Northern Ireland news

Co Down village 'not fazed at all' by A-list stars filming nearby

Filming taking place in the Mourne Mountains near Attical. Picture by Mal McCann

A MAJOR Hollywood movie may be shooting just a mile away, but the residents of a small Co Down village have not "batted an eyelid" despite a cast of A-list stars filming.

Those who live and work in Attical, which is situated in the Mourne Mountains near Kilkeel, have noticed a hive of activity nearby in recent weeks but "are not fazed at all".

A huge movie production team descended on the area of The Windy Gap, the highest peak in the western Mournes which is known for its impressive cliff line, in recent weeks, to shoot scenes for `The Northman', a Viking revenge saga set in Iceland at the turn of the 10th century.

Directed by Robert Eggers, the film stars a host of A-list stars including Nicole Kidman, Willem Defoe, Ethan Hawke, Alexander Skarsgård, and Icelandic singer Björk.

Previously, the movie has shot in a number of other locations including Inishowen in Co Donegal and a site in Antrim, close to Larne.

It is not the first time Attical has found itself welcoming Hollywood productions into the area as previously, Game of Thrones used the village while shooting scenes.

Mairead White, a former Home Economics teacher who now runs Mourne Lodge Hotel in Attical, said despite the major production based just one mile away, the village had been "very quiet".

"They have been there a couple of weeks," she said.

"They have put up a huge tent up in The Windy Gap, one of the very nice walks we would do in the Mournes and they have parked themselves up there.

"They have huge lights...over the village. People are coming in and out in helicopters and they are all staying at the Slieve Donard".

The 75-year-old, who has lived in Attical all her life, said the production company had contacted her a few weeks ago to book her accommodation.

"They phoned and booked all the rooms and never came back to say they weren't coming," she said.

"They asked would I have eight single privates. We were getting a bit excited but that was the end of that conversation.

"They were only going to be there for four or five nights.

"We lost out. They don't know what they are missing," she joked.

The community association chairwoman said when Games of Thrones last filmed in the area, they "put money" into the village however this time, she has "never seen anybody stop at the local shop".

"Before, Game of Thrones, they used the community centre as a dressing room and they gave us money to take the kids out for the day," she said.

"Nobody has even battled an eye lid. I run Mourne Lodge and I'm chair of the Community Association and I have never even gone up.

"The people of Attical are not phased by it at all. As one woman said to me `If I saw Nicole Kidman, I wouldn't know who she is."

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