Crystal Boutique Adventures: Enter the Game of Thrones
Fans of the hit HBO series Game of Thrones are invited to join this half-day outing, focusing on the castle-estate filming locations of the dark, moody, and altogether enthralling show, which is shot not only in a Belfast studio but also in Ireland’s famously atmospheric countryside. Guests will also travel to the Ulster Museum for an opportunity to see a 77-metre long Bayeux style tapestry depicting the Game of Thrones. This tapestry is only on display in the Ulster Museum until the end of July 2019 making this visit a must see.
DurationApproximately 5 hours
Your excursion opens as you board your motor coach and travel to Castle Ward, an 18th-century National Trust estate beautifully located on the shores of Strangford Lough.
During your visit, you will see why the Castle Ward Estate is an ideal shooting location for Game of Thrones. Described by show creator David Benioff as ”The Sopranos in Middle-earth,” HBO’s fantasy drama mixes history with surrealism, using Ireland’s picturesque and sometimes dark settings to great effect.
Find yourself tucked into the space between reality and fantasy as you visit the grounds, one of the most complete demesne landscapes to survive in Ireland. The grand residence showcases both Gothic and Classical styles, with one façade built in a Palladian style and the opposite side featuring Georgian Gothic characteristics with pointed windows, battlements and finials.
Further immerse yourself into days of old with a chance to try the medieval sport of archery. Then view a film revealing the special effects used to transform the estate at Castle Ward into the land of Winterfell.
Afterward, board a minivan for the brief transfer to Audley’s Castle, a 15th-century tower house named after its 16th-century owner, John Audley. Part of the Castle Ward estate, Audley’s Castle evokes a feeling of history, with its sturdy stone construction, austere square turrets and magical location on the lough.
Become acquainted with the castle’s role in Game of Thrones and play a game yourself as you test your knowledge by matching actual sites to scenes from the show.
Enjoy a photo opportunity with the some of the show’s elaborate costumes before reboarding your motor coach for your next destination, the Ulster Folk & Transport Museum.
Arriving at the Museum, meet a costumed visitor guide who will lead you on a short tour of the traditional skills and crafts that help to create the unique atmosphere of Game of Thrones. Amongst the crafts witnessed today will be basket making and opposite the basket making shed is one of the Museum’s forges, Pound Forge, which will be in operation, demonstrating traditional blacksmithing techniques featured in the show.
Having immersed yourself in the world of the Game of Thrones you will rejoin your motor coach for the short journey back to your Crystal ship.
There is no interior visit to the Castle Ward House included. As this excursion requires extensive walking, guests should be reasonably active and physically fit to participate. It is recommended that guests dress in warm, layered clothing and wear flat, comfortable, nonslip shoes. Guests should also bring raingear in case of inclement weather. Due to unforeseen scheduling commitments, the original basket prop maker may not be available during the excursion; however, the crafts and trades displayed are relevant to the Game of Thrones show. The order of sights visited may vary. Pre-reservation of this Crystal Adventures excursion is recommended.