Go North for an epic tour

by Ian Begley
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If you’re from Ireland and also a massive Game of Thrones fan there is no excuse for not travelling to the North of Ireland this summer and taking part in the official Game of Thrones tour.
Thanks to HBO’s adaptation of George RR Martin’s epic tale, Northern Ireland’s stunning mountains, forests, lakes and countryside are now familiar to millions of people around the world, having helped create the magical backdrop that much of the show’s action is filmed against. Below is a list of destinations you can visit which have helped create some of the most noteworthy and remarkable scenes from the show.

County Down
From the home of Ned Stark to the formidable Haunted Forest, what better place to start your Game of Thrones adventure than in County Down with its ancient gothic forests and historic ruins.
The Haunted Forest
Tollymore Forest Park holds the honour of being host to the first ever Game of Thrones scene aired in 2011 when some Night Watchmen deserters were killed by a White Walker in the snow.
Other famous scenes filmed in the forest include Ramsey Snow’s chase and recapture of Theon Greyjoy as well as many forest scenes North of Winterfell.

The Riverlands
Close by you’ll find the historic ruins of Inch Abbey, dating from 1193. The abbey provided the backdrop to the Twins, two identical castles joined by a bridge which are the seat of House Frey. It is here that Catelyn Stark crosses the bridge to agree a treaty with Walder Frey which resulted in an arranged marriage proposal between Robb Stark and one of his daughters.

Causeway Coastal Route
Hailed as one of the world’s most spectacular road journeys, this stretch of coastline plays host to some of the most dramatic scenery seen in Game of Thrones due to its rugged cliffs and sweeping valleys.

Iron Islands
This quaint coastal nook was used in the show to depict Lordsport Harbour in the Iron Islands – home to the Greyjoys.

The headlands leading down to the famous Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge are better known in the show as The Stormlands – Renly Baratheon’s camp. This is where we are first introduced to Brienne of Tarth.

King’s Road
Although only in the show for a few seconds, the Dark Hedges has become one of the most recognisable Game of Thrones filming locations in Northern Ireland.
This intertwining beech tree lined avenue dating back to the 18th century features as King’s Road where Arya Stark makes her escape from King’s Landing with Gendry.

One of Northern Ireland’s most stunning beaches, Downhill Beach in Derry is the spot where Melissandre burned the seven old golds as a sacrifice to The Lord of the Light and prompted Stannis Baratheon to draw a sword from the flames at Dragonstone.

Dothraki Camp
Set against Slemish Mountain in County Antrim and with its green grassy hills, Shillanavogy Valley provided the perfect camp for Daenerys Targaryen, Ser Jorah Mormont and the Dorthraki horsemen to pitch camp on their journey to Vaes Dothrak.

Beric Dondarrion’s Hideout
You may recognise Pollnagollum Cave, found in the picturesque Marble Arch Caves Global Geopark, from series three of the hit TV show.
The waterfall cave was used by Beric Dondarrion’s Brotherhood Without Banners as their secret hideout where Arya Stark discovers Beric’s resurrecting powers.
For more information on the official Game of Thrones tour and to book, visit www.discovernorthernireland.com/gameofthrones.

Robb’s Camp
Found within the grounds of Castle Ward Estate, beside Strangford Lough, you may recognise Audley’s Field and Castle as the backdrop to Robb Stark’s camp where he first met his future wife, Talisa. It was here that Robb caught and imprisoned Jamie Lannister.

Overlooking Strangford Lough, the grounds of Castle Ward were used as the backdrop of Winterfell, affectionately known as the home to House Stark.
Surrounded by acres of forest, one of the most memorable scenes filmed within the walled courtyard is when Rob Stark and Jon Snow taught a young Brandon Stark how to shoot a bow and arrow.

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