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The Northern Ireland of Game of Thrones

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Spectacular film locations in Northern Ireland

Millions of fantasy fans are glued to their screens this spring for the 6th season of Game of Thrones. This TV series about the bloody battle between 7 kingdoms on the continent of Westeros has become so popular that fans are flocking to its film locations. Northern Ireland in particular, where mythical castles, endless hills and a jagged coastline have been the set of many scenes, is a much sought-after destination.

Valar morghulis!
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    Northern Ireland Tourist Board
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    Northern Ireland Tourist Board
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Ballintoy

Captivating coastline

Portraying Theon Greyjoy, actor Alfie Allen endures great agony. Yet he can never get enough of the filming. “I love this spectacular coastline. If Northern Ireland had a slightly better climate, it would be like New Zealand.” Allen spent most of his time donning a harness and roaming Ballintoy Harbour, the stunning setting for the Iron Islands. In between takes, the actors often visited the Giant's Causeway, the famous nearby basalt columns.

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Northern Ireland Tourist Board

Cushendun

Ancient delivery room

The role of merciless priestess Melisandre in Game of Thrones has brought Dutch actress Carice van Houten great fame. And the most talked about scene is undoubtedly the one in season two, when her character gives birth to a baby of black smoke. This pivotal scene was filmed in the Caves of Cushendun, which were formed by more than 400 million years of the sea pounding on the crumbling coastline.

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    Northern Ireland Tourist Board
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Castle Ward

Archery in Winterfell

In a series where each episode sees dozens of characters dying a bloody death, it is nice to have a less vengeful family. That is the role of House Stark: the friendliest of the warring parties in Westeros. Home base Winterfell is mostly filmed on Castle Ward: an 18th century country estate where part of the set still stands and visitors can try their hand at archery. 

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Dark Hedges

Eerie tree tunnel

Game of Thrones is often described as the feuds of The Sopranos set in the Middle-Earth of The Lord of the Rings. Such a magical setting wouldn’t be complete without a place like the Dark Hedges: a bizarre lane of trees just outside the village of Armoy and one of the most photographed views in Northern Ireland. In the series, the lane portrays the most dangerous road in Westeros. An excellent choice: it’s easy to imagine a three-eyed raven among the sinister twisted branches.

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Andy Gibson / 500px
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Quitin Bay

Star beach

Quintin Castle is an impressive example of medieval architecture on the east coast of Northern Ireland. However, the 12th-century castle was skilfully edited out of Game of Thrones to make room for the fictional Castle Stokeworth of mercenary Bronn. Producers felt that Quintin Bay – with its ominous rocks and barren beaches – was the real star of the local landscape. Of course that doesn’t include the character of Jaime Lannister who can be seen here trudging through the sand.

KLM

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