Game of Thrones Tour Highlights
Posted by Niamh Allabyrne on the 24th of April 2014 at 10:08:40
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Who is not excited about the new season of our favourite TV show? What misfortune will happen next in the realm and befall its inhabitants? Much of the filming takes place in beautiful and diverse Northern Ireland and seeing all these stunning spots, who can be really surprised? So far it has become nearly a sport in Ireland to try and recognize/name the area. But even with so many top locations there are a few which are more eye-catching than others. Time to check them out!
Belfast Game of Thrones Exhibition, Belfast City
Make a note in your calendar for the 11th till the 15th of June because you really want to be in Belfastfor this period. Why you may ask? Well for once of course Belfast is worth a visit on its own with the informative Black Taxi Tours
or the colourful murals and the troubled history it had to endure, but the main reason is that the long awaited Game of Thrones Exhibition is coming to town! Showing nearly 100 original stage props this free of charge exhibition should be on the list for everybody interested in the renowned HBO show. This fascinating spectacle will take you deeper into the magical world of Game of Thrones and offer you a fresh perspective of characters, their relationships and key places of the series.
The first State Forest Park in Northern Ireland the Tollymore Forest Parkis still one of the most beautiful in Ireland. It covers more than 630 hectares at the foot of the famous Mourne Mountains
near Newcastle. With the wild and untamed beauty it possess it is not surprising that is was used for the very first scene of Game of Thrones. Can you remember in the pilot episode where members of the Night’s Watch encounter White Walkers? Well, that scene was filmed here and if you follow one of the four walking trails you might even encounter the exact spot!
Murlough Bay, County Antrim
Considered to be one of the most beautiful bays in Antrim it is now wonder that this picturesque gulf found its way into the awarded HBO series. It is still an insider’s tip as not many travellers know about it due to its remoteness. Only a narrow minor road will take you to this stunning area. It is the same road Theon Greyjoy and his sister Yara ride on to reach Pyke, the seat of their house. However it is absolutely worth the journey as the landscape is as breath-taking as it is on the show! Enjoy the panoramic view over the sea and Rathlin Island
. On sunny days even the Scottish Mull of Kintyre are visible. Or explore the old miners cottages left behind by their owners when the mines closed. Murlough Bay is best discovered by foot, so leave your car or horse behind and set off to explore this staggering area.
Ballycastle in County Antrim is the place you want to be in when exploring the scenic Causeway Coast Route. In only a small radius you will find many of the top-attractions like the Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge
or the Bushmills Distillery
. In Game of Thrones you will see this scenic little harbour as the Free Cities where Varys was born. However Ballycastle has so much more to offer than just being a backdrop in a flashback and you should absolutely stop here on your tour to explore this picturesque town. Especially during the end of August when the Auld Lammas Fair is taking place this harbour is buzzing with life. Don’t miss your chance to try the traditional yellowman and dulse!
This romantic little spot was built in 1785 and has over the years getting closer to the coastal edge. The National Trust carried out some stabilisation work here in 1997 to preserve this building, styled after the Temple of Vesta in Italy, falling into the sea. There are some great views over to parts of County Donegal. Nowadays you can even hold your wedding in this enchanting place. Mussenden Templealso allows for an amazing view over Downhill Beach, an 11km long sandy beach that was a Northern Ireland Seaside Award Winning Beach in 2013. A wide range of activities can be done here including the obvious water sports, but also nature walks or bird-watching. It is quite a popular spot, especially during summer when the water is warm enough to swim in the sea. The scene with the burning of the 7 Idols of Westeros takes place on this scenic beach and if you look for it, you will even see the Mussenden Temple during this scene.
These are just my top picks of the amazing locations that are shown in Game of Thrones. But many more are waiting for you in Northern Ireland. Discover Castle Ward
, which was used as Winterfell or the stunning Cushendun Caves where a lot of scenes took place. Or what about the ominous Dark Hedges
, that were filmed as part of the King's Road?