Everyone has heard of the fabled Giant’s Causeway in Northern Ireland and the picturesque Antrim coast. Yet hidden just a few miles inland are The Dark Hedges an ancient avenue of beech trees that looks like something from the mists of Celtic twilight. Thick gnarled limbs form an arched Druid’s tunnel where shadow and light plays through entwined branches. They twist into fantastical, wind-tortured abstract shapes. Legend tells that a gray lady haunts the thin ribbon of road snaking beneath the ancient beech trees.
The Dark Hedges – also known as Bregagh Road – can be found in Stranocum near Armoy in County Antrim. They line the avenue leading to Gracehill House, which is now a golf club. I walked the enchanting avenue on a sunny, late afternoon in October. Brilliant rays of the setting sun spotlighted the knotted trees. The leaves were not changing yet and the twined branches formed a green tunnel that is one of the most delightful and mystical I have seen in Ireland. I passed beneath the undulating, woven archway in the cool, crisp autumn air. Few tourists frequent the small country lane. But those who take the time to seek it out will find the Dark Hedges to be a place of haunting beauty that is simply breathtaking. Thick old limbs embrace like lovers, forming a natural tunnel through verdant farmlands. The timeless aura is evocative of a Tolkienesque landscape.
© 2011 Michele Erdvig
“Ireland Travel Expert”
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The Dark Hedges photos are available in my Irish Shop without the watermarks.