While visitor numbers soared at the Roe Valley Country Park during filming for a new Dracula movie, with fans flocking to the beauty spot eager to catch a piece of the action, a number of local businesses also benefited.
Unit publicist for the movie ‘Dracula Year Zero’ Sasha Gibson told the ‘Journal’ it was a huge production with scores of crew in town and indeed they left their mark in the area.
The ‘Journal’ understands the production crew stayed locally at the Roe Park Resort in Limavady and as far away as Portrush.
Crew also stayed at Ballykelly’s Drummond Hotel where Jim Peoples said Dracula was great for business.
“We were full up for two nights, Sunday and Monday,” Mr. Peoples told the ‘Journal’ yesterday.
“We were delighted and it was amazing to welcome people from all over the world. They were up early and away at half three in the morning. It’s great to think the area benefited from it; a really good news story.”
In the thick of the action, and seeing a welcome boost to business, was Dungiven man Noel Harkin.
Mr. Harkin runs the Ritter’s Tearoom cafe, adjacent to the Visitors’ Centre at the Roe Valley Country Park.
“We had the mayor’s fun day on the Sunday and we did well that day. Monday was just like normal because they were filming at the other end of the park but, on the Tuesday, definitely numbers to the cafe were well up. They were filming underneath the bridge that day and there were hundreds of people around to see it. Definitely, we had a much busier Tuesday than normal with people in getting their coffees, teas and ice creams.”
Mr. Harkin said he served people from all over the world during those days and said one overseas visitor told him how just impressed he was with the Park. “One of the set-up crew was from Australia and he said he’d worked all over the world, but this was the most beautiful place he’d ever been to. He said ‘you Irish don’t know how lucky you are to have this on your doorstep!”
Country Park Warden, Gerard Cutmore said while Hollywood has rolled out of Limavady and onto another location, the spin offs from having the Park feature on the big screen is publicity that will benefit the area for years to come.
“It was a wonderful experience to have such a major movie shot in Roe Valley Country Park and it’s a boost for the Northern Ireland Environment Agency and local area, and thumbs up to Universal for choosing here!”