For someone who’s not that fussed about Games of Thrones I never expected to be kitted out in medieval garb prancing about on horseback along King’s Road.
But sometimes you’ve just got to live in the moment. Which is what I’ll be telling the judge when I appear in court charged with common assault after attacking a fellow tourist with a wooden sword after incorrectly identifying them as a member of Lannister clan.
My Game of Thrones experience came about courtesy of Dalriada Tours who are offering a luxury tour which they claim to be the most immersive on the market.
Given that I left the tour feeling like I’d just starred in an episode of the HBO series I can vouch for its authenticity.
Instead of being driven to locations, told who killed or beget who there, then unleashed to take 150 pictures of the same bit of grass or stony outcrop, this tour offers that little bit more.
Yes, you’ll still visit all the locations on a luxury Matthews coach and be given free reign to take photos.
But in addition you’ll be treated to an information overload by intensely enthusiastic fan boys who fit seamlessly into the role of tour guides.
The key selling point of the tour is that you’ll also visit Sheans Horse Farm where you’ll take part in a series of workshops.
You’ll be trained in the art of staged combat and given lessons in archery by the all-conquering Causeway Archers.
I should mention that two of the targets for the archery are a 3D boar and wolf. I should also mention I failed to even graze them.
You’ll also get some horse riding lessons before being taken to the Dark Hedges (King’s Road) where you’ll have the opportunity to get photographed in costume on horseback. An opportunity which I reluctantly seized with both hands.
After the fun and games comes the real showstopper – a medieval Game of Thrones themed banquet in the tower of 17th century Ballygally Castle, which also happens to be haunted.
I can’t say I’ve been to many medieval banquets but this was everything I expected it to be with the exception of no one getting beheaded. A few people ended up legless though.
Dalriada’s Game Of Thrones Tour is operated as a one day, two day or three day tour with overnight stay in Ballygally Castle included in the package. The longer the tour you take the more locations you’ll get to see and hopefully the more medieval banquets you get to eat.
I went on the tour as a Game of Thrones sceptic, having dismissed the show as nothing more than Eastenders with boobs and gore.
But having taken the tour and after getting to know some of the show’s superfans who it turns out are the nicest, but fiercest looking people I’ve ever met, I’ve decided to give Game of Thrones another chance.
I’m not saying I’m a convert, but I watched the final episode this week and didn’t once feel the urge to change the channel. It’s still pretty much boobs and gore, but I’ve now starting listening to the speaking bits as well.