Ireland is a green wonderland.
From the lush pastures and hills to their coastal beauty, its a perfect destination to make a self drive road trip with your loved ones or family and just soak in the large expanses of land. No doubt the constant rain here may dampen the spirits or create overcast photos, but it is the contributing factor to the vivid green colour of the grass, that makes all your photos look naturally ‘saturated’. No wonder many has called Ireland the country with ‘fifty shades of green’.
There was so much to see and do in Ireland which I covered quite extensively in my article about the Ancient Rock Walls and Castles of Ireland. However, I was back to Dublin after all that adventure, and had 4 days. It was a comfortable duration to explore Dublin and its surroundings, and for those with a car, you can organize a self-drive tour to see the best of the surrounding areas. Alternatively, there are day trip bus tours to take!
Best Family Day Trips and Bus Tours in Ireland to Take
A. Game of Thrones Tour Dubrovnik by Bus
Quite a significant portion of the game of thrones scenes was shot in beautiful Northern Ireland. It was initially meant to be shot in Scotland but due to the costs of using some of the premises, they decided to shift it across the sea to the comparably beautiful countryside plains of – Ireland.
I was privileged to be able to hop on board the Game of Thrones Bus Tour which can be booked from the Get Your Guide website. The Game of Thrones tours runs out really fast as there aren’t many tour operators who actually have this tour from Dublin, so try to book 3-4 days in advance to secure a seat of more than 1 person.
Other than the fact that it starts so early in the morning (5.45am!!) , it was actually a really lovely tour and we really covered quite a bit of ground from dawn to dusk.
So introducing you the key highlights and spots from the trip that makes you go wow, even if you aren’t a game of thrones fan.
Sites and spots from the Game of Thrones Bus Tours
1. Curvy Trees and Straight Roads – The Dark Hedges
It was here at this beautiful iconic scene that the little heroine of Game of Thrones Arya Stark escaped from the bad guys. We all loved this spot as it is just a lovely straight road with these menacing but beautiful thick trunk trees and its curvy branches forming an umbrella grand walkway. This was actually planted by a wealthy man who has a house at the end of the road and wanted a beautiful runway leading into his house. Other than the game of thrones, this scene is also used in many other fantasy movies, can you name some of them?
2. The Copperish Red Cushendun Caves – The Shadow’s Birth
Yes, and so this is the cave that made the famous scene of The Red Woman or ‘The Red Priestess’ giving birth to a scary spirit. I don’t think the cave is as impressionable as the actual scene in the movie given the extensive amount of nudity and raw close up. I give it to Carice van Houten for going naked in this freezing place. I would hope she has been paid a lot to do that scene.
Not a very huge cave this one, but the red copperish colour of the cave walls is quite a unique sight. And behind this picture is a gate that blocks people from entering into a private own mansion. If you were sharp, you would have spotted this gate in the show as well.
3. Giants Causeway – UNESCO World Heritage Site
This place really blew my mind away.
Not named the 8th wonder of the world for nothing, this vast winding trails and coastal walks is simply jaw-droppingly beautiful. We had 2+ hours there but it was still not enough for a nature lover/ hiker like me to really walk through the entire area and enjoy the immense beauty of the peculiar shaped cubic stones, the majestic ‘pipe organ’ at The Shepherd’s steps and all the way till the amphitheatre, which we had to turn around at, but it was a really magnificent and grand place. Coming here reminded me a bit of hiking at Drakensburg aka ‘Dragon Mountains ‘in South Africa Johannesburg.
Take some time to capture some great photos along the trail to look back in memory. This area is called Giant’s causeway as there are some amazing mystical tales about a giant called Finn McCools who used to be spotted here, and the peculiar state of the area is linked to his many little adventures and fights he had here.
I made a lovely friend called Anastasia from Greece during our trip, and we had a very lovely time exploring the area and taking loads of photos.
Photo Reel : Adventure days out at Northern Ireland Giants Causway
4. Ballintoy Harbour – Awaiting the arrival of Theon Greyjoy
Welcome to the Iron Islands.
Just the name alone makes me feel powerful in this part of the tour already. To be able to finally see the filming scenes of the game of thrones Dubrovnik where it was left so untouched and had the natural unspoiled beauty.
Little quiet town with its pretty yellow wildflowers. We really enjoyed the peace and tranquility experienced here.
View from the top when we climbed back up to get onto our coach. It’s a little walk to get to the harbour, but it was a really pretty secluded area, and we walked past some really beautiful unoccupied vacation houses, really lovely sight.
5. Larrybane – Renly Baratheon’s Campsite before he…
And last but not least on the Game of Thones filming locations tour was to also to visit the Renly Baratheon’s campsite area. The actual shoot of their campsite and the fighting scene is actually at a big empty carpark space just a few steps away from this lookout point, but boy, we just had to climb up here to admire this sight of these small rocky islands and waves crashing against it. Absolutely breathtaking with the wind in your hair, the soft spongy grass on your feet and the saltiness of the sea in your mouth.
So this concludes the first segment of the amazing game of thrones tour Dubrovnik and adventure days out at Northern Ireland. Its really stunning spots and you get-go with the easy option on booking a fuss-free tour, drive on your own or even get one of those touring caravans Northern Ireland has.
Do you have any questions about this list of best Family Day Trips and Self Drive Tours in Ireland?
–> Read on to find out about the other amazing bus tour spots to see the Cliffs of Moher/ Galway City/ Belfast…