The runaway HBO hit series Game of Thrones returns on Sunday for its third season, and while legions of fans anxiously await the premiere, here are five Irish castles for staging your own small-scale GoT reenactment. Yes, the show films all over Europe—from Morocco to Croatia to Iceland—but the bulk of the shooting takes place in Northern Ireland. Thankfully, around 2000 small castles, known as tower houses, dot the verdant Irish countryside, so those fantasies of ruling a private kingdom are cheaper than one might imagine. This tower house in southern Ireland, known as Grantstown Castle, has recently been renovated, but retains most of the 16th-century detailing. The price is available upon application, but probably isn't too steep considering the kingdom measures just two acres.
? Built in the 14th or 15th centuries, Ballymaquiff Castle now lies in ruins, waiting for a hardy soul to restore it to its former greatness. One trouble might be its extremely close proximity to an active rail line—and having a train drown out your epic battle cry can be a real downer—but the low price attempts to compensate, at just $186K. Caveat emptor: the castle is currently in such bad shape that visitors enter at their own risk.
? Glengarriff Castle, a towered stone structure on 86 hillside acres overlooking picturesque Bantry Bay, would be the perfect place to set one's own Iron Throne. That is, if it weren't in ruins. Built in the late 18th century, the Gothic Revival castle succumbed to the elements over the past 100 years, but the thick stone walls look capable of being restored, while the original ivy covered gatehouse provides a fitting entrance to this grand property. Glengarriff is presently listed without a defined price.
? Those with a taste for Glengarriff-style disarray, but without the fortitude for a project of that magnitude would do well to check out the aptly titled Castle Curious. Listed for $167K, this crumbling pile of stone was built in 1847 by "unconventional craftsman named Johnny Roche." What was so "unconventional" about Roche isn't exactly clear, but his architecture and engineering skills seem to have let down this particular castle.
? For Games fans who don't want to rough it in a pile of ruins, there's always Father Mathew Tower. The foundation of the tower dates to 1824, but the structure has been radically expanded and updated since. It now houses 6,500 square feet of interiors that have touches of the past but with plenty of 21st-century upgrades. All that space and modern luxury comes with a price to match: $1.47M.
· Grantstown Castle [Premier Properties Ireland]
· Ballymaquiff Castle [Premier Properties Ireland]
· Glengarriff Castle [Premier Properties Ireland]
· Castle Curious [Premier Properties Ireland]
· Father Mathew Tower [Christie's International Real Estate]