At Finn McCools we endeavour to give you a well-rounded experience of Northern Ireland – taking you to the best and most breathtaking spots in the country, whilst taking you to the locations where the Game of Thrones episodes were filmed. If you are looking for a tour where you can run around with plastic swords, or take pictures next to cardboard cut outs, we are not the right tour you are looking for! Our tour is not a game of thrones tour for dummies where we will be reciting every cheesy line ever mentioned in the Game of Thrones. We are taking you to the most pictured sites in the North and making you feel like you are in the frame, with some insider information from our Measter guides who will show you clips to refresh your memory and show you that we are in the exact spot where filming took place.
0635 Start boarding outside Dublin City Gallery, The Hugh Lane
0645 Leave Parnell Square North and head to Belfast, on the way our guide will tell you some Irish legends and history.
0850 Quick stop at a service station as a restroom break and for getting snacks and coffee to break up the drive.
1015 Arrive at the DARK HEDGES and get around 10 – 15 minutes here.
The Dark Hedges is an absolutely fantastic phenomena. No tours in Northern Ireland will be complete without seeing this avenue of trees. Known to HBO Game of Thrones fans as the Kings Road featured in the scene where Ayra Stark, Gendry and Hot Pie escaped on their way being transported to Castle Black. It is not very hard to see why the location was chosen. The Dark Hedges has been an absolutely fantastic phenomena that attracts thousands of amateur photographers every year. If you get lucky, you might actually see the grey lady haunting the hedges!
1110 Quick 10-minute photo stop at DUNLUCE CASTLE
Here you will have the opportunity to take a few pictures of the castle ruin that was the inspiration for Harrenhal in the Game of Thrones. This castle ruin built on a cliff is a photographer’s dream and well worth the stop.
1115 Arrive at the GIANT’S CAUSEWAY and get around 1.5 hours here.
A must-see to complete any visit to Ireland. As the “8th wonder of the world”, it should be on your bucket list. Nowhere else in the world will you be able to find this natural phenomena. No wonder it is a UNESCO world heritage site.
As happens a lot in Ireland, the Giant’s Causeway has two explanations. The first being that during the last ice age, roughly around 60 million years ago, there was a volcanic eruption. As the lava cooled down, it formed the 40,000 interlocking hexagonal stone columns that would truly blow your mind.
Alternatively, if you believe that the Giant’s Causeway was formed by the legendary giant Finn McCool, here is the explanation. As you probably know, giants can’t swim, so Finn McCool had no other choices but to build the causeway over to Scotland to fight with his rival Benandonner. Unfortunately, after building the causeway as a bridge, he realised Benandonner was a lot bigger than he imagined. Leaving Finn with no choice but running back to Ireland. He did not know what to do, luckily his wife Oonagh came up with a plan that scared Benandonner enough to run back to Scotland, breaking the causeway between Ireland and Scotland. If you want to hear our unique version of the story, you will have to come on our tour!
1315 Arrive in LARRYBANE and get around 15minutes here
This disused quarry is where HBO filmed Renly Baratheon’s camp. The main attraction that we will show you here will be the scenes where Brianne of Tarth and Ser Loras Tyrell had a sword fight to become Renly’s rainbow guard.
The second scene we will show you and discuss inside this quarry is the scene when Lady Catelyn Stark came to ask Renly to help Robb Stark in his war. After seeing our little visual aids, you will realised you are standing right in the middle where the scene was filmed.
We do not do spoilers for season 6 as many travellers are not up-to-date with the latest season. But we will point out where the two Greyjoys discussed who should become king/ queen of the Iron Islands. We will also point out the scene where the Greyjoys were in the big fleet of ships coming around the corner in season 6 after stealing all the Iron Island’s ships.
1335 Arrive in BALLINTOY HARBOUR, get around 40 minutes here
This is truly one of our favourite stops for the entire day. Visiting one of the most beautiful harbours in Ireland. This harbour is so beautiful that the Game of Thrones crew did almost nothing to change it into Pyke Harbour. You will recognize it even without a guide because it’s so phenomenal.
The main scene we will show you here will be Theon Greyjoy’s return after releasing to be a ward from Winterfell. It will truly feel like you are standing in the scene at this filming location. As some added extras, we will also show you where Theon
was baptised after his father decided he is not an Ironborn anymore which by the way is the same location that they use in season 6 for the scene “the drowning and crowning of the new king”. This is only for people that have seen season 6. Again, we do not do spoilers but we will point it out.
On the way down to the harbour, our guide will also stop and show you the rock where the idols were burnt. And again not to do spoilers, our guide will point out that this is where the Greyjoy’s burial happened in season 6, if you see the location you will definitely recognise it.
1445 Arrive at CUSHENDUN CAVES, spend around 20 minutes here.
Beside the Glendun river lies the breathtakingly beautiful village of Cushendun. Nestled in the Glens of Antrim, this tiny village looks like a scene in a storybook! However just around the corner you will find the dark caves, where, in front of a surprised Ser Davos Seaworth the Onion Knight, Melisandre gave birth to a shadow assassin. This shadow with the face of Stannis Baratheon, killed Renly Baratheon in front of Brianne of Tarth. Convert to the Lord of Light today so when you are here you won’t be scared by the creepiness of the caves, for the night is dark and full of terrors…
1515 We will now start heading back to Belfast, taking an off the beaten path that winds through the GLENS OF ANTRIM
No other tour company will take you on a route going over the Glens of Antrim, you will enjoy a spectacular view of Glenariff, the queen of the glens, while travelling through the valleys on the side of Glendun, this is the most scenic route of the day.
1700 Arrive in BELFAST, where you will have 45 minutes to explore.
As the city centre itself is very small and compact, 45 minutes is more than enough time to explore the city centre. See interesting things like Titanic Memorial Gardens next to city hall, the shopping streets, Belfast entries and some of the modern art in the city. This is just a nice little break to stretch your legs, maybe get breakfast and see a few things and prepare for the rest of the trip up to the north coast. Note that Northern Ireland is part of the UK and uses Pound Sterling.
*This tour is independently operated by Finn McCools Tours. It is not sponsored, endorsed, or affiliated with HBO or anyone associated with Game of Thrones.
*Please note that all times are approximate. The locations might be visited in a different order, depends on traffic and weather.
*As people don’t want to spend that much time in the cold countryside, when it starts getting cold, we might give a little bit less time at the Giant’s Causeway and add the time onto the Belfast stop.