Game of Thrones is one of the biggest TV shows on the planet and Northern Ireland has, and continues to contribute greatly to it’s production. Something to be very proud of given it’s huge success. One of the most famous filming locations are the “Dark Hedges” situated outside Ballymoney near the little village of Stranocum..
In January this year storm Gertrude felled 2 of the trees that make up the Dark Hedges and the wood from these was used to carve 10 stunningly epic doors, each depicting a famous scene from season 6 of the show. These doors were placed in venues close to the various filming locations across Northern Ireland.
Glenara Elite Travel who are based in Coleraine have came up with the frankly brilliant idea of running an organised tour round 4 of these doors which are dotted along or close to Northern Ireland’s North coast. A guided tour also involving…Food! Better yet, a helping of local food and drink with each door. I know, genius right?!
I was one of the extremely lucky group of folks invited along to do the tour last weekend. A massive thank you to Glenara Elite Travel for the invite. Here’s how we got on.
The Lodge Hotel, Coleraine was our home for the night and prior to departing on the tour we were treated to some tasty nibbles with Shortcross Gin & Bushmills Whiskey cocktails and some craft beer from Hilden Brewery and Glens of Antrim, all of which show that as well as food, Northern Ireland is pretty good at the drinks side of things too.
On to the bus then, with the lovely Frances from Glenara Elite Travel our pilot and the superb Caroline Redmond from North Coast Walking Tours as our guide. For each journey between stops we were supplied with either a glass of specially chosen locally brewed craft beer/cider, prosecco or a soft drink. So with a glass of Rathlin Red in hand, off we went.
First Stop | Owens Bar | Limavady | Door 5
So off to “Limavegas” for our first door in Owen’s Bar and a try of some Broighter Gold oils and freshly made breads from Hunter’s Bakery, local to the town. A great range of rapeseed oils from Broighter Gold, infused with the likes of chilli, garlic and porcini mushroom. All of which were gorgeous with the breads and got the tour off to a great start.
Next Stop | Fullerton Arms | Ballintoy | Door 6
Now because of the time of year we couldn’t really appreciate it fully but Ballintoy is a most beautiful little harbour village. In keeping with this, the Fullerton Arms is a lovely little cosy pub with the Game of Thrones door at the entrance. Here we had some fantastic homemade seafood chowder and wheaten bread. Not a dish I would tend to have when eating out but I have been swayed to do so in future as it was utterly delicious, and great with a wee pint of Guinness to wash it down.
Bona fide Game of Thrones fans will love the opportunity to sit on the Fullerton Arms’ very own Iron Throne! and of course get an obligatory pic. Best sinister looking King Joffrey (or Queen Cersei) face on!
Stop Three | Gracehill House | The Dark Hedges | Door 7
So onto the main course and a true GoT style feast to be eaten with the hands. A meaty platter of ribs & wings with giant wedges & slaw. Served in the very stylish surroundings of Gracehill House right by the Dark Hedges themselves.
And Finally | Mary McBride’s | Cushendun | Door 8
Our last stop on the tour was the bustling Mary McBride’s Bar and a selection of local cheeses & chutneys with another glass of Rathlin Red.
Onto the bus for our final journey back to the hotel and the end of an absolutely fantastic experience. Great food, drink, craic and plenty of it. Thank you again to Frances and Caroline and to the folks in my tour group.
This tour is an absolute must for “Thronies”, foodies or just for a bunch of friends looking for something fun to do. Get in touch with Glenara Elite Travel to book yourself a great night out.