The Game of Thrones Filming Locations in Northern Ireland
Game of Thrones is one of the most popular and successful fantasy TV series ever made.
First airing on TV in 2010, GOT was taken from George Martin’s book series ‘A
Song of Ice and Fire’.
The filming of seasons 1-7 took place in and around 24 locations around Northern Ireland including Titanic Studios in Belfast, Cushendun Caves, Larrybane, Murlough Bay, Ballintoy Harbour, Antrim plateau, Castle Ward, Inch Abbey and Downhill Strand.
The story follows the families of power in the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros who want to rule on the Iron Throne. It is now excepted that The Game of Thrones is without doubt a TV series of the generation, HBO estimates that countless millions people worldwide switched on to the final of season, so it’s safe to say the series is a household name.
Northern Ireland has benefited from The Game of Thrones success especially increased tourism. The Game of Thrones tourists join the many selective tours and trails desperate to relive the scenes from the series at the places where they were filmed.
The picturesque coastlines, historic castles and breath-stealing scenery is the perfect setting for this epic storyline. All of these locations are within easy reach of Belfast.
Here is a list of N.I.’s filming locations for Game of Thrones. Sites in County Down, Fermanagh, Antrim and Derry / Londonderry were used as backdrops in the series.
Pollnagollum Cave in County Fermanagh
When Aryas deception is discovered, she is brought to the Brotherhood without Banners who are at Pollnagollum Cave in County Fermanagh.
The Sallagh Brae is just south of the Glens of Antrim and is an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty offering dramatic scenery. Close to the village of Ballygally, Sallagh Brae can be accessed by following the Ulster Way footpath. Visitors can recognise the landscape from Game of Thrones Episode 7 Season 6. ‘The Broken Man’ when Sandor Clegane, the Hound, survived after being left to die by Arya Stark now lives a peaceful existence with a band of villagers in the Riverlands.
Ballintoy Harbour Co. Antrim
This small town has been used as the ‘Free Cities’ where Varys was born and is the most northerly point of the Antrim and Glens coastline, an area of outstanding natural beauty. This unique harbour village was used as the filming location for the ‘Iron Island’ port, when Theon arrives to seek an alliance with Balon. Shillanavogy Valley, Co. Antrim was used as filming locations in GOT as Dothraki grasslands.
Larrybane bay lays on the North Antrim Coast, defended by Sheep Island and a shallow reef, it is one of the most scenic locations along the Causeway Coast. From the high cliffs of Larrybane this outstanding coastline can be viewed including the world famous Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge.
The episode filimed here is where Brienne of Tarth fought Loras Tyrell in the presence of King Renly. This ancient chalk quarry at ‘Larrybane’, is now the overflow car park for Carrick-a-rede Rope Bridge and owned by the National Trust.
Ireland, where crumbling castles and ancient landscapes become essential ‘Seven Kingdoms’ filming locations in Game of Thrones®.
The sun was surely shining on HBO’s location scouts when they discovered the mystical ‘Dark Hedges’. A bewitching promenade of serpentine beech trees near Armoy, County Antrim.
This intriguing natural sight was used as the Drive along the King’s Road which led Ned Stark to
his death and Arya Stark away from King’s Landing. This is where Arya disguises herself as a boy
to avoid capture. It is probably one of the most photographed landmarks on the Game of
Cushendun Caves Co. Antrim
These Caves are believed to be formed around 400 million years ago. These awsome caves in Cushendun are yet another GOT filming location in Northern Ireland. The caves are where Melisandre gave birth to her ‘shadow baby’ in the film this is known as, ‘Stormlands’.
The Castles Waterways and Beaches
Shane’s Castle Co. Antrim
This panoramic setting was used for filming two episodes the jousting tournaments where Gregor Clegane beheads a horse.
Lough Neagh Co. Antrim
N.I. has one main freshwater lake named Lough Neagh. This is where Jorah takes Tyrion captive in the ‘Summer Sea’ and sets sail in search of his queen Daenerys. Just one episode was filmed here.
Nested into the Co. Antrim coastline is Murlough Bay, better known in the ‘Seven Kingdoms’ as Slaver’s Bay.
Slaver’s Bay is where Tyrion and Ser Jorah are discovered by a slave ship and eventually captured. This is also where brother-sister Yara and Theon shared a horse ride home
to the Castle in another episode in a later series.
Carnlough Village Co. Antrim
This is the location named in the show as Braavos, where the Waif from the Faceless men attempts to kill Arya. The steps (now known locally as ‘Arya’s Steps’) are where an injured Arya drags herself ashore.
Cairncastle in Co Antrim
In the series, this beautiful valley known as Knockdhu, was used to film Littlefinger takeing Sansa to Moat Caitlin to arrange an alliance with the Boltons.
The Magnificent Castle on top of the plateau was computer generated. So in real life its not there. But with a little imagination, anything is possible.
It was also used in the first episode of the first series where Ned Stark beheads a deserter from The Night’s Watch.
Downhill Strand Co. Derry
The soft sanded beach at Downhill was used in GOT, the sinister’ Milisandre’ burned the old gods
on the Downhill Strand. In the series Downhill Strand was renamed, ‘Dragon stone’.
Glenariff Co. Antrim
This wonderful landscape was used in the series. Surrounded by beauty with valleys and waterfalls was the perfect filming location where Robin Aryn attempts a fight, while Littlefinger and Sansa Stark look on.
Portstewart Strand Co. Antrim
‘Jaime’ and ‘Bronn’ camouflaged as Martel soldiers fought ‘Donish’ on the approach to the gates to the water garden. This memorable scene was filmed in this location.
Strangford Lough Co.Down
At this location ‘the Starks’ asked for meeting with the dangerous ‘Freys’ to be allowed to cross the ‘Green Fork’. The actual old castle remains was dramatically changed with the assistance of CGI into ‘The Twins’
‘Winterfell’ is where the Game of thrones story really begins’ The 820 acres of the walled demesne of Castle Ward in Co. Down provided an excellent location for ‘Stark House’ the most memorable of locations in the entire Got series.
Castleward Co. Down
Castleward in Co.Down and the grounds around it became ‘Winterfell’, such a central point in the game of thrones epic story. The the ancient 16th century castle ruins became a stark House, this was before the ‘Bolton’ siege. A short distance away from from Winterfell and its courtyard is ‘Audrey’s Field’ close to the lough shore. This is where ‘Jaime’ was captured and later released.
The great Throne room and the Sept of Baelor were another figment of imagination in the CGI production department. Nevertheless, infamy was never far from Winterfell.
Tollymore Forest Park, in Co. Down was the setting for the ‘Hunted Forest’ it was at this location that ‘Sansa and Little Finger’ departed to the ‘Eyrie’ and ‘Jorah and ‘Tyrion’ set sail on the summer sea together. ‘Jaime and Bronn’ arrived at this point on ‘Dome’
Among the 600 hectares of Tollymore Park where the ancient redwoods grow, ‘Ramsey’, the bastard of ‘Bolton’, hunted ‘Theon’ and “stark’ and discovered the dire wolves.
Featured as Winterfell, this National Trust property had sheds and barns remodelled to take on a
Game of Thrones look and the farmyard was transformed.
This medieval building was used as the set for the Riverlands scenes, where Robb Stark’s army wait at the Trident to cross.
Audley’s Field and Castle, Co. Down
Also in Co. Down not too far from Castle Ward is Audley’s Field. This is the scene where Jaime
was captured, and soon after released again.
County Derry / Londonderry
Melisandre burned the old gods on Dragonstone, otherwise known as Downhill Strand in County Londonderry, a scenic beach dominated by the elegant 18th century ruins of Mussenden Temple.
On the Antrim plateau, Binevenagh boasts wide panoramic views. The location was chosen for the Dothraki Sea far above the city of Meereen, where Daenerys is rescued by her dragon Drogon and brought to his lair.
The Kingsroad The Dark Hedges, County Antrim
The Mourne Mountains
The Haunted Forest Tollymore Forest Park, County Down
Winterfell Castle Ward, County Down
Dothraki Sea Binevenagh, County Londonderry/Antrim
Larrybane Quarry Ballycastle, County Antrim
Runestone in the Vale of Arryn Glenariff, County Antrim
Fair Head Ballycastle, County Antrim
CASTLES OF THE SEVEN KINGDOMS
Coast of Essos Murlough Bay, County Antrim
Brotherhood Without Banners’ Hideout Pollnagollum Cave, County Fermanagh
The Iron Islands Ballintoy Harbour, County Antrim
Sallagh Braes Ballygalley, County Antrim
Interiors including The Eyrie and Throne Room Titanic Studios, Belfast
Old Valyrian Canal, Essos Toome Canal, County Antrim
Carnlough Harbour Ballymena, County Antrim
Dragonstone Downhill Strand, County Londonderry
Inch Abbey Downpatrick, County Down
Robb Stark’s Camp Audley’s Field, County Down
Slavers’ Bay Murlough Bay, County Antrim
The Stormlands Cushendun Caves, County Antrim
Quoile River Downpatrick, County Down
Kindgom of Dorne Portstewart Strand, County Down
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