The fourth season of the hit TV fantasy Game of Thrones will again be filmed in Northern Ireland, HBO confirmed this week.

According to the BBC, Northern Ireland Screen, Invest Northern Ireland and the European Regional Development Fund will all fund it.

The North's First Minister Peter Robinson said: 'Securing the filming of series four is proof that Northern Ireland can host large-scale productions with positive spin-off into other sectors such as tourism, where we can showcase stunning locations such as the Causeway Coast and the Glens, Ballintoy and Murlough Bay, to name but a few.'

The Irish film crews and production teams running the show are world class and Thrones has highlighted just how attractive Ireland is becoming to the wider filming world and Hollywood.

'The success of Game of Thrones shows our commitment to leave no stone unturned when seeking to secure such international productions,' Robinson continued. 'We travelled to Los Angeles to press the case for the Northern Ireland film industry and to encourage HBO to return to film their fourth series.

'We have seen the economic impact of an estimated 65 million pounds across the three seasons and we want to grow our local film industry to attract more international projects of this scale.'

The North's Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness said: 'Meeting with HBO senior executives at the launch of Game of Thrones series three in Los Angeles last month shows we are prepared to go the extra mile to secure such an internationally renowned production for our local film industry. The credibility associated with a project of this scale has significant potential for our economy.

'A very important part of this large-scale inward investing production is the training and skills development for the local industry.

'We are focused on maximizing the economic value of series four and building on the employment levels of the previous series where over 800 people were working on the production.

Northern Ireland Screen is working in partnership with the Northern Ireland Tourist Board and Titanic Belfast to exploit the success of HBO's production through the Game of Thrones exhibition in June,' McGuinness said.

Production for seasons one, two and three of Game of Thrones occurred in Belfast with filming in the Titanic Studios and at locations across Northern Ireland including the North Coast, Tollymore Forest Park and Castle Ward. Other parts of the series were filmed on location in Malta, Croatia, Iceland, and Morocco.

Irish American Emilia Clarke star of "Game of Thrones", filming in Northern IrelandHBO