Visitors have flocked to Wicklow for its peace and tranquility for generations – but the latest wave of tourists might expect more from bloodthirsty battle cries and longboats weaving their way through the lakes.
with the Netflix series Vikings: Valhalla To introduce the county’s stunning scenery to a global audience, local businesses are preparing for a whole new wave of tourism that they believe is about to leave them Ballykissangel the 1990s at Ha’Penny Place.
Even on a bitterly cold day when the hilltops overlooking the monastic Round Tower are blanketed in snow, Glendalough sees a steady stream of visitors.
Three coaches have dropped off young people of all nationalities who enthusiastically go on the forest trails.
Glendalough was not used as a Viking film location – but this is a must for anyone following in the footsteps of the Norse, as the Irish annals mention repeated raids on the monastic site.
“Vikings play an important role in history, so they’re always covered,” said Martin Swords, who runs guided walks. “There were many raids on the site because monasteries were extremely wealthy places. And they didn’t just care about money, they also wanted slaves. It was pretty rough back then.”
He thinks younger visitors to Glendalough might be even more interested in the Viking element and is excited to see if the Netflix show will “bring Viking-themed tourism where everyone dresses up and goes crazy,” adding, ” I wouldn’t mind.”
“People are becoming increasingly interested in ancestors and genealogy – they do all their DNA testing and are absolutely thrilled to discover an element of Scandinavian in their DNA, it’s like a badge of honour.”
Joan Powers, head of the Office of Public Works (OPW) in Glendalough said Viking and the fact that it was filmed nearby inspires some interest, especially among younger visitors.
“Even though they may not know anything about the Vikings when they arrive, they get very excited when we tell them about the raids that took place here,” she said.
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Among the visitors on the day were Cillene O’Riordan and Isabel Hevey, both from Ballymore Eustace in Co Kildare, visiting from the Maldives where they work on superyachts.
It was Isabel’s first visit to Glendalough, and they wanted to climb the Spinc ridge, which Cillene said would take “three or four hours”.
Both are fans of the first viking Series on History Channel where Cillene reveals that one of his friends is a performer. Discovering the local scenery is another reason to watch. “Last season they were shooting at the Blessington Lakes and you could see the longboats.”
An even greater reason to be interested in them viking Series is the fact that his grandfather, the distinguished archaeologist Brendán Ó Ríordáin, was involved in the excavation of Wood Quay between 1974 and 1981.
Thanks to these digs, researchers now know more about 10th- and 11th-century Dublin than any other city north of the Alps.
Linda Healy of the Wicklow Film Commission office – which is set to be renamed Screen Wicklow in the coming weeks – told the Irish Independent It is in contact with Netflix in hopes of getting permission to use images viking series online.
“We would expect there to be a big rebound,” she said.
Linda said she would love it if the viking Series ultimately gives them the opportunity to develop an attraction like that in the future game of Thrones Studio tour in Belfast. “That’s something we’d like to be a part of,” she added.
Meanwhile, filming applications for the county have “exploded,” with around 90 applications for filming in 2021 versus 30 in 2020, with no filming on private land or in studios.
“People want more content and while there may have been a downturn for the first part of Covid, the screen industry is thriving.”
Wicklow County Council is about to launch its film sector development strategy for the next five years, which will set out how to maximize the potential of film tourism in the county, attract foreign direct investment and explore opportunities to develop local film sector training be able.
The biggest production that took place in the county last year was a Disney film Disenchanted at Enniskerry. This is due for release at Christmas, while two major films filmed at Wicklow film campus last year were Elizabeth Banks’ comedy thrillers cocaine bear and determination starring Letitia Wright and Josh O’Connor, which tells the story of a Nigerian woman trapped in Ireland’s direct care system.
Local business owners in Wicklow say they’ve noticed an increase in mentions of tourists viking as part of their reason for coming.
At Wicklow Heather restaurant on Glendalough Road in Laragh, Betty Kenny, who owns the shop with her husband John, said tourism was starting to pick up.
After seeing the boost Ballykissangel the area, she thinks so viking Series will definitely make a noticeable difference. “We used to get busloads of English visitors – and Ballykissangel didn’t even travel around the world,” she said.
“The new generation will be watching this on Netflix and it will spark a real curiosity about Ireland and an interest in our history.
“Having this kind of showcase for our county is amazing – we expect it to have a massive impact. What more could we ask for?”
https://www.independent.ie/entertainment/vikings-valhalla-to-bring-invasion-of-netflix-fans-to-tranquil-wicklow-41413871.html Vikings: Valhalla brings Netflix fans’ invasion to tranquil Wicklow