There are lots of amazing Game of Thrones filming locations in Ireland to be discovered. Most hardcore Thrones fans will know that many of the iconic Game of Thrones scenes were actually shot in Ireland. Around 80% of the popular series was filmed there. Full of dramatic landscapes, ancient landscapes, rolling hills and frothing seas, it is the ideal location to film a fantasy series.
You can check out a Game of Thrones filming locations in Ireland map to do a self-guided tour. You can also book a Game of Thrones tour to see your favourite spots from the series. Check out my guide on how to discover some of your favourite game of Thrones locations in Ireland.
Game of Thrones filming locations in Ireland
There are many iconic Game of Thrones filming locations around the world including Malta, Iceland and Dubrovnik. Some of the best Game of Thrones locations are located in Northern Ireland. This has had a huge benefit for the Northern Ireland tourism insutry as Game of the Tones fans flock to see their favourite Thrones filming locations.
Disclaimer: This content was created from a press trip with Tourism Ireland.
Best game of thrones tours Ireland
It’s not easy to bring Game of Thrones filming locations to life after the cast and crew have moved on. How do you make an empty quarry appear interesting? How do you convey scenes that have taken place once the set has been dismantled?
Skilful Game of Thrones tour leaders will fully immerse you in the world of Westeros. You can don GOT costumes and you swing swords, but ultimately it is the intriguing narrative they are able to weave that really sets the scene.
There are full day coach tours to Game of Thrones locations, cycle tours and even a Game of Thrones Direwolf Tour. Some Game of Thrones tours also include a 3-day hop-on-hop-off city tour pass. This will allow you to explore the city of Belfast as well as visit Thrones locations.
Some tours also have extra attractions added on. You could do a Giants Causeway & Game of Thrones Location Tour from Belfast to spend some time at the incredible Giants Causeway. I went on two sperate Game of Thrones location tours. The first tour included Winterfell and the surrounding area and the second was a multi-day tour.
Make sure to do some research online to choose the best Game of Thrones tour for you.
Castle Ward Estate
The Winterfell castle location can be found at Castle Ward Estate. It’s located 40 minutes from Belfast, so it’s a good idea to book a Game of Thrones Belfast tour. This historic. National Trust site was used extensively for Game of Thrones series and is widely known as the Game of Thrones castle.
You can understand why they chose this location, the entire place frankly looks medieval. I felt as if I had entered a time warp. If you are looking for Winterfell tours from Dublin, check that your tour visits this iconic location.
Obviously one must ‘cloak up’ and get into character if one is to spend the day at Winterfell. As we were on a Game of Thrones Belfast tour, we were provided with We were dressed in what Vogue would undoubtedly describe as ‘Signature Stark’, where the season line is always ‘Winter’ and given sword accessories to play with.
Game of Thrones Direwolves
If you are part of a Game of Thrones tour, you may have the chance to meet the Game of Thrones Direwolves from the series. Get up close with Summer & Grey Wind, played by Odin and Thor, gorgeous Northern Inuit dogs. These huge dogs starred in many GOT scenes including the ‘finding of the Direwolf puppies’ scene.
It’s not every day you get to take a ‘wolf selfie’ but friends, today was that day. Unfortunately, I discovered that dogs don’t really understand the importance of a good Instagram selfie. Getting these giant dogs to pose for the camera was very tricky.
I largely ended up with 140 photos of the Direwolves looking the other way, but still, I got to cuddle a direwolf, so I was clearly going to win the internet that morning.
Strangford Lough, County Down
This location combines a real-life setting with impressive CGI. The Twins was filmed on castles ruins on the banks of Strangford Lough with several CGI elements added.
It was at this location that here the Starks attempted to meet with the treacherous Freys in order to cross the Green Fork.
There are nine Game of Thrones film locations at this Northern Ireland location. All of them are very close to each other. Some include a 16th Century castle that acts at the site of Winterfell, a 15th century Tower House that serves as one of Walder Frey’s Twins and as the location of Robb’s Camp in the Riverlands.
Other well-known Game of Thrones scenes have been filmed here as well. Some include where Brienne of Tarth dispatched three Stark bannermen and also the Battlefield of Baelor.
Winterfell Archery experience
Castle Ward Estate
On some Game of Thrones tours, you can also try your hand at an Archery experience. At the Castle Ward Estate, there is an Archery Range Film Set. Many of the characters in Game of Thrones, including Arya stark, have a bow and arrow as a weapon of choice.
Stand in the spot where Bran first learned to shoot bow and arrow in an exact replica of the ‘Winterfell Archery Range’. You can also get into costume at the Winterfell Archery range to really step into the world of Westeros.
I had a go at firing some arrows under William’s very expert and endlessly patient instruction. Needless to say, it is easy to get rather carried away when you are in a medieval costume and I started enthusiastically and somewhat erratically, firing arrows whilst yelling ‘Winter is coming!!’
Given my obvious lack of archery, kills I suspect that I would be the first to be taken down by White Walkers.
Game of Thrones film locations tour
After experiencing the delights of Winterfell, we set up on a multi-day Game of Thrones tour with GOT tour leader Brian. Brian lives and breathes Thrones. As a regular series extra, he has played every hairy and bearded character imaginable. He actually turned down being a White Walker on account of the fact that he would have to shave all his hair off for the role, ‘there’s a history of baldness in the family, I don’t want to encourage it’ was the rationale given.
I liked Brian, he didn’t realise it just yet, but he was going to be my new best friend.
Game of Thrones tour Belfast
It was Brian’s job not just to ferry us to the Game of Thrones filming locations, but to bring them to life for us fans. This is no easy feat when at times you are essentially staring at an empty field.
What Brian managed was to get us excited about the Game of Thrones locations by providing context to them. He would go into great detail on how they filmed there and how certain shots were achieved.
Best of all, as a former cast member, he could give us the low down on what it was like on Game of Thrones set. We got the inside scoop on what the cast members are like, whilst managing to remain tight-lipped on spoilers. This is what brought the Game of Thrones scenes to life.
It’s not just Brians encyclopaedic Thrones knowledge, but his infectious enthusiasm and passion.
Oh, how we ladies squealed with delight every time there was another snippet of information about Kit Harrington. ‘Yes that is fascinating stuff about the CGI Brian but how many sugars does Kit have in his tea? Did you ever see him naked? Any chance he might leave his wife for us?’ These are important questions to ask.
Game of Thrones Doors Ireland
As part of our Game f Throne tour, we also had the added bonus of hunting down the ‘Thrones doors’. These are ten doors that are carved out of the trees at the Dark Hedges that were blown down Storm Gertrude.
The doors depict scenes from the sixth season and are located in pubs near filming locations, meaning that essentially you are on a sort of Thrones endorsed pub crawl.
We were even given our very own ‘Journey of doors’ passport, so we could start collecting a unique stamp at each location, this is the ultimate in film fan geekery.
Even die-hard Thrones fans will be surprised at how much was filmed in Northern Ireland. Scenes you assume were shot in Malta or Dubrovnik, were actually filmed in coastal locations in Northern Ireland.
One such scene is when Arya Stark is stabbed by the waif in Bravos and crawls out from the water. This scene was actually filmed in Carnlough Harbour and we got to hear all about the filming from the enthusiastic owner of the Londonderry Arms.
As I posed for photos where Arya stood, I was directed by the owner of The Londonderry Arms, this meant I found myself crawling up the harbour, in costume, pretending to be Arya Stark whilst an old man shouted at me ‘more duck face’. I have been in some unusual situations over my many years of travels but this was something else entirely.
Renly’s encampment & Shadow baby birth
Cushendun Caves were featured in Game of Thrones season two as a cove in the Stormlands. They are the location where Melisandra gives birth to the ‘shadow baby’.
Our GOT tour guide Brian was able to explain the technicalities of the shoot and how certain shots were achieved. We all decided against a shadow baby birth reenactment on this occasion. Some things are best not committed to film.
Some Game of Thrones tours will include several ‘Thrones Door’ stops. Our tour stopped at the Fullerton Arms. A traditional Irish pub that has a Thrones Door and an Iron Throne Replica.
Here we not only got to feast on traditional Irish dishes and have a spot of wine but we also got take ‘Iron throne selfies’ on their replica Iron Throne. There is nothing I love more than sipping a glass of red, dressed as Khaleesi, sat upon my very own throne. Now I just have to figure out how to get one into my house.
Ballintoy is a picturesque village on the coast of Co Antrim. Ballintoy Harbour is home to Pyke and the Iron Islands.
The scene where Theon is baptised into the religion of the Drowned God was filmed here. It’s easy to understand why when you start exploring this beautiful area. Frothing seas, dramatic shoreline and blustery winds make for gorgeously cinematic surroundings. You really feel like have set foot on the Iron Islands here.
We had a most enjoyable afternoon swinging swords and leaping from rocks as puzzled bystanders looked on. I admit, as usual, I got rather into character, as I jumped upon rocks, wielding a sword, shrieking ‘what is dead may never die’.
This is also the location of where Ser Davos seeks the help of Salladhor Saan for the Battle of Blackwater Bay, and where Gendry escapes Dragonstone in a rowing boat.
Renly Baratheon’s Camp Stormlands
We then visited Larrybane Bay and the famous Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge, the location of Renly Baratheon’s camp in the Stormlands, and where Brienne of Tarth was appointed to Renly’s Kingsguard.
The rope bridge connects the mainland to the tiny island of Carrickarede and is not for the faint-hearted as it swings precariously in the wind 30 metres above the rocks.
Trying to take a selfie as you cross is generally not recommended, as I almost dropped my phone into the wild sea below whilst attempting an Instagram story.
Larrybane Chalk Quarry
We had time for a quick pit stop to the Larrybane Chalk Quarry, where Brienne duelled with and defeated Ser Loras Tyrell and Catelyn brought news of Robb’s rebellion to Renly and his army. Again Brian was able to bring the scene to life by explaining how this particular scene was shot and how CGI would have been incorporated.
There is also an information sign giving more information about the Game of Thrones filming that took place here.
The Dark Hedges, Ballymoney
No Game of Thrones tour is complete without a visit to the iconic Dark Hedges. This road features a haunting and beautiful row of beech trees and is the filming location of King’s Road. This haunting tree-lined road was planted by the Stuart family in the eighteenth century and well known as a tourist attraction even before Thrones.
The Dark Hedges was used as a filming location for the Kingsroad in Season 2 when Arya and Gendry escape King’s Landing in the back of a cart.
When trying to capture the perfect Dark Hedges photo it is important to remember it is an actual road as there were a few ‘near misses’ with traffic as we all scrambled to get the best shot and #DarkHedgesSelfie
Burning of the seven
Downhill Demense and Mussenden Temple is where the infamous ‘burning of the seven’ is filmed.
This 11km stretch of beach was the location of the burning of the seven, where Stannis Baratheon’s rejects the Seven Gods of Westeros and allows Melisandre to burn their effigies to show his allegiance to the Lord of Light.
The clifftop houses a tiny temple called Mussenden, which can be seen in the background of the burning of the seven.
Game of Thrones locations
During my time exploring the Thrones locations, it became increasingly obvious why it was the obvious filming choice. “It looks old because it is old” GOT tour guide Brain noted on our travels.
Northern Ireland is full of ancient castles, wild ravaged ruins, dramatic coastlines and the wet and wild weather that creates a medieval feel. I would encourage not just Thrones fans, but anyone who loves beautiful scenery, history and legends to come and visit this little slice of Westeros.
Remember to look for flight deals to Northern Ireland on Skyscanner and plan your adventure today!
What do you think of my Game of Thrones filming locations in Ireland? Have you visited any of these locations? Let me know in the comments below!
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