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Where are the best Game of Thrones locations in Northern Ireland?

Where Are the Best Game of Thrones Locations in Northern Ireland?

Rabbie
Posted on 29 Apr 2019


For such a small country, Northern Ireland punches well above its weight.

It has more Game of Thrones locations than you can shake a sword at.

From crumbling castles and beautiful beaches to mighty mountains and craggy cliffs; the country has all it takes to show off the diversity of Westeros and Essos.

With such an abundance of places to visit, you may feel a bit overwhelmed with where to start.

That’s why we wanted to share our favourite filming locations you can see on our tours.

So, follow the Three-Eyed Raven and enter Northern Ireland; the Game of Thrones territory.


Castle Ward / Winterfell

Winterfell is the ancestral home of House Stark and where Game of Thrones starts.

But it isn’t any-old boring castle.

From being attacked by Theon Greyjoy and Ramsay Bolton to the climactic battle of season 8, this castle has been through a lot.

And now that winter has arrived, who knows what’s going to happen to Winterfell?

Luckily, you don’t have to worry about the Night King when you’re visiting Castle Ward, the real-life home of the Starks.

Castle Ward is an 18th-century stately home. The 16th-century historic farmyard located on the estate was used as parts of Winterfell.

You might recognise the courtyard as the archery range, where the Stark children practised their skills. This estate turned out to be a film-making paradise and was used for 19 other GOT filming locations. So, while you’re here, wander around and try to spot as many as possible.




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Dunluce Castle / The Castle of Pyke

Barren rock stacks, jagged cliffs, and swaying rope bridges. This is the Castle of Pyke, the seat of House Greyjoy, dramatically perched on an island of the same name.

This gloomy fortress mirrors the harsh landscape of the Iron Islands.

But this place sounds too bleak to be true. And it is.

The Pyke you’ve seen in the series has been virtually created.

Still, Dunluce Castle, the real-life inspiration for the seat of House Greyjoy, is not that tame.

This iconic ruin clings to the edge of a weathered outcrop on the wild Antrim Coast. And it goes back to the Era of No Health and Safety Regulations. Hence, it’s not surprising to hear that supposedly, the castle’s kitchen tumbled into the icy sea on one stormy night in 1639.

This place has a turbulent history of violence, intrigue and rebellion. And did we mention it’s haunted by a wailing banshee?

Check it for yourself, but we think Dunluce Castle may be even better than the fictional Pyke!



The Dark Hedges / The Kingsroad

The Kingsroad is the longest and grandest highway in the Seven Kingdoms. And nothing can give more prominence to this road than a spectacular row of overarching beech trees.

You will remember that Arya Stark travelled along this eerie-looking road together with her companions as new recruits for the Night’s Watch.

In reality, this road doesn’t lead to the Wall but to Gracehill House, a Georgian mansion built by James Stuart. He planted these beeches to impress visitors approaching his state. And over 200 years later, this fancy driveway has become one of the most photographed natural phenomena in Northern Ireland.

The avenue is aptly called the Dark Hedges. And it’s not only because these remarkable trees form a dense ‘dark tunnel’. The hedges are also haunted by a spirit known as the Grey Lady. She roams this road and always disappears at the last tree. People say ghosts from a nearby forgotten graveyard join her to wander together on Halloween.

Sounds like something straight out of Game of Thrones, right?



Mourne Mountains / Vaes Dothrak

Vast dramatic landscapes, a sea of grass, and the clopping of the horses’ hooves.

This is the land of Dothraki, the horse-mounted warriors of Essos. These nomadic people have only one city; Vaes Dothrak. And this is where Daenerys Targaryen went to gain acceptance and approval for her marriage to Khal Drogo at the beginning of the series.

The backdrop to the city of the horselords are the peaks of the Mourne Mountains. This landscape features in the pilot episode and in season one.

But this stunning area has more fantasy connections. C. S. Lewis, the author of ‘The Chronicles of Narnia’ was also inspired by the beauty of these mountains. So, stop trying to find Narnia in your wardrobe and see this mythical landscape for yourself.



Ballintoy Harbour / Lordsport in Pyke

Coming home wasn’t easy for Theon Greyjoy.

You’ll remember that he docked in at Lordsport on the island of Pyke expecting his boorish father to accept an alliance with the Starks.

Things turned out to be totally different.

Torn between loyalty to people who brought him up and staying true to his roots, Theon betrayed the North.

And this decision cost him his soul.

This shady port from the series is the calm Ballintoy Harbour in County Antrim. With its beautiful rugged coast, bobbing boats and friendly locals, this epitome of a fishing village is a must-see spot.



Portstewart Strand / Beach in Dorne

Dorne is a hot country inhabited by hot-blooded, proud and revengeful people. When tensions between House Martell and House Lannister escalate, the life of young princess Myrcella Baratheon becomes endangered.

That's when Jaime and Bronn secretly come ashore in Dorne and kill some Dornish men on a mission to rescue the princess.

Believe it or not but the beautiful beach they land on is in Northern Ireland.

This slice of coastal heaven with sweeping sands and dunes is called Portstewart Strand. And it's another important stop if you're set-jetting Game of Thrones locations.



Downhill Beach/ Dragonstone

Lady Melisandre, the Red Priestess of the Lord of Light is a controversial figure. She’s got an unshakable faith and will go to any length to fulfil her god’s will.

After gaining influence over Stannis Baratheon, she persuades him to reject the New Gods of Westeros and bury their effigies on the beach of Dragonstone. As if this wasn’t enough, she reveals a prophecy. Great darkness and cold winter will arrive. And the dead will rise in the north.

Luckily, you don’t have to travel to Dragonstone island to ponder over the Red Priestess’ oracle. The beach you’ve seen in the series is Downhill Beach, one of the most scenic stretches of sand and cliffs in Northern Ireland.

While strolling along this coast, you may notice a round building perched on the edge of a cliff; Mussenden Temple. But don’t get your hopes high, it’s not connected to the Lord of Light or any other deity. It’s simply a summer library inspired by a Roman temple built by a local Earl. But we like to imagine it would be a perfect place for Samwell Tarly’s collection of books.



So there you have it. Some thrilling locations that transport you to Westeros and Essos. And once you’ve visited them, there’s only one thing you can do. Go home and watch the epic series again.

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