Ireland - The True Home of" Game of Thrones"
Depart for Ireland
Arrive in Dublin, Drive to Kells
Welcome to Ireland! On arrival we are met and transferred to Kells in historic County Meath. The rest of the day is at our leisure to get-acquainted with this delightful town once called the "Joy" of Ireland, and named after the 8th century Book of Kells, the world's most famous illustrated manuscript on display at the Trinity College in Dublin.
Accommodation: 1 night Kells
Causeway Coastal Route to Carnlough
We begin our drive today on the famed Causeway Coastal Route, celebrated as one of the world’s greatest road journeys. Here, you can begin exploring this stunning and magical region where the filming for the popular HBO series Game of Thrones took place. Pass by Larne, picturesque gateway to the Glens of Antrim, arriving at Cairncastle (near Ballygally village) where Game of Thrones dramatically started its episodes on the windswept Antrim plateau. From Cairncastle, travel a few short miles to striking Glenarm, a frequent subject matter for the series; its name is taken from the Irish Gleann Arma, meaning Valley Of The Army. If you're feeling energetic, explore Glenarm Castle (seat of the Earls of Antrim) and scenic Glenarm Forest Park. At Steenson’s Jewelery workshop, see where many of the gorgeous jewelry pieces for the series were crafted, such as Joffrey's crown and the Lannister lion pendants. Perhaps, linger and watch the craftsmen at work and purchase a memento for yourself. On to the village of Carnlough, with its scenic harbor, for overnight.
Accommodation: 2 nights Carnlough
Cushendun Caves, Murlough Bay, Ballycastle Village
Today, we travel inland to the splendid Slemish Mountains, the legendary first known Irish home of Saint Patrick. Continue through Broughshane, with its colorful floral displays, and head towards the coast and the beautiful villages of Cushendall and Cushendun. At Cushendun, it’s an easy walk to the labyrinthine caves where the sorceress Melisandre came ashore to give birth to a shadowy baby in Season Two of Game of Thrones. Then, discover Murlough Bay on the Antrim Coast with its breathtaking views of Rathlin Island, the 15-mile Mull of Kintyre peninsula and the Scottish Islands, all used as frequent locations for the series. Admire the natural beauty before arriving at the village of Ballycastle, birthplace of Game of Thrones star Conleth Hill (Varys). Stop at Larrybane, with its panoramic views of limestone cliffs and ocean, site of several key scenes in the series. Standing on Larrybane Head and looking out to sea, you’ll understand why the creators of the series chose this view for their generic panning shots of the coast. Pose for photos on Dark Hedges Road, with its natural archway of intertwined trees, one of Northern Ireland’s most photographed locations, and the place where Ayra Stark escaped from King’s Landing. Then, cross the Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge, one of Northern Ireland’s most famous landmarks, suspended across a chasm between the mainland and tiny Carrick-a-Rede Island. Return to Carnlough for overnight.
Giant’s Causeway, Mussenden Temple, Derry-Londonderry
Travel along the winding coastal road to Ballintoy Harbor (Lordsport Harbor in the series). Still an active harbor for local fishermen, Ballintoy was used as the backdrop to antihero Theon Greyjoy's homecoming. If you continue along Whitepark Road, you can then find the tiny harbor at Dunseverick where Renly and Stannis met to discuss their claims to the Iron Throne. Filming for the series has not taken place at Giant’s Causeway, but a visit to this area would be incomplete without stopping at magnificent Giant’s Causeway, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, with its over 40,000 symmetrical basalt columns leading from the coastal cliffs out to sea. Legend, history and folklore are combined here, beginning with the Irish tale of how the mighty giant Finn McCool created this geological wonder. Afterwards, stop in Bushmills (site of Ireland’s oldest whiskey distillery) where you can travel inland to "the haunting," one of the most photographed natural phenomenon in the region. A final stop on the journey through the Seven Kingdoms is Coleraine, on the banks of the River Bann. From here, follow the coastal route to Downhill Strand and the iconic Mussenden Temple, perched on a rocky outcrop. Be sure to view Dragonstone beach below, where the Seven Idols of Westeros were burned. Admire Binevenagh, an area of outstanding beauty, providing another brilliant backdrop to the visual highlights of the Game of Thrones series. Arrive in the famous walled city of Derry.
Accommodation: 2 Nights Londonderry
Derry-Londonderry is an ancient yet contemporary city with much to explore; it is the only remaining completely walled city in Ireland and one of the finest examples in Europe. Sights include the Gothic St. Columb Cathedral, the city’s oldest and most historic building and the neo-Gothic Guildhall with its striking stained-glass windows. View the port behind the building from where millions of Irish left on their journey to America. Don’t miss Londonderry’s massive town walls, which were never breached, even during the 105-day Siege of Derry in 1688, the longest in British history. Perhaps, take a walk on the top of the ramparts; its historical panels explain the surrounding buildings and features. Other interesting sites include the Tower Museum (with artifacts dating back to prehistoric times) and the rows of quaint houses lining narrow streets such as Albert Row. An interesting place to visit close by, is the Earhart Center in Ballyarnett Natural Park, where Amelia Earhart landed after her 1932 transatlantic flight. End your day across the Republic of Ireland's border in County Donegal, at the impressive Grianan of Aileach, an ancient round fort set on a hilltop. Tonight, you can enjoy traditional pub food and lively music in town.
Marble Arch Caves, Lough Erne, Historic Enniskillen
Today, at Marble Arch Caves, one of Europe's finest show caves, an incredible subterranean world awaits you. A 75-minute guided tour is available on site that includes a short boat ride, followed by a one-mile walk and a climb of over 160 steps to the top. Here, you can enjoy a fascinating natural underworld of rivers, waterfalls, winding passages and lofty chambers, while surrounded by glistening cave formations. Then a scenic drive awaits you along Lough Erne, an impressive waterway and natural paradise for birds, wild flowers and fishermen. View the nearby island of Devenish, home to a well-preserved 12th century round tower. Arrive in the picturesque market town of Enniskillen, a historic market town jam-packed with Georgian architecture and bustling market squares. Visit the war memorial where eleven Remembrance Day mourners were killed by an IRA bomb in 1987, now site of a community center dedicated by Bill Clinton. Other alterative visits include the 600 year old castle on the other end of town. Tonight, treat yourself to a dinner of home-cooked Irish fare at a local restaurant.
Accommodation: 1 night Enniskillen
Today, discover Dublin, one of the friendliest cities in Europe. See the city’s contrasting architecture, from modern glass to grand neoclassical facades and lovely views of the River Liffey. Begin with a visit to Phoenix Park, the largest enclosed city park in Europe, home to the official residence of the President, Dublin Zoo and Ratra House, boyhood home of Winston Churchill among many other stately residences. Walk along O’Connell Street to admire the handsome buildings that line the city’s main thoroughfare. Next, stop at Trinity College to see the Book of Kells on display in the Old Library. Cultural attractions abound, including the James Joyce Center, Dublin Writers Museum, Gate Theater and the Hugh Lane Municipal Art Gallery. On your last day in Ireland, perhaps celebrate with a visit to the famed Guinness Storehouse for a perfect Irish lunch and a sampling of the brew. You can pull your own pint here in the Dublin tradition and browse the award-winning multimedia exhibits about Guiness -- the city’s best-known export. Tonight we enjoy a farewell dinner at a popular local restaurant.
Accommodation: 1 night Dublin
|Meal Plan||Breakfast and Dinner|
We transfer to Dublin Airport to connect with our flights home.
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