Welcome to Con’s Corner, a new and sometimes irreverent look at traveling in Ireland and the UK, something I’ve been at since 1975. Our company offers many options to obtain serious and useful information – but Con’s Corner intends to be somewhat lighter, humorous and provide some off-the-beaten path insights, as off that path is where I spend most of my time, intentionally or by accident!
I’m launching this mini-blog today, December 21st, Winter Solstice, so, for a Game of Thrones fan like me, now that “Winter is Coming”, it seemed only right to post something related. Here we go! I’ll mention some famous GoT sites and will add the “real” names plus some other spots of interest to non-fans.
In April ’15, I did a one-day drive from Dublin up to Northern Ireland where so much of GoT was and is being filmed. I stopped at the Haunted Forest (Tollymore Park at Newcastle), Winterfell and Robb Stark’s Camp (Castle Ward and Audley’s Castle at Strangford near Downpatrick).
Next, up to Renly Baratheon’s Camp (tiny Ballintoy, near the Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge, in between pretty Ballycastle and Bushmills) and on to the Giant’s Causeway for some awesome coastal cliffs hiking at this UNESCO World Heritage site. A windy and rainy day but hey, that was very welcome after a lot of driving, kept me alert! Which I needed next….
The pictures from left to right: the entrance to the Haunted Forest; on approach to Winterfell and, the northern cliffs in the Giant’s Causeway area. To end the day with another GoT highlight, I decided to squeeze in the famous Dark Hedges (aka Bregagh Road, at Ballymoney).
I got there with just enough daylight left to iphone-video this out the driver window while driving on the left – or rather, the middle, not very safe perhaps but it was quiet and I was on my own, nobody to correct my foolhardiness 🙂 If you watch this amateur clip (apologies for the low-res; there’s no sound) you will see at the end that foolhardiness does occur: the blinking lights are someone who got so distracted they promptly drove into a tree! I returned via Belfast, where the Titanic Exhibit will have to wait until next time.
So, GoT fans, you can see lots with a self-drive doing day trips or, better, book our GoT package, standard or customized, and do a “northern swing” going back into the Republic past Derry into gorgeous Donegal. Alternatively, if you want special access, be guided and not drive yourselves, we also offer an awesome all-day GoT tour out of Dublin, if you have a few days there. It does involve quite a bit of trekking, some 4-5 miles, so wear comfortable walking/hiking shoes. And: due to “mature audience” GoT clips being played on the vehicle, it’s not for the under-18 crowd. Sorry kids!
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