The sheer magnitude of Game of Thrones has shattered any expectations of how popular it would become. It has become a worldwide phenomenon in many areas, among them, tourism. The countries that have had the luck to have locations featured in the series have attracted a new public. Many are eager to visit the scenes in which the entanglements of the Stark, Lannister, Targaryen, Greyjoy, Baratheon, Bolton, and company develop and Northern Ireland has practically been synonymous with Westeros itself.
Landscapes and monuments in Northern Ireland, where Titanic Studios is located (one of the most important studios in Europe), were used to carry out numerous shots, especially during the first three seasons of the series. You can find many GOT’s filming locations in Ireland, from Castle Winterfell to Rob Stark’s camp.
Game Of Thrones In Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland has become a huge travel sensation in the West due to the popularity of the show. It is the setting and shooting location of Westeros, that fictional world divided into four continents and seven kingdoms that are at war.
The series features many stunning castles, abbeys, and ruins, as well as naturally beautiful locations; sharp cliffs like Valyrian steel swords, volcanic basalt corridors, fairy-tale forests and many more dramatic and photogenic landscapes.
Game Of Thrones Shooting Locations
Do you want to know where the locations of Game of Thrones in Northern Ireland are? Then, you have come to the right place as this article will tell you some of the real-life locations of this excellent series.
While it is true that Northern Ireland has been a great location to visit before Game of Thrones, the possibility of visiting some of the places where it was filmed, is bringing a lot of tourism to “Game of Thrones Ireland”.
Of course, it is natural also to want to see Belfast or Derry, as well as the Giant’s Causeway, the only World Heritage Site in Northern Ireland. But before you plan out your trip, you may want to watch the above video on Game of Thrones filming locations video by DW Euromaxx so that you can plan ahead of time such as where to go, like Castle Ward or Inch Abbey.
How Plan Out The Trip Around Northern Ireland?
To plan your trip, you may want to use the information on the official website of Tourism of Ireland (which is offered in several languages) as well as the official website of Tourism Northern Ireland where you can consult an interactive map of Game of Thrones filming locations.
There are some tours specifically designed for those wanting to see the GOT’s locations, but if you prefer to go it alone and drive, it’s a good idea to use the internet to research and plan your route in detail ahead of your trip. Don’t forget to check travel insurance for the Ireland trip if you are not from the UK. Since Northern Ireland is part of the UK, travel cover is not a legal requirement for UK residents. But for travelers from another part of the world, comprehensive travel insurance will be recommended.
List of Game of Thrones Filming Locations To Check Out in Ireland:
Dundrum Castle and Tollymore Forest Park (The Enchanted Forest of the North)
First stop: Newcastle, or rather its surroundings. In the depths of Tollymore Forest Park, several soldiers of the Night Watch meet the white walkers, and Theon Greyjoy tries to escape being caught by Ramsay Bolton, although without much luck.
Tollymore, a good starting place for the Game of Thrones route, is also the location of Bran’s dream in which he begins to chase the three-eyed raven and where the Starks’ find the wolf puppies. There is no doubt that the producers have taken advantage of this stunning forest, its stone bridges and medieval gates.
Just 15 kilometres from the ruins of Dundrum Castle, on top of a hill north of Newcastle and next to a forest that has also made several shots, we can see the coast of the Irish Sea.
Castle Ward (Winterfell)
Winterfell and the castle of the Stark House exist within an ancient stately property known as Castle Ward, on the shores of Strangford Lough in County Down and scarcely fifteen minutes by car from the city of Downpatrick (in whose cathedral Saint Patrick was buried). If there is a typical place of Game of Thrones in Ireland, there is no doubt that this is it.
In one of the courtyards of the farm (it has several hectares and can be traveled by car, bike or on foot) the exteriors of the Stark Fortress were recorded. That’s where little Bran begins to take his first steps with the bow while his father Ned teaches him. In fact, after the success of the series, there is a real possibility of practicing archery in front of the watchtower of Winterfell being instructed by the bike same archer who took care that the actors had a certain style for filming.
Less than 4 kilometers away in the main square of the town of Strangford is a guesthouse known as The Cuan in which some of the characters from Game of Thrones stayed during the filming in the first season. You can even book the room in which Jon Snow slept, or rather, the actor who plays him, Kit Harington.
If you want a good look around Castle Ward, give yourself several hours. It is in a privileged environment that also includes an 18th-century mansion that would look like it was taken from a series like Downtown Abbey, because of its stately appearance.
Just four kilometers away there is another tower known as Audley’s Castle that also appears in Game of Thrones, in a few moments as Castle of the Night Guardians and others as the place where they captured Sir Jaime Lannister to take him to the Starks.
Inch Abbey (The camp of Robb Stark)
Less than a mile from the Cathedral of Downpatrick or Castle Ward appears one of the locations of Game of Thrones that you should visit. It is the Abbey of Inch on the north bank of the Quoile River, whose ruins (reminiscent of the abandoned abbeys of North Yorkshire in England) and surroundings appeared in the series at key moments.
The Cistercian abbey of Inch, with some walls remaining from the 12th century, served as the set when Catelyn Stark learned of the death of her husband, Ned Stark, and where Robb Stark was proclaimed King of the North. Robb Stark’s camp can be seen when it is viewed with the surrounding ruins.
Inch Abbey can be visited every day and admission is free. And, even if it had nothing to do with Game of Thrones, it is recommended that you visit. It has fabulous views of Downpatrick and is an ideal place for a stroll.
The Quoile River that passes next to Inch Abbey was also used in the series as the place where the funeral of Catlelyn’s father, Hoster Tully, was celebrated in what would be Riverrun. It was shot specifically at the Embarcadero at the end of Strangford Road (Quoile Countryside Center), very close to Castle Ward.
The Caves of Cushendun (The Melisandre hideout)
Already within the well-known Coastal Route of the Causeway (Causeway Coastal Route), one of those coastal tours that could be defined as essential in Northern Ireland is another one of filming sites of Game of Thrones; Cushendun, a small, adorable town by the sea, County Antrim. With just under 150 inhabitants, it has become an essential stop for Game of Thrones fans. In one of its caves, Melisandre, better known as ‘the red woman’ was taken by Sir Davos to engender a demonic shadow and thus assassinate Renly Baratheon.
Finding the caves of Cushendun was not easy for me because you will not notice any signs and there was not a soul in the street to ask. But with patience, you may end up arriving at the exact place. It’s pretty easy if you know in advance, of course. The cave where the scene of Melisandre filming is located just behind a row of white buildings. If you go from the south you do not have to cross the bridge over the Glendun River, which is the one that ends precisely in Cushendun, but continue with the car through these buildings to just see the cave. There is, as in other locations of Game of Thrones, a poster that talks about the stage and some particularities of the shooting.
It is a very photogenic environment that several species of seabirds come to. Cushendun is a jewel which the Causeway Coastal Route and the Game of Thrones Route have brought many tourists.
Port of Ballintoy (The Iron Islands)
When in Ballintoy you can enjoy one of the exceptional views of a whole kingdom of Game of Thrones. Grey sky, rebellious sea and lots of rocky islands floating on the horizon. In effect, you will be arriving at the Iron Islands just as Theon Greyjoy did, but the young man raised by the Starks did not have the best reception.
Under the foot of a beach covered with algae and stones, it is impossible to count the whole number of islets.
A souvenir shop, a tiny port, and a medieval tower are the only things we might not recognize in one of the sets of the most fabulous film that Game of Thrones has in Northern Ireland. If we advance a few meters on foot leaving aside the port there is a small cove, if you can call it that, in which Theon was consecrated to the Drowned God.
The Castle of Dunluce (residence Greyjoy)
Past Bushmills, a few kilometers from the Giant’s Causeway, the ruins of a castle challenge the ocean from a seemingly fragile rocky watchtower. We are in the castle of Pyke where the governors of the Iron Islands in Game of Thrones reside. Although here I must say that the reconstruction by the computer makes the real, very damaged although super photogenic hanging from the cliff, look very different from what we observe on television. It is necessary to use your imagination to see the Greyjoy castle from the second season.
There are many more locations mentioned in the video by DW Euromaxx and you should subscribe to their channel for more travel inspiration. Below is the complete list of places (too numerous to all list on this article) that are in the video:
- 18th-century mansion Castle Ward that became Winterfell
- Tollymore Forest became the haunted forest
- The Tower House of 15th-century Audley’s Castle which was used as Walder Frey’s twins
- Fair Head (Dragonstone)
- Inch Abbey was used as Robb Stark’s camp
- Murlough Bay (Slaver’s Bay)
- Ballintoy Harbour (Iron Islands, Pyke)
- Cairncastle (surroundings of Winterfell)
- Cushendun Caves (The Stormlands)
After reading this list, hopefully, you will be excited to visit the various Game of Thrones filming locations in Ireland. If you are a massive fan of the series, you should plan a vacation to this beautiful country. Many fans have made the pilgrimage, and the different sights and things to do in Northern Ireland are also worth going for! Outside of the show are also things to know before you go to Ireland. The country is beautiful even without knowledge of the show. Don’t forget to ping me and send a few pics this way!
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