Stunning Game of Thrones Filming Locations to Visit in Northern Ireland
[disclaimer: I visited these locations as part of a press trip with Sky Atlantic, but was not paid to write anything about it. I do have a working relationship with Sky.]
Flybe has released an interactive map of the top 19 most popular filming locations in Northern Ireland to appear in the Game of Throne series. Take a look.
With Game of Thrones now showing its final season, its definitely sad to say goodbye. And it’s most definitely the end of an era. Game of Thrones has done something very special for Northern Ireland and that’s highlight its natural beauty. Northern Ireland is the home to Game of Thrones, and it always will be. They can stop making the series but the magic of the show will live on in these locations, which you can visit!
Tollymore forest is home to many different filming locations, but perhaps the most iconic is the first ever scene in Game of Thrones all the way back in season one, the episode titled ‘Winter is Coming.’ In case you need your memory jogging, the scene is three members of the Night’s Watch scouting beyond the wall and find the mutilated corpses of some wildings. Fearing for his life, Will deserts the night’s watch and heads south.
While this locations looks very different than it does on the show (biodegradable fake snow was used to cover the entire forest and the show did a little bit of remodelling) you can really sense the energy there. You can tell that something special was created in that spot, with no idea how big the show would really become. If you look closely, you can also see a tiny hole in one of the trees where the little wilding girl’s cape was attached to the tree. (Yes, she was a real person and not a mannequin!) Tollymore forest is also home to Tyrion Lannister’s famous line “a mind needs books as a sword needs a whetstone to keeps its edge”
2. Cushendun Caves
A truly stunning location and picturesque from every angle, Cushendun Caves is featured in season 2 episode 4 ‘Garden of Bones’. This is where Melisandre gives birth to the shadow creature which ultimately kills Renly. A rather beautiful spot to give birth to creepy creature if I do say so myself!
This is a spot you will not want to miss. There’s something about the rocks and the crashing waves which makes the place feel super secluded. While it is beautiful, it does have that creepy factor, which the rocks that make up the caves almost looking like bones!
3. The Dark Hedges – The Kingsroad
Come on, it would be a crime to miss this one out! The Dark Hedges is one of the most photographed natural phenomena in Northern Ireland and a popular attraction for tourists across the world. The beech trees were planted by the Stuart family in the 18th century, and much of the trees still remain standing to this day! While some have since fallen down, the wood has been repurposed to make up come carved doors situated around Northern Ireland that tell the story of an episode – how cool is that!?
The Dark Hedges are featured in Season 2 Episode 1 ‘The North Remembers’ where Arya escapes King’s Landing in the back of a cart disguised as a boy.
4. Lordsport Harbour & Pyke in Ballintoy
This place has become synonymous with the Iron Islands. It was first used in Season 2 Episode 2 ‘The Night Lands’ but has been used multiple times across the seasons. Perhaps the most iconic scene that Ballintoy Beach was used for was in Season 2 Episode 3 ‘What is Dead May Never Die’ where Theon Greyjoy gets baptised into the religion of the Drowned God.
Sure, Direwolves may not be a location but why wouldn’t you want to meet two of the REAL Direwolf puppies from Season 1!? You can even get a photo with them! You will be taken on a guided tour where you will see even more of the filming locations and meet the Direwolves at the end – which sounds pretty perfect to me!