Anyone who is serious about Westerosism should take a Game of Thrones tour through Northern Ireland. Northern Ireland is home to some 25 Game of Thrones locations.
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Because of the success of Game of Thrones, there’s now a whole tourism route dedicated to filming locations. It’s easy to take a Game of Thrones guided tours (we recommend Flip from Giant Tours Ireland! You can also go on your own. Make sure to download the Game of Thrones Northern Ireland Locations app before you leave so you can see exactly where you are going!
Cushendun Caves – Co. Antrim
The Cushendun Caves were formed by exposure to extreme weather for over 400 million years. They are small but stunningly beautiful. You can easily access the caves from Cushendun, which is located on an elevated beach close to the Glendun or Glencorp valleys.
The caves in Season 2 Episode 4 of Game of Thrones are well-known. They were once used as a cove for the Stormlands. The scene in which Melisandre is brought to shore by Davos Seaworthy, and then gives birth to a shadow child.
Larrybane Quarry, Co. Antrim
Although Larrybane Quarry serves as an overflow parking area for the Carrick-A-Rede Rope Bridge Rope Bridge, it’s still as charming as it was in Game of Thrones. The Quarry features white, steep cliffs rising from the landscape and stunning views of Rathlin Island and the ocean.
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Larrybane Quarry was featured in Episode 3 of Season 2 of Game of Thrones, when Brienne of Tarth defeated Lord Tyrell and Catelyn stark meets King Renly.
The Dark Hedges – Stranocum, Co. Antrim
The Dark Hedges, a row of beech trees which line the road from Gracehill House, is one of the most photographed and iconic sites in Northern Ireland. The trees were planted by the Stuart family in 18th century to impress visitors.
In Game of Thrones, the Dark Hedges are known as Kingsroad. They were featured in Episode 1, Season 2 when Arya Stark, disguised as a boy, traveled through the trees to escape King’s Landing with Gendry and Yoren.
Castle Ward, Co. Down
Castle Ward, an 18th-century mansion-house situated on a hillside with a view of Strangford Lough is a home to the Ward family. It was built in 1603 and has been their home since. You’ll find sunken gardens, 34km of trails and 820 acres of walled property surrounding the house that you can use for hiking or biking.
Castle Ward was the location of Game of Thrones Season 1’s Winterfell. It is also home to many GOT memories. This is also where King Robert Baratheon arrived with his company and was met by the Stark families. Bran was also taught how to shoot an Arrow by Jon Snow, Robb Stark, and this is where Bran learned how to shoot an arrow.
Ballintoy Harbour, Co. Antrim
Ballintoy Harbour, a historic fishing and trading spot, is composed of stunning cliffs and rocky shores. You can find the Harbour by following a narrow and steep road that runs from Ballintoy to the Carrick-A-Rede Rope Bridge and Larrybane.
Season 2 of Game of Thrones featured Ballintoy as Lordsport, a town on the Isle of Pyke. This was where Theon Greyjoy, who had been disloyal towards the Starks, returned to in Episode 2.
Downhill Beach – Co. Londonderry
Downhill Beach, located on the Causeway Coast, in the north of Northern Ireland is an 11km stretch. It is best known for being home to the Mussenden Temple. The 120-foot high temple overlooks the beach. You can take part in water sports or walk to nearby waterfalls if you are looking for activities while on Downhill Beach.
Downhill Beach was featured numerous times in Game of Thrones Season 2 when Dragonstone was created. This is Episode 1 and Melisandre sang, “For the darkness is full of terrors, Stannis pulled out the flaming sword.”
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The Titanic Quarter, Belfast, Co. Antrim
The Titanic Quarter, located on Belfast’s waterfront, is home to an entertainment district and maritime landmarks. It also houses the Titanic Museum. Titanic Film Studios, which is particularly interesting for Game of Thrones fans, can be found in the Titanic Quarter. Many scenes from the show were shot in these studios.
Meet the Direwolves in Strangford, Co. Down
The Direwolves are first seen in Season 1’s opening scenes. They were adopted by Stark children who found the Wolfswood orphaned puppies. The Direwolves in real life are Northern Inuit dogs that have been domestically bred. You can visit Summer and Grey Wind, which are also known as Odin and Thor.
Odin and Thor, when they are not on tour, live in Strangford County just 40 minutes south from Belfast, where they meet their many fans.
The Cuan Restaurant, Strangford Co. Down
Although it is not a filming location for Game of Thrones, the Cuan Restaurant was the place where the cast stayed and dined during filming at Winterfell Castle’s first two seasons. Cuan Restaurant offers Game of Thrones banquets. You can either dine in a transformed banquet hall that looks like Winterfell or enjoy a picnic at your favorite Game of Thrones location.
These banquets allow you to dress up as a Stark, and enjoy special Winterfell-inspired food. The Cuan also offers a GOT-themed murder mystery dinner experience.
Dunluce Castle – Bushmills, Co. Antrim
The ruins of Dunluce Castle, perched at the edge of dramatic cliffs on the coast, were used to film House Greyjoy, ruler of Iron Islands. These ruins were transformed into what you see on the screen with a bit of CGI.
Dunluce castle, in real life, was built by the MacQuillan families around 1500. It was then seized by the MacDonnell family in 1550. The MacDonnell family took over the seat of County Antrim’s earls in 17th century, before it fell into disrepair (and eventually the sea).