Game of Thrones is an award-winning TV series that ran from 2011 to 2019 and is based on a series of fantasy novels by George R. R. Martin.
Because of our amazing landscapes and incredible scenery here on the Emerald Isle, it’s no surprise that Northern Ireland featured heavily as a filming location for multiple Game of Thrones series, alongside other nations like Croatia and Spain.
Whether you’re planning a visit, or just have a curious streak, take a look below…
Where was Game of Thrones Filmed in Ireland?
As you’ve probably clocked, Game of Thrones was filmed in Northern Ireland, not in the southern Republic of Ireland.
NI was apparently chosen as a filming destination due to some great work via NI Screen, alongside the fact that the north is tiny yet quite diverse, meaning production and filming crew could work in studios in Belfast and rugged coastal landscapes or mountain regions, only 1-2 hours away by car.
Paint Hall Studios Belfast (located in the Titanic Quarter)
Belfast, the capital of Northern Ireland, acted as a base for much of the crew throughout their near decade of filming. It was common to see some of the famous faces frequenting the bars, restaurants and cafes throughout the city.
Paint Hall Studio which shares the epic 8-acre site with The MacQuitty and Hurst Stages are known collectively as the Titanic Studios and located in the Titanic Quarter just 5-10 minutes drive out of Belfast city centre, near the George Best Belfast City airport, making it the perfect location in terms of ease of access for people already visiting the city.
The Paint Hall Studio has been the location for many of the Game of Thrones recurring sets throughout the TV series, however, many due to the need for epic landscape shots, most of the sets are filmed on location.
The stunning Ballintoy Harbour is an exceptional place to visit in its own right but given the fact that it doubles up as a filming location for Game of Thrones it makes visiting even more worthwhile. It’s also arguably one of the most famous settings for the show.
Located in the very north of Northern Ireland around 1 hour away from Belfast, it’s the perfect opportunity to undertake a day trip to this picturesque coastal setting where you can enjoy the harbour, pools and rocky islands. The nearby village is only a kilometre away and provides the usual pub, cafe and accommodation fare you’d hope for!
Ballintoy Harbour has featured in several Game of Thrones scenes, with the harbour location used for exterior Pyke shots and as the Iron Islands.
Tollymore Forest Park
If you’re a Game of Thrones fan you’re sure to remember The Forests of Winterfell and after reading this you’ll now know that the filming took place in Tollymore Forest Park. Equally, if you’re not a Game of Thrones fan, Tollymore Forest Park is somewhere that needs to be visited due to its stunning location and the fact that it was the first established state forest park in Northern Ireland, created in 1955.
Situated only an hour south of Belfast, Tollymore Forest Park provides the perfect opportunity to get back to nature and relive those epic Game of Thrones moments first hand.
Anyone who enjoys experiencing woodland walks will enjoy navigating their way through Tollymore Forest Park and discovering all the hidden gems that await!
Glens of Antrim
If you want to immerse yourself in the overall “feel” of Westeros then you’ll need to visit the Glens of Antrim where multiple locations were used.
The Glens of Antrim are famous for the 9 Glens (valleys), carved by glaciers millions of years ago. There are multiple picturesque villages to enjoy, including Cushendall, Cushendun (more on that later), Glenarm and Carnlough, and the general area sits approximately 90-minutes north of Belfast and provide the perfect opportunity to visit this area of outstanding natural beauty.
Some highlights include Murlough Bay, which became Slaver’s Bay, Fairhead in Ballycastle which became the Dragonstone Cliffs and Larrybane Quarry, which became Renly Baratheon’s camp.
The Dark Hedges
This famous avenue of beech trees has become immensely popular since it starred as the filming location for Game of Thrones.
The stunning backdrop of this centuries old natural phenomena is now one of the most photographed areas in Northern Ireland.
You are no longer permitted to drive the famous Kings Road filming location, but you can walk along it and visitors are asked to be very respectful to the area and leave no litter or damage as a result of their visit.
For the next Game of Thrones filming scene we again head north of Belfast for just over an hour to the Caves at Cushendun, found within the Glens as previously discussed.
The caves have exploded in popularity thanks to the filming that took place for Game of Thrones, and you can now book a day trip to see them as part of locations tours, or simply visit yourself.
Whilst at the caves you can extend your visit to the area by taking a walk along the nearby beach, visit Cushendun itself or visit the nearby Glenariff Forest Park (which we would highly recommend).
For a whole host of reasons Northern Ireland has been a massive part of the success of Game of Thrones and has provided the backdrop to many famous scenes from across all eight series of the TV show.
If you’re visiting, we hope you enjoy the trip down memory lane in Westeros!