Scene stealer: how Game of Thrones put a spotlight on Antrim and Derry

With its mountain views and wild coasts, this far corner of Northern Ireland provides a spectacular backdrop to many of the show’s memorable moments

I was never one for a “swords and horses” TV series, so when Game of Thrones burst on to our screens in 2011, I had to be forced to watch it. The unexpected joy framing the beheadings and braids was a rugged landscape I instantly recognised. Antrim’s north-east coast is where Ireland and Scotland almost scream at each other over a deceptively narrow sea. The abundance of castles and caves peppering the basalt-rich coastline are a visual treat. The only wonder is that it took so long for Hollywood to take notice.

Growing up in Belfast’s northern suburbs meant these seascapes were a Sunday run in the car with grandparents, flasks of tea and home-baked buns. The Causeway Coastal Route, which stretches more than 100 miles from the outskirts of north Belfast round the top of Ireland to Derry, is a dramatic road, lurching from cliff-edge to beachside, with grass and boulders at times in alarming proximity to the car windows.

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