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Game of Thrones – Location, Location, Location

 

With the final series of the terrific production and multi-award winning HBO series, Game of Thrones,  about to hit screens, the Titanic Exhibition Centre (TEC) Belfast will be launching the Game of Thrones traveling exhibition on April 11th and run until September 1st.

“Designed specially by GES Events in collaboration with HBO® Global Licensing, the dramatic exhibition combines costumes, authentic props and majestic settings from all seven seasons to create an interactive and immersive Game of Thrones® experience like no other.”  (TEC Belfast).  It looks amazing and a definite stop on for Game of Thrones fans touring Northern Ireland.

Are you planning your visit to Northern Ireland as a Game of Thrones Fan? 

To help you plan your visit, here are 8 must see Game of Thrones locations in Northern Ireland, and some self-catering Irish Landmark Trust property suggestions that would work perfectly as a base during your GOT tour.

 

Tollymore Forest, Co. Down

Tollymore Forest was the first state forest park in Northern Ireland, established in 1955 and covering an area of 1600 acres.  Oak wood from Tollymore was the preferred material for the interiors of the White Star liners including the ‘Titanic’ which was built in Belfast.

In Season One of Game of Thrones, Tollymore Forest appeared in as the lands around Winterfell.  Here Ned Stark comes across the orphaned direwolves –  the symbol of House Stark. 

 

 

Ballintoy Harbour – Co. Antrim

Ballintoy is a village on the coast of Co Antrim with the small fishing harbour located at the end of a narrow, steep road down Knocksaughey hill which passes by the entrance to Larrybane and Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge.  Home to just under 200 people, Ballintoy means “the northern townland” in Irish (Baile an Tuaigh).  

Ballintoy harbour was the setting for Theon’s return to the Iron Islands.  It was here that Theon first met his sister Yara and was baptised in the name of the Drowned God.

 

Downhill Beach – Coleraine, Co. Derry/Londonderry

Located in the very north of Northern Ireland, the beach is part of a seven mile stretch of sand offering a wealth of activities including water sports and scenic walks. Above the beach is the prominent Mussenden Temple, one of the most photographed buildings in Northern Ireland.

In Game of Thrones Season Two, Downhill Beach serves as Dragonstone, the place where Stannis Baratheon rejects the Seven Gods of Westeros and allows Melisandre to burn their effigies as an offering to the Lord of Light. 

 

 

Binevenagh – Limavady, Co. Derry/Londonderry

The plateau and steep cliffs extend for over six miles across the peninsula of Magilligan, dominating the skyline over the villages of Bellarena, Downhill, Castlerock and Benone beach.  It has  panoramic views over Lough Foyle, the Roe Valley, Inishowen and to the west coast of Scotland.  It is and Area of Special Scientific Interest due to their geological and geomorphological features. 

It 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.

 

 

Dark Hedges – Stranocum, Co. Antrim

Lined with beech trees twisted branches forming an arch over the road, The Dark Hedges is one of the most photographed areas in Northern Ireland and a popular attraction for tourists from across the world. This beautiful avenue of beech trees was planted by the Stuart family in the 18th century and intended to impress visitors as they approached the entrance to Gracehill House.

The Dark Hedges were used as a filming location in Game of Thrones for the “King’s Road”.  Mystical interlocking trees provide the setting through which Arya Stark escaped from Kings Landing.  

 

 

Pollnagollum Cave, Marble Arch Caves – Co. Fermanagh

 

Pollnagollum Cave in Belmore Forest is part of the Marble Arch Caves Global Geopark in Co. Fermanagh. The cave is fed by a waterfall and you can follow the Belmore Forest walk.

The cave features as Beric Dondarrion’s hideout in The Riverlands, during season three of Game of Thrones

 

 

Inch Abbey – Co. Down

Located on the north bank of the Quoile River, Inch Abbey was founded by John de Courcy in atonement for his destruction of Erenagah Abbey.  It has with distant views towards the Cathedral town of Downpatrick.

The site was used as Robb Stark’s Camp, Riverrun in season one of Game of Thrones.  It is where he was proclaimed the King of the North. 

 

 

Castle Ward – near Strangford, Co. Down

Overlooking Strangford Lough, Castle Ward has been home to the Ward family since the 16th century. The 18th century mansion house rests on a rolling hillside overlooking the Lough and surrounded by a beautiful 820-acre walled demesne with gardens and woodland.

The site appeared in Game of Thrones season one as the iconic Winterfell – home of the House Stark.  King Robert Baratheon arrived at Winterfell and was met by Stark during Episode 1 and this was where they talked during the hunt in Episode 2. Castle Ward made a return in Episode 10 when Bran and Osha were at Winterfell.

 

Triumphal Arch Gate Lodge side view

DISCLAIMER: THESE PROPERTIES ARE INDEPENDENTLY OPERATED BY THE IRISH LANDMARK TRUST CLG. THEY ARE NOT SPONSORED, ENDORSED, OR AFFILIATED WITH HBO OR ANYONE ASSOCIATED WITH ‘GAME OF THRONES’”

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