Northern Ireland's Real-Life Game of Thrones

shortcross gin

What do gin and Game of Thrones have in common? They've both been made on the Rademon Estate in County Down of course!

If you’ve ever been to Northern Ireland, you’ll no doubt have been impressed by the beautiful and often dramatic natural landscapes that grace this part of the world. You may also know that over the past few years this landscape has been put to use in the Game of Thrones TV series.

This St Patrick's Day, we celebrate the beautiful Northern Irish landscape with an adventure through 10 of the real-life sites that provide scenic backdrops for the world of Westeros – including Rademon, the home of Shortcross Gin...

Please be warned: we've tried our best not to give too much away, but if you’re not up to date with the series (whose sixth season premieres in April) the following may contain spoilers!

Castle Ward, Co Down

castle ward country down

Overlooking Strangford Lough, Castle Ward’s beautiful 820 acre walled demesne, sunken garden and haunting woodland provide the setting for Winterfell, home of House Stark. This site is where King Robert Baratheon and his party arrive and are met by the Stark family in Season 1.


Rademon Estate, Co Down

rademon estate county down

The beautiful Rademon Estate near Downpatrick is not only home to Shortcross Gin, but also provided the backdrop for scenes in Season 5 Episode 2 of Game of Thrones. Brianne and Pod trek through a forest, which is in fact Rademon. If you look carefully you might even spot some of the wild botanicals that feature in Shortcross Wild Clover Gin!

Dark Hedges, Co Antrim

The show’s producers must have thanked their lucky stars when they found this location, which acts as the Kingsroad, the longest and grandest highway in the Seven Kingdoms. The haunting avenue of beech trees near Armoy was planted by the Stuart family in the 18th century. In Season 2, we see Arya Stark, disguised as a boy, making her escape from up it from King’s Landing.

Larrybane, Carrick-A-Rede, Co Antrim

larrybane carrick a rede county antrim

The headland of Larrybane is on Northern Ireland’s dramatic North Coast, close to the famous Carrick-A-Rede rope bridge. It’s one location use for The Stormlands and is the spot where Renly Baratheon establishes his camp in Season 2. It’s here that Catelyn Stark and Renly agree a treaty, with Renly swearing to bring Catelyn the head of Joffrey to avenge previous dramatic events.

Tollymore Forest Park, Co Down

tollymore forest  park

Covering nearly 630 hectares at the foot of the spectacular Mourne Mountains, Tollymore Forest Park appears as The Haunted Forest in the very first episode of Game of Thrones. You may remember the haunting scene where one of the Night’s Watch rides through a snow-covered forest and comes across the gruesome scene of a group of butchered Wildlings.

River Quoile, Co Down

river quoile

A spot on the north bank of the Quoile River is the filming site for The Twins, also known as The Crossing, the seat of the House of Frey in the Riverlands. The river location features in Season 1 when Robb Stark’s army needs to cross the Trident and Catelyn goes to seek permission by bargaining with Walder Frey.                                                         

Audley’s Field, Strangford Lough, Co Down

audleys field strangford lough

This site next to Strangford Lough plays host to many key moments in the series. It’s where Robb Stark builds his camp in Season 2 and where he first meets Talisa. It’s also where, later, Jaime Lannister is captured and then released. Visit the real-life location and you can explore Robb’s Trail, a Game of Thrones self-guided cycling tour.                      

Downhill Beach, Co Londonderry

downhill beach londonderry

This 11km stretch of sandy coastline on the Causeway Coast is home to the tiny temple of Mussenden, perched 120 feet up on the cliff tops. In Game of Thrones Season 2, the beach here was transformed into Dragonstone, where Melisandre burns the old gods on the beach and Stannis Baratheon draws a flaming sword from the fire.

Ballintoy Harbour, Co Antrim

ballintoy harbour

This picturesque little harbour, just along the North Antrim coast from the iconic Giant’s Causeway, plays the part of Pyke in the Iron Islands in the series.  It’s where, in Season 2, we see Theon Greyjoy arrive back in the Iron Islands, where he first meets his sister Yara. The harbour is also where we later see Theon admiring his ship, The Sea Bitch.           

Cushenden Caves, Co Antrim

cushenden harbour

These natural caves, just beyond the coastal village of Cushenden, were formed by extreme weather conditions working on the rocks over a period of 400 million years. This spot is the enigmatic Stormlands location where, in Season 2, Melisandre is brought ashore by Davos Seaworthy and, in a memorable scene, gives birth to the shadow baby.