Irish hotspots are world’s most iconic locations from Game of Thrones

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Searches for Game of Thrones filming locations have increased by 153% this year, but which ones are the most iconic – and where are the hidden gems? 

Dark Hedges, Co Antrim. Pic: Fáilte Ireland

If you’ve ever fancied visiting the iconic locations from Game of Thrones, you aren’t the only one.  

It seems the release of House of the Dragon reignited our passion for the show, as Google searches for ‘Game of Thrones filming locations’ have increased by 153% globally in the last 12 months. 

Using hashtag data from Instagram, online entertainment experts from Irish casino Slotbox.com analysed a list of 40 filming locations from both Game of Thrones and House of the Dragon, to find out how many photographs have been taken at each location.  

Ireland is home to four of the most Instagrammed locations, making it the most popular country in the study. Three locations from Spain make the list, while Iceland takes the top spot with the beautiful backdrop of Kirkjufell receiving over 86,616 hashtags.

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The 10 most popular filming locations from Game of Thrones  

    Location   Country   no of #   Fictional location 
    Kirkjufell mountain   Iceland   86,616   Beyond the wall (S6 & 7) 
    Bardenas Reales Nature Reserve   Spain   80,601   Daenerys’ desert captivity (S6) 
    Lokrum Island Botanical Gardens   Adriatic Sea   76,956   Quarth (S2) 
    Dark Hedges   Northern Ireland   70,297   Kings Road (S2) 
    Alcázar de Sevilla   Spain   39,031   The Water Palaces of Dorne (S5) 
    Dunluce Castle   Northern Ireland   38,862   House Greyjoy (S2) 
    Roman Bridge   Spain   26,975   The Long Bridge, Volantis (S5) 
    Doune Castle   Scotland   20,456   Winterfell (S1) 
    Castle Ward   Northern Ireland   18,093   Winterfell (S8) 
    Tollymore Forest   Northern Ireland   18,003   Forest of Winterfell (S1) 

With 86,616 hashtags overall, Kirkiufell mountain in Iceland is the most popular Game of Thrones filming location on Instagram. It was used in seasons 6 and 7, featuring as the “arrowhead mountain” that the Hound and the company north of the Wall see when capturing a wight. 

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Next up, with 80,601 hashtags, is Bardenas Reales Nature Reserve in Northern Spain. The desert landscape was used in season 6, providing the perfect backdrop for the Dothraki sea. 

Other popular Spanish locations include the Alcázar de Sevilla (39,031 hashtags) which was used as the location for The Water Palaces of Dorne in season five, and Roman Bridge in Corboda (26,975 hashtags) which was used in this season to portray the Long Bridge in the Free City of Volantis.  

Just a 15-minute ferry ride from Dubrovnik in Croatia is the tiny island of Lokrum, which attracts a notable amount of attention on Instagram with 76,956 hashtags. The botanical gardens were used in filming for Qarth garden scenes, when Daenerys and her entourage attended a garden party in season 2.  

A whopping four locations from Northern Ireland also make the list, including the Dark Hedges in Co Antrim (70,297), Dunluce Castle (38,862) and Castle Ward (18,167) which were both used to film Winterfell, and Tollymore Forest (18,003).  

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The Stunning Bregagh Road, otherwise known as the Dark Hedges or King’s Road in Game of Thrones features two rows of beech trees that were planted in the 18th century by James Stuart. It’s no surprise this location lands in fourth place, as the iconic setting from the show is unforgettable.

Fans will also recognise Dunluce Castle (38,862) as the location of The House of Greyjoy in the Iron Islands, home to Theon and Yara Greyjoy. During season two exterior shots of the castle were used to create the setting for the Iron Islands.

A National Trust site also makes the list of most iconic filming locations, with the historic farmyard at Castle Ward being used as the location for Winterfell. The Whispering Wood from the show is also set here, along with Rob Stark’s camp and the Baelor battle. It’s reported that the crew spent eight weeks filming at Castle Ward during season one of the show.

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