When you visit Belfast it is a guarantee that you will hear the words “Game of Thrones” at least one time. That’s the way it should be however, as even though I am heavily biased towards the best series of all time, the show does much more than entertain. Thanks to Irish Tours, I was able to learn about how the show has been so influential on the Northern Ireland economy. If you want to be an extra and earn the £75 daily payroll, then you need to be from Belfast. If you want to watch the show be filmed in person, then come to NI because 80% is filmed here. As much as possible, HBO films GoT in Northern Ireland, which costs more both money/time wise then I could have ever imagined. Below our my top 3 parts of the trip:
1) Dunluce Castle (House Greyjoy): Completely against this House as a viewer, but it was impossible to not enjoy this stop. Although we could only take a photo from the outskirts, the castle itself is a spectacle. Perched right alongside the water in Antrim and dating back to the 17th century, the castle was a highlight and also one of the most filmed locations of the trip.
2) Dark Hedges (Kingsroad): The Hedges itself are a must visit as the trees are unlike anything I have ever seen. Dating back to the 18th century, these hedges intertwined and created a tunnel like entrance for the lucky family who lived there in Ballymoney. In the GoT world, the Hedges are known as the Kingsroad where Arya escapes from King’s Landing earlier in the series. By far the most interesting part was that HBO blocked off this road for 8 days of filming and this resulted in a mere 10 seconds of screen time.
3) Giant’s Causeway: With no affiliation to GoT, the Causeway was an additional piece to the tour. Funny enough it was the longest stop of the tour and I could not be happier it was set up that way. As much as I love the show, the Causeway could not be topped which is why some call it an 8th Wonder of the World. The myths, history, and geology will make any visitor be amazed which is why for whoever visits this is guaranteed to be part of your trip.
All in all the 7 hour tour was unbelievable and I am happy that I could do it with 3 other scholars.