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Ballintoy Harbour: History, Game of Thrones Appearance And The Walk

Ballintoy Harbour: History, Game of Thrones Appearance And The Walk

Antrim’s Ballintoy Harbour is arguably most famous for its appearence in the Game of Thrones series (used to depict the exterior of Pyke).

One of many stops along the magnificent Causeway Coastal Route, the harbour is located in the picturesque village of Ballintoy.

And, while it’ll be of most interest to Game of Thrones fans, it provides a very unique setting for a coastal walk, as you’ll discover below.

Some quick need-to-knows about Ballintoy Harbour

a map of Ballintoy Harbour


Although a visit to Ballintoy Harbour is fairly straightforward, there are a few need-to-knows that’ll make your visit that bit more enjoyable.

1. Location

You’ll find Ballintoy Harbour located alongside the B15 coast road, 5 miles west of Ballycastle. It’s close to the Giant’s Causeway (20-minute drive), Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge (5-minute drive) and Dunluce Castle (20-minute drive). 

2. Parking (warning)

You’ll drive down to Ballintoy Harbour via a narrow ‘road’ that leads to a car park. Outside of the summer months, you’ll have no trouble getting parking here. However, during peak season, it fills up fast and as some people park very poorly, turning around can be tricky.

3. The Game of Thrones link

Yes, there’s a Ballintoy Harbour Game of Thrones link! Ballintoy Harbour was one of several Game of Thrones filming locations in Northern Ireland. It was used for the exterior Pyke footage and to stand in as the Iron Islands.


The story behind Ballintoy Harbour


Photos via Shutterstock

Ballintoy Harbour has changed very little in hundreds of years, which made it an ideal setting for the medieval style fantasy drama, Game of Thrones.

The village is home to only a couple of hundred people and was originally built around a single street.

It is about one kilometer from the harbour and has some delightful small shops and two churches, including Ballintoy Parish Church, a white building that sits on the hill above the harbour.

Ballintoy Harbour and the village makes a great stopover for those undertaking the coastal route.

April to September is the butterfly season when you will see many different species of these wonderful insects and there are many awesome walks you can take to fully appreciate the area’s rugged scenery.

The harbour is also popular with divers, as you can dive or snorkel from the beach, the rocky outcrops or from the ‘secret’ beach to the east. Visibility is said to be relatively good, ranging from 10 to 15 metres.


Things to do at Ballintoy Harbour

There’s a fair few things to do at Ballintoy Harbour if you rock up on a fine day.

While the Game of Thrones link is the big attraction, the coastal walk is what makes it worth a visit.

1. Have a read of the Game of Thrones plaque


As you might expect, Ballintoy Harbour is keen to show off its connections to the silver screen and there’s a plaque that commemorates the connection.

The plaque shows a picture of Theon arriving at the Iron Islands and some of the other scenes that feature the harbour.

When you stand in front of it and take in the view, it is easy to see why a location scout would hit upon this part of the Irish coastline as a great spot to film as there is so little here that hints of the 21st century.

2. Explore the very unique coastline

Ballintoy sea stacks

Photo licensed from Sara Winter

Part of the long Causeway Coastal walking route, the coastline at Ballintoy boasts some of Antrim’s most impressive scenery.

Unique and unusual rock formations dot the shoreline just feet from the mainland.

You can take a ramble along the coast and admire them while the sound of crashing waves fills your ears.


3. Hit the water with Causeway Coast Kayaking Tours

Causeway Coast Kayaking Tours will show you the beauty of Northern Ireland’s coast from the perspective of the sea.

The tours suit a variety of experience, from beginners to those who are old hands at kayaking and are led by qualified and knowledgeable guides.

The tours range in length and several begin right from the harbour.


Things to do nearby

Causeway Coastal Route Drive

One of the beauties of a visit to Ballintoy Harbour is that it’s a short spin away from many of the best things to do in Antrim.

Below, you’ll find everything from scenic drives and a very well known rope bridge to food, historical sites and more.

  1. Carrick-A-Rede Rope Bridge (5-minute drive): Northern Ireland’s famous rope bridge
  2. Whitepark Bay Beach (8-minute drive): A spectacular beach that forms a white arc between two headlands
  3. Dunseverick Castle (10-minute drive): The ancient royal site of a Gaelic kingdom and is said to have been blessed by St Patrick
  4. Kinbane Castle (12-minute drive): Ancient castle ruins with glorious coastal views
  5. Giants Causeway and Dunluce Castle (20-minute drive): Two of the highlights on the Antrim Coast

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