Bucket List Inspiration – The Dark Hedges

You probably clicked on this post because you are a huge Game of Thrones fan and you want to know how to visit the shooting locations of this series. If not, chances are you enjoy the natural (man-made) miracles this earth has to offer, just like me. Or maybe, you just didn’t know about this mystical, Tim Burtonesque part of Northern Ireland that has actually become one of the biggest attractions in this part of the country. Whichever way you want to see it, this place is definitely worth a stop! 


It was on a rainy February day that I decided to leave Dublin behind for some exploring of the Northern coast. In case you haven’t noticed, Ireland is a place with outstanding natural landscapes and the rough weather adds to it, experience wise. And since the country is so small (and easy to travel through) you can’t skip the chance to cross the (psychological) border into North Ireland as well. Not just the Giant’s Causeway or the Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge are worth your trouble, this creepy natural phenomenon is responsible for thousands of tourists a year!

 

The Dark Hedges are nothing more  than a row of Beech trees, planted on both sides of a road that leads to a Georgian mansion called the Gracehill House. The Stuart Family, who lived there in the 18th century, planted the trees to create a mind blowing experience for guests approaching the mansion. Because the trees start on top of the hill, the whole concept is a bit terrifying. Be honest, it does look kind of impressive, doesn’t it?

 

 

Game of Thrones

Nowadays the road is visited by many travelers, tourists and Game of Thrones fans. The Dark Hedges where used as a filming location for the second season of this immensely popular TV show. Although I couldn’t remember the part where they visited the Dark Hedges, I found it really cool to see this, now iconic, place in reality.

The legend of the Grey Lady

Aside from all the promotion it gets as a film location, the Dark Hedges are also known because of the legend of the Grey Lady – a ghost like person that comes out at dusk, floating through the trees and on the road, disappearing just as mysteriously as she came passing the last Beech tree. Some say she was once a maid who died under mysterious circumstances centuries ago. Others believe that she is a lost spirit from an abandoned graveyard, hidden in one of the nearby fields.

How to get there?

Walking from the top of the hill to the Gracehill mansion will take about 5 – 10 minutes, meaning there’s not a lot to do. This makes it an ideal stopping location when traveling to one of the major sights the North-Irish coastline has to offer.  Many tours go in that direction and most of them stop here. Tours can be takes from big cities like Dublin and Belfast.

The Dark Hedges are located close to the village of Armoy, about 50 miles northwest from Belfast. When driving the coastal road of county Antrim, you can follow these instructions to get there.

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15 Comments

  • Reply
    Sumit Surai
    April 16, 2015 at 12:36

    Not a Game of Thrones fan myself but this place looks awesome. No doubts about that. Lovely photos.

    • Reply
      The Brave Dame
      April 16, 2015 at 13:44

      Me neither, although some people want to strangle me when I say that 😉
      The place is nice indeed, with or without Game of Thrones!

  • Reply
    Madaline
    April 16, 2015 at 16:13

    Love Game of Thrones, but I actually don’t remember this! But it is indeed beautiful. I love a good ghost story…

  • Reply
    Lexi
    April 17, 2015 at 08:43

    I love GOT but I didn’t immediately make the connection. It looks like such a cool place to visit regardless!

  • Reply
    Gabor Kovacs
    April 17, 2015 at 14:50

    I don’t care too much about Game of Thrones, but I would visit this place, it seems beautiful!

  • Reply
    christine
    April 17, 2015 at 22:44

    I loveee Game of Thrones! 🙂

  • Reply
    Revati
    April 18, 2015 at 04:44

    Not a game of thrones fan (following the plot just got cumbersome after a few episodes) but the eye candy, oh! The locales are just stunning, and I love your pictures! It’s just the best parts of GOT, the pretty views and none of the crazy plot!

    • Reply
      The Brave Dame
      April 21, 2015 at 08:29

      Indeed, Revati. Watching the show is a great way to discover new places.

  • Reply
    Roaming Renegades
    April 18, 2015 at 10:37

    We loved the Dark Hedges but there were so many people around! It’s fascinating to know about the history of them before G.O.T. The whole area is stunning we really fell in love with Ireland, glad you did too!

    • Reply
      The Brave Dame
      April 21, 2015 at 08:31

      Oh that’s a shame. It was almost empty when I was there, but the weather was horrible as well… It’s so funny we’re spending time in the exact same places about one month apart :D. Whenever I see your Ireland posts I relive my trip.

  • Reply
    Het Sushimeisje
    April 18, 2015 at 12:34

    Ik wist helemaal niet de delen van de serie in Ierland waren opgenomen! Dacht eerder aan Nieuw-Zeeland 😉 Vraag me af of dit meer toeristen en zaken deals naar Ierland haalt.

    • Reply
      The Brave Dame
      April 18, 2015 at 15:50

      Dat gebeurt inderdaad wel, denk ik :). Ik wist het eerst ook niet, maar kon het me wel voorstellen sinds dat ik in Dubrovnik ben geweest.

  • Reply
    sarah
    April 18, 2015 at 21:38

    We just visited Dubrovnik and will be going to Seville next month and really hope to round off our GoT sites with this one in Ireland. 🙂

  • Reply
    Emily Luxton
    April 19, 2015 at 13:18

    I think we might be the only people alive who don’t watch Game of Thrones! I’m heading to Northern Ireland next summer and I’m really looking forward to exploring scenery like this. Thanks for letting me know of it’s existence – I’ll have to add it to my list!

    • Reply
      The Brave Dame
      April 21, 2015 at 08:32

      I think so too, Emily. I hope you have a great time visiting Northern Ireland. It’s a wonderful place!

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