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.