In the footsteps of Game of Thrones, Northern Ireland

Filming of seasons one to eight took place in around 25 locations around Northern Ireland including Titanic Studios in Belfast, Cushendun Caves, Murlough Bay, Ballintoy Harbour, Larrybane, Antrim plateau, Castle Ward, Inch Abbey and Downhill Strand

🙂 Game of Thrones – what more to say?!

Our Roadtrip through Northern Ireland had us following closely in the footsteps of many of the Game of Throne sets.

Braavos Canal: filmed at Carnlough

The harbour of the coastal village of Carnlough was constructed by the owners of the nearby quarries. A mineral tramway network was then put in place to connect the quarries with the harbour. Some remains of the network can still be seen today, in particular two bridges that span the two parallel streets of the village. These days, Carnlough is a mooring place for small fishing boats and leisure craft.

After refusing to kill Lady Crane in the name of the Faceless God, Arya tries to organise a passage back to Westeros. In the meantime, Jaqen H’ghar has sent the Waif to kill Arya. A brutal fight in the streets of Braavos ensues, and Arya is stabbed multiple times. She finally manages to escape her potential killer by jumping off a bridge into one of the city’s many canals. We then see her crawling out of the water and up some stony steps. This is the scene that was filmed at Carnlough Harbour (Season 6, Episode 7: The Broken Man).

Near Storm’s End: The Stormlands – filmed at Cushendon Caves

Cushendun has long been safe harbour for seafarers, centuries before the village with the same name was established at the mouth of the River Dun. The nearby caves, easily accessible by foot, were formed over 400 million years ago. On your way to the cave, you will pass throught the tranquil fishing village of Cushendun that is definitely worth a stop – the main reason being that the local pub Mary McBride’s features one of the Doors of Thrones.

Stannis Baratheon orders Davos Seaworth to smuggle the red priestess Melisandre into a cave below Renly Baratheon’s camp. To Davos’ horror, Melisandre gives birth to a dark shadow, which creeps into the camp and kills Renly (Season 2, Episode 4: Garden of Bones).

The Iron Islands – filmed in Ballintoy Harbour

Ballintoy Harbour is at the end of the road leading down to the sea from the fishing village with the same name. It is a very atmospheric place and during the summer season, a small shack sells snacks and drinks.

After years in captivity, Theon Greyjoy returns to his homeland of Pyke in order to forge an alliance between the House of Stark and his father, Balon Greyjoy, Lord of the Iron Islands. As he sails into Lordsport Harbour, his reception is, shall we say, rather cold (Season 2, Episode 2: The Night Lands).

Ballintoy was also used in Season 4, with several of King Stannis’s bannermen being burnt alive due to their refusal to abandon their worship of the Seven Gods (Season 4, Episode 2: The Lion and the Rose).

Other scenes filmed at Ballintoy Beach include the funeral of Balon Greyjoy after he was killed by his brother Euron (Season 6, Episode 2: Home), and Yara and Theon’s escape from the Iron Islands (Season 6, Episode 5: The Door).

The Dark Hedges – filmed at the Kingsroad

This just may be the most popular Game of Thrones filming location in Northern Ireland. The Dark Hedges is a short road lined with twisted, mature beech trees. This is the Kings Road. Who would have thought a few years back, that this avenue of beech trees would become one of the country’s most photographed locations. Planted in the 18th century by the Stuart family, the trees have become known as the Dark Hedges, and are even alleged to have their own ghost: according to local legend the lost spirit of the Grey Lady appears amongst the trunks at dusk. No matter the season, it’s a stunning place. We were so lucky as we were the only people but were lucky enough to have a photo taken by another couple who were just leaving. The Dark Hedges is an avenue of beech trees along Bregagh Road between Armoy and Stranocum in County Antrim, Northern Ireland.

After Ned Stark’s death, Arya flees King’s Landing, travelling north on the Kingsroad in the back of a cart. Disguised as a boy, she joins her companions Yoren, Gendry and Hot Pie who are on their way to join the Night’s Watch (Season 2, Episode 1: The North Remembers). Despite the location only featuring in this one scene, the Dark Hedges have become a true pilgrimage site for Game of Thrones fans the world over.

The Sormlands filmed at Murlough Bay

Murlough Bay is a beautiful cove hidden away from the Causeway Coast main road. A small road leads towards the sea, but the last part of the location has to be made on foot. The views across to Rathlin Island as well as the Scottish Islands are simply stunning.

After surviving an attack by Stonemen on the Old Valyrian Canal, Tyrion Lannister and Ser Jorah Mormont continue their location towards Mereen on foot. Being deeply immersed in conversation, they are spotted by a passing slave ship. It’s too late to hide and the two men are taken prisoner (Season 5, Episode 6: Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken). The landscape above the bay was also the setting for Renly Baratheon’s camp in the Stormlands. Here he gathers 100,000 men to fight on his behalf. Supported by the House of Tyrell, Renly is proclaimed the new king. Of course, his brother Stannis challenges that claim. Nevertheless, Renly agrees to meet him on home turf. Renly remains adamant about his rightful position – plus, he has the greater army. Stannis is furious and quickly leaves the scene, while his companion, the Red Priestess Melisandre, farewells Renly with a dire warning: “Look to your sins, Lord Renly. The night is dark and full of terrors.” (Season 2, Episode 4: Garden of Bones).

Leave a Reply

Continue Exploring

Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland