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Coach Tour ~ Sunday 2 October 2016

coach

When TitanCon first started in 2011 the Game of Thrones tourist industry in Belfast was nonexistent and we were the first to offer a coach tour visiting Game of Thrones filming locations around Northern Ireland. It's a different story five years on and there are many businesses offering daily coach tours. We love the fact that fans have so much choice now and for anyone staying in Belfast on Monday or Tuesday we hope you'll take a tour and see more of this beautiful country.

The TitanCon Coach Tour is different to the others - firstly we are a not-for-profit organisation and therefore our ticket prices are at cost price. Secondly our tour is a one off experience, we only do one coach tour a year and each year is a different route visiting different locations. Lastly it's a really big fun group of people that attend making the event truly special with full drunken singalongs on the way home. You'll have a great time!

Coach tour itinerary

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Screenshots from Game of Thrones © HBO 2011-2016

09:50 am Depart Wellington Park Hotel, Belfast
11:15 am Arrive Dark Hedges
11.45 pm Depart Dark Hedges
12.30 pm Arrive Cushendun Caves
1.30 pm Depart Cushendun Caves
2.00 pm Arrive Carnlough
2.15 pm Depart Carnlough
3:30 pm Arrive Clandeboye Estate
Jaime's Stump
Godswood North of the Wall
Craster's Keep
The Hound meets the Brotherhood
Medieval feast
7:30 pm Depart Clandeboye Estate
7:45 pm Drop off at Belfast City Airport
7:55 pm Drop off at Europa Bus Station
8:00 pm Drop off at Wellington Park Hotel

Please note that the itinerary times are rough estimates and are subject to alteration.

About the TitanCon 2016 Coach Tour

Deciding on a route for this year's tour was quite tricky. Ideally we would like to see as many locations from the most recent season as possible, but many of the locations from season six are on private estates that are not interested in allowing coach tours onto their land. That is their right of course but it leaves us with fewer options for new places to visit. However, we will be visiting several locations at Clandeboye Estate that you won't see on any other Game of Thrones Coach Tour.

Therefore we are going to visit a couple of locations that we've missed out in previous years just because we did not have quite enough time to stop before. First up is the beautiful and iconic Dark Hedges, a location used in season two for the King's Road where Arya and Gendry left King's Landing with Yoren. Next up is Cushendun Caves where Davos rowed Melisandre into the cave to give brith to the Shadowbaby assassin that killed Renly. We'll be making a quick stop to a season six location at Carnlough, where Arya dragged herself out of the Braavos canal after The Waif stabbed her.

Our main stop of the day will be at Clandeboye Estate where we'll revisit Jaime's Stump and the Godswood north of the Wall. This time we will find our way over to Craster's Keep (we failed to find it in 2014) and finally another season six location at Helen's Tower, where Sandor Clegane met the Brotherhood Without Banners as they were just about to hang the men that the Hound was after. We end the day with a traditional Hog Roast Feast in Clandeboye's beautiful Banquet Hall.

One thing we are going to change this year is the bus numbers. The rivalry between Coach 1 and Coach 2 started out as friendly banter but has developed over the years and we feel like it's gone too far now with mock Twitter accounts and the Red Wedding stunt at last year's feast. I know it was meant well but some people were made to feel a bit unwelcome and separate from the fun and that's not the message we want to send. Everyone is welcome and is part of the fun, always. Therefore this year the rivalry is over and the coaches will be named Coach Ice and Coach Fire.

Please make sure you bring appropriate clothing and footwear for the weather conditions. We strongly recommend bringing a bottle of water with you.

Lunch

Lunch is not included in this tour (your evening meal is included in the ticket price). You may bring your own packed lunch with you. There is a newsagents just opposite the Wellington Park Hotel where you can buy supplies in the morning. Eating on the bus is allowed but please make sure you take all rubbish [US translation: trash] with you afterwards.

Dark Hedges - King's Road (season 2)

King's Road

The King's Road from Game of Thrones season two. © HBO 2012.

This beautiful avenue of beech trees was planted by the Stuart family in the eighteenth century. It was intended as a compelling landscape feature to impress visitors as they approached the entrance to their Georgian mansion, Gracehill House. Two centuries later, the trees remain a magnificent sight and have become one of the most photographed natural phenomena in Northern Ireland.

The Dark Hedges was used as a filming location in Season 2 Episode 1 of Game of Thrones. The concrete road was covered over and made to look like a dirt track, part of the King's Road leading out of King's Landing. In the scene Yoren leads a wagon train north along the King's Road transporting potential new recruits for the Night's Watch including Arya, Gendry, Hot Pie, Lommy Greenhands and a caged wagon containing Rorge, Biter and Jaqen H'ghar from the King's Landing dungeons.

Cushendun Caves - Shadowbaby Birth (season 2)

Cushendun Caves

Cushendun stands on an elevated beach at the outflow of the Glendun and Glencorp valleys. The name in Irish is Cois an Duine, meaning Foot of the Dun, identifying the village's location at the mouth of the River Dun. Cushendun Caves were formed over 400 million of years of extreme weather conditions.

Although the scene in Season 2 Episode 4 is very dark on screen the location is still recognisable as the place where Davos rowed Melisandre into the caves to give birth to the "Shadowbaby", the nightmare assassin that would kill Renly on the eve of battle with his brother's army, thereby gifting victory to Stannis in one fell stroke.

Arya crawls out of the Braavos canal

Arya crawls out of the Braavos canal in Game of Thrones season six. © HBO 2016.

Carnlough - Braavos Canal (season 6)

Carnlough is a small village on the north eastern coast of Northern Ireland, known for its picturesque harbour, which is why Game of Thrones production came to Carnlough in 2015 to film a short scene for season six.

The scene features Arya crawling up onto the steps having just been stabbed by The Waif. The part of the scene where Arya is actually stabbed and falls into the Braavos canal was shot in Spain. This location just features the steps where Arya crawls out of the water, blood seeping from her wounds as she pulls herself to her feet.

Jaime's Stump

Jaime's Stump. Game of Thrones season three. © HBO 2013.

Clandeboye Estate - Jaime's Stump (season 3)

Our main stop of the day is at Clandeboye Estate where we'll visit four filming locations. First up is a location we visited on our 2014 Coach Tour. The tree stump where Locke cuts off Jaime Lannister's hand. This entire area was used as the Bolton camp, with the trees that Jaime and Brienne were chained to being particularly recognisable. Last time we were here someone provided a bloody rubber hand to allow everyone to take photographs on the stump.


Clandeboye Estate - Godswood North of the Wall (season 1)

Godswood north of the Wall

The Godswood north of the Wall. Game of Thrones season one. © HBO 2011.

It was a bit of a surprise when we visited in 2014 to discover that just a stone's throw from Jaime's stump is another filming location. This area was used as the Godswood north of the Wall where Jon Snow and Samwell Tarly give their Night's Watch vow.

Honestly we had no idea it was there when we planned the tour in 2014, but it was confirmed by a couple of Extras we had with us who worked on the scene. When I walked over to see where everyone had wandered off to I found an impromptu group recitation of the Night's Watch vow in front of the tree, albeit without the white paint and red leaves.

Clandeboye Estate - Craster's Keep (seasons 2, 3 & 4)

Craster's Keep on fire

Craster's Keep on fire. Game of Thrones season four. © HBO 2014.

Unfortunately we did not find the location for Craster's Keep when we visited in 2014. But now we understand where this patch of woods is in relation to where we parked the coaches so we'll be able to find our way here this time.

This location first appeared in Season 2 Episode 1 and is where the Night's Watch stop at Craster's Keep seeking shelter and news on why the wilding villages are empty. This is where Sam first met Gilly and Jon witnessed Craster giving his baby boy to the White Walkers and then confronted Lord Commander Jeor Mormont over it. The Night's Watch return here in Season 3 Episode 3 after the battle at the Fist of the First Men, only for Jeor to be stabbed in the back by his own men. Finally in Season 4 Episode 5 Jon Snow leads his men north to put down the mutineer Night's Watch men and ends up burning the keep down to the ground.

Clandeboye Estate - The Hound meets the Brotherhood (season 6)

The Hound meets the BWB

The Hound meets the BWB hanging criminals. Game of Thrones season six. © HBO 2016.

Our final stop of the day visits several locations used in Season 6 Episode 8 shot near Helen's Tower and Tower Lake on Clandeboye Estate. First up is the camp where the Hound kills the men that attacked Septon Ray and the villagers. Then we'll visit the tree from which the Brotherhood Without Banners hung more of the criminals that murdered and stole food using their name.

Lastly we'll stop by the lakeside where Sandor Clegane talks with Beric Dondarrion and Thoros of Myr before taking a leak in the lake. I'm informed that was a prosthetic penis by the way folks, sorry about that ladies. I suspect this was the same prosthetic that was used by Kristian Nairn as Hodor's "Hodor" back in season one.

Clandeboye Banqueting Hall

Clandeboye Banqueting Hall

Clandeboye Estate - Medieval Feast

The beautiful banquet hall at Clandeboye Estate will create a very special atmosphere for this year's feast. The hall has seating for up to 160 people with additional space available in the adjacent bar area. Our caterer, Andy Mulholland of The Plough, Hilsborough, will be cooking up another delicious Hog Roast with all the trimmings for us to enjoy. Drinks are available for purchase from the bar.

Kristian Nairn and Miltos Yerolemou at the feast 2011

Kristian Nairn and Miltos Yerolemou enjoying the feast from our 2011 Coach Tour


Drop off at Belfast City Airport

We will be passing right past Belfast City Airport on the way back from Clandeboye Estate so we can offer the option of a drop off at around 7.45 pm for anyone that has a late evening flight to catch. There will be an option on the Coach Tour booking form for drop off at the airport. Please remember to bring all your luggage with you in the morning for storage on the bus. For those that need to get to City Airport a little bit earlier you can get a taxi from our feast venue at Clandeboye Estate. Many others have done this in previous years and it has not been a problem. Please ask if you have any questions about this.

Drop off at Europa Bus Station

For those that need to take a train or bus home after the Coach Tour we can offer drop off outside the Europa Bus Station and Great Victoria Street Railway Station. Please select this option on the Coach Tour booking form if you want to be dropped off at the Europa.

After party and Dead Dog Party

Once we're back at the Wellington Park Hotel the party doesn't have to end there, we'll be in the Hotel Bar for the remainder of the evening. Also we have a Dead Dog Party (because that's what you feel like after a convention) in the Wellington Park Hotel bar on Monday 3 October from mid morning right through till the evening. So if you're in Belfast on Monday feel free to drop by and join us.


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