This peaceful seaside spot in County Antrim doesn’t seem the sort of place a traumatic, HBO-devised scene would take place. And yet it very much is. Melisandre gives birth to the terrifying shadow baby at Cushendun Caves, and they later played host to Jaime Lannister and Euron Greyjoy’s pivotal battle in season eight. The caves’ eerie history isn’t confined to fiction, either: in 1567, the Irish king Shane O’Neill was brutally decapitated by his enemies here, and now his headless, vengeful ghost is believed to haunt the coastline.
Ah, Game of Thrones. There was a time when you couldn’t escape the twisty, expansive, sex-filled fantasy world, and the scheming, ambitious characters who lived there. No matter what you thought of the final season, fans have consequently mourned the end of the show for years. And for good reason: it was really bloody good.
A real highlight, of course, was the spectacular worldbuilding of George R R Martin. From the unforgiving Kingsroad to the mysterious Winterfell forest, it all looked pretty astonishing on screen, too. But where exactly was the series shot? Well, much of the action in fact took place in Northern Ireland, one of the four nations that make up the UK, and now many of the IRL filming locations can actually be visited by the public.
From the expansive official studio tour to the eerie Dark Hedges and the spooky Cushendun Caves, here’s how to see Westeros at its most magical – without having to dig out that boxset.