Game of Thrones Filming Locations Ireland
The Game of Thrones Tour is a must for anyone obsessed with the show and Ireland. This is a self-guided Game of Thrones tour that starts in Dublin, or you can drive it from Belfast – it ends in Enniskillen, and covers every conceivable Game of Thrones site in Northern Ireland. Not only does it cover every filming site but it also includes the Journey of Doors Tour, stopping at all the locations along the route to have a pint and a picture and get your Journey of Doors Passport stamped.
This tour will cover all your favourite Game of Thrones filming sites, many of which you can visit yourself, including a brief trip to see the Game of Thrones Tapestry in Belfast.
The 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. 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, Game of Thrones Passports at all these locations and a stamp in your passport will be rewarded for every door you get to see.
Self-Drive Game of Thrones Tour fromDublin
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. Because of the distances,
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 its Mourne Mountains and some of the most incredible views and scenic outlooks in the mountains. This region played home to the Dothraki Grasslands, and the forests of Winterfell.
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 filming locations at Gosford park.
Game of Thrones Northern Ireland Locations
Where is Game of Thrones filmed in Northern 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. The following list of 32 Game of Thrones filming locations in Ireland includes both. This list of 32 Game of Thrones Filming sites begins in Dublin but can be taken from both Dublin and Belfast or anywhere in Ireland for that matter.
Game of Thrones Tours Dublin
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 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.
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.
From this area to Sandy Brae takes around 10 minutes.
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®.
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 Watch man Will comes upon the village where everyone has been killed by the White Walkers.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 was 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 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.
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.
From here, it will take around 10 minutes to get to Castle Ward and Audley’s Castle and field
8 Castle Ward
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
From this area it’s now time to head towards Belfast where you can spend a few days and take in all the 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.
10 Belfast – Ulster Museum Game of Thrones Tapestry
The large room of the Ulster Museum that contains the tapestry is massive and the tapestry is absolutely breathtaking. It is a gigantic 300ft (over 80 metre) long piece depicting over 100 scenes from season one to seven of the Game of Thrones show. Visiting the Museum and seeing the tapestry is free and it will be on display until August 2018.
While you explore Belfast check out The Dark Horse, which is, where you will find the door, which represents Season 6 of the series.
From Belfast, we now head out on the Causeway 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
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.
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.
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 were filmed with the Sparrow and Margaery This was during the time that the Faith took Margaery prisoner thanks to Cersei.
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.
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.
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.
You can hike the trails on the Braes with maps from the Antrims Hills 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.
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 defenses during the Battle of Blackwater Bay. The scenes were also filmed in the Paint Hall Studios in Belfast.
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.
Once the Game of Thrones filming is completed, the local council is hoping to use the site as a tourist venue.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 silver fish brooches and of course the Hand pin.
Just a few minutes down the road from Glenarm and you are in Carnlough. A beautiful little village 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.
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 dueling.
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.
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.
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.
The Game of Thrones scene where the shadowy 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.
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.
From Cushendun you can take the inland route and see more of the Glens of Antrim or you can follow the coast road – way it takes around half an hour to reach Murlough Bay, which sits between Torr Head and Fairhead.
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.
Mulough Bay is also where Theon and his sister Yara road the horse back to Greyjoy, and it was here that Davos Seaworth was shipwrecked after the Battle of Blackwater Bay.
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.
Twenty minutes or so on the Causeway Coastal route from Fairhead lays the Carrick-a-Rede Bridge and Larrybane Bay.
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 Kings Guard. Catelyn Stark goes to meet King Renly on behalf of Robb to gather fighters to the cause to avenge Ned Stark’s death.
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.
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.
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.
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 Kings 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. The scene included Hot Pie, Yoren, Gendry and Arya traveling 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Slightly north of Limavady you will find the mountain Binevenagh, which marks the western extent of the Antrim plateau. If you Google map ‘Swanns Bridge Glamping’ you’ll come across a small picnic area next to a T-junction. Amongst the benches you’ll find your first sign.
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.
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.
The Marble Arch Caves are around 25 minutes south of Enniskillen.
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.
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 32 Game of Thrones sites 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.
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?
If you would like to arrange a private tour of the GOT sites you want to see in particular why not give Peter who runs Activities in the Mournes Shuttle service a shout he runs a tour service with a 16 seater mini-bus in the Mourne Mountains area near Winterfell and he would be happy to sort out whatever kind of tour you would like. He can take you to all the sites around Tollymore and Strangford Louch or even further depending on what you would like.
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