See Northern Ireland through the eyes of Game of Thrones
Welcome to Westeros. The fictional home of HBO’s hit series Game of Thrones. To re-create the stunning imagery in the book, many locations around the world were chosen. Some of the most amazing of those can be found in Northern Ireland. The rugged coastlines and historic castles make the perfect setting for George R. R. Martins epic story. We’ve put together a little travel guide for (nearly) all things GoT in Northern Ireland. You can visit these locations by car, bus (guided tours are available), bicycle or even foot. But whatever you choose, rest assured: after a while you will feel like a Stark born to be king. Just make sure you don’t lose your head doing so…
1 TOLLYMORE FOREST PARK
The first scene in the very first episode of Game of Thrones sees three men of the Night’s Watch head into the Haunted Forest, where they met their fate in the shape of the gruesome White Walkers.
Tollymore Forest Park’s Haunted Forest was used a second time as well, when Theon Greyjoy tried to run from Ramsay Snow. We all know how that ended.
2 CASTLE WARD (WINTERFELL)
On the shores of Strangford Lough, County Down
The castle served as the Stark family home in Season one, as well as Cairncastle at Larne. You are literally walk through Winterfell when you take through Castle Ward. It’s here where Arya, Bran and Robb, Sansa and Jon Snow grew up.
Remember the moment for a lifetime by dressing up for a vintage selfie and a quick round of archery.
3 MAGHERAMORNE QUARRY (CASTLE BLACK, HARDHOME)
Magheramorne, County Antrim, South of Larne
The disused Magheramorne quarry is home to two important GOT locations: it was used to recreate Castle Black, home of the Night’s Watch, and The Wall. The quarry was also used to recreate the Wildling’s fishing village Hardhome.
Near Ballygally, Antrim Plateau
This is where it all started. The very first scene that was filmed for Game of Thrones was shot here. It was the beheading of a deserter of the Night’s Watch by Ned Stark in the first episode of the first season.
Nobody knew GoT back then in 2010 and the people of Ballygally thought the filming crew was shooting a documentary about the history of the region. Now we know that they were witnesses to history in the making - television history that is.
5 CUSHENDUN CAVES
Cushendun, County Antrim
The caves beyond the coastal village of Cushendun can be accessed by foot by following a long gravel walkway next to the Bay Hotel and Cave House.
In episode 4 of Season 2, Davos Seaworth sets Melisandre ashore right at this very spot. It’s in these dark pits of hell that Melisandre gives birth to the shadow baby, which - as we all know - was bad news for Renly Baratheon.
6 AUDLEY’S CASTLE & FIELD (ROBBS CAMP)
Audleystown Road, Portloughan, Downpatrick
Even from afar, this castle is a real eye catcher. The location can be discovered in different ways (for more info visit the Clearsky Adventure Centre at Castle Ward Estate).
In the first season, Audley’s Field was used for the scene when King Robert Baratheon arrived at Winterfell. In the second season Robb Stark’s Camp was filmed there, which is close to the Strangford Lough, where Jaime Lannister was captured and later released. It is also where Robb first met Talisa, the love of his (rather short) life.
7 LARRYBANE (STORM’S END)
Parking Area near Carrick-Rede Rope Bridge
The exceptional beauty of the landscape close to the famous Carrick-Rede Rope Bridge is breathtaking. The location scouts knew this well, when they decided to immortalise it in the show.
The parking area near the bridge was where Renly Baratheon’s army set up camp in episode 3 of Season 2. It’s here, where Brienne wins against Ser Loras and is given a place in Renly’s Kingsguard. The landscape around the bridge, with its beautiful cliffs, was used to re-create Storm’s End.
8 BALLINTOY HARBOUR (THE IRON ISLANDS)
Ballintoy between Carrick-Rede Rope Bridge & Giant’s Causeway
The coastal village Ballintoy with it’s scenic harbour is situated at one of the most astonishing parts of the Northern Antrim Coast.
This seaside location was used for exterior shots of Pyke and the Iron Islands. When Theon Greyjoy returned to his homelands, Ballintoy Harbour was where he first landed.
9 DARK HEDGES (THE KING’S ROAD)
Near Gracehill House, between Ballymoney & Ballycastle
This beautiful avenue of beech trees was planted in the 18th century by the Stuart family to impress their visitors as they approached the entrance to their mansion, Gracehill House.
When Arya disguised herself as a boy to avoid capture and travelled with the Night’s Watch it was this road, the King’s Road, she took to get to Castle Black in the north, passing the beautiful and very famous Dark Hedges. The whole road was covered in mud for two weeks to shoot a scene which ended up being around 45 seconds long.
10 DOWNHILL STRAND BEACH (DRAGONSTONE)
Downhill Strand Beach, near Castlerock, County Londonderry
Downhill Strand, with the famous Mussenden Tempel (built in 1785) on the clifffs in the background was used for the exterior beach scenes of Dragonstone Island.
Red Priestess Melisandre and Stannis Baratheon chose this location to burn the statues of the Seven Gods in season 2. It’s also where Davos Seaworth helped Gendry escape on a rowing boat in season 3.