WINTER 2018 / VOL. 18 ISSUE 1
Irish Movie News

Tourists Can Revel in Television's 'Throne'

One of the best ways to experience Thrones is at a Clearsky archery movie set in the courtyard of Castle Ward in Co. Down. It’s on the very spot that filming took place for Series 1 and which transformed the National Trust property into Winterfell, the home of the Stark family.

Visitors can step into the make-believe world of castles and dragons and have a go at archery in the place where Jon Snow taught the skill to young Bran in the series.

The experience includes dressing up in authentic Game Of Thrones’ Stark family costumes, archery instruction from a costumed 'Jon Snow' character and shooting medieval arrows using copies of ancient longbows. 

Within the Castle Ward estate, nine separate film locations used for pivotal Thrones scenes can also be explored and staff will willingly share all the gossip about what went on behind the scenes on filming days.

Clearsky’s Game of Thrones boat tour is also a must for all fans. From the water, stunning views of the various Westeros castles and other Strangford Lough shoreline locations used by HBO in filming can be enjoyed.

Clearsky Adventure is a well-known activity centre on the stunning Castle Ward estate. Besides offering coasteering, kayaking, mountain biking and a vast range of other outdoor adventures, it also provides Game of Thrones glamping mini-breaks.

A couple’s mini-break with a difference, it includes bedding down for a night in a quirky glamping pod deep in the forests of ‘Winterfell’, taking in time on the archery movie set experience, as well as a filming locations cycle tour – the perfect opportunity to create golden Thrones moments.

To ensure great fun in the wilds of Westeros, cycle tour explorers get a 'Stark Sack' containing a medieval scroll, a filming locations map to keep this as a memento, Cape of the North costumes and Stark Family 'LARP swords'.
Featuring hog roast and local craft beers, Clearsky also offer King Robert Medieval Banquets at Castle Ward, all in honor of King Robert and his entourage’s arrival at ‘Winterfell’. 

Game of Thrones Jewelry

Another way to absorb Northern Ireland’s Thrones vibe is to drop in on the Steenson’s jewellery-making working museum in the village of Glenarm in Co. Antrim.

Including the likes of Joffrey Baratheon’s crown, Margaery Tyell’s wedding tiara, Daenerys dragon brooches and Lanister lion pendants, this goldsmith workshop has crafted jewelry pieces for all five series of the show.

The family-run workshop is also a visitor centre where you can watch the highly skilled craftspeople at work and browse over the various designs in the gallery.
An exhibition area reveals the 40-year history of the Steenson craft, the origins of gemstones and the workshop’s connections to the TV series.

Game of Thrones Coach Tours

Coach tours of key filming spots are also available from Belfast and Dublin through Game of Thrones Tours and a variety of other providers.

Taking in two location treks (four miles of walking in total), Game of Thrones Tours offers photo stops at key Co. Down points such as ‘Winterfell’ at Castle Ward, Tollymore Forest, where the Starks discovered a dead direwolf and her pups, and a ferry crossing over ‘The Narrow Sea’ AKA Strangford Lough.
Lunch at Paddy’s Barn, a charming old world pub literally next door to a church established by St Patrick in the fifth century AD, is included.

TourofThronesNI covers a similar itinerary in Co. Down, but finishes at Titanic Studios, and also runs location tours in Co. Antrim, as does Belfast City Sightseeing Tours.

Other Co. Antrim experiences relating to the HBO production can be discovered on a McCombs Game of Thrones bus tour. 

From Belfast, this tour, run by people who have transported actors, extras and crew on all seasons of the show, travels along the gorgeous Co. Antrim coastline to the small holiday town of Ballycastle, which is actually where two stars of the show, Lady Catelyn Stark (Michelle Fairley) and Varys (Conleth Hill), hail from.

Stops include Cushendun, to visit the cave, which featured Melisandre giving birth to the shadow baby, and the wow location of ‘The Kings Road,’ a mysterious and darkly beautiful avenue of beech trees. Locally known as the Dark Hedges, this is one of the most photographed natural phenomena in Northern Ireland. 

Meanwhile the Stones and Thrones tour is a further day-tour of discovery where you can explore the scenic splendor of the seven kingdoms. Traveling through the magical Co. Antrim landscape is a great way to indulge a fascination for Game Of Thrones and marvel at the beauty and splendor of the Causeway Coast and Glens. 

On this adventure, a trip to mysterious polygonal stones of the Giant’s Causeway, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is included.

Game of Thrones Self Guide

Elsewhere, an itinerary to self-guide the way though some of Co. Antrim’s key filming locations is also available.

The Causeway Coast and Glens Three-day Game of Thrones Itinerary is a 250- mile-round trip across some of Northern Ireland’s most stunning landscapes.
It’s packed full of activities, sightseeing opportunities, interesting facts and plenty of extras for fans.

The itinerary brings the drama of the series to life and offers front row seats at locations steeped in local myth and legend where you can indulge your fascination for the series at a traveler’s own pace.

HBO considered no fewer than 14 different countries before choosing Northern Ireland as the principal filming location for Game Of Thrones. Their choice was inspired because the sets and the landscapes all look fantastic and completely believable on screen.

For more information:
Game of Thrones Itinerary


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