I want to go to there…

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…Northern Ireland.

dcI wrote a story this week for Thrive Wire on how the Northern Ireland tourism board is trying to attract travelers by offering Game of Thrones filming location tours.

While I was writing the story, the funniest thing happened–the tourism board totally sold me and I started searching for flights. I am a fan of the hit HBO show, but these photos are what drew me in.

northern_ireland_landscape_by_hortilukey-d5c0ara

It’s easy to see why the show’s location scouts chose Northern Ireland with its rolling green hills, craggy coastline and plethora of medieval castles. It’s the area’s volatile history that has kept tourists away in decades past, but those days appear to be fading. Even Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh visited Northern Ireland last year after a 50-year hiatus.

Dunluce-Castle-Northern-Ireland-Landscape-Photography-0363

With the show’s fifth season premiering on April 12, the tourism board has provided free maps and routes of the show’s filming locations—including a three-day itinerary for the ultimate Game of Thrones road trip. You can download them all here.

DUBLIN_MAP_UPDATE_v2

Interested in a guided tour?

The Game of Thrones Tours company picks up fans from either Dublin or Belfast and takes them trekking through the show’s locations for nearly twelve hours, including a stop at one of the local pubs. Costumes and swords are available on request. Meanwhile the Game of Thrones Bicycle Tour provides cyclists with a “Stark Sack” including a tour map on a scroll, cloak and sword.

northern-ireland-beach-900x600-srgbMe, I’ll probably just stick to the regular hiking trails–using the city of Belfast as home base. This recent New York Times article details how to best spend 36 hours in the city.

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Like strolling through its Cathedral Quarter…

Ireland's Historic Pubs…and visiting the Crown Jewel Pub, founded in 1885. You can’t go to Ireland without having a cheeky pint, now can you?

As far as packing, I’m thinking of light layers that can work on the trail or at the pub, such as:

Summery shades. http://bit.ly/1D5seQf
Summery shades. http://bit.ly/1D5seQf
Year-round wardrobe staple. http://piprl.me/19pb2HA
Year-round wardrobe staple. http://piprl.me/19pb2HA
Waistcoat with plenty of pockets. http://bit.ly/1NhhDmv
Vintage waistcoat. http://bit.ly/1NhhDmv
Classic Levi's. http://piprl.me/1ICTWT6
Classic Levi’s. http://piprl.me/1ICTWT6
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Adidas’ new line of stylish, lightweight hiking shoes. http://bit.ly/1H4crPh
Perfect for picnics. http://bit.ly/1E9ZDcv
Perfect for picnics. http://bit.ly/1E9ZDcv

Wishing you all a wonderful weekend and go dté tú slán (safe journeys)!

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There are California girls and there are Bakersfield girls. I am the latter.

2 thoughts on “I want to go to there…

  1. The north coast of NI is truly stunning, even beyond The Giants Causeway or the rope bridge. Areas like Downhill, Gortmore, Binevenagh, and all the way round to Ballintoy (Pyke Harbour in GOT) is amazing. I highly recommend the walk from Dunseverick castle to Dunseverick harbour however, it will really amaze you. Its a little bit of a shame actually, that so many come here only to look at our lurid murals (believe it or not, the large majority here hate them) and a big building about a sunken ship. There is indeed so much natural beauty here to discover.

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