Last summer 14.2 million viewers watched the finale of the HBO’s “Game of Thrones” and the fans waiting for series four, on April 6, are wriggling in anticipation.
“Game of Thrones” is filmed largely in Northern Ireland, as well as Iceland, Malta, Croatia and other locations. Its impact on Northern Ireland’s economy has been considerable and now, as the RR Martin series goes into its fourth series, “GOT” tourism in Northern Ireland is on the up.
Just this week Northern Ireland Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Investment Arlene Foster commented that so far “The Game of Thrones” has injected $147 million into the local economy.
Budget.ie has put together a tour guide map of exactly where in Northern Ireland certain scenes were filmed (see infographic below).
Here’s a rundown of the scenic spots in Antrim, Down and Derry that you’ll see along this “Game of Thrones” tour:
Downhill Beach, Derry
From this 11 kilometer beach, often thought to be one of the most scenic in Ireland, you can see counties Donegal, Antrim, and Derry. An area of conservation, it offers nature walks, bird life, and the beach set against a backdrop of waterfalls, sand dunes and the Mussenden Temple.
This small town has a population of 9,021 people (according to the 2001 Census). Its name means “homestead on the peatland.” The small town home to Ireland’s oldest drama festival.
This small town near Toome and Lough Beg has a population of just 90. It was once home to the family of Malachy and Frank McCourt.
Shane’s Castle, Antrim
A ruined castle near Randalstown, it was built in 1345 by a member of the O’Neill dynasty. The demesne covers 2,600 acres along Lough Neagh.
Ballintoy Harbour, Antrim
Known as a “raised bridge” the small harbor is located at the end of a small, narrow, steep road down Knocksaughey Hill, which passes by the entrance to Larrybane and Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge.
Cushendun Caves, Antrim
These caves are small, but are one of the main attractions of Cushendun village. The caves were formed over millions of years.
Glens of Antrim, Antrim
Known simply as “The Glens” locally, it is comprised of nine glens, which radiate from the Antrim Plateau to the coast. This is an area of outstanding beauty and a major tourist attraction.
A small village near the town of Larne, Cairncastle has a population of just 66.
Magheramorne Quarry, Antrim
This quarry operated for crushed stone is located five miles south of Larne on the shores of Larne Lough. There are plans to transform this area into a nature conservation, leisure and housing area.
Located midway between Larne and Carrickfergus , overlooking Islandmagee, this town has a population of 981. Historic attractions in the area day from Neolithic artifacts, to settlements bearing thousands of years of Christian witness, from the Normans to 18th century structures.
Paint Hall, Belfast
This location is part of Titanic Studios, an 8-acre set, located five minutes from Belfast’s Titanic Quarter. Paint Hall is comprised of four 16,000ft² “cells” where the children’s fantasy sci-fi adventure film “City of Ember” and the medieval comedy “Your Highness” were filmed. It’s now home to “GOT” production.
Halfway between Belfast and Downpatrick the population of this town is mostly made up of Belfast commuters. The surrounding population is mostly involved in farming.
This town was named after a bridge built over the River Bann in 1712. The town thrived from Irish linen manufacturing.
The town's main street is very unusual. It rises to a steep hill before leveling out. In 1834 an underpass was built. This is apparently because horses with heavy loads would faint before reaching the top of the hill.
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