Image via Wikimedia Commons, Andrew Parnell 

The rugged landscape of Game of Thrones, which is filmed in Ireland, inspired us to round up our favorite Irish castles. The show has brought a new tourism industry to the country, which now includes excursions to visit film locations.

This year’s Tourism Ireland campaign, uses crowdsourcing on Facebook to “gather” people around different categories of events throughout 2013 to highlight all the things Ireland has to offer for visitors and residents. Some events located in or near the vicinities of the castles we’re featuring include the upcoming 24th Cork French Film Festival, the Kilkenny Design Workshops celebrating craft and design, and a festival dedicated to the movie The Quiet Man which was filmed in Ashford Castle (below).

Many of Ireland’s castles date to the Norman era of the 12th and 13th centuries. Some sit teetering into the ocean, some idyllically in the middle of lakes, others are supposedly inhabited by ghosts.

1. Ashford Castle (Mayo/Galway County)

Image via Wikimedia CommonsEricci8996

Although this sprawling estate is now a luxury resort, the history of the site dates back to 1228 and passed through many different masters throughout the centuries. Ashford Castle, in its current state, was built in two different periods, the initial construction in the 19th century and the second phase in the 1970s. The film The Quiet Man with John Wayne and Maureen O’Hara was filmed here. This year, a dedicated festival to the movie, The Quiet Man Festival of Events, will be organized via The Gathering featuring visits to film locations and other themed activities