Welcome to our exciting Game of Thrones tour of Northern Ireland. Follow the path of the stars on this 3 day itinerary.
HBO’s award-winning television series ‘Game of Thrones’, which combines the cut and thrust of medieval warfare with murder, mysticism and intrigue, has captured the imagination of fans all over the world. Just as Peter Jackson’s ‘Lord of the Rings’ used various locations across New Zealand, so the makers of ‘Game of Thrones’ chose Northern Ireland, with extensive filming along the stunning Causeway coast and glens to represent everything from Winterfell to the King’s Road, the Iron Islands to Stormlands.
The ‘Game of Thrones’ itinerary is a voyage of discovery that allows you to experience the fantasy world of author George R R Martin for yourself. Plotting a path through the scenic splendour of the Seven Kingdoms, it takes you to where many of the pivotal scenes were shot.
Not only does this itinerary bring to life the drama of the series, but it provides a front row seat at locations steeped in local myth and legend, where ancient warriors walked long before TV heroes. Why no step onto a set like no other, where you can indulge your fascination for ‘Game of Thrones’, investigate what Northern Ireland has to offer and still have time to enjoy the sort of hospitality for which this small corner of the globe is famed. Welcome to the real wild Westeros.
Belfast to Glenarm (87 miles 140Km)
Depart the bustling city of Belfast for the north-east shores of Lough Neagh and 14th century Shane’s Castle, near Randalstown. The ruins and 2600 acre estate were the backdrop to extensive filming for the series, including the Hand’s Tournament in honour of Ned Stark.
From Shane’s Castle, make your way onto one of the world’s great road journeys, the Causeway coastal route, through Carrickfergus, Larne and Ballygally to Cairncastle on the windswept Antrim Plateau, where Ned Stark beheaded the Night’s Watch deserter and Catelyn captures Tyrion Lannister.
Leaving Cairncross, it’s but a few miles to overnight in picturesque Glenarm, whose name, from the Irish, means Valley of the Army, perhaps appropriately, given the pitched battles which are so often the subject of ‘Game of Thrones’.
Glenarm to Ballycastle (75 miles 121Km)
From Glenarm, travel inland to the Shillanavogy Road in the lee of Slemish Mt, where St Patrick tended sheep, then through Broughshane, with its famous floral displays to the villages of Cushendall and Cushendun, with its easily accessed caves, where Davos Seaworth, on the orders of Lord Stannis, brings the sorceress Melisandre, who then gives birth to her shadowy baby.
Beyond Cushendun lies magnificent Murlough Bay, with its view of Rathlin Island, the Mull of Kintyre and the Scottish islands. Michelle Fairley (Lady Stark) swam here as a child.
On the far side of overnight stop Ballycastle, birthplace of actor Conleth Hill (Varys), lies Larrybane Head, classic Storms End, where a number of key scenes were filmed and which provides the spectacular view the programme makers chose for generic panning shots of the coast.
Finally, take time out to visit one of Northern Ireland’s most famous landmarks, the Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge that links tiny Carrick Island with the mainland over a 23 metre drop to the sea.
Ballycastle to Derry/Londonderry (86 miles 138Km)
Follow the winding coast road to Ballintoy Harbour, which doubled as Lordsport Harbour (the Iron Islands). The beach was the location for Theon’s baptism, cementing his return to the House of Greyjoy. Further along the Whitepark road, turn off to Dunsverick, where Renly and Stannis met to discuss their claims to the Iron Throne and Renly first encountered the ‘fire priestess’. Whilst there has been no filming at the Giant’s Causeway, no visit to Northern Ireland would be complete without a stop at this World Heritage site.
Approaching Bushmills (with its historic distillery), turn inland towards Armoy where the much photographed avenue of trees, known as the Dark Hedges, was the scene for Arya Stark’s escape from King’s Landing – and local legend has it that the Grey Lady appears at dusk.
As you near the end of your journey through the Seven Kingdoms, follow the road through Coleraine, then take the Causeway Coastal Road past Castlerock and to Downhill Strand, where the iconic Mussendun Temple stands on a rocky outcrop. The beach below is Dragonstone, scene of the burning of the Seven Idols of Westeros.
Then it’s on to the famous walled city of Derry/Londonderry for overnight, through Binevenagh, a designated area of outstanding beauty, which provides a final brilliant backdrop to the end of the Game of Thrones itinerary.
£277pp (4 sharing car)
£346pp (2 sharing car) http://www.causewaycoastandglens.com/Portals/2/Downloads/GoTFilmingMap.pdf