feature some of Northern Ireland’s most iconic sites and hidden gems.
The film explores the origin of Dracula, weaving vampire mythology with the true history of Prince Vlad the Impaler, depicting Dracula as a flawed hero in a tragic love story set in a dark age of magic and war.
Locations that viewers can look out for include the Giant’s Causeway and Divis and Black Mountains in Co Antrim, Mount Stewart House and Gardens, Tollymore Forest Park, Scrabo Country Park and Killynether Woods in Co Down and Roe Valley Country Park in Co Derry.
Marie-Therese O’Neill, NITBs Culture & Creative Vibe Officer said: “Northern Ireland continues to be a really popular location for filming which comes as no surprise given the stunning landscape and locations we offer. In recent years, one of the most successful fantasy TV shows ever made, Game of Thrones and a host of films including, Your Highness, City of Ember and Good Vibrations have all been filmed in Northern Ireland.
“It is very exciting that Dracula Untold was exclusively filmed in Northern Ireland and in places people can easily visit for themselves. A host of well-known locations were utilised to resemble the eerie Transylvanian setting in which the story takes place including the wide open spaces of Divis Mountain, which hosted battle scenes and the Italian Garden at Mount Stewart which played home to the grounds of Dracula’s castle. Meanwhile, it will be hard to miss the world famous Giant’s Causeway stones which double as a fictional mountain in Transylvania,” Marie Therese added.
NITB has listed some of the Dracula Untold film locations viewers can visit:
Divis and the Black Mountain offer spectacular views across Northern Ireland. The mountains rest in the heart of the Belfast Hills, which provide the backdrop to the city’s skyline. The rich, varied archaeological landscape is home to a host of wildlife. There are walking trails along a variety of terrain: through heath, on stone tracks, along boardwalks and road surface. The property contains the peaks of Divis Mountain, Black Mountain, Mount Gilbert and Armstrongs Hill, and also the headwaters of the Clady Water, Forth River, Ballygomartin River, Collin River and the Crumlin River.
Why not try the Divis Ridge Trail which gives people the unique opportunity to view the city of Belfast from a different perspective, from above! The Divis Ridge Trail allows the walkers to enjoy 180 degree views across the city and further afield including the Antrim Plateau to the north, Scotland to the east and the Mourne Mountains to the south.
Flanked by the wild North Atlantic Ocean and a landscape of dramatic cliffs, for centuries the Giant’s Causewayhas inspired artists, stirred scientific debate and captured the imagination of all who see it. Experience this iconic attraction for yourself and visit the world-famous basalt. Climb the Shepherd’s Steps and hike along the cliff-top trail to get a bird’s eye view of the beautiful causeway coast. Unlock the mystery and stories of the landscape in the exhibition area of the award-winning visitor centre, which also boasts a café serving a seasonal menu, and retail zone where visitors can pick up locally sourced souvenirs and handicrafts.
Mount Stewart House and Gardens is one of the most inspiring and unusual gardens in the National Trust’s ownership. The garden reflects a rich tapestry of design and great planting artistry that was the hallmark of Edith, Lady Londonderry. The mild climate of Strangford Lough allows astonishing levels of planting experimentation. The formal areas exude a strong Mediterranean feel and resemble an Italian villa landscape; the wooded areas support a range of plants from all corners of the world, ensuring something to see whatever the season. Please note, the house is now closed until April 2015 but the gardens remain open all year round.
Covering an area of almost 630 hectares at the foot of the Mourne mountains, Tollymore Forest Park offers panoramic views of the surrounding mountains and the sea at Newcastle. The park also caters for many outdoor activities including walking, caravanning/camping, horse riding and orienteering.
Scrabo Country Park is centred at the top of Scrabo Hill near Newtownards and boasts incredible views over Strangford Lough and the surrounding countryside. There are plenty of paths through the fine beech woodlands of Killynether Wood and around the disused quarries allowing visitors many opportunities to enjoy the quiet and peaceful countryside.
Killynether Wood in Newtownards offers a steady climb on woodland paths to a viewpoint over Killynether and drumlin countryside and beyond. before a descent through woodland to finish. People can enjoy the peaceful surroundings of this former estate woodland which is the result of planting in the mid nineteenth century.
Roe Valley Country Park is a scenic and tranquil park on the outskirts of Limavady offering spectacular riverside views and woodland walks along with opportunities for salmon and trout fishing, canoeing, rock climbing and orienteering. Also worth a visit is the newly refurbished ‘Ritters Tea Room’ which opens daily.
For more information on Dracula Untold film locations in Northern Ireland please contact NITB on 028 9023 1221 or go towww.discovernorthernireland.com/draculauntold #DraculaNI