Ireland and Britain Observed Newsletter – April 2019

April has arrived and with it, a change in the air! It is now well into spring on our side, daffodils blossoming, the sun now stretching the evenings out as to fit just a bit more brightness in the day. This month we look at the origins of Game of Thrones, Irish and Scottish knitwear and some stunning sculptures in stately homes.

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The Real Game of Thrones

The hugely popular HBO fantasy epic Game of Thrones is filmed largely in Ireland. Most of the green scenery of the land of Westeros is actually just our gentle rolling hills and verdant forestry. Castle Winterfell is actually Castle Ward, Slavers Bay is Murlough Bay, and the Kings Road is the Dark Hedges in Antrim.

But what is lesser known is that major parts of the show are based on real Medieval History. The Lannisters and Starks are based on the real families of the Lancasters and the Yorks, the two British families who fought for the throne in what we know as the War of the Roses. The infamous Red Wedding scene was inspired by real life massacres in Scotland, The Black Dinner (1440) and The Glencoe Massacre (1692). The Glencoe Massacre involved 120 of William of Orange’s men who sought hospitality from the Macdonald Clan, then murdered 38 of the MacDonald men in their sleep.

Starting in 2020, one of the Game of Thrones studios in Northern Ireland will be turned into the ultimate visitor attraction. Spanning 110,000 square feet, the exhibit will contain iconic sets, costumes, weapons and props from the show.

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