This is the second of seven posts on the Selfish’s customized Game of Thrones tour. Check out the other posts here:
- The Selfish’s Very Own Game of Thrones Tour
- Day 1 in N. Ireland: The Haunted Forest, Winterfell, and the Twins
- Day 2 in N. Ireland: The Iron Islands, King’s Road, and the Red Woman
- Day 3 in N. Ireland: Dragonstone and Renly’s Camp
- Day 4 in Croatia: Crashing a Braavos Set and the Masters
- Day 5 in Croatia: Walking in Khaleesi’s footsteps in Meereen
- Day 6 in Croatia: From King’s Landing to Qarth to the House of the Undying
After spending two nights in Dublin, Mr. Selfish and I embarked on our Game of Thrones tour proper. On our drive to Belfast, we had three filming locations on our list – the Haunted Forest, Winterfell, and the Twins.
Tollymore Forest Park is the Haunted Forest
First on our list was Tollymore Forest Park, otherwise known as the Haunted Forest in GoT. The most notable scene in the Haunted Forest/Tollymore is in the first episode of season 1, in which the Stark family discovers the dead dire wolf and her pups.
Tollymore is a beautiful park with a very large area for exploration. We had to pay admission for our car, which was only 4.5 pounds. As soon as we arrived, we knew we were in the right place to start our GoT tour.
Yes, that’s a Game of Thrones tour bus with a tour guide all dressed up.
Unfortunately, Mr. Selfish and I didn’t find any dire wolves or Starks. We couldn’t even pinpoint any exact filming locations since it was such a large park. It was lovely just wandering around though.
It was especially nice next to the stream since you could enjoy all of the different bridges.
The Grounds of Castle Ward Contains Winterfell and the Twins
Next, Mr. Selfish and I went to Castle Ward to see Winterfell and the Twins. We arrived quite late in the day and didn’t have to pay the 7 pound admission. They still gave us a map at the gate, and as you can see, the grounds are quite extensive and pretty.
Mr. Selfish quickly parked the car, and we immediately went searching for Winterfell. The first two scenes below are from the first season when King Robert Baratheon and his entourage arrive at Winterfell. The third scene is the Winterfell archery scene between the Stark boys.
Based on the above map, Winterfell is #3 (the Farmyard). It actually wasn’t much to look at, and I wouldn’t have believed it was Winterfell, except there were signs for the archery scene there.
So, here’s the real life version of Winterfell. Yeah, the above scenes have tons of CG.
Even though it didn’t look like Winterfell, Castle Ward was still capitalizing off of the fact that GoT was filmed here. Since Mr. Selfish and I arrived so late, there was no longer any archery going on, but we could still see where it was set up.
Next, we walked toward Audley’s Castle (#12 on the map above) to see the Twins, aka as the Crossing. The Twins is the seat of House Frey of the infamous Walder Frey and is, of course, where the Red Wedding takes place.
Once again, get ready for some mad CG. Here’s the real Twin (yup, there is only one building):
Obviously, there is a great deal of post CG work going on. Plus, it looks like the establishing shot was probably made from the water. Sans boat, Mr. Selfish and I could only take the above shot. It was certainly pretty but still a far cry from what HBO can do.
On a side note, if you’re in this area, you should stop by Mourne Seafood Bar (Main Street, Dundrum, Newcastle, Down BT33 0LU, United Kingdom) for a meal. We had some of the best fish and chips and chowder there. Yum!
This concludes Day 1 of our GoT tour. Tomorrow, Mr. Selfish will go over how we tracked down the filming locations for the Iron Islands, the King’s Road, and the Red Woman scenes.