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7 ways to get your Game of Thrones fix in the Mournes

Plan your Game of Thrones themed weekend in the Mournes, exploring the lands of Westeros and immersing yourself in the beautiful scenery that has been broadcast across the globe.

1. The award winning Slieve Donard Resort and Spa, nestled at the foot of the mountains and overlooking a windswept Newcastle Beach, is the perfect accommodation as it is a short drive away from some iconic filming locations.

Stay in one of the Slieve Donard’s 180 luxurious rooms – a far cry from the tents of the marching Lannister armies– and take some time to admire the stunning panoramic views of the Mountains of Mourne and coastline.

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You may wish to visit the Spa and relax in an environment fit for a king or have lunch in one of the hotel’s restaurants or lounges before you take a short drive to embrace the Game of Thrones filming sites.

2. Tollymore Forest Park sits in the foothills of the Mournes, with four way-marked trails to guide you through the park’s most striking areas while the Shimna River provides a gurgling soundtrack.

Visit the Altavaddy Bridge in the park, which was used to film a particularly emblematic moment at the very beginning of Game of Thrones. It was here that Ned Stark, his sons and Theon Greyjoy came across the direwolf pups in Season 1, Episode 1, and is a must see for any fan.

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3. From here, travel to the western region of the Mournes, to Leitrim Lodge near Hilltown. When Theon Greyjoy and the Ironborn attacked Winterfell in Season 3, Bran and Rickon Stark took their direwolves and escaped with the help of Osha and Hodor.

The hills of Leitrim Lodge provided a picturesque and rustic backdrop as the group travelled through the lands north of Winterfell. Marvel at this Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, where a short hike will provide views of the distant Sperrins and Belfast.

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4. After you have explored the lands surrounding and to the north of Winterfell in the hit HBO series, return to the Slieve Donard Hotel for a special dining experience.

Although Northern Ireland’s famous Dark Hedges (better known to fans as the ‘Kingsroad’) are not nearby, one of the very special Doors of Thrones is. Felled wood from the aftermath of Storm Gertrude was carved into ten intricate doors, each telling a story of a Season 6 episode. These exquisite works of art were hung in a variety of locations and one resides in the grounds of the Slieve Donard Resort, at the Percy French Inn.

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The ornately carved door is a sight to behold and serves as the entrance to one of County Down’s finest restaurants. Enjoy the relaxed and welcoming atmosphere of the Percy French, as you sit by the log fire and enjoy a delicious meal using the best of local produce. Continue your themed adventures and order the Westeros Tomahawk Steak which comes served with a ‘Valyrian Steel’ inspired knife.

5. A twenty minute drive from Newcastle will take you to Inch Abbey near Downpatrick.

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The extensive remains of the former Cistercian Abbey, founded by John de Courcy in 1180, featured as the site of Robb Stark’s camp in the Riverlands in Season 1.

6. To the south of Inch Abbey flows the Quoile River, which was used as a filming location for Season 3 of Game of Thrones.

The glorious wetland retreat, boasting woodland and riverside walks, was where the crew filmed Hoster Tully’s funeral at Riverrun.

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7. Game of Thrones experiences aside, the Mournes and surrounding areas are home to some of Northern Ireland’s most acclaimed restaurants.

Visit Brunel’s in Newcastle for some adventurous dishes featuring fresh local ingredients, such as Irish Water Coley or Rabbit Five Ways.

Retire to your chambers well fed and satisfied after a day of Game of Thrones enchantment. Your break from reality will leave you eager to see more of the mythical worlds of Westeros and Essos that can be found on our doorstep – so where to next?

To plan your Game of Thrones experience or any short break in Northern Ireland visit www.discovernorthernireland.com for more inspiration.

Belfast Telegraph Digital

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