The whole world has been eagerly awaiting the new season of Game of Thrones which premiered on US TV last night and will show on Irish and UK channels tonight but what you may not know is that the show helped turn the fortunes of one family farm in Armagh around.
Kenny Gracey is a modest Armagh farmer so modest in fact that you might not know that he’s probably the owner of some of the most famous farm animals in the world.
Fontfill Farm breeds rare breed animals and a one time chance of some extra income from renting out his animals for a film shoot in Northern Ireland has turned into a near full time job for the talented man.
‘We’ve got English longhorn, belted galloways, saddleback pigs and even some deer,’ says Kenny whose busy working with his Jacob sheep.
Your highness was Kenny’s first foray into Hollywood when some of his old breed animals were rented for the film.
‘It all kicked off with that first film, the next year we had Game of Thrones and Ive been supplying animals to the show every series.’
Game of Thrones
The GRR Martin hit fantasy series has become the biggest selling and most popular tv show in recorded history starting in 2011 the series pulls in tens of millions of viewers. Now on its seventh series the hit show has won 38th Emmy awards.
The work on the show also came at a good time for the Gracey family who like everyone else had suffered in the recession.
‘Its been helpful,’ says Kenny who rightly won’t disclose how much he gets for renting his animals.
‘I get a daily fee for each animal.’
Kenny also serves as master of the horse for the show supplying some of his own horses for the production which has lead to his own appearance on the hit show.
‘I’ve been in a few scenes but just in the background.’’
A fan of the old and rare breed animals since childhood Kenny has always kept a few different types.
‘I started with saddleback pigs, I liked the old breed since I was a boy.’
A busy man Kenny is now set to work once again with hit Hollywood actor Sean Bean the original star of Game of Thrones on the film Frankenstein 2 later this year. The final series of Game of Thrones is due to start filming in October which Kenny will be sad to see finish.
‘It’s been a big help and a lot of fun.’
Kenny admits however that due to being so busy (he’s supplied animals to 17 different productions) and not having SKY the tv channel he has never seen Game of Thrones.
‘I watched a few episodes at the start but I don’t have Sky and I am just busy, one day I hope to sit down and watch it all,’ he says.
With all the work he has coming up including the breeding and calving of his that might not be any day soon!
You can watch the show on Sky atlantic tonight.