Westeros Royals in Ireland (GoT tours Dublin)

December 03, 2018

You might be wondering who these Westeros Royals are. Are they some sort of Irish monarch or anything? Where is Westeros? Ireland? There’s a place called Westeros in Ireland? I’ve never heard of it, are the princes and princesses gorgeous? Well to answer that very question – the Westeros royals are very much handsome. But sadly, they are fictional like really really fictional and non-existent. But, why are you talking about them if they’re not real? Well to make it simple, fantasy is a great thing. On the other hand, there are those out there who know the existence of Westeros which I believe are the fans of this show called Game of Thrones (me included!). It is no doubt one of the greatest series in TV history. When I think about Ireland, the first thing that often came to my mind was Game of Thrones (GoT). So I’m calling all fans of the mighty show Game of Thrones to prepare a cuppa, sit back, and enjoy reading this.

When I knew I was going there I had all these crazy ideas of visiting all filming locations there but thanks to time constraint, I couldn’t. That’s a reason why I should go back! I then realised that I was going to Ireland, not Northern Ireland as the filming location is located in. So what I did was; I went on internet and searched for GoT tours starting from Dublin. And luck was on my side after all, there are tours from Dublin. What is this Ireland-not-filming-location-thang-you’re talking about you may wonder. THE Ireland I’m talking about is Northern Ireland of the UK, not Ireland the republic where our students go to med school! Not to be confused, both Ireland and Northern Ireland are two separate countries but both are in the same island. There wasn’t any border if you’re wondering so no passport control and stamps on your passport if you travel overland.

Now, the journey itself. That morning, I rode Aircoach at 0300 from Cork to Dublin. The bus was comfortable, good wifi and it has toilet as well. I was pretty much asleep the whole ride as it was still early in the morning. When I woke up, I was already in Dublin and it turned out, I was the only one whose stop was at Bachelors Walk with the others were bound for airport. Summer morning in Dublin was cold. I believe the temperature that morning at 0615 was 9°C. So much of summer lol. I wasn’t sure what to do as it was still early and I couldn’t find any nearby cafe or convenience store for a cup of coffee. With nothing much to do, I decided to walk to Hilton Garden Inn which was actually the meeting point but I couldn’t stand the cold as I was only wearing a hoodie and jegging so I went for a stroll along the canal to heat up my body before I decided to sit on a bench at Pearsey South Docks overlooking a very cool ship that looks like a pirate ship aha!


 I sat there for a quite some time observing people running, walking to their workplace, smoking, smiling at me and all. The cold was too much for me as I wasn’t properly dressed so I went for a walk again after sitting there for 30 minutes or so. It felt like eternal to be honest, given the time I was waiting for the tour to pick us up plus the cold. I went around the canal square, crossing River Liffey to the other side, walked slowly to kill some time until I finally decided to cross back through Ballsbridge --


-- which reminds me of the Millennium Bridge in London (y’know the one featured in Black Mirror) and I was welcomed with EPIC Ireland - The Irish Emigration Museum. I spent some time taking photos before I finally went to Hilton Garden Inn.


The tour started at 0800 hours and the pickup time was at 0745 but they arrived pretty late plus there was some who got to the pickup point late. But not like Malaysian late so it didn’t bother me much. I opted to seat in the first row and to be fairly honest, it was pretty lonely for me as I was alone and did not have anyone to talk. So, best to go with a fellow friend or anyone in your life that loves the show as much as you do. Or maybe, I wasn’t lucky to meet another solo go-er during the tour. Okay back to the point, our tour guide was Lar, a very nice and funny lad. He’s one of the extra as a Wildling in the show and Vikings as well. He told us about working with Kit Harrington saying what a fine bloke he was and how super dope to work with the rest of the crew. Next is our driver whom I forgot his name but he was super awesome as well. After briefing, Lar started handing us a pen and a piece of paper called Brain Of Thrones ---


-- which was basically a quiz to test our knowledge/how well do we know the show. The one who aced the quiz got to be the King In The North which was certainly not me as I only got a solid 5/10 huhuhu and I don’t remember what the questions were. But when Lar said VALAR MORGHULIS, I was the only one who answers back with VALAR DOHAERIS. Lar was impressed upon hearing it though. #bragging

We made a rest stop at Applegreen Castle Bellingham, a simple R&R with Subway, Costa, convenience store, and toilet obviously. I was so sleepy and hungry so I got a mocha from Costa, being the OBVIOUS muslim who didn’t fast during Ramadan but musafir mode though. Frankly, I purposely decided not to fast that day due to extensive amount of hiking and trekking. And midday got to be pretty hot that I was regretting my choice of wearing a hoodie that made me look like a total delirious arsehole (read: like wearing jumper in Malaysia in the day). 40 minutes later we were all ready for Newcastle where Tollymore Forest was at. Once all of us got down from the bus, we were handed with cloaks. We walked into the forest in our cloaks and we got to this place where Will, a deserter from the Night’s Watch saw the bodies killed by the White Walkers before he got beheaded by Ned Stark. Poor him =(


courtesy of Google 

courtesy of Google

From there, we went to North of Winterfell for scenes from episode one of the first season. Ned Stark along with Robb, Bran, Jon, and Theon were returning from the execution of the deserter when they found a dead stag which had gored a female direwolf. She had given birth to pups, all of which huddle by their mother’s corpse.

courtesy of Google

Stark sigil

The direwolf is the symbol of House Stark (if you don’t know) and finding there are as many pups as these are Stark children, they take the pups back to Winterfell one each for Robb, Sansa, Arya, Bran and Rickon Stark, and Jon Snow. After that, we went to see the place where Jon and Tyrion stopped for rest en route to The Wall. We then got to cross Stepping Stones which I’m sure you’ve seen a picture of it at least once in your life.

credit to; Frederick Bancale

credit to; Gary McParland

We then went to a little town called Strangford for lunch at The Lobster Pot. But I was a bit awkward and not feeling for big meal so I asked Lar if it was okay for me to not dine and go for a walk. He said it was fine and told me there’s a shop that sells official merchandise down the street. But the first thing I saw were the direwolves! But they’re busy with Belfast group so I went to the store and shopped a bit. I forgot to bring pounds so I had to use my Euros when I was buying the merch. It was stupid honestly hahaha. I then walked to the direwolves place and there was this grandpa who saw me looking at them outside the cage so he was like ‘’oh lady you can go inside and pet them’’ and he went to talk to this guy and he let me in. I legit thought he was their staff but he was just a passerby hahahaha but hey I got to spend time with the direwolves all by myself for a quite some time before my Dublin group came to play with them. They are not real direwolf or even wolf anyway. They are Northern Inuit, German Shepherd + Alaskan Malamute + Siberian Husky + Samoyed + Grey Wolf crossbreed. My point is, I finally got to meet Odin & Thor who played Bran’s Summer and Robb’s Grey Wind like the whole purpose of me joining the tour was to meet them! I pet them and boy they were so cute. I watched them being fed by Ross, eating ice cream. And look how happy and photogenic they are!




It was Castle Ward (or Winterfell on the show) we’re heading next. It was just a touch-n-go because we went to Audley’s Castle first.


It was seen in Season 2 as the location for the Battle of Oxcross where Robb met Talisa that came to a bloody end at the Red Wedding. And if you read the book, Talisa didn’t even exist. He married some Jeyne, daughter of a Lord somewhere. We went along the shore next where Brienne & Jaime found 3 people hanged and Lar decided to sing us some song from Vikings. And we went back to Winterfell. He briefed us about the stable where Bran used to practice his archery training and we took a group photo there.

WINTERFELL

All good things must come to an end right. It was our last stop of the tour before heading back to Dublin. Our last location was Inch Abbey. It was seen in Season 2 as well when Robb was declared King in the North. Honestly, it was such a lovely place. Nice ruin I might say. We took group photo with banners, sigil, swords and all props we could find. After tons of picture and tons of screaming ‘’King in the North!’’ ‘’King in the North’’ ‘’King in the North’’, we were done with the tour.



I was recording myself walking with the banners yknow and when I watched the recording man I look so stupid hahahaha but yeah I had my fun. After that, I decided that I was done playing King and Lords so I started to remove my cloak when I heard ‘’and yeappppp with that she’s done playing’’ and we laughed together.

On our journey back to Dublin, Lar asked if there's any of us going to the Game of Thrones Live Concert Experience as we're gonna pass 3Arena so they could just drop off and I was silently crying, figuratively yea because I honestly wanted to go but I had to go to UCC the next morning for graduation and it's gonna end so late and I have yet to go back to Cork. Maybe next time yeah? My musician ass was so frustrated lol. So anyhoo, I asked Lar to drop me at Bachelors Walk instead of Hilton Garden Inn because I need to catch bus to Cork and we parted our way from there.


The waiting game to get a bus from Dublin - Cork was so bloody annoying.  I waited for 1900hrs bus anyway. Let me tell you how Aircoach works. First, they'll call those who got their tickets online and only then the rest could aboard and boy how crowded it was. Everybody was going to Cork apparently. And yeah. I missed it. It was getting so cold and I was holding my pee. I wanted to urinate so bad. There's this girl waiting for the bus as well beside me so I asked her where's the public toilet and she said she's not sure so she told me to use the toilet in one of the bars. I went up to this bar called Fitzgeralds which happened to be behind the bus stop and the staff told me I had to go inside from the back and it was so confusing so I just thanked him and went to walk and I stumbled upon O'Sullivans.

I just went straightaway inside and I didn't even finish asking him whether I could use the toilet yet and he was like "yeah yeah it's back there" which was so cool aha! He's probably used to it lol. I spent quite some time for the warm, drank water, fix my scarf, washed my face and I finally went out. I thanked the bartender and went out. And again, the 2000 and 2100 hrs bus were still a miss and I was so close to give up but I couldn't because graduation??? And thank the Godssssssss I managed to get a spot on 2200hrs. I arrived in Cork at 0130 I think. Man. I was so exhausted of GoT trekking and walking plus my lack of sleep. I still had to wait in the cold for a bloody taxi back home. Luckily a driver saw me so after sending his current passenger he came back for me *cries*. Once I got home, the fare was €13 and I only had €10 left! I asked the driver to wait for me as I was gonna get the €3 but he said it's fine. It's on him. MANNNNNNNNNN I LOVE IRISH!

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