A major HBO television series, 'A Game of Thrones', is set to be shot in Belfast later this year.

'A Game of Thrones', which is based on a book by American author George RR Martin is described as "an epic struggle for power, set in a vast and violent fantasy kingdom".

A pilot episode for the proposed nine-part series was shot in Northern Ireland last year.

HBO has now revealed plans to begin filming in Belfast in June of this year.

The series will star Sean Bean, Peter Dinklage, Lena Headey and Alfie Allen.

It's estimated the series will be worth about £20 million to Northern Ireland's economy and will involve the creation of hundreds of jobs.

A huge set has already been built in the Paint Hall studio in Belfast's Titanic Quarter.

Northern Ireland's First Minister Peter Robinson described the project as a "major coup for Northern Ireland".

He said: "The transformation of the Paint Hall from the last remnant of our once great ship building tradition to the largest stage in Europe, is an example of our flexibility and our commitment to innovation."

"This announcement is also a major endorsement of our local talent and of the calibre of people that we can provide to potential investors."

Northern Ireland's Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness described it as a "huge vote of confidence" in the North's film and television industry.

He also revealed that he and Peter Robinson met with senior executives from HBO, to finalise the deal, during a trip to Los Angeles last year.