Game of Thrones in Northern Ireland

We came to Northern Ireland to see the beautiful scenery and amazing sights then we were told not to leave without visiting some Game of Thrones sights using the Journey of Doors Passport. So here’s what we found…

The Nearly 250 Year old Dark Hedges / The Kingsroad

We arrived in Northern Ireland and, as we visited a castle, we were given a “Journey of Doors Passport”. We looked it over and found out that some trees in the famous Dark Hedges aka “The Kingsroad” blew over during a bad storm. The wood from the fallen trees was then carved into a set of 10 intricate doors. The doors were hung across a variety of locations in Northern Ireland such as hotels, restaurants, and bars. Each door tells the story of Game of Thrones.

Ok you got us…let the search for the doors begin!

And while we’re at it, let’s visit some of the other cool filming locations too.

Ballintoy Harbour / The Iron Islands

This picturesque coastal town is where Theon Greyjoy arrives back in the Iron Islands and where he later admires his ship, the Sea Bitch. This is also where he first meets his sister Yara.

You will love the tight windy road down the hill into the harbour. The views and the harbour are fantastic and worth visiting even in you didn’t watch Game of Thrones.

Game of Thrones Door #6 – The Fullerton Arms, Ballintoy

Door 6 doesn’t just focus on House Targaryen, but specifically Drogon, Daenerys’ most aggressive and fearsome dragon. He dominates the door, as he does the skies over Essos. It is also no coincidence that Dothraki horses at the bottom of the door appear encircled by the beast’s tail, an indicator of both Daenerys’ influence and dominance.

The Dark Hedges / The Kingsroad

The Dark Hedges is a road lined by 150 beech trees planted nearly 250 years ago. If you go to Northern Ireland, DO VISIT! This tree lined road is stunning!

A few tips:
1) get there early to beat the crowds,
2) don’t park anywhere on the road – park at Gracehill House across the street and enjoy a 5 minute walk,
3) go late after the crowds have gone.

Game of Thrones Door #7 – Gracehill House, Stranocum

Signs of the recently deceased Three-Eyed Raven permeate through Door 7. Above the creature itself resides the Stark Direwolf sigil, symbolising the family’s changing fortunes. In the bottom section you might also spot a beech tree leaf hidden inside a crown, perhaps referencing the specific trees from the Kingsroad itself, located mere metres from Door 7’s final resting place.

Game of Thrones Door #8 – Mary McBride’s 🙁

We went to Mary McBride’s to see the Game of Thrones Door #8 but unfortunately it was closed. It was 9:50p! We didn’t think bars in Ireland ever closed! Since we couldn’t see the door, we decided to walk to the caves. It was dark and guaranteed to be spooky.

Cushendun Caves / Melisandre’s Cave

The walk over to the caves was dark and eerie. We reached the cave entrance and couldn’t see a thing but blackness. Knowing that the Red Priestess Melisandre birthed the shadow monster in these caves definitely added to the eerie factor.

To reach the caves using the photo below, just cross the bridge (where this picture was taken), turn left toward the white hotels, pass them then turn right and you will walk right up to the caves.

These next photos are from the next morning. After visiting the caves again, we went to see the Mary McBride door but they didn’t open by the time we were leaving town.

Carnlough Harbor / Braavos

The Canal at Carnlough Harbour is where Arya Stark was stabbed by the Waif. Arya then jumps into the freezing cold water to escape and she crawls up the steps into the streets of Braavos.

Game of Thrones Door #9 – Ballygally Castle, Ballygally

Echoing the ‘Battle of the Bastards’, symbols of House Stark and House Bolton can be seen on opposing ends of door 9, with the Starks’ ancestral home of Winterfell up for grabs in the middle. The weapons and shields that litter the surrounding spaces like a bloody battlefield are a sure indicator of the episode’s drama. The aggressive battle-scarred direwolf indicates the Starks’ success.

Land North of Winterfell

This is the location where Ned Stark decapitates a Night Watch guard who abandoned his post after witnessing the White Walkers.

Game of Thrones Door #10 – The Dark Horse, Belfast

Instead of focusing on one storyline, Door 10 features a number of symbols in reference to key events taking place across the whole of the seven kingdoms as season 6 draws to a close, most notably those events occurring in Kings Landing, particularly around the Great Sept of Baelor. The House Tyrell rose appears closely linked to the Seven Pointed Star on the top half of the door. Below that the Lannister Lion now appears isolated. We also see reference to the Hand of the King, a position plagued by bad luck if the previous holders of the title are anything to go by, but this might be changing.

Game of Thrones Door #3 – Percy French, Newcastle

The defining feature of Door of Thrones 3 is the direwolf running into a battlefield, surrounded by a threatening array of swords, spears and daggers, all failing to block its path. This scene represents Jon Snow, his resurrection, and his future, with Winterfell and skulls depicted below. An alternative reading is that this scene depicts a direwolf in Winterfell surrounded by danger, signifying Rickon being handed over to Ramsey and the grizzly end met by his direwolf, Shaggydog.

Surprise at the Book of Kells

We met someone working at Book of Kells and guess what? He was an extra in Game of Thrones and had many cell phone photos showing his makeup being applied, pictures with the cast and scenes from the show.

One of many posters around Ireland.

So that’s it…our GoT’s “finds”. If you decide to begin your search, be aware, once you get started it’s hard to stop!

Northern Ireland is a beautiful area and we would highly recommend a visit! If you’re also a Game of Thrones fan, it’s a fun place to explore looking for the many filming locations.

Have you been and, if so, what are some of your favorite GoT sights and locations?

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