While it’s been nearly a full 8 years since the HBO blockbuster premiered, fans are still travelling in their droves to visit the best Game of Thrones filming locations Ireland has to offer.
If you’re a GOT fanatic, what better way to celebrate the iconic series than to relive some of the earlier seasons by foot.
Yes, by foot.
We’ve teamed up with the folks at Hillwalk Tours to take you through a jam-packed tour of the most memorable GOT filming locations in Ireland that you can tackle on a 10-day walking tour in County Antrim.
Pound for pound the Antrim Glens and Causeway Coast boast the highest density of Game of Thrones filming locations in Europe. Let’s dive in!
Game of Thrones Filming Locations Ireland Map
In the map above you’ll get a nice quick overview of the locations that you’ll visit if you head off on the 10-day walking tour.
You can also visit these if you fancy driving along the Causeway Coastal Route.
Right, let’s get cracking!
1 – Glenariff (Dothraki Sea)
You’ll pass directly through Glenariff Forest Park not long after departing from your starting location at the seaside village of Waterfoot, as you commence your journey through the Antrim Glens.
It’s here that you’ll find a number of stunning waterfalls within a deep valley made famous as the practice ground at Runestone in the Vale of Arryn.
This Game of Thrones filming location in Northern Ireland is where Sansa Stark, together with Littlefinger, viewed Robin Arryn’s efforts at duelling.
This inland segment of your hike was used throughout to portray the Dothraki Sea in GOT.
2 – Murlough Bay (Slaver’s Bay)
After wheeling northwards through the remainder of the Glens of Antrim, you’ll reach the town of Ballycastle where you’ll turn back eastward towards Torr Head.
Approximately halfway along the coast you’ll hike around Fair Head, a prominent ridge line overlooking the sea to the north and two picturesque lakes to the south.
Soon after you’ll start to descend toward the magnificent Murlough Bay.
Murlough Bay used to film Slaver’s Bay where Ser Jorah and Tyrion are captured after being discovered by a slave ship.
3 – Larrybane Quarry (The Stormlands)
The otherwise nondescript Larrybane Quarry was used to depict the Stormlands. Those of you who’ve ever geeked out with the map of Westeros will remember this region as bordering the Sea of Dorne at the bottom of the map.
Although you’ll no doubt be hoping for a clear day for a hike, Ireland’s stormy weather might not go astray on this leg of your trek! An added bonus here is quick and easy access to the Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge.
While the iconic rope bridge was not a Game of Thrones filming location, the bridge looks more like it belongs dangling over a jungle river in the Amazon, or swinging over raging rapids in the Himalayas, and it’s well worth the visit.
Especially considering that your next GOT highlight is just around the corner.
4 – Ballintoy Harbour (Lordsport Harbour)
Westward from Larrybane Quarry lies Ballintoy Harbour. After descending a steep and narrow road (and I mean narrow) you’ll reach a small fishing harbour.
The well-protected bay shields the harbour, nearly enclosing it on all sides and making for a very scenic rest stop.
A handy extra sight to take in here is the GOT-inspired hand-carved door at the Fullerton Arms which you’ll find on the main road between Larrybane Quarry and Ballintoy Harbour.
This is the location of Lordsport Harbour in Season 2 when Theon Greyjoy returns home.
5 – Dunluce Castle (Pyke Castle)
Home to the House of Greyjoy, GOT fans may not immediately recognise Dunluce Castle as the filming location for Castle Greyjoy, AKA Pyke Castle. This is due to the fact that a fair sprinkling of CGI was used.
However, as you near the ancient castle – originally dating back to the 13th century – you’ll soon see how and why they filmed these scenes here.
The castle erupts majestically out of the ocean below, perched atop high cliffs above crashing waves. Take your time and take in the beautiful surroundings. An optional extra here is to hike down below the castle where you’ll find an entrance into the Mermaid’s Cave.
The sea cave opens out onto the ocean directly beneath Dunluce Castle. On a calm day and when the tides are right, the cave is safe to access and provides a stunning reflection for avid photographers (as always, please be careful).
Dunluce Castle was home to the House of Greyjoy.
6 – Portstewart Strand (Dorne Coast)
For those of you that follow the 10-day walking route, you’ll be concluding your journey here, at one of the most stunning beaches in Northern Ireland.
The marvellous Portstewart Strand is located just outside the town of Portstewart in County Derry.
The often photographed Mussenden Temple dominates the skyline on cliffs overlooking the sea here.
In Season 2 of Game of Thrones, Downhill Beach was filmed for the scene in which Stannis Baratheon rejects the 7 gods of Westeros, thereby enabling Melisandre to burn effigies of them to provide the Lord of Light an offering.
As the River Bann presents a major geographical obstacle to hikers at the end of Portstewart Strand, hikers concluding their trip in the town of Portstewart will need to access Downhill Beach by their return vehicle via a detour through the nearby town of Coleraine.
In season 5 this long stretch of beach was used to depict the coast of Dorne when Jaime Lannister was required by his sister Cersei to return her daughter Myrcella to King’s Landing.
Note: The next four stops are bonus detours and side trips for the avid GOT fans looking to take in every last one of its filming locations in Northern Ireland.
These can be completed as an addition to your walking tour before, during or after your trip, depending on how and when you wish to get there.
Find out more about the 10-day walking route here (you’ll also visit the Giants Causeway and many more points on this route.
7 – The Dark Hedges (Road from King’s Landing)
The Dark Hedges are arguably the Game of Thrones filming location in Ireland that receives the most attention online.
Around 1775 a man named James Stuart constructed a stunning Georgian estate around two and a half miles north of the village of Stranocum.
He decided that, in order to make the drive up to the mansion more impressive, 150 beech trees would be planted along the avenue. Over the years these grew to enclave the Bregagh Road, creating what we now know as the Dark Hedges.
Game of Thrones fans will the Dark Hedges as The Kings Road, which is where this beautiful stretch of road gained its global fame.
The avenue features in Season 2, episode 1: On the King’ s Road, where Arya Stark has escaped from King’s Landing. She joins the Night’s Watch, in a cart, and travels north on the King’s Road.
8 – Cushendun Caves (The Stormlands / Shadow Creature Scene)
If you take out Causeway Coastal Route road trip, you’ll visit the Cushendun Caves.
Formed over a period of 400 million years, the caves can be found a stones throw from the little village of Cushendun, designed in the style of a Cornish village.
If you stop in the village, nip over to Mary McBride’s Bar which contains yet another GOT door.
The Cushendun Caves were made famous by Game of Thrones in Season 2 Episode 4 where they were used as the Shadow creature’s birth site.
9 – Castle Ward (Winterfell)
You’ll find Castle Ward, the backdrop for the series pilot and much of season one, just 40 minutes from Belfast.
The castles sprawling medieval walls, imposing castle tower gate, beautiful surrounding landscapes and far-reaching views made it the perfect location to create ‘Winterfell’ – the home of the Stark family.
Castle Ward is now a huge tourist attraction and those that visit can embark on the ClearSky Adventure. A replica of the Winterfell Archery Range has been masterfully recreated in the courtyard in the very same spot that the filming took place, transporting you into the world of Westeros.
You can dress up in character costume, step into the movie set and stand exactly where the characters Jon Snow, and Robb & Bran Stark stood.
Castle Ward was home to House Stark in Season 1.
10 – Inch Abbey (Riverrun)
Located on the north bank of the Quoile River lies Inch Abbey.
Originally founded by John de Courcy, many of the buildings date back to the 12th and 13th centuries.
It’s worth noting that Inch Abbey gently deteriorating and some wheelchair users may find navigating the area difficult.
// This medieval building was used as the set for the Riverlands scenes, where Robb Stark’s army wait at the Trident to cross. //
Annnnd that’s a wrap
The folks at Hillwalk Tours offer plenty of brilliant self-guided hiking experiences.
Explore Ireland by foot during the day and rest your head in a carefully chosen B&B at night.
If you have any questions about hiking in Ireland or any Irish walks in general, feel free to leave a comment below and we’ll get back to you shortly!