Game of Thrones, Locations on Earth : Ireland

May 20, 2013

A couple of weeks back we built a day tour of Kings Landing and received quite encouraging feedback. However, one query that we got a lot was to provide information about the real shooting locations. Now, the Game of thrones is shot at a number locations and all could not be covered in a single post. So, in this post we are covering the major shooting locations for Game of Thrones in Ireland. If you decide to take a trip to Ireland to visit these places do not forget to plan your trip via TripTern. We already cover Dublin and Cork and will be soon adding more cities.

Doune Castle

Served as the Winterfell castle in the pilot episode.
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 Doune Castle is a medieval stronghold near the village of Doune, in the Stirling district of central Scotland. The castle is sited on a wooded bend where the Ardoch Burn flows into the River Teith. It lies 8 miles (13 km) north-west of Stirling, where the Teith flows into the River Forth. Upstream, 8 miles (13 km) further north-west, the town of Callander lies at the edge of the Trossachs, on the fringe of the Scottish Highlands.

Recent research has shown that Doune Castle was originally built in the thirteenth century, then probably damaged in the Scottish Wars of Independence,[1] before being rebuilt in its present form in the late 14th century by Robert Stewart, Duke of Albany (c.1340–1420), the son of King Robert II of Scotland, and Regent of Scotland from 1388 until his death.

Castle Ward

 Serving as Winterfell seated by House Stark.

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Stunningly unique 18th-century mansion, famed for its mixture of architectural styles

Castle Ward will take you on a journey of discovery. The 18th-century eccentric house with two distinctly different styles, classical and Gothic, reflecting the differing tastes of Lord Bangor and his wife. While the entrance side of the building is done in a classical Palladian style with columns supporting a triangular pediment, the opposite side is Georgian Gothick with pointed windows, battlements and finials.[2] This differences in style continue throughout the interior of the house with the divide down the centre.

Redhall Estates, Ballycarry 

Season 1 Episode 2 scene where Queen Cersei demands the death of Sansa Stark’s direwolf, Lady, was shot here.

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 Redhall dates from the 16C and is a country house set in it’s own traditional parkland close to, yet hidden from the A2 Causeway Coastal Route. It is easily accessible from BelfastInternationalAirport (27m) and GeorgeBestCityAirport (20m), the port of Larne and from Carrickfergus. The entrance is from the A2 Carrickfergus to Larne road, half a mile on the Larne side of the Ballycarry – Islandmagee crossroads. It has beautiful views over Islandmagee and the ASSI of Larne Lough.  Still used as a family home, one needs an invitation to visit the estate.

The Dark Hedges

Arya Stark escaped from King’s Landing dressed as a boy.

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  This beautiful avenue of beech trees was planted by the Stuart family in the eighteenth century.  It was intended as a compelling landscape feature to impress visitors as they approached the entrance to their home, Gracehill House.  Two centuries later, the trees remain a magnificent sight and have become known as the Dark Hedges. The Dark Hedges is one of the most photographed natural phenomena in Northern Ireland and a popular attraction for tourists from across the world.  It has been painted by hundreds of visiting artists and is a favourite location for wedding photographs.

Dunluce Castle

The famous Dunluce Castle in Northern Ireland represents House of Greyjoy, ruler of the Iron Islands.
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Dunluce Castle (from Irish: Dún Libhse)[3] is a now-ruined medieval castle in Northern Ireland. It is located on the edge of a basalt outcropping in CountyAntrim (between Portballintrae and Portrush), and is accessible via a bridge connecting it to the mainland. The castle is surrounded by extremely steep drops on either side, which may have been an important factor to the early Christians and Vikings who were drawn to this place where an early Irish fort once stood. DunluceCastle is in the care of the Northern Ireland Environment Agency. It is a Monument in State Care sited in the townland of Dunluce, in Coleraine Borough Council area. The earthworks, adjacent to Dunluce Castle, are a Scheduled Historic Monument.

Shane’s castle

The tournament scene was held here or the location of tourney grounds in kings landing.

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Shane’s Castle is a ruined castle near Randalstown in County Antrim, Northern Ireland. The castle is on the north-east shores of Lough Neagh. Built in 1345 by a member of the O’Neill dynasty, it was originally called Eden-duff-carrick. Shane MacBrien O’Neill changed the name to Shane’s Castle in 1722. A terrace was built about the year 1800, in 1812 work was started to rebuild the castle to the designs of John Nash but the castle was devastated by a fire in 1816 and work abandoned. Only Nash’s camellia house survives.[1] In the 1860s a second house was built by Charles Lanyon and William Henry Lynn of Lanyon, Lynn and Lanyon, for the 1st Lord O’Neill. The demesne covers 2,600 acres along the shores of Lough Neagh. 

Magheramorne quarry

Castle Black set in Magheramorne quarry from nearby Island magee.

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Magheramorne (from Irish: Machaire Morna)[1] is a hamlet in County Antrim, Northern Ireland. It is about 5 miles south of Larne on the shores of Larne Lough. It had a population of 75 people in the 2001 Census. It is within the Larne Borough Council area. Nearby is an old limestone quarry currently owned by Lafarge (formerly known as Blue Circle). A regeneration plan will transform the quarry into a nature conservation, leisure and housing area. The 75 hectare quarry will be the home of a World Cycling Centre and the All-Ireland Scuba Diving Centre if the plans go ahead 5 miles to the south along Larne Lough.

Downhill Strand

Burning of the Seven Gods scene was shot here.

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Downhill Strand  (better known as Benone Strand) is a beach in County Londonderry, Northern Ireland, with the A2 and the Derry to Coleraine railway line next to it. At seven miles long the beach is one of the longest in Northern Ireland, and recipient of the European Blue Flag and Seaside Award.The village of Downhill and MussendenTemple are nearby.

Tollymore Forest Park

Tollymore Forest Park was the first state forest park in Northern Ireland, established in 1955.  It was the location for what is called the ‘prologue’ scene – when the men of the Night’s Watch come upon the dead wildings and the wights in the first episode.  It’s also likely location of several ‘beyond-the-Wall’ scenes.

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Tollymore Forest Park was the first state forest park in Northern Ireland, established on the 2 June 1955. It is located at Bryansford, near the town of Newcastle. Covering an area of 630 hectares (1,600 acres) at the foot of the MourneMountains, the forest park offers panoramic views of the surrounding mountains and the sea at nearby Newcastle. The forest has four walking trails signposted by different coloured arrows, the longest being the “long haul trail” at 8 miles (13 km) long. The ShimnaRiver flows through the park. Tollymore was listed in The Sunday Times top twenty British picnic sites for 2000. The Forest Park is now owned and run by the Forest Service NI, part of the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.

Caves at Cushendun

  Location of Storm’s End Cave where Davos leads the way to the locked gate. From episode #204

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The Caves at Cushendun can be found right along the coast and next to the Bay Hotel and Cave House. Although the caves are small, they are one of the main attractions in the village apart from the village itself. Personally from my own childhood trips to the village I believe the caves to be of interest to young children although many tourists would also find them of interest too.

The Caves at Cushendun have been formed over millions of years like many other caves around Ireland and the rest of the world. Over a period of 400 million years and extreme weather conditions in Ireland during this time the Caves at Cushendun were formed. The caves are the remains of a vast mountain range, weathered and eroded by wind and water resulting in Old Red Sandstone rock.