In 2019, before Covid when we could travel freely about the country and indeed, the world, my husband, Paul and I went to Ireland. This was part of a big road trip to the ‘North’. We live on the south coast and, although I have travelled around the world, I am sorry to say I have seen little of the UK. Our older daughter (then a sound engineer) was working at the Edinburgh Fringe, and she invited us to go up and see some shows. She had to leave the entertainment industry in 2020 when the work dried up because of the pandemic – but that, as they say, is another story.
Paul is never happier than when planning a trip, and as we are both big fans of the Game of Thrones (GOT) it seemed a good idea to visit some of the filming locations. We saw quite a lot of them and took in an impressive exhibition of props and costumes in Belfast. It was great. But what sticks in my mind now, a year or so later, is the Kingsroad (pictured).
In real life this is Bregagh Road in County Antrim, Northern Ireland. Locally known as the Dark Hedges. Let me tell you, they don’t disappoint.
We arrived quite late in the day. The light was fading and there was, unusually, no one about. We got a bit lost and somehow approached via a back road and before we realised, we were driving along it – not understanding that the road is actually closed for traffic. It was simple enough to drive around the roadblock (oops!) at the other end. We parked up and had a quick walk in the gloaming. The trees arching above, their knurled and ancient branches making strange dark shapes against the night sky. There was a kind of hush. No doubt about it – the old trees have a certain unexplained presence. A watchfulness that pricks at the back of the neck and plucks the dark side of the imagination.
In the morning we got up early and walked there from the hotel. Again, we were alone. Mist clung to the ground as we walked the whole avenue. Yes, we thought about the GOT, but it was something more, something intangible about being in the company of something old.
So if you get the chance, go there yourself. You don’t need to be a GOT fan to appreciate the haunting beauty of the Dark Hedges.
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Thanks for reading!