This tour is for the die-hard Game of Thrones enthusiasts. It is wall-to-wall game of Thrones! This HBO series was largely filmed in Northern Ireland. The producers and directors availed of some of Northern Ireland’s really beautiful and scenic locations. This is a one-day tour.
We depart from St. Stephen’s Green. We head north up the M 1 motorway to Newry. A this point we turn east as we traverse the rolling countryside of south County Down, taking in the northern fringes of the world-famous Mountains of Mourne. En route we pass through some really beautiful villages like Castlewellan, Hilltown and Kilcoo as well as skirting the lovely lough Island reservoir. We arrive in Downpatrick (Burial place of the famous St. Patrick) and travel onward to the nearby Castle Ward Demesne and Country Estate.
CASTLE WARD (WINTERFELL): This beautiful 18th century neo-classical estate has it origins in the mediaeval period. We are located on the beautiful southern edge of the scenic Strangford Lough. Here we spend 2 hours exploring this beautiful location which contains some film locations, including Winterfell Castle and Audley’s Castle. You can also partake of the archery here in full costume – what a photo opportunity!
QUOILE RIVER ESTUARY: We arrive at the Quoile River estuary which was used as the location for Riverrun. In Game of Thrones this is the Riverlands, home of the Tullys and the Red Fork. It is here that as per Tully funeral tradition, his body is set adrift on the Red Fork of the Trident River in a funeral boat, and then set on fire by a flaming arrow.
Then we travel north, through the greater Belfast area to Co. Antrim.
DARK HEDGES (THE KING’S ROAD): We go to visit Dark Hedges near Armoy. This a lovely straight road where the landlord Stewart family planted a series of Beech trees along each side in the early 18th century. The visual effect is quite lovely and this was used as the King’s Road for the scene where Ayra Stark (in disguise as boy) with the Night Watch group escapes along the King’s Road. This is a must-do photographic opportunity, especially with the help of your zoom.
BALLINTOY HARBOUR: This is a unique little harbour hidden literally at the base of white limestone cliffs. No wonder it was liberally used as the location for the Pyke shots and the Iron Islands. It is to here that Theon Greyjoy returns and admires his ship, the Sea Bitch. As you would expect, this is yet another stunning and very photogenic film location. Incidentally, it is also here that Theon Greyjoy meets and has a liaison with the alluring Yara – who turns out to be his long lost sister. Who writes this stuff??
CUSHENDUN: Finally we cross over the beautiful Hills of Antrim to Cushendun in east of the county at the end of one of the famous Glens. Here we visit the very accessible Cushendun Caves on the shoreline, consisting of the inevitable limestone rocks mixed in with flint. These really dark and haunting caves were used as a location for Stormlands. It is here that Melisandra gives birth to her Shadow Baby. Yes, you can go right into those caves and get some really intriguing shots – perhaps your guide will help you! Don’t overlook the quaint Cushendun village which features unique Cornish architecture erected by Baron Cushendun, Lord John McNeill. His beautiful wife Maud came from Cornwall in south-west England and in 1912 he commissioned his architect to design and construct these Cornish terrace houses to please his Cornish wife, Maud and help her to feel at home. There’s even a terrace of cottages called “MAUD COTTAGES” – I wonder why?
BACK TO DUBLIN: We take our leave of Cushendun as we go south through the steep and scenic Glens of Antrim towards Larne and on to Belfast. From there we take the M1/N1 highway south. Just over the border we pause for 20 minutes at Castlebellingham Applegreen services area. You will have experienced some stunning scenery and captured some great images and memories which will enhance your enjoyment of this great game of Thrones series.
We arrive at Dublin city centre.