10 Game Of Thrones Locations You HAVE To See In Northern Ireland

Every Game of Thrones fan knows how important Northern Ireland has been to the show’s production. Some of the series most iconic moments were filmed here and those locations today have become a honeypot for tourists, who are keen to see where their favourite scenes were filmed. Or, as it’s Game of Thrones we’re talking about, their most dreaded scenes! Isn’t it a nice day for a Red Wedding?

Those who are familiar with the locations that Game of Thrones was filmed in will know that the production crew split their time between two main locations; Dubrovnik in Croatia, and Northern Ireland. As the series is set on the fictional continent of Westeros, this allowed the production team to film different scenes that were set in a real-world climate that matched the fictional settings. 

The scenes that were set in the South of Westeros, such as Kings Landing or Dorne, were filmed in sunny Dubrovnik. While scenes that were set in the North were filmed in different locations throughout Northern Ireland. Therefore, any scenes involving Winterfell, The Wall, and everything in between were filmed right here. 

In fact, even the scenes set in other colder or snowy locations were filmed in Northern Ireland, meaning every time we followed our favourite (or least favourite!) characters as they ventured beyond The Wall into the dangers that lurked there, or saw them sail to The Iron Islands, these scenes were also being shot on location Northern Ireland. 

Let’s look at some of these locations and pinpoint when they appeared in the series, and what happened there when they did. We’ve been through many locations, but we believe the following 10 are the most interesting!

1. Sallagh Brae

This area was actually used many times by the production crew and served as a filming location for any scenes set in the Riverlands. While Sallagh Brae was used in different points in every season of Game of Thrones it featured most prominently during season 2. 

Fans of that season will remember Arya Stark’s journey across the Riverlands with her friends Hot Pie and Gendry as they raced to escape from the Lannister army, before Arya was recruited by a group of mysterious assassins. 

2. Carnlough Bay

Carnlough Bay doubled up as the Stormlands, but more importantly the region was used as a backdrop for the castle of Storms End. Fans will remember the iconic scene in season two when the red witch Melisandre of Asshai gave birth to her ‘shadow creature’, who went on to slay Renly Baratheon. 

With Renly out of the way, his brother Stannis could attempt to seize the thrown without competition. This famous horror scene was filmed on one of the beaches of the Bay. The scene was set during the Cushendun Caves, which is where the Red Witch gave birth to her monster as the Onion Knight looked on in abject horror.


3. Ballycastle

East of Murlough Bay sits Ballycastle which was also an important location in Game of Thrones. This is where a battle-weary Davos Seaworth was rescued after losing the Battle of Blackwater. Luckily the men who rescued the Onion Knight were also loyal to Stannis Baratheon. 

Good job they weren’t King Joffrey’s goons, otherwise Davos would have been left to die on that rock. This would have meant he wouldn’t have been able to help Jon Snow later in the story and play an important role in saving the world!

4. Ballintoy Harbour

This real-life harbour was where many of the scenes involving the Iron Islands were shot. Important scenes include Theon’s homecoming and subsequent baptism with sea water, Yara’s mission to save Theon from the evil Ramsey, and where Euron Greyjoy usurped his niece from the Seastone Chair.  It’s also where Melisandre burned her victims during Stannis Baratheon’s fiery coronation. 

5. Castle Ward

Castle Ward was used for any scenes involving the castle of Winterfell and the nearby town surrounding it called Winter Town. Of course, most of Winterfell was rendered using CGI, but Castle Ward provided a real-life backdrop for much of the drama and was used during every season of the show. The most famous scenes include King Robert coming to name Eddard Stark as hand of the king, Jon Snow’s battle with Ramsey Bolton and finally, where the allies made their stand against the Night King and his undead army.

6. Tollymore Forest

This wooded area is incredibly important to the lore of Game of Thrones. It’s arguably home to one of the most iconic and important scenes in the series, and the books they are based on. Tollymore Forest was used as a backdrop in the scene when the Stark Children, Eddard Stark, Jon Snow and Theon Greyjoy discovered the Direwolf puppies in the very first episode. 

Each Stark child, including illegitimate Jon Snow who took the albino runt of the little, took a puppy for themselves, setting the stage for their warginng abilities to manifest. 

Of course, the Stark Children’s relationship with their wolf pups (who soon became very large fully sized direwolves) was very important to their development as characters and the journeys each of them embarked on. 

7. Inch Abbey

The real-life ruins of Inch Abbey served as a backdrop for King Robb Stark’s war camp. Famous scenes include how he met his wife, talking war strategy with Theon and his mother, and finally the scene where he used his direwolf Grey Wind to intimidate a captive Jamie Lannister after defeating his army. 

8. Downhill Beach

This stunning coastline was used many times during the course of the series. It was used for any scenes that took place on the beach outside of the castle Dragonstone. Meaning it was a location we saw a lot of once Daenerys had taken the castle following Stannis’s defeat and abandonment of it. Many scenes between Jon Snow and the Dragon Queen took place here. One iconic moment when this beach as used involved Theon and Jon Snow’s reunion, where Snow swore he’d murder Theon if it wasn’t for Theon saving his sister Sansa Stark from series villain Ramsey Bolton.  

These two characters had a heart to heart on the same bit of beach several episodes later, reflecting on their childhood as outsiders who were raised by Starks, and if that made them Starks themselves or not. 

9. Dunluce Castle

This amazing ruin was used multiple times throughout the series whenever there was a scene set in the castle of Pyke on the Iron Islands. Like Winterfell, most of the time Pyke was rendered in CGI but the ruins of Dunlace served as an ideal backdrop for a cliffside castle with the waves lashing against it.

We first saw it during season two when Theon Greyjoy was sent on a diplomatic mission by King Robb Stark to recruit his estranged father Balon Greyjoy to help in his war against the Lannisters. 

10. Pollnagollum Cave

This eerie real-life cave was used as a filming location for any scene set in the hideout of The Brotherhood Without Banners. It’s where Arya and her friends were captured by the group before being split up. It’s also where The Hound defeated Beric Dondarrion in single combat only to watch his rival come back from the dead moments later due to his Red Priests magic. It’s a good job he did, fans of the series will remember the undead Beric saving The Hound and Arya from the Night King’s minions during the final battle at Winterfell. 

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