Remember when Theon Greyjoy made is (not so) triumphant return to Pyke in the Iron Islands in Game of Thrones? He sailed up with his men and walked up the very steps pictured here in Ballintoy Harbour, an incredibly picturesque filming location along the coast in Northern Ireland. This is also where he reuintes with his sister, Yara, though he doesn't yet know that they're related.
When he comes back to his boat along these steps, he finds that his men have deserted him. Thus begins his difficult journey back into his father's graces, who naturally distrusts him after his time spent in Winterfell with the Starks.
Ballintoy Harbour, translated from Baile an Tuaigh, meaning "the northern townland" in Irish, is and has been mainly used by fishermen and In the 19th century was used for shipping sett stones from the quarry nearby. At that time a small rail track was used for transporting the stones and limestone to the quayside. The kiln still stands to this day as testament to its past.
Ballintoy Harbour was relatively unknown to tourists prior to becoming a filming location for Game of Thrones in August 2011. There are several other shooting locations nearby, such as the former rock quarry where much of season 2 was filmed.
It was an undiscovered gem with easily some of the best and most interesting along the Causeway coastal route in Northern Ireland, which is saying a lot considering that just about every coastal view in Ireland is spectacular! The rock formations which form tide pools, the colorful moss growing in yellows and greens everywhere, and the beautiful blue of the water all come together to make this a lovely sight.
It's located in County Antrim, Northern Ireland, alongside the B15 coast road, 17 miles north-east of Coleraine and five miles west of Ballycastle. While in the area most tourists also check out the Bushmill's whiskey distillery and the Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge, which is a bridge over the ocean that connects the mainland with a small island. Each day hundreds if not thousands of visitors cross it. The UNESCO World Heritage site, Giant's Causeway is also close by. Prior to the Game of Thrones filming, these were the most-visited places in Ireland, though the Dark Hedges and Ballintoy Harbour are quickly becoming popular as well.
This is a rather underpopulated area and according to the 2001 census, Ballintoy only has 165 residents.
Though there is no bad time to visit, the summer months may offer sunny weather, if you're lucky. Though even on a cloudy day this harbour is absolutley beautiful, and reminiscent of the weather and conditions in Pyke.
Accessible by car, the best way to visit Ballintoy is to take a tour with McComb's Coach Travel which provides Game of Thrones tours. Insider's tip: Ask for Phil and take a private tour. He does the driving for the Game of Thrones cast and crew during the show's filming and has all kinds of fun insider's stories to share, plus a great attitude and fun personality to make the tour a real treat.
The Game of Thrones tour can be organized by Tourism Ireland.
Travel tip shared for Traveldudes by Kristin
Tourism Ireland sponsored this trip, but the views are our own.