[E!News] : Game of Thrones saved my business, says farmer

From iron-age pigs to Northern Inuit dog, the Game of Thrones series has looked to Northern Ireland for its animal stars.

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A Northern Irish farmer, whose animals star in Game of Thrones, says the film industry rescued his business.

Forthill Farm in County Armagh was struggling until the fantasy drama turned its rare breed residents into celebrities.

Farmer Kenny Gracey said: “It has been a great asset and a great saviour for our farm.

“Any of the background animals, the chickens, the goats, the geese, the dogs for instance or the deer … I’m supplying those.”

His iron-age pigs and other animals that feature on screen are rewarded with a home for life.

Two more canine stars of the show

Meanwhile, Odin and Thor, Northern Inuit dogs from County Down, made their television debut at the age of six weeks.

Direwolves ‘Summer’ and ‘Greywind’ were such a hit, their fans travel from all over the world to meet them.

William Mulhall, of Direwolf Tours, explained: “I got a phone call one day from the breeder, who had owned them, saying that some TV show wants to use my dogs in it.

Farmer Kenny Gracey  with some of his animals

“So I brought the dogs up to the breeder’s house where the trainers from Game of Thrones were and they had pictures and then that was it, that’s how it began.”

Game of Thrones has made a significant difference in Northern Ireland, not just for the living but for the dead.

Ingrid Houwers, a taxidermist from County Down, helps dress the set with props and costumes produced from animals that died ethically.

She said: “It gives them an extra life and rather than go to a museum where, although they still get admired, these certainly have more of a movie star kind of a life, where it does get used and obviously admired.

“I have seen things that go to the exhibition as well so they get an extra boost to show people what they’re used for and how they bring this fantasy world to life.”

Game of Thrones will end on its eighth season in 2018 but its animal stars appear to have a bright future in show business.

Source : SkyNews

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