For millions of ardent viewers worldwide, Magheramorne Quarry is home to Castle Black and “The Wall”, which protects the fictional world of Westeros from the mythical “White Walkers” in the epic television series Game of Thrones.
The old limestone quarry, which has a scenic location alongside the Irish Sea, is already a popular stop for busloads of tourists to view from afar. However, councillors in County Atrium, Northern Ireland hope the Castle Black set will become an official, permanent tourist attraction once filming wraps on Game of Thrones. Castle Black is a composite set (with exteriors and interiors) that includes a courtyard, mess hall, ravenry, barracks and a functional elevator.
Magheramorne Quarry first opened in the 19th century and its peak period for limestone extraction was in the 19th and 20th centuries. The quarry and its limestone cement plant ceased operation in 1980.
Even before Game of Thrones began filming, the quarry was earmarked as a nature conservation, leisure and housing reserve. In 2009, owner Lafarge Tarmac received outline planning permission to redevelop the quarry and cement works to incorporate an eco-friendly village and cycling and scuba diving centres.
The quarry has recently been a hotbed of rumours, as filming commenced on the sixth season of Game of Thrones. Fans are keen to learn the fate of popular character Jon Snow, played by Kit Harrington, who in the fifth series finale was (seemingly) mortally wounded at Castle Black.
Harrington has been spotted in Belfast in recent months and fans have posted photos online of sets being erected in the quarry for what may be Snow’s triumphant resurrection.
Famous quarry film set finds new owner