Calling all Thronies! If you want to immerse yourself in the fantasy world of Westeros Mid & East Antrim is the place to do it! Step into some of the most iconic scenes from the hit TV series, plus experience some of the ancient arts that brought the show to life.
When the makers of Game of Thrones® were given the task of finding locations for this rich fantasy word they no doubt had a tough challenge. Of all the wide world they landed in Ireland but is it any wonder then that they chose to shoot in the rich countryside of Mid & East Antrim. If you’re as excited as I am for the latest series that is just around the corner then I have the perfect way to catch up!
It’s one of the most popular television series in the world and what better way to get ready for the next series then by checking out some of the most famous shooting locations. You can live as part of some of the most iconic scenes in the action-packed show. Stand on the King’s Road or wander around Vaes Dothrak, the choice is yours. Step into the fantasy world of Westeros today!
It’s hard to believe that one of the most popular series’ in the world was filmed on the humble island of Ireland. While there are plenty of locations around the world that have played host to this iconic series Mid & East Antrimis the setting for some iconic moments. From the bracing coastline to the green heartland of this region you’ll be able to recognise plenty of places from the iconic series.
I reckon that any self-respecting Game of Thrones® fan should start with Cairncastle. This wide green area has played host to a number of iconic moments in the Thrones series. Here is where the series began with Ned Stark in the very first episode exacting justice. For those of you up on memes its where the famous “winter is coming” picture comes from! Another iconic scene is in the most recent series where Daenerys was captured by the Dothraki. There are scenes taken from Season 1,3 and 5 so Cairncastle is a pretty integral part of the experience!
I would advise leaving around an hour and a half for this particular area. It is a pretty wide open place so you’ll be able to take in nature at its finest as well. While you are there see how many iconic scenes you can remember from this breathtaking landscape.
Ballygally Castle: Afternoon Tea in Westeros!
After spending some time in this wide open expanse you can then check out Ballygally castle. While none of the scenes was filmed in this area this is the perfect way to relax in a Game of Thrones® way. You can have afternoon tea, Game of Thrones® style! You can get some treats with some interesting names like Jon Snow Cakes, Baratheon Bread and Dothraki Trifle with Dragon Egg.
Plus on site, they have the beautifully carved Game of Thrones® Door 9. Following a storm in 2016, a number of trees fell down. Tourism Ireland then made the best of a bad situation and turned them into ornately decorated doors. There were 10 made and Ballygally Castle is host to one of them. This one depicts the vicious battle between House Stark and House Bolton in the finale of season 6. It’s well worth a look after your delicious afternoon tea!
Carnlough Harbour: Share a Whiskey with the Locals
From there you have a couple of options of what to do next. There are a couple of craft stations where you can see how some of the most famous props featured in the show. If you want to continue with checking out famous filming locations you should head for Carnlough Harbour.
Here is a Victorian harbour where Masie Williams who plays Arya Stark, ascended the stairs of Bravoos and was stabbed by the waif. Carnlough is a quaint little village and if you’re there I would recommend checking out the Londonderry Arms for a relaxing whiskey. Apart from being the location of a pretty iconic scene in Game of Thrones®, it’s also one of the most beautiful ports on the Antrim Coast.
From there you can carry on to Shillanavogy Valley. This breathtaking landscape in the shadow of the Slemish Mountains is where Daenerys and Khal Drogo got married in season one. Surrounded by green fields it’s the perfect place to give you an idea of the famous “Green Sea” where the Dothraki roam. While it is home to some iconic scenes it is definitely beautiful in its own right. When you get there you might recognise it as the place where the Khalasar departs Pentos and rides to Vaes Dothrak.
Crafting the World of Game of Thrones®
The area of Antrim isn’t just about the famous shooting locations. A lot of locals have been involved in producing some of the most iconic props used in the series. The area has got a rich heritage of producing beautiful artefacts so when the Game of Thrones crew came rolling into town they knew they would be in safe hands!
The Hot Milk Forge
In the Antrim area is the fantastic Hot Milk Forge. This traditional forge is all operated in the classic ways of crafting and there are no artificial ways of making the weapons of Game of Thrones®.
One example of this passion for returning to the ancient ways of crafting is Eamonn Higgins. In the Hot Milk Forge, Eamonn is bringing back the ancient craft of blacksmithing. Here he has constructed 8 fully operational forges. There is nothing artificial here and Eamonn keeps the coals glowing for when he wants to craft medieval blades, rings or any number of ancient tools. Here, in a beginners session, you can even take part in some of the craft yourself! Eamonn explains that people are “totally immersed in a traditional craft, one that’s been around since the Iron Age. When they come out, they’re buzzing”.
Eamonn is a world-class teacher and has helped hundreds of people take part in this fascinating experience. He has even crafted some of the longbows that were featured in Game of Thrones®.
If you’ve ever wondered where they get some of those beautiful crowns in the show, look no further than the jewellers Steensons. Located in the town of Glenarm, this local jeweller was responsible for crafting some of the most iconic props from the series. Probably the most famous of these props was Joffrey’s crown! There are many more besides, including a brooch worn by Daenerys, Lannister Lion Pendants and the chain of the Hand of the King worn by John Aryn in the first season.
It’s the perfect place to pick up a piece of memorabilia. I’d definitely grab a Stark pendant but you can get a Lannister or Targaryen one if you’d prefer. Not only do they offer some pieces of memorabilia they also give you an insight into the traditional methods used to craft these iconic pieces. The family that own Steensons have been goldsmiths for two generations and have been involved in the trade for close to 40 years now.
Visit Mid & East Antrim
There are plenty of amazing things to check out in the county of Antrim. Whether you’re looking to follow your favourite T.V. show or simply experience the beauty of a magnificent county, this is the place for you! Shapedbyseaandstone.com has plenty of great information so be sure to check it out for all the latest updates.