On my most recent trip to Northern Ireland, we were able to fit in a little bit of Game of Thrones exploring. Our first base at Kinbane Farmhouse near Ballycastle, Co. Antrim was convenient to many Game of Thrones points of interest. The Dark Hedges, a road flanked by 200-year-old beech trees, was transformed with CGI into the Kings Road for the scene where Arya Stark escapes Kings Landing disguised as a boy with others who are to join the Nights Watch. One of the trees that fell during a storm was salvaged to create a series of ten doors placed throughout Northern Ireland, each with carvings representing episodes from Season Six. Our ambitious goal was to try to see all ten, but we fell a little short only seeing six of them. One door was conveniently located in Gracehill House across the road from the Dark Hedges.
We saw another door in Ballintoy at the Fullerton Arms Hotel. Ballintoy Harbour was transformed with CGI into the village Lordsport where Theon arrives back home on the Isle of Pyke in the Iron Islands. The surrounding beaches were also used for the scene where Euron is declared King after his drowning. Nearby Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge, which is suspended 90 feet above the ocean below, was transformed with CGI for the scene where Euron Greyjoy throws his brother King Balon to his death. The area near the parking lot was also used for filming, including the scenes where the tournament introducing Brienne took place and where Theon and Yara try to convince their people to make her queen.
Mussenden Temple at Downhill Demesne overlooks the beach used for the scene at Dragonstone where Melisandre burned the Seven as a sacrifice the Lord of Light. From here we visited another door at Frank Owens Bar in Limavady.
The Cushendun Caves were used for the scene where Melisandre gives birth to the shadow that would assassinate Renly Baratheon. We saw another door in nearby Mary McBrides Bar. Further south, the harbor at Carnlough was used for the scene where Arya Stark crawled up the steps out of the water after being stabbed. Still further south we visited another door at the Ballygally Castle Hotel.
Our next stay was at the Cuan Guesthouse in Strangford, Co. Down, which was also the location of another door. The cast stayed at this hotel during filming, with their favorite rooms named for the characters they played. I slept in the Jon Snow (Kit Harington) room and our companions stayed in the Ned Stark (Sean Bean) room. This hotel was also home to authentic props used in filming, including Ned Stark’s sword Ice. We also enjoyed an excellent Game of Thrones themed dinner and breakfast here.
At nearby Castle Ward, which was transformed with CGI into Winterfell, we participated in an archery experience at the actual location of the scene where Jon Snow trained the Stark children. We dressed in costumes actually used for filming, with the losing archer (me) was “beheaded”. We also got to meet Odin and Thor, two Northern Inuit dogs also known as the Stark dire wolves Grey Wind (Robb’s) and Summer (Bran’s). On the castle grounds were many other filming locations, including Audley’s Castle which was transformed with CGI into the Twins. The ruins of nearby Inch Abbey were used for the scene where Robb Stark was proclaimed King of the North.
Arya Water Scene
The Red Wedding Area
GOT Witch gave birth to demon
Witch burned people on beach
Iron Islands area