Epic Game of Thrones Ireland road trip

Epic Game of Thrones Ireland road trip

Game of Thrones Ireland  

A Game of Thrones Tour of Northern Ireland is a must for anyone obsessed with the show and Ireland.  I proudly claim my status as “fangirl” – well fangirl is a little off base as I am not exactly a girl anymore. I dragged my husband around every single Game of Thrones locations in Ireland and he enjoyed every minute of it.

PLAN YOUR DREAM TRIP TO IRELAND – HERE’S HOW

Map of Game of Thrones Locations Ireland

Map of Game of Thrones filming locations in Ireland
Map courtesy of Discover Northern Ireland

The result of this incredible sacrifice and hard work is this brilliant, ultimate Game of Thrones tour guide that you can use to plan your Game of Thrones Tour. I’ve described where all the GoT sites are in Northern Ireland and how to get to them from either Dublin or Belfast.

Every single shooting location is listed with instructions on how to get to the sites. The Game of Thrones Northern Ireland filming locations ranges across most of the North and the Mournes. 

32 Game of Thrones locations N. Ireland

This Game of Thrones itinerary can be done in 3-5 days depending on which sites you want to see for yourself. 

Epic Game of Thrones Ireland road trip

This self-guided Game of Thrones itinerary can be started from Dublin, or from Belfast. It ends in Enniskillen and covers every conceivable GoT film set in Northern Ireland.

It also includes the Journey of Doors Tour, stopping at all the sites along the route to have a pint and a picture and get your Journey of Doors Passport stamped.

the cover of the Tour of Doors brochure for Game of Thrones

Game of Thrones Tour of Doors

The Game of Thrones – Tour of Doors is the beautiful result of storm damage caused to the Dark Hedges in January of 2016. The trees that were damaged and knocked over were provided to some of Ireland’s most accomplished craftspeople to design and carve doors from.

The Dark Hedges used in the filming of Game of Thrones

Each of the doors represents a moment in the Game of Thrones saga and on completion; they were hung in various locations across the country. You can pick up your Tour of Doors, GoT Passports at all these locations and a stamp in your passport will be rewarded for every door you get to see.

If you are as obsessed as I am with travel and Game of Thrones why not combine the two in a trip to Malta. Malta is actually one of my favourite places and if you want to know what it’s like check out David from Travel Elsewhere’s post on all the Best Places to visit in Malta, Beyond Valetta. 

Game of Thrones Ireland locations

Game of Thrones Dublin

From Dublin drive North on the A1 North, the drive is a little over 2 hours. Once you cross over the border into Northern Ireland, you can head east to Leitrim Lodge and Sandy Brae or west to Gosford Castle the first two Game of Thrones Sites in the immediate area.  

This is an often missed part of the Game of Thrones Tour as it is a long way from Belfast and the Causeway Coast routes. This area of Northern Ireland is famous for the Mourne Mountains and some of the most incredible views and scenic outlooks in the North of Ireland. This area played home to the Dothraki Grasslands and the forests of Winterfell.

The Dothraki grasslands filming location at the foothills of the Mourne Mountains in County Down

Before you visit Ireland here are my top Irish movies and TV shows to watch.

When you cross over the border head to Newry and then west towards Gosford Forest park where you will find the first of the Game of Thrones sites in Northern Ireland.

If you are a massive #GOT fan you may want to check out The Ultimate DIY Game of Thrones Iceland Road Trip from Zena’s Suitcase blog.

Game of Thrones sets in Ireland

There are over 32 sites in Ireland where Game of Thrones is filmed, some you can visit and see first hand, others are off-limits to tourists. Some of those sites that are off-limits can be seen and photographed from a distance, however.

Here’s a really cool idea – why not have a Game of Thrones night and make some amazing food to share with your fellow #GOT obsessed friends. Well here is a brilliant post from Evelyne at CulturEatz! Here are Evelyne and fellow bloggers Game of Thrones Recipes.

Ultimate Game of Thrones Ireland Itinerary

You can also download a Game of Thrones Map on an app from the Northern Ireland tourism board. Discover Northern Ireland says this about the app:

Bridging the gap between fantasy and reality, the interactive map allows users to flip between the mythical worlds of Westeros and Essos and the Northern Ireland filming locations. Over 25 scenes from Seasons 1-7 are featured on the app, with detailed information on each scene and where it was filmed, as well as official stills from the show. The 10 Doors of Thrones can also be found on the app. Fans can also experience the beauty of Northern Ireland from their own home as each location features a 360-degree panoramic photograph.

If you are a true fan of Game of Thrones then you need to read Where To Find Game Of Thrones Filming Locations In Dubrovnik this is where I want to head to next, yes I’m a true fangirl lol.

Game of Thrones Locations Ireland

1 Gosford  Castle 

Gosford Castle is privately owned and there are no public tours but it is a beautiful house and easily recognisable as the seat of the Lord Protector of the Riverlands. In the Game of Thrones Riverrun is located where the Tumblestone River and the Red Fork of the Trident meet. Once again, the CGI magic of Game of Thrones is evident, as Gosford Castle has no river.

Gosford Castle a private castle used in the filming of Game of Thrones

Here are 15 haunted castles to visit when in Ireland and a few you can stay at.

2 Leitrim Lodge

Leitrim Lodge which sits at the foothills of the Mourne mountain range in County Down. This is where Bran and Rickon take refuge in the crypts after Theon Greyjoy takes over Winterfell and they meet Jojen and Meera in the woods.

You could also head to Newcastle and check out the Journey of Doors #3 at Percy French, which is named after the composer of the famous song “The Mountains of Mourne”. This would be a great place for a break before heading over to Sandy Brae and Tollymore.

Game of Thrones Door at Percy French's in Newcastle. Depicting a ship leaving from Greyjoy's Iron Islands with a direwolf below the shipl.

From this area to Sandy Brae takes around 10 minutes.

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3  Sandy Brae

Sandy Brae is in the Mourne Mountains near Newry and it is where the scenes with Ser Jorah and Daenerys were filmed riding their horses through the Dothraki grasslands.  There are plenty of walking pathways to hike and you can get some good shots of the mountains as seen in Game of Thrones®.

Sandy Brae area in the Mourne Mountains which played the Dothraki grasslands in the Game of Thrones

To get to the Tollymore Forest Park from Sandy Brae is around a 40-minute drive, don’t however listen to Google Maps when it comes to getting into the park as it will direct you on a roundabout fashion so you will miss the Park entrance that sits right in Castlewellan so keep your eyes peeled for the entrance as you drive through the town.

4  Tollymore Forest

Tollymore comprises over 600 hectares of forest from ancient redwoods, gothic stone arches and the remains of an 18th-century estate. If you can find your way to the Altavaddy Bridge this is where the dire wolves clearing can be found. Stroll along the river and you will see the deep hole where the Night’s Watchman Will comes upon the village where everyone has been killed by the White Walkers.

The entrance gates to the Tollymore Forest

The forest is also, where the “Bastard of Bolton” hunted down Theon Greyjoy when he escaped from his imprisonment.

Driving up from the forest on St. Patrick’s Trail, you head towards Downpatrick. Follow the signs from the Trail to Inch Abbey, this drive will take around an hour.

exterior of the Cuan a fabulous B&B and place for a break on your Game of Thrones Door of County Down. It's in Strangford and the food is excellent

I would highly recommend you stay a day or so in this area perhaps booking a great night’s sleep at The Cuan in Strangford and while you are there you can see Door #1 which sets the scene for the beginning of the Game of Thrones saga.

Door #1 at the Cuan which begins the Game of Thrones saga

which will give you a central location as a base and from here you can visit Inch Abbey, Audley’s Castle, Castle Ward and much more. You can also grab the ferry at Strangford to Portaferry and check out The Fiddlers Green Pub for Door #2 and Quintin Harbour.

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5 Quintin Bay

Quintin Bay is in Portaferry, County Down and it is the spot near Castle Stokeworth in the Crownlands where Jaime Lannister goes to find Bronn and persuade him to accompany him to Dorne. It was at Castle Stokeworth, that Jaime and Bronn hatch a plot to retrieve Princess Myrcella from Dorne.

Now that this part of your Game of Thrones journey is done, head towards Belfast and take in some of the vibrancy of the City before you head out again on your Game of Thrones tour.

If you are in this area of the Ards peninsula take a run-up to Portavogie to have some to die for fresh prawns at the Quays Restaurant, it may not look much from the road but the food is excellent and the views incredible. Across the peninsula from Portavogie go and see Grey Abbey you won’t regret it. You could also take a day or so to see Mount Stewart and the Strangford Loch area which is pretty spectacular.

Quintin Harbour this is where Jamie visits Bronn and Lolly and convinces Bronn to come with him to rescue his neice.

After a day spent exploring the Ards Peninsula head back to your B&B at The Cuan where you can enjoy your pre-arranged Game of Thrones Feast, grab some rest and start out fresh the next day. Inch Abbey, Castle Ward and other sites of interest for Games of Thrones fans are just a few minutes ride away from Strangford.

From Strangford to Inch Abbey will take around 18 minutes and from there to the River Quoile it is around 6 minutes.

6 Inch Abbey

Inch Abbey is the remains of a Cistercian Abbey that were founded in 1180 by John de Courcy. There are lovely views towards the Cathedral town of Downpatrick and it is set beside the River Quoile.

Inch Abbey ruins this is where the War of the 5 Kings is declared and Robb Stark is crowned king

Inch Abbey was the site was used as Robb Stark’s Camp, Riverrun in season one of Game of Thrones and where the War of the 5 Kings began.

From Inch Abbey, it will take you around 6 minutes to get to the River Quoile.

7 The River Quoile

The River Quoile is used for the Riverrun location in the Game of Thrones saga and where the funeral scenes of Hoster Tully at Riverrun were shot. There is a plaque at the site to mark the HBO filming, one of several around Northern Ireland to help fans of the show to track down the spots of greatest interest to them.

a beautiful conservation area at the River Quoile, the pier was left by HBO after they finished filming the Riverrun scenes here

Head to The Cuan Guesthouse for a hearty lunch and marvel at the Game of Thrones inspired door, depicting scenes from the sixth season of the series. These intricate masterpieces are dotted across Northern Ireland and were carved from the wood of the 200-year-old beech trees at the Dark Hedges.

Epic Game of Thrones Ireland road trip
Costumes from Game of Thrones at The Cuan

From here, it will take around 10 minutes to get to Castle Ward and Audley’s Castle and field

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8 Castle Ward

signs at the back of Castle Ward to point you in the right direction to Winterfell

Castle Ward is a unique demesne of over 800 acres with a manor house that has two facades the first one, which faces the main road, is done in a classic Palladian style and the other side is completely gothic with pointed windows, finials and battlements.

the palladian side of Castle Ward in County Down where Game of Thrones tours and the set of Winterfell are.

Castle Ward’s farmyard is the location of Winterfell. This is where you will find the Whispering Wood, Robb Stark’s Camp, and the Baelor Battle. The Winterfell Tower where Jamie Lannister pushed Bran is also located here. You can do tours of the Game of Thrones set at Castle Ward, take part in some archery lessons dress up in costumes and enjoy the thrill of being immersed in the experience.

HBO's Castle Ward sign with photographs of the set of Winterfell

From Castle Ward, you will circle back to the main roads and from here, it will take approximately 10 minutes to find Audley’s Castle.

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9 Audley’s Castle and Field

Audley’s Castle is to the west of Castle Ward and there are several walking trails to take you to the site. It was at Audley’s Field where the scenes of King Robert Baratheon and his retinue arriving at Winterfell to go hunting in Season 1 took place. It is also the location and backdrop of Robb Stark’s camp and where he first meets his wife to be Talisa. Later in the series, this is where Alton Lannister is imprisoned with Jamie and it was here the Starks sought an audience with the treacherous Freys to cross the Green Fork.

Audley's castle and field and the HBO Game of Thrones sign. This area played home to Walder Frey and the Red Wedding although the castle is is ruins it was CGI'ed to look whole

Audley’s Castle is known as The Twins in the Game of Thrones series. CGI was used to duplicate the castle ruins, move the location closer to the water or the Lough as it is known here and join it with a bridge. Audley’s Castle is also, where the scenes of the Red Wedding took place. Audley’s Castle lies in the grounds of the Castle Ward estate, North West of the village of Strangford.

the ruins of Audleys Castle that played home to the Battle of Oxcross

From this area it’s now time to head towards Belfast where you can spend a few days and take in all the city has to offer. You can see the Titanic Experience, head to the world-famous Crown Pub and The Europa Hotel, check out St. George’s Market and much more.

Epic Game of Thrones Ireland road trip

10 Game of Thrones Tapestry

Exhibited at the Ulster Museum in Belfast since July 2017, this monumental artwork, nearly 90 meters long, will be sent on a symbolic journey to conquer its origins, in the city of Bayeux in Normandy … Due to its exceptional size, it will be presented, not at the Bayeux Tapestry museum directly, but at the Hôtel du Doyen near the cathedral, rue Lambert-Leforestier.

Epic Game of Thrones Ireland road trip

While you explore Belfast check out The Dark Horse Pub, which is, where you will find the door, which represents Season 6 of the series.

The Game of Thrones Door Tour #9 at the Dark Horse in Belfast featuring the Lannister Lion
door #9 in Belfast at The Dark Horse

From Belfast, we now head out on the Causeway Coastal Route to some more iconic Game of Thrones scenes. We take the A2 driving slightly northwest to Randalstown where we can find Shane’s Castle. This part of the drive takes around 40 minutes

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11 Shane’s Castle

Shane’s castle is near Randalstown in Co. Antrim, by Lough Neagh. The castle itself is in a ruined state since a fire in 1816, and it is the grounds that mostly feature in the show.

Bridge near Randalstown where Jamie and Brienne where fighting

You would probably recognise the grounds of the castle from the tournament scene in which we were introduced to the Hound and his brother, the Mountain.

Jamie and Briene fighting on the bridge near Randlaston
courtesy of Shane’s castle website

Shane’s Castle has open days where Game of Thrones fans can see where the Tourney of the Hand took place. This is the festival held at King’s Landing by Robert Baratheon in honour of Ned Stark. It is also, where the dungeon scenes for Kings Landing are filmed. The cellars at the castle have also played the role of Winterfell’s crypts and a great deal of the scenes around The Faith was filmed with the Sparrow and Margaery This was during the time that the Faith took Margaery prisoner thanks to Cersei.

Shane's Castle where the Tourney of the Hand took place in Game of Thrones

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12 Lough Neagh

Shane’s Castle was also the backdrop of the scene where Brienne of Tarth and Jaime Lannister come ashore and find the three hanged women. They confront the Stark troops who hanged the women and ensure that retribution is made. Lough Neagh was also transformed into the Summer Sea, where Jorah steals a boat, takes Tyrion captive and sets sail to his beloved Daenerys in Meereen.

From Shane’s Castle, we head west to Moneyglass, which is around a 30-minute drive.

13 Moneyglass Estate

This is a purpose-built set that becomes the exteriors and interiors for Winterfell. The set is built near Toomebridge in Country Antrim. Numerous scenes have been shot here including the Red Wedding and where Arya meets the caged men on the Kings Road.

From Moneyglass we now begin to head east to the Causeway Coast where we will head to Shillanavogy Valley around 35 minutes east of Moneyglass.

14 Shillanavogy Valley

Shillanavogy is Dothraki territory; it is where Daenerys learns what a Khaleesi is. Ser Jorah Mormont and the Dothraki horsemen ride through the grasslands with Daenerys en route to Vaes Dothrak in the first season of the show. The gorgeous Shillanavogy Valley lies beneath the Slemish Mountain in County Antrim.

slemish mountain and Shillanavogy

It is a bit of a circular drive this part but relatively quickly within around 15 minutes, you will find yourself at the Quarry. There are signs posted to the quarry but I am not sure if you can actually get into the place yet, although there is hope that the “wall” will be left as a tourist attraction in the future.

15 Sallagh Braes

In a privately owned area of the Sallagh Braes within the Glens of Antrim, the Battle of the Bastards was filmed with over 400 extras. It was also in this area that scenes of Briene and Pog were filmed along with the episode of the Hound building a Sept with Ian McShane.

Sallagh Braes on the Antrim walking trails the set for the Battle of the Bastard and scenes with the Hound and the Sept.

You can hike the trails on the Braes with maps from the Antrims Hill Ways. You can’t get access to the actual site as it is private property but you can view it from the hiking trails.

From Shillanavogy to Magheramorne and Ballygally will take around an hour. Luckily enough you can take a break at Ballygally Castle for lunch and a pint and check out door #9.

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16 Magheramorne Quarry near Larne

Please note: This location may not be open to the public

The quarry is where the set of the 300-mile barrier defending the realm from Wildlings – The Wall was built. The quarry has been transformed into a barricade of ice that is manned by the Night’s Watch. It also doubles as the Wilding Village of Hardhome. Castle Black, which is home to the Night’s Watch, was also built here for the show. The quarry is also, where battlements were built to serve as the Kings Landing defences during the Battle of Blackwater Bay. The scenes were also filmed in the Paint Hall Studios in Belfast.

Maghermore Quarry from across the bay
Maghermore Quarry from across the bay

The set (with both exteriors and interiors) of Castle Black includes the ravenry, barracks, mess hall and courtyard with the stone wall of the quarry used as the icewall. An elevator was built to lift the Knight’s Watch to the top of the Wall and a real castle was built near a cliff that is 400 feet high. CGI provides the magic to make the wall appear over 700 feet high.

Epic Game of Thrones Ireland road trip

Once the Game of Thrones filming is completed, the local council is hoping to use the site as a tourist venue.

17 Cairncastle

The Ballygally area is home to several areas of filming. Cairncastle is a meadow area up from the main village of Ballygally (but there is no castle). This is where Game of Thrones began with Ned Stark beheading a Night’s Watch Deserter in front of Jon Snow, Theon Greyjoy and the Stark brothers Robb and Bran. It is also the setting for where Catelyn captures Tyrion Lannister. It is from above Cairncastle that Bran, Rickon, Osha and Hodor look back for a last glimpse of Winterfell before heading north to the Wall.

Epic Game of Thrones Ireland road trip

Cairncastle, which is high up on the Antrim plateau (and quite a good walk), appears in the scene where Littlefinger took Sansa to Moat Cailin and she made her decision to ally with the Boltons. This dramatic plain with its basalt outcrops is incredible and was chosen to represent The Neck, which is the backdrop to where Sansa learns she is now betrothed to the horrific Ramsay Bolton.

The Antrim Plateau makes up the fantasy land of Winterfell. A private estate in Cairncastle was used in season one for the backdrop of Stark Castle (the castle exterior was created using CGI). There is a public footway called the Ulster Way, where tourists and visitors can see Winterfell.

18 Ballygally Castle

Not really a filming destination but a great ‘don’t miss’ site where you can grab lunch and a pint is the Ballygally Castle Hotel. Famous across Ireland for its ghost it is also home to Door 9 on the Tour of Doors.

Epic Game of Thrones Ireland road trip

This door centres on the Battle of the Bastards with a dire wolf front and centre. You can stay at this gorgeous hotel and make it a central location on your Game of Thrones Tour. By the way, they do a lovely Game of Thrones-themed afternoon tea, which makes a perfect break from touring.

ballygally castle hotel Game of Thrones Door 9

From Ballygally is a straight run up the Causeway Coast and it takes around 15 minutes to drive if you don’t stop along the way for some spectacular views.

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19 Glenarm

Not exactly a filming site but home to Steensons Jewellery Économusée, which is where many of the incredible pieces of jewellery were crafted for the show. Steensons’ designed and crafted several pieces that can be seen at the showroom such as Joffrey’s crown, Lannister lion pendants, stag pins, and silverfish brooches and of course the Hand pin.

Epic Game of Thrones Ireland road trip

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20 Carnlough

Epic Game of Thrones Ireland road trip

Just a few minutes down the road from Glenarm and you are in Carnlough. A beautiful little village is famous for the Londonderry Arms, which is a great place to enjoy some history including the fact that the place was once, owned by Sir Winston Churchill and serves some great Irish smoked salmon.  Carnlough harbour is also, where you can see the location for Bravos that featured Arya climbing from the waters after being stabbed by the waif.

Epic Game of Thrones Ireland road trip

21 Glenarriff – Galboly

Glenariff is known as ‘Queen of the Glens’, it’s considered the most beautiful of the nine Glens of Antrim: a plunging valley surrounded by stunning waterfalls and walking trails. It served as the practice ground at Runestone in the Vale of Arryn, where Littlefinger and Sansa Stark watched Robin Arryn’s attempt at duelling.

Epic Game of Thrones Ireland road trip

There is a Game of Thrones marker on the Causeway Coast route just after Carnlough that indicates the Vale of Arryn. Don’t miss the opportunity to take a drive through Glenarriff if you have the time it is a stupendously beautiful area full of waterfalls, deep dark forests and lots of Irish legends.

The drive to the caves of Cushendun will take around 20 minutes from Carnlough with plenty of staggeringly beautiful scenery to take in along with way.

22  Cushendun

The Cushendun Caves are not particularly well marked but as you enter Cushendun make your way to the seafront around the harbour. You will see the Johann the Goat statue and quite possibly the “new” town goat who you can feed some apples or carrots to.

Epic Game of Thrones Ireland road trip

Follow the road and park towards the end where you will more than likely see a few tour buses and hordes of tourists in season checking out the caves. We were there in low season and there were very few tourists, which was wonderful.

Epic Game of Thrones Ireland road trip

The Game of Thrones scene where the shadow baby was born takes place here. This is where Davos Seaworth, on the orders of Lord Stannis, takes the sorceress Melisandre ashore to give birth to the murdering shadow.

Epic Game of Thrones Ireland road trip

If you pop into the village of Cushendun you can drop by Mary McBride’s for a tasty lunch an have a look at Door #8 featuring Aryas’ journey to Bravos.

Epic Game of Thrones Ireland road trip

From Cushendun you can take the inland route and see more of the Glens of Antrim or you can follow the coast roadway it takes around half an hour to reach Murlough Bay, which sits between Torr Head and Fairhead.

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23 Murlough Bay

Murlough Bay sits between Torr Head and Fairhead on the Causeway Coastal Route.  Murlough Bay was transformed into Slavers Bay and is where slavers capture Tyrion Lannister and Ser Jorah Mormont. The Bay is only accessible by foot on a very steep path.

Slavers bay sign at Murlough Bay Game of Thrones

Murlough Bay is also where Theon and his sister Yara rode horseback to Greyjoy, and it was here that Davos Seaworth was shipwrecked after the Battle of Blackwater Bay.

Epic Game of Thrones Ireland road trip

24 Fairhead

Fairhead rises 600 feet above sea level near Ballycastle on the Causeway Coast and it’s believed to be the biggest expanse of climbable rock in the UK and Ireland. Season 7 of Game of Thrones was filmed here with the backdrop of the cliffs and includes the scenes where Jon Snow finally meets Daenerys and her dragons – this area is where much of the Dragonstone scenes are filmed.

Fairhead near Murlough Bay on the Causeway Coast

Twenty minutes or so on the Causeway Coastal route from Fairhead lays the Carrick-a-Rede Bridge and Larrybane Bay.

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25 Larrybane Bay and headland near Carrick-a-Rede

The old quarry at Larrybane is actually used as an overflow car park for Carrick-a-Rede and it is here that Margaery and King Renly (remember she married her brother’s friend before all her other marriages?) are filmed watching a fight between the Margaery’s brother and Brienne of Tarth. Brienne beats Ser Loras and wins a place in the King’s Guard. Catelyn Stark goes to meet King Renly on behalf of Robb to gather fighters to the cause to avenge Ned Stark’s death.

Epic Game of Thrones Ireland road trip

Larrybane Bay is the dramatic spot chosen for Renly Baratheon’s camp in the Stormlands, and where Brienne of Tarth was named to Renly’s Kingsguard in Season 2 Episode 3.

The headland, sheltered by Sheep Island and a shallow reef, leads down to Northern Ireland’s famous and exhilarating rope bridge challenge, the Carrick-a-Rede Bridge. From Carrick-a-Rede to Ballintoy is literally around 10 minutes drive.

26 Ballintoy Harbour

Ballintoy is a village on the coast of Co Antrim with a small fishing harbour located at the end of a narrow, steep road down Knocksaughey hill. It features in season two of Game of Thrones when Theon Greyjoy returns home to Lordsport Harbour. It was also used as the location of Pyke, one of the eight major Iron Islands.

Epic Game of Thrones Ireland road trip

When you are in Ballintoy take a rest break at The Fullerton Arms, which is home to door 6 of the Doors of Thrones. Door 6 features the House Targaryen, specifically Drogon – Daenerys’ most aggressive and fearsome dragon.

Epic Game of Thrones Ireland road trip

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27 Dunluce Castle

Dunluce is perched precariously on a cliff-top. In the show, it becomes Pyke, the home of the Kings of the Iron Islands with CGI used to position the castle over various stacks of rock. Dunluce is also thought to have been the inspiration for Cair Paravel in C.S.Lewis’ Narnia stories.

Epic Game of Thrones Ireland road trip

From Ballintoy Harbour, it is around a 10 minute or so drive to the Dark Hedges. These days’ cars have been banned from the area as it was a working through road and the tourists have been causing major problems with traffic. You can park at Gracehill House and take a 5 minutes’ walk to the King’s Road.

While you are at Gracehill House drop in to have a great meal and check out Door #7 which features the Three-eyed Raven.

28 Dark Hedges

The Dark Hedges are located in Ballymoney near Armoy. Tucked into the Bregagh road the ancient beech trees were planted by the Stuart’s in the 18th century. The hedges were used for the scene of Arya Stark’s escape from King’s Landing on the orders of King Joffrey.  

tips for travel to Ireland the Dark Hedges

The scene included Hot Pie, Yoren, Gendry and Arya travelling by cart with Arya disguised as a boy to avoid capture. Unfortunately, she was captured by the Brotherhood without Banners and dragged to their hideout.

Epic Game of Thrones Ireland road trip

Gracehill Golf Club is just across the road (where you can park and walk to the hedges) it contains another of the Dark Hedges doors, this one with a carving of the Three-Eyed Raven.

From the Dark Hedges, we cut across the country going east to Port Stewart. This drive takes just over half an hour.

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29 Port Stewart Strand

Port Stewart, it is one of Northern Ireland’s best beaches with views of Inishowen headland and Mussenden Temple perched atop the cliffs. It has been a family holiday destination for several hundred years treating many a Northern Irish family to a seaside vacation.

Epic Game of Thrones Ireland road trip

The strand doubled as the coast of Dorne in season five of Game of Thrones when Jaime Lannister was begged by Cersei to bring her daughter Myrcella back to King’s Landing.

Epic Game of Thrones Ireland road trip

It was also here among the huge sand dunes and shore grasses that Jaime and Bronn found themselves captured by Dornish soldiers on the coast of Sunspear, and where Ellaria and her Sand Snake sisters conspired to start a war with the Lannisters.

The drive to Downhill Strand from Port Stewart takes around minutes.

30 Downhill Strand

Downhill Strand is a stretch of spotless white sands, overlooked by Mussenden Temple, a replica of the Temple of Vesta in Rome. Popular as a great surfing spot for locals this beach was where Stannis Baratheon rejected the seven old gods of Westeros. He is proclaimed as the champion of the Lord of Light by Melisandre and enters Dragonstone into the War of the Five Kings.

Epic Game of Thrones Ireland road trip

From Downhill strand, the drive to Binevenagh will take around 25 minutes in total. I would totally recommend a Guinness stop at Owens in Limavady, which is on the way, and you can check out Door 5, which features the Night King and his followers.

Epic Game of Thrones Ireland road trip

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31  Binevenagh

Binevenagh is a plateau with huge steep cliffs that extend for over six miles across the peninsula of Magilligan, dominating the skyline over the villages of Bellarena, Downhill, Castlerock and Benone beach. This mountain is where Daenerys and her dragon Drogon find refuge in the Dothraki Grasslands after they flee the fighting pits of Meereen.

Epic Game of Thrones Ireland road trip

The mountain itself marks the very edge of the Antrim plateau, looking out over County Armagh and County Londonderry. East of Derry you will come to the small town of Limavady. As you drive through town make sure you pay a visit to Frank Owens Bar to see #5 of the 10 Game of Thrones doors that are found all over Northern Ireland.

game-of-thrones-door-at-owens-bar

Slightly north of Limavady you will find the mountain Binevenagh, which marks the western extent of the Antrim plateau. If you Google map ‘Swann’s Bridge Glamping’ you’ll come across a small picnic area next to a T-junction. Amongst the benches, you’ll find your first sign.

Epic Game of Thrones Ireland road trip

It also appeared as the Dothraki Grasslands in season five when Daenerys Targaryen was rescued by her dragon, Drogon while fleeing from the Sons of the Harpy in the fighting pits of Meereen.

It is a long drive from Binevenagh (around 2+ hours) to the caves and I would highly recommend an overnight stay perhaps in Derry at the City Hotel. Take the opportunity to explore Derry and its medieval walls and murals it is a truly fascinating city.

From Derry to the caves will take around an hour or so but check out the Omagh Folk Park on your way and explore the history of the Irish.

Epic Game of Thrones Ireland road trip

A good idea is to grab a great BnB in Enniskillen, which is very close to the caves not to mention you can also stop in for lunch or dinner at Blakes of the Hollow in Enniskillen to take in Door 4, which features the dragons. While you’re in Enniskillen be sure to check out the castle.

Epic Game of Thrones Ireland road trip

The Marble Arch Caves are around 25 minutes south of Enniskillen.

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32  Pollnagollum Cave

These are located in Belmore Forest, which is part of the Marble Arch Caves Global Geopark. The cave is fed by a waterfall and you can follow the Belmore Forest walk, which leads to a viewing point for the cave.

Epic Game of Thrones Ireland road trip

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The cave featured in season three of Game of Thrones as Beric Dondarrion’s hideout in The Riverlands. The lair of the Lightning Lord leader of the Brotherhood Without Banners. This is where they shelter from the invading Lannister forces. It is at the caves that Arya is held captive and Sandor Clegane faces his trial-by-combat against the immortal Beric Dondarrion.

And there you have it every Game of Thrones site to see in N. Ireland and you can self-drive the tour if you want. Not only do you get to see these sites but you have an amazing complete tour of N. Ireland and the Causeway Coast while you are at it.

After the final season of Game of Thrones wraps up in Ireland HBO has released this information about the opening of the Game of Thrones sets as tourist attractions in Northern Ireland:

The network announced plans to leave some of the Game of Thrones sets in place and open them to the public in 2019 after the show’s final season has aired.

This conversion from actual filming locations to tourist attractions will give GoT fans their first-ever chance to set foot inside many of the series’s most ubiquitous and recognizable sites of Winterfell, Castle Black, and King’s Landing all being considered for the standing exhibit. The sets chosen for the “Legacy” project will also display a variety of related costumes, props, and weapons, as well as digital and interactive exhibitions. Additionally, Linen Mill Studios in Banbridge, Northern Ireland will be opened for a more formal studio tour that will “showcase a wide array of subject matter from the series spanning all seasons and settings,”.

If you missed the Game of Thrones Exhibition in Belfast it will be touring the world so stay tuned. If you see it coming to your city book your tickets now.

Epic Game of Thrones Ireland road trip

We attended the Game of Thrones Exhibition when it hit Belfast and were blown away. We got to see many original costumes from the show (god those women were tiny).

Epic Game of Thrones Ireland road trip

There were great weapons on display and you could have your photo taken on the wall or with a sword.

Epic Game of Thrones Ireland road trip

Exhibits of the fabulous jewellery and Jamie’s golden hand.

Epic Game of Thrones Ireland road trip

We saw dragons, and crypts and the dead. All in all great value for money and an amazing show.

Epic Game of Thrones Ireland road trip

If you are doing some heavy-duty Game of Thrones fan geeking checking out these Game of Thrones Filming  Locations in Dubrovnik written by Rim of Curious and Geeks that’s my next vacation adventure.

Epic Game of Thrones Ireland road trip

Have you done a Game of Thrones Tour? What was your favourite part of the tour you took? What do you think of the final season taking so long to come to the small screen?

Have you watched The History Channels Vikings epic drama? Here are the Viking sites to visit in Ireland while you are here.

If you are a true Game of Thrones fan then head to Croatia to check out all the filming sites Diana has a fabulous post A Guide to the Must-See Game of Thrones Tour Dubrovnik, Croatia that you need to read before you go.

If you are a true GOT fan you may want to investigate some Game of Thrones Board Games check out Game Cows Best Game of Thrones Board Games they review all the GOT Board games and give an honest review of them.

My next stop is going to be Morocco where I can find more Game of Thrones Morocco filming sites. 

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Epic Game of Thrones Ireland road trip

28 thoughts on “Epic Game of Thrones Ireland road trip”

  1. Wowee that is an in-depth and informative blog post, love it! I think craft and the handmade is often underrated so it’s beautiful to hear about the woodworkers creating those doors. I also started to copy and paste the names of all the beautiful places you mention to pop in this comment, but there are so many!

  2. This is such a comprehensive post! Well done! I have actually never seen a single episode of GOT (only person in the world who hasn’t, I think), but they certainly know how to pick scenic settings for filming! Oddly enough, I’ve actually visited a couple GOT sites without trying to – the Dark Hedges in Northern Ireland and the Alcazar in Seville. Both we were visiting simply because we wanted to see them and found out afterwards they were filming sites!

    1. lol I got caught up in it through my kids they are obsessed so living here in Ireland I decided to set out and visit all the sites I could so when they came to visit I could take them there. It is a pretty awesome fantasy tale I mean really it has dragons so cool!

  3. When I was in N Ireland several years ago I only saw a few of these… now I must return to see them all! And the doors! So cool.

  4. Oh my goodness, there are SO many!! Why an amazingly fantastic guide…thank you 🙂 Now I can’t wait to follow at least some of it myself!

  5. I did not know there was so much Game of Thrones stuff to see in Northern Ireland!! I did a Game of Thrones walking tour in Dubrovnik but that was just of the filming locations of Kings Landing. I definitely need to head back to Ireland and visit all these places!

  6. I guess I need to watch some Game of Thrones before I go to Northern Ireland. This looks like a great tour! I know a lot of people that are obsessed with the show and would love this.

  7. I love this post and the GOT doors are fab, but I’m sorry, the number of ads on the page almost killed me. Far too distracting from your fab post.

    1. Yeah, I can appreciate that, but having said that those ads cover the increasing costs of blogging and websites so I know they can be a real pain in the butt. My recommendation is to add a Chrome extension or an Ad Blocker onto your browser it will save you all kinds of hassles with ads and they work a treat.

  8. Heading that way this summer. This is a fabulous post with loads of information. I hope I can hit at least a few of these sites. Thanks for posting!

  9. WOW, it’s a really epic guide for the really epic film. As I don’t watch TV, not at all, including GOT, so I have not my own opinion about it, but I must say those places are worth visiting regardless. Thanks for sharing!

  10. I feel inspired to go on such a trip. Thank you for such a detailed description and photos. I add to my favorites and I am already planning a trip!

  11. Enjoyed reading the article above , really explains everything in detail,the article is very interesting and effective.Thank you and good luck for the upcoming articles

  12. Wow, what a thorough list! This is one of the most complete GOT locations list I’ve ever come across. Great job. Hoping to do this self-tour one day.

  13. Your posts are extremely cool. I am glad to be here. I enjoyed reading your articles and I would like to bookmark your posts.

  14. Your posts are really inspiring and useful for somebody like me who is planning a world travel. I think you deserve better attention on Google search rankings.

  15. Your posts are extremely cool. I am glad to be here. I enjoyed reading your articles and I would like to bookmark your posts.

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