Sunday 15 July 2018

Game of Thrones-themed festival set for Northern Ireland's 'Winterfell'

Welcome to Westeros

The Winterfell Festival
The Winterfell Festival
Audley's Castle, Castle Ward. A key Game of Thrones location in Ireland. Picture by Bernie Brown
Game of Thrones archery experience at Castle Ward, Co. Down

Soo Kim

Game of Thrones fans can relive some of their favourite scenes at a new Winterfell Festival next month in Northern Ireland.

The one-day festival, run by the UK National Trust on September 24, will be held on the 820-acre Castle Ward estate, the property which filled in for ‘Winterfell’ - the ancestral home of the Stark family for most of season one of the series.

The estate is set on the coast of Strangford Lough.

Visitors can immerse themselves in the mythical world of Winterfell, from tours of filming locations at Audley’s Castle and taking a green screen picture against the background of the Winterfell Courtyard (where the Stark family lined up for the arrival of the king), to interactive Game of Thrones-themed puppet shows and workshops.

Special guests on site will include two of the Stark family direwolf dogs, while Game of Thrones actor Boyd Rankin (who played blacksmith Mikken in season one) will showcase a selection of weapons from the show amongst the festival’s medieval-themed stalls.

Visitors will also be able to walk down the ‘Kingsroad’ (the longest road among the seven kingdoms on the fictional continent of Westeros) to the ‘Inn at the Crossroads’ where guests can enjoy performances from season one by a theatrical company. 

Tickets cost £22.50 (adults) and £10 (children). The festival is not officially sponsored, endorsed or affiliated with HBO or its smash hit show.

Game of Thrones is known for its dramatic backdrops, many of which have been in Northern Ireland - including the Dark Hedges, last year voted one of the world's most beautiful 'streets'.

Audley's Castle, Castle Ward. A key Game of Thrones location in Ireland. Picture by Bernie Brown
Audley's Castle, Castle Ward. A key Game of Thrones location in Ireland. Picture by Bernie Brown

According to George RR Martin, the author behind the fantasy series, Hadrian’s eponymous construction was the inspiration for The Wall, which separates temperate Westeros from the frozen lands beyond (which presumably means Scots were the inspiration for the Wildings and White Walkers).

But HBO found its vision of northern Westeros with the rolling hills and rugged coastlines of Northern Ireland. 

Other locations include Downhill Strand, a seven-mile beach overlooked by Mussenden Temple, which was visited by Stannis Baratheon and his companion Melisandre.

The little seaside village of Ballintoy becomes Pyke, capital of The Iron Islands, in the series.

Read more:

Dragonstone: This is Northern Ireland's newest Game of Thrones location

Telegraph.co.uk

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