Five 'Game of Thrones' Destinations Fans Should Visit

Fri Apr 4, 2014 7:28am EDT
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(Reuters) - In the bleak and dismal break between seasons of "Game of Thrones", what better way for fans to keep in the spirit of proceedings than by visiting one of the exotic lands where filming for the programme took place?

Following are locations where the show's incest, pillaging, and frequent death run riot. The article below is an edited version of a blog compiled by the travel site, and contains some spoilers.

Northern Ireland

Much of the fictitious land of Westeros is located in Northern Ireland. Winter may have just left the Emerald Isle, but given Ireland's average 300 rainy or cloudy days a year, many of the locations filmed here were used to depict Winterfell, the north, and other less sunny parts of the Seven Kingdoms.

Dark Hedges, Northern Ireland

Those who want to tread the same grounds as the Family Stark should explore the area of Downpatrick, County Down, where Castle Ward was used to film parts of the family home. Nearby Audley's Castle and Woods were the location for the family's war encampment in Season One. Further north you'll find the setting for Castle Black - the abandoned Magheramorne quarry which is currently under proposal to be turned into a centre for adventure sports.

Nearby Redhall Estate appeared in both Seasons Two and Three under various guises, including as the inn where Catelyn Tully captured Tyrion Lannister before taking him to her twisted sister in Eyrie. (For bonus fan points, the rock formations that make up Eyrie actually lie in Greece and had the castle grafted onto them).

With eerie in mind, Ballymoney's Dark Hedges provided the backdrop for the iconic Kingsroad. As one of the most photographed sites in Ireland, their dramatic appearance was perfect for the award-winning series.

It seems Ireland's rugged terrain is pretty adaptable as a mythological setting, with Sandy Brae Path at Newry and Mourne used as the site of the twin horse statues marking the entrance to the Dothraki holy ground. There's something especially fantastic about this area, as the Mourne Mountains are said to have inspired C.S. Lewis's "The Chronicles of Narnia".   Continued...

(L to R) Actors Mark Addy, Sean Bean, Emilia Clarke and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau who star in the television series 'Game Of Thrones' pose during a photocall at the 51st Monte Carlo television festival in Monaco June 9, 2011. REUTERS/Eric Gaillard