16 Dec 2016

Magical Places: The Dark Hedges, Co. Antrim

This magical tunnel of entwining beech trees has long been a favourite among photographers, but in recent years the once quiet country lane has become one of Northern Ireland's most popular tourist attractions. 

 


(scroll down for german version)

Ever since the spring of 2012 when the beech tree lined road had a 17 seconds performance in season 2 of the hugely successful HBO series "Game of Thrones", fans have been arriving by the bus loads. When viewers found out that this road really exists, they had to see this enchanted place with their own eyes. In October 2016 the production team returned to film more scenes for season 7. 
In the series the avenue is known as "the Kingsroad" - in the real world there's also a royal connection: in the early 1600s King James I granted the road and surrounding lands to one of his Stuart cousins, and the estate remained in the Stuart family for generations. In 1775 James Stuart built a stately home and named it "Gracehill House" after his wife Grace. He also had 150 beech trees planted along the drive to provide an impressive approach to the mansion house.

Approaching Gracehill House
Like every good estate, Gracehill also has its resident ghost - the "Grey Lady" is said to haunt the grounds and has been regularly seen gliding through the tree tunnel at dusk, silently floating from tree to tree until nightfall. Some believe she's James' daughter Margaret, also known as "Cross Peggy", but there are also stories of a maid who died under mysterious circumstances. On "Oíche Shamhna", Halloween night, the Grey Lady is accompanied by other lost souls from a nearby old and forgotten graveyard.

Can you see her?
The famous beech tree avenue is no longer part of the 210 acres Gracehill estate, but has become known as the "Dark Hedges". It's actual name is Bregagh Road, it lies between the villages Armoy and Stranocum in County Antrim.
The ever-shifting play of light and shadows in this tunnel of ancient trees is a magnificent sight, varying mysteriously, depending on the time of day and time of year. In recent years the little avenue has been chosen among the most enchanting spots in the world, was voted one of the 12 best road trips in the UK and Ireland and made it to number seven of the ten most beautiful streets on the planet. 




Light and shadow
During a tree survey in 2014 ninety-four beech trees were examined and their age recorded as 300 to 350 years old. Usually beech trees grow to an age of 150 to 200 years. The trees are almost 30 metres high with their intertwining branches creating the iconic tree tunnel that has become one of the most photographed landscape features in Northern Ireland. 
In January 2016 winter storm Gertrude swept over the area and managed to uproot some of the ancient beech trees. Sadly, they had to be cut down. 
But ingeniously, Tourism Ireland and HBO came up with the brilliant idea to use the timber to create ten Game-of-Thrones themed wooden doors, elaborately designed and carved, each depicting scenes from one of the ten episodes of the 6th season. The doors were given to local pubs or restaurants at different Game of Thrones filming locations around Northern Ireland, no doubt creating another attraction for fans of the series.
Here's the link to the video telling the story of how the doors were made and where they can be found: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2OTLFjuabk0



Today, Gracehill House is a restaurant, catering to all those Game of Thrones fans who flock to the Dark Hedges, serving a "Kingsroad Menu" with "Winterfell Castle Pie", "Mother of Dragons Tart" and  handmade "Direwolf bread". One of the ten intricately carved Game doors made from the fallen trees was given to Gracehill House and can be marvelled at inside the restaurant. There's also an 18-hole golf course on the grounds and the estate can be booked for weddings and other events. 
You can find out more about the history and the events going on at Gracehill House on their website:  http://www.gracehillhouse.com/got-dark-hedges




german version:

Der märchenhafte Tunnel aus verschlungenen Buchenästen war immer schon ein beliebtes Motiv unter Fotografen, aber in den letzen Jahren ist die einst ruhige Landstrasse zu einer der beliebtesten Touristenattraktionen Nordirlands geworden. 

 


Seit dem Moment im Frühling 2012 als die Buchenallee einen 17-Sekunden Auftritt in der 2. Staffel der Hit HBO Serie "Game of Thrones" hatte, kommen hier Busladungen an Fans der Serie an. Als die Zuseher herausfanden, daß diese Straße tatsächlich existiert, wollten sie diesen verwunschenen Ort mit eigenen Augen sehen. Im Oktober 2016 kehrte das Produktionsteam zurück und drehte mehr Szenen für die 7. Staffel. 
In der Serie heißt die Allee "Königsstraße" - in der Wirklichkeit gibt es auch eine königliche Verbindung: in den frühen 1600er Jahren gewährte König Jakob I die Straße und umliegenden Ländereien einem seiner Stuart Cousins und das Anwesen blieb in der Stuart Familie für Generationen. Im Jahre 1775 ließ James Stuart das Herrenhaus bauen und nannte es "Gracehill House" nach seiner Frau Grace. Er war es auch, der die 150 Buchen entlang der Straße pflanzen ließ um so die Auffahrt zum Anwesen besonders beeindruckend zu gestalten. 



Wie jedes gute Herrenhaus hat auch Gracehill ein Hausgespenst - die "Graue Lady" soll am Anwesen ihr Unwesen treiben und regelmäßig zur Abenddämmerung durch den Baumtunnel gleiten, lautlos schwebend von Baum zu Baum bis zum Einbruch der Dunkelheit. Manche glauben es handelt sich um James' Tochter Margaret, auch "mürrische Peggy" genannt, aber es gibt auch andere Geschichten von einer Hausangestellten, die unter mysteriösen Umständen ums Leben gekommen sein soll. In der "Oíche Shamhna", der Halloween Nacht, soll die graue Lady von anderen verlorenen Seelen aus einem alten vergessenen Friedhof in der Nähe begleitet werden.


Die bekannte Buchenallee gehört mittlerweilen nicht mehr zum knapp 85 Hektar großen Landgut, sondern wurde als "Dark Hedges" bekannt, was soviel wie "Dunkle Hecken" bedeutet. Der eigentliche Name der Straße ist Bregagh Road und sie liegt zwischen den Dörfern Armoy und Stranocum in der Grafschaft Antrim. 
Das ständig wechselnde Spiel aus Licht und Schatten in diesem Tunnel aus alten Bäumen ist ein großartiger Anblick, der sich je nach Tageszeit und Jahreszeit mystisch verändert. 
In den letzten Jahren wurde die kleine Allee zu einem der zauberhaftesten Orte der Welt gekürt, schaffte es unter die 12 besten Straßenstrecken Großbrittaniens und Irlands und wurde auf den 7. Platz der zehn schönsten Landstraßen des Planeten gewählt. 



Während einer Studie des Baumbestandes im Jahre 2014 wurden 94 Bäume untersucht und ihr Alter auf 300 bis 350 Jahre festgelegt. Normalerweise werden Buchen 150 bis 200 Jahre alt. Die Bäume sind fast 30 Meter hoch und die ineinander verschlungenen Äste formen diesen immensen Baumtunnel, der einer der meist fotografierten Landschaftsphänomene Nordirlands geworden ist. 
Im Januar 2016 fegte der Orkan "Gertrude" über die Gegend und schaffte es einige der alten Buchen zu entwurzeln. Sie mußten leider gefällt werden. 
Aber dann hatten die Tourismusbehörde Irlands und der Fernsehsender HBO eine geniale Idee: aus dem Holz der gefallenen Bäume wurden zehn Türen mit Game-of-Thrones Motto gestaltet und aufwendig geschnitzt, jede Tür stellt bestimmte Szenen aus einer der Folgen aus der sechsten Staffel dar. Die Türen wurden an zehn Pubs und Restaurants an verschiedenen Game of Thrones Drehorten in ganz Nordirland verteilt, was die Fans der Serie dort ohne Zweifel einkehren läßt. Hier ist der link zu einem video von Discover Ireland, das die Geschichte dieser Türen erzählt und zeigt wo man sie finden kann: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2OTLFjuabk0


Heute ist Gracehill House ein Restaurant, das besonders die Game of Thrones Fans ansprechen will, die zu den Dark Hedges strömen. Das "Kingsroad" Menü lockt mit einer "Winterfell Burg Pastete", "Mutter-der-Drachen Torte" und  hausgemachtem "Schattenwolf Brot". Eine der wunderschön geschnitzten Game-Türen aus dem Holz der entwurzelten Bäume befindet sich auch im Restaurant des Gracehill House und kann dort gebührend bewundert werden. 
Außerdem gibt es einen 18-Loch Golfplatz auf dem Anwesen und das Gut kann für Hochzeiten oder andere Veranstaltungen gemietet werden. 
Auf ihrer Webseite kann man mehr über die Geschichte und die Events auf Gracehill House nachlesen: http://www.gracehillhouse.com/got-dark-hedges

Rush hour at the Dark Hedges


24 comments:

  1. Support For Google, Gmail, G Suite Account Ireland Number
    Your Gmail, Google Account is not working? Did you forget Password or something problems in your Gmail, Google Account? So no need to worry just Contact with our Gmail, Google Technical Support Help Ireland Toll Free Number +353-766-803-988, Our Google Experts Certified will be resolve any kinds of problems related to Gmail, G Suite, Google Account with in very short Period of time, more information visit here Gmail Support Number Ireland

    ReplyDelete
  2. Support For Hotmail Ireland Number +353-766-803-988
    Your Microsoft Hotmail Account is not working properly? Did you forget your Password or something problems in your Microsoft Hotmail Account? So do not panic just dial our Hotmail Customer Support Help Ireland Toll Free Number +353-766-803-988, Our Hotmail Experts Certified will be fix any types of issues or problems related to Hotmail Account with in very quick time, more information visit here Hotmail Support Number Ireland

    ReplyDelete
  3. Support for Microsoft Office 365 Ireland Number +353-766-803-988
    Your Microsoft Office 365 Account is not working properly? Are you unable to login account or something issues, problems in your Microsoft Office 365 Account? So no need to worry just call us our Microsoft Office 365 Customer Services Help Ireland Toll Free Number +353-766-803-988, Our Microsoft Office 365 Experts Certified will be fix any types of issues or problems related to Microsoft Office 365 Account with in very quick time, more information visit here Office 365 Support Number Ireland

    ReplyDelete
  4. Support for Microsoft Outlook Ireland Number +353-766-803-988
    Your Microsoft Outlook Account is not working properly? Did you forget your Password or something problems in your Microsoft Outlook Account? So do not be panic just contact with our Microsoft Outlook Customer Support Helpline Ireland Toll Free Number +353-766-803-988, Our Microsoft Outlook Experts team will be fix any types of issues or problems related to Microsoft Outlook Account with in short time of period, more information visit here Outlook Support Number Ireland

    ReplyDelete
  5. Support for Yahoo Ireland Number +353-766-803-988
    Your Yahoo Account is not working properly? Did you forget your Password or something issues or problems in your Yahoo Account? So no need to panic just call us our Yahoo Contact Support Helpline Ireland Toll Free Number +353-766-803-988, Our Yahoo Experts team would be resolve any types of issues or problems related to Yahoo Account with in short time of period, more information visit here Yahoo Support Number Ireland

    ReplyDelete
  6. Microsoft Office 365 is a cloud based application that lets the user to manage various software’s including Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, and One Note on multiple devices. However, user of Office 365 may face several challenges while implementing it and need to deal with mistakes and issues. Microsoft Office 365 Technical Support Phone +353-766803751 for Ireland helps to deal with issues in minutes. Get more information on website: Office 365 Support ireland

    ReplyDelete
  7. Experience The Best Gmail Issue Resolution by Gmail Support Team Ireland
    If you are having a Gmail Account and at the same time going through any technical issues with that, then you can just simply call Gmail Toll Free Support Number for Ireland +353-766803988. Gmail expert team will give you instant relief from all hiccups of Gmail issues in one go through 24/7 availability on phone, live chat and email For more information, visit here Gmail Support Number Ireland


    ReplyDelete
  8. Hotmail users Contact Hotmail Customer Support Number Ireland +353-766803988
    Sending and receiving mails through electronic media are nowadays become important means of communication as it fast, cheap and free. However, due to its digital nature, there is always a cyber threats that can cause problems with Hotmail Account. So, users of Hotmail can just contact Online Hotmail Support Phone Number +353-766803988 for Ireland for immediate and reliable assistance from experts. For more details, visit: Hotmail Support Number Ireland

    ReplyDelete
  9. Outlook is a personal account manager where you can add several accounts details while using a single centralized place to get all the emails from several accounts. If you are facing any issues and technical glitches with Outlook account, contact Microsoft Outlook Toll Free Number 353-766803988 Ireland and get immediate help through Microsoft professionals for guaranteed solution in minimal time. For more information, visit our website:  Outlook Support ireland

    ReplyDelete
  10. Need Yahoo Technical Support Number Ireland? Call +353-766803988 for complete assistance at your Doorstep.
    Looking for instant relief from Yahoo emailing account? If you are an Ireland Yahoo mail account holder then feel free call Yahoo Customer Support Toll Free Number +353-766803988 Ireland to seek assistance from professionals on all working days and experience safety and security of your account. For more information, visit Yahoo Support Ireland

    ReplyDelete
  11. We are providing best HP Printer Helpline. Our technician's are available 24*7 for solve any issue in hp printer in a few minut's. For more information. Dial 18882238982 OR
    Visit: printertechcare247.com

    ReplyDelete
  12. Dial Norton Antivirus Customer Services Toll Free Phone Number Ireland +353-766-803-988, Norton Technical Support Experts Teams would be resolve your all problems with in very short time of period
    For more information, visit here Norton Support Number Ireland

    ReplyDelete
  13. Get Instant Support from Adobe Technical Support Phone Number Ireland +353-766-803-988, we will be fixing your all issues about Adobe such as adobe not install, not downloaded, not upgrade, sign in issues and many more
    For more information, visit here Adobe Support Number Ireland

    ReplyDelete
  14. Get Instant Support from Adobe Technical Support Phone Number Ireland +353-766-803-988, we will be fixing your all issues about Adobe such as adobe not install, not downloaded, not upgrade, sign in issues and many more
    For more information, visit here Adobe Support Number Ireland

    ReplyDelete
  15. Contact with Xero Accounting Online Contact Toll Free Phone Number Ireland +353-766-803-988, Xero Certified Teams will resolve your Xero Accounts issues with in very quick time through Phone or Chat call us Xero Accounts Contact Help Number Ireland +353-766-803-988
    For more information, visit here Xero Support Number Ireland

    ReplyDelete
  16. We are providing HP Printer Contact Helpline Phone Number in Ireland +353-766-803-988, if you are getting any problems related to HP Printer Repair then feel free to Contact us our HP printer Repair Services Center Technical Support Number Ireland +353-766-803-988
    For more information, visit here HP Printer Support Number Ireland

    ReplyDelete
  17. We are providing HP Printer Contact Helpline Phone Number in Ireland +353-766-803-988, if you are getting any problems related to HP Printer Repair then feel free to Contact us our HP printer Repair Services Center Technical Support Number Ireland +353-766-803-988
    For more information, visit here HP Printer Support Number Ireland

    ReplyDelete
  18. We are providing Brother Printer Contact Helpline Phone Number in Ireland +353-766-803-988, if you are getting any problems related to Brother Printer Repair then feel free to Contact us our Brother printer Repair Services Center Technical Support Number Ireland +353-766-803-988
    For more information, visit here Brother Printer Support Number Ireland

    ReplyDelete
  19. We are providing Brother Printer Contact Helpline Phone Number in Ireland +353-766-803-988, if you are getting any problems related to Brother Printer Repair then feel free to Contact us our Brother printer Repair Services Center Technical Support Number Ireland +353-766-803-988
    For more information, visit here Brother Printer Support Number Ireland

    ReplyDelete
  20. Get Instant Support from Canon Printer Technical Support Phone Number Ireland +353-766-803-988, we will be fixing your all issues about Canon Printer. Canon Printer not working and many more
    For more information, visit here Canon Printer Support Number Ireland

    ReplyDelete
  21. Get Instant Support from Canon Printer Technical Support Phone Number Ireland +353-766-803-988, we will be fixing your all issues about Canon Printer. Canon Printer not working and many more
    For more information, visit here Canon Printer Support Number Ireland

    ReplyDelete
  22. Dial Espon Printer Customer Services Toll Free Phone Number Ireland +353-766-803-988, Epson Printer Repair Services Technical Support Experts Teams would be resolve your all problems with in very short time of period
    For more information, visit here EpsonPrinter Support Number Ireland

    ReplyDelete
  23. Dial Microsoft Office 365 Customer Services Toll Free Phone Number Ireland +353-766-803-988, Microsoft Office 365 Technical Support Experts Teams would be resolve your all problems with in very short time of period
    For more information, visit here Office 365 Support Number Ireland

    ReplyDelete
  24. Support for Microsoft Outlook Ireland Number +353-766-803-988
    Your Microsoft Outlook Account is not working properly? Did you forget your Password or something problems in your Microsoft Outlook Account? So do not be panic just contact with our Microsoft Outlook Customer Support Helpline Ireland Toll Free Number +353-766-803-988, Our Microsoft Outlook Experts team will be fix any types of issues or problems related to Microsoft Outlook Account with in short time of period For more information, visit here hotmail Support Number Ireland

    ReplyDelete