Since Game of Thrones premiered almost a decade ago, it has slowly but surely built the massive following that soon catapulted it to global success. The fantasy series based on G. R. R. Martin’s novels was a phenomenal hit, with its intricately intertwined storylines, complex characters that are compellingly portrayed by its talented cast, breathtaking sceneries captured through its stunning cinematography – that has captivated fans season by season.
Along with their overwhelming support for the series, fans have developed an interest in the books, in the made-up languages and most especially, in the locations where Game of Thrones was filmed.
From Spain to Iceland to Croatia, and mostly to Northern Ireland where a big chunk of the series was shot, fans from all over continue to flock and go about their ways exploring the seven kingdoms of Westeros.
In this Games of Thrones filming locations in Ireland, we are taking you not just on a journey to the Iron Throne, but also on a wonderful exploration of the beauty that is Northern Ireland a.k.a. Game of Thrones territory.
13 Game of Thrones Filming Locations in Ireland
1.The Dark Hedges – County Antrim (The King’s Road)
A picturesque avenue of intertwined beech trees that were planted by the Stuart family more than 200 years ago, the trees now known as The Dark Hedges were really intended to create an imposing approach for visitors visiting their mansion, Gracehill. The 150 beech trees, which gradually grew into the gnarled and twisted looking trees we see today, is now one of the most photographed in the world, thanks to its appearance in HBO’s phenomenal recently concluded fantasy series, Game of Thrones. The Dark Hedges is featured in the series as King’s Road, with their ominous atmosphere adding a foreboding feeling to any scenes they have been in.
In Game of Thrones season two, the King’s Road is where young Arya Stark traveled on in the back of a cart along with Yoren, Gendry, and Hot Pie – all new recruits for the Night’s Watch.
When visiting this extraordinary Game of Thrones location in Ireland, fans should be extra careful and maintain a certain distance from the trees and to never ever climb them just to get a perfect shot. The past year’s tourist influx has been particularly harsh to the trees that some have fallen down. It is advised that those visiting should be minder and more respectful to help preserve the now iconic Dark Hedges.
2.Audley’s Field, Strangford, Co. Down (Rob’s Camp)
Located at Strangford Lough in County Down, Audley’s Field with its distinctive stone castle was seen in three seasons of Game of Thrones. It is within the Ward Estate which was also used as Winterfell in the hit TV series based on G. R. R. Martin’s books.
The most memorable scenes filmed in Audley’s were in season one when it was used as the backdrop for King Robert Baratheon’s arrival at Winterfell, and in season two, when Robb Stark set up camp here and met Talisa, and it is also where Alton Lannister was imprisoned.
The area itself is really pretty and worthy of an afternoon to explore and hunt out all the filming locations from Game of Thrones. The 16th-century castle, as said, is really part of the Ward family estate in Downpatrick, Co. Down. Walk along the country lanes that lead up to the castle to admire the stone structure up close.
3.Castle Ward, County Down (Winterfell)
The massive Castle Ward estate in County Down contains a variety of attractions, such as trails for exploring, a walled demesne, the Victorian Past Times Center (a Victorian recreation of the estate where children can dress in period clothing) and the Strangford Lough Wildlife Center. These days, The Ward Estate is known as the setting for Winterfell, the stronghold of the Stark Family, from the phenomenal HBO fantasy series Game of Thrones.
Castle Ward as Winterfell was the site where the Starks receive King Robert Baratheon. Castle Ward’s most recognizable appearance was as Winterfell’s Courtyard, having been seen a number of times in Season 1.
Castle Ward is a National Trust property in Northern Ireland, which offers much Game of Thrones related activities for fans and visitors. You can sign up for archery lessons or even dress up as the Starks and follow in their footsteps around Winterfell.
The opening hours varies depending on the season, for updated opening hours click here.
Group Child Minimum group size 15-N/A
Group Child Minimum group size 15-£7.00
Address: Strangford, Downpatrick, County Down, BT30 7BA
4.Glenariff Forest Park, County Antrim (Runestone, Vale of Arryn)
There are nine glens in County Antrim and Glenariff is known as “the Queen of the Glens,” as the 1,000-hectare park spans all glens. It has three waterfalls and a three-mile Waterfall Walkway, numerous forest trails and riverside walks.
In the hugely popular fantasy TV series Game of Thrones, Glengarriff is more known as Runestone, a castle in the Vale of Arryn. Runestone is the seat of House Royce, an ancient House that once ruled the Vale as the “Bronze Kings” before the Andal Invasion. Vale of Arryn, meanwhile, often referred to simply as the Vale, is one of the regions of the Seven Kingdoms. The lush glen in Northern Ireland, as the Runestone in the Vale of Arryn, was the practice ground where Littlefinger and Sansa Stark had to suffer through Robin Arryn’s dismal attempt at dueling.
This gorgeous greenery at the Glenariff Forest Park offers not just a piece of your favorite TV series, but an opportunity to bond with nature as well. Make sure you explore the site before moving on to the next Game of Thrones filming locations on your list.
Prices main entrance
Address: 98 Glenariff Road. Glenariff County Antrim, BT440QX
5.Dunluce Castle, County Antrim (The House of Greyjoy)
County Antrim’s Dunluce Castle was built in the 1500s, with legends and myths surrounding its history such as stories of dark spirits inhabiting the castle and the kitchens tumbling into the sea on a stormy night in 1639. Despite those tales, though, the castle has served as a residence for earls and at one point, even Winston Churchill.
As dramatic as its history is Dunluce Castle’s appearance and location – beautiful ruins of a medieval castle perched on the edge of jutting coastal cliffs overlooking Northern Ireland’s stunning Causeway Coast. It is for these reasons that the Dunluce Castle was the ideal setting for a dark fantasy series such as Game of Thrones. In the recently concluded HBO series, the strangely beautiful ruins of Dunluce Castle were used for many of the scenes for the House of Greyjoy, ruler of the Iron Islands.
Aside from Dunluce Castle, there are many other sites to see in Country Antrim, which is particularly rich in Game of Thrones filming locations. These sites include the Giant’s Causeway, the Slemish Mountain, the Shillanavogy Valley, the Cairncastle, Murlough Bay, Larrybane and Carnlough. If you’re going on a tour of Game of Thrones locations in Ireland, make sure you set aside more time in Antrim because several hours in a day won’t be enough.
Daily: 09.30 -17.00 (last entry strictly 16.30)
Child (age 4 -16) – £3.50
Senior citizen £3.50
Student and Benefit Claimants (ID required) – £3.50
Child under 4- Free
Family (up to 5 members, including up to 3 adults) – £15.00
Group rate(10 plus, must be pre-booked) – £4 per person
Address: 87 Dunluce RoadBushmillsCounty AntrimBT57 8UY
6.Mussenden Temple and Downhill Beach, County Londonderry (Dragonstone)
Located in the northernmost part of Northern Ireland, Downhill Beach is part of a seven-mile stretch of sand that offers a variety of activities such as water sports and scenic walks.
Above the beach is the easily recognizable Mussenden Temple, which is one of the most photographed structures in Northern Ireland.
Mussenden Temple was built in 1785 by Frederick Augustus Hervey, Bishop of Derry and Earl of Bristol. It was meant as a summer library and named in honor of his cousin, Frideswide Mussenden. The temple, perched on a 120-foot cliff, and Downhill Beach below were both featured in the recently concluded HBO fantasy series Game of Thrones.
The beautiful seven-mile stretch of sand at Downhill, one of County Derry’s best beaches, was the filming location of Dragonstone in season two, when Stannis Baratheon rejected the Seven Gods of Westeros and allowed Lady Melisandre to burn their effigies as an offering to the Lord of Light, as well as where Stannis Baratheon drew his blazing sword, Lightbringer, from the flames. Dragonstone was the ancestral home of House Targaryen and stronghold of Stannis Baratheon.
The instantly recognizable Mussenden Temple which overlooks the beach featured prominently in a number of scenes in the series and a definite must are for fans who are into exploring Game of Thrones locations in Ireland.
The opening hours varies depending on the season, for updated opening hours, click here.
Children under 5- Free
Group Child Minimum group size 15-£5.70
Children under 5- Free
Address: Mussenden Road, Castlerock, County Londonderry, BT51 4RP
7.Ballintoy Harbour, County Antrim (Lordsport Harbor, Iron Islands)
Ballintoy Harbour is located in the small village of Ballintoy, in Country Antrim. This beautiful harbor as well as accompanying village makes it easy to see why the location scouts from Game of Thrones decided to film here. An interesting feature of Ballintoy Harbour is that it is a raised beach, which means that the shore lies above the water level and is not inundated during high tide.
This harbor and the quaint village are among the most recognizable filming locations for Game of Thrones in Ireland. Fans will easily remember Ballintoy as the harbor of Pyke which is the Iron Islands’ capital city. This is where Theon Greyjoy arrived to discuss an alliance between the Starks and the Greyjoys and here is also where he first met his sister, Yara. Parts of the beach were also used to shoot a scene featuring Aeron Greyjoy and Yara.
Meanwhile, the picturesque little fishing town of Ballintoy, with its sweeping verdant coastline and portside appeal, was the perfect setting for Pyke. In the series, the town was used in exterior shots, Lordsport (the seat of House Botley) and the Iron Islands in general.
8.Murlough Bay: Co. Antrim, Northern Ireland ( The Road to Pyke)
Hidden away on the northeast coast of Northern Ireland is the beautiful Murlough Bay, fairly remote but it is worth the trek out to Ballycastle in County Antrim to take in the views along the rocky coastline. The bay looks out towards some of the Scottish Isles, but on episode six, season five of Game of Thrones, it was where Tyrion and Jorah come ashore and are captured by a slave ship.
True fans of the series with a sharp eye for detail might even notice that this is where Davos Seaworth was shipwrecked and later rescued after the Battle of Blackwater Bay. This secluded and relatively hard to visit bay was also the place where Yara rides her horse with Theon.
Murlough Bay may have provided a scenic backdrop on TV, but aside from being a recognizable location for Game of Thrones it is also one of the best places to visit in Ireland as it offers some of the most breathtaking views across the Irish Sea to Scotland, and also home to some of the most spectacular coastal causeway driving route.
9.Cushendun Caves, County Antrim (The Stormlands)
Cushendun Caves, situated along County Antrim’s beautiful Causeway Coast, has been a popular place to visit, way before their appearance in Game of Thrones. These caves, which were formed approximately 400 million years ago, provide the perfect setting for a terrifying scene that involves one of the series’ mystical characters.
In season two, the Cushendun Caves, known in the series as the Stormlands, are where Ser Devos took Lady Melisandre ashore, as directed by King Stannis, and also where Melisandre gave birth to a terrifying shadow assassin.
If you’re a fan who would like to visit this stunning Gane of Thrones location, the caves are easy enough to reach from the charming town of Cushendun, just know beforehand that the area can be a bit muddy. After your visit to the caves and you wanted to relax a bit, make sure you check out the nearby Mary McBride’s Bar. Look out for one of its doors, which has carved scenes of Braavos, the free city of Essos.
Address: Cushendun, County Antrim, BT44 0PH
10. Shane’s Castle, County Antrim (The Land of Always Winter / The Wildlings Site)
Shane’s castle is situated near Randalstown in Co. Antrim, by the shore of Lough Neagh. It was built in the 14th century and destroyed by a mysterious fire in 1816. Legends say that a banshee who was angry that the room usually left empty for her had been occupied, was the one who started the fire.
The castle itself has been in a ruined state since but remains to be a part of a working estate that includes farmland, woodland, cattle, and sheep. It is the grounds that mostly feature in the HBO fantasy drama series, Game of Thrones.
Shane’s Castle grounds was the location for the jousting tournament that introduced the brothers Hound and Mountain, as well as that part where Gregor Clegane beheaded a horse. The nearby bridge meanwhile, was the setting for the sword fight between Brienne of Tarth and the KingSlayer. Inside the ruined castle, the cellars have been used for interior shots with Cersei, Winterfell crypts and scenes with the Faith.
Fans who are looking to visit Game of Thrones locations in Ireland will surely recognize Shane’s Castle by the many ways it was referred to in the series: as Winterfell, Castle Black, The Land of Always Winter and The Wildlings Site.
Address: Shanes Castle Estates Co Ltd The Estate Office Shanes Castle Antrim Co. Antrim, BT41 4NE
Phone: 028 9442 8216
11.Tollymore Forest Park, Country Down (The Haunted Forest)
This is literally where everything began, the opening scene of episode one of season one, your first glimpse of this phenomenal TV series that has spanned eight seasons within a decade — it was set in the Haunted Forest, which is actually Tollymore Forest Park.
This exceptionally spooky setting for an exceptionally spooky part of the hit TV series was filmed in this park lies at the foot of the Mourne Mountains in County Down. Within the park grounds, you’ll find the Shimna River, the Stone Bridges, the Hermitage, Cedar Avenue, and experimental forest plots. There are also a number of trails for hiking, biking, and horseback riding, as well as camping and RV sites.
A must-see for fans of the hit HBO series, Tollymore Forest Park is also known now the Haunted Forest and is one of the top locations that fans visit during their tour of Game of Thrones locations in Ireland.
12.Binevenagh – Limavady, Co. Londonderry ( Dothraki Grasslands)
The Binevenagh, located in Limavady, Londonderry county is otherwise known in the series as the Dothraki Grasslands. This area was used for a number of different scenes, however the most memorable was in episode 10 of 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.
Aside from being one of the best Game of Thrones locations in Northern Ireland, Binevenagh is an attraction in itself as the summit offers stunning panoramic views across Lough Foyle and the Sperrin Mountains. Its 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.
13.Titanic Studios, Belfast
Much of the filming of Game of Thrones takes place inside the gigantic Titanic Studios in Queens Road, Belfast. It is one of the biggest in Europe and built on the site where the original Titanic ship was constructed. It is here that most of the fixed sets and indoor shots are made and filmed, and since April up to September this year, is host to the Game of Thrones Touring Exhibition, which gives fans around the world an opportunity to step inside Westeros and the lands beyond.
The exhibition is designed by GES Events in collaboration with HBO® Licensing and Retail and combines costumes, authentic props and majestic settings from all seasons to create an interactive and unforgettable Game of Thrones experience. Located in the TEC Belfast, in the footprint of the legendary Titanic Studios, where a great part of the series was filmed for the past decade, the exhibition allows fans to authentically immerse themselves in the mythical lands of Westeros and Essos, as well as relive the trials and tribulations of those who struggle for survival in the shadow of the Iron Throne.
The Game of Thrones Touring Exhibition will also give fans the chance to get an up close and personal look at the artistry and craftsmanship behind the Emmy award-winning series, as well as the opportunity to “experience the wintry landscapes of the North, explore the tree-lined pathway of the Kingsroad, see the regal settings of King’s Landing, view the conquered city of Meereen with its garrisons of Unsullied warriors, discover iconic costumes of House Targaryen, explore Castle Black, the home of the Night’s Watch, step into the House of Black and White and the frozen lands Beyond the Wall, and reach the iconic Iron Throne Room and gaze upon the Westerosi seat of power in all its foreboding glory.”
Address: Titanic Quarter Ltd Titanic House Queen’s Road Belfast BT3 9DT
Phone: 44 (0) 28 9076 6300