July 17, 2018
The Dark Hedges and Bushmill’s Distillery
This was one particular location I was excited for. Not only because it was another Game of Thrones filming location, but also because it is hauntingly beautiful. We were lucky enough to have arrived at the hedges early and avoid the large crowds.
Recognize anything? This happens to be where they filmed the King’s Road scene for Game of Thrones. Pretty cool, right?
Well, that’s not all the dark hedges has to offer. It also has The Grey Lady:
According to legend, the hedges are visited by a ghost called the Grey Lady, who travels the road and flits across it from tree to tree. She is claimed to be either the spirit of James Stuart’s daughter (named “Cross Peggy”) or one of the house’s maids who died mysteriously, or a spirit from an abandoned graveyard beneath the fields, who on Halloween is joined on her visitation by other spirits from the graveyard [Wikipedia].
It was a bit of a disappointment that I wasn’t able to see her while we were there. However, I can’t say I didn’t feel anything while walking down the road.
The beech trees surrounding the road made the entire walk feel hauntingly beautiful. My mind was trying to memorize everything I could see in case I ever wanted to write a scene in this beautiful location.
Here is a little background on the site:
A tree preservation order was placed on the trees in 2004, to enable preservation and maintenance, and in 2009 the Dark Hedges Preservation Trust was set up. Of the 150 trees originally planted by the Stuart family, about 90 remained by 2016. A survey in 2014 revealed that the trees are in various states of health and are at risk in bad weather. Two trees were destroyed, and one damaged, by Storm Gertrude in January 2016. Another tree came down in Storm Doris in February 2017. As visitor numbers have increased, concern has been expressed over vehicular traffic damaging the trees’ roots, as well as problems of graffiti and the daubing of sectarian slogans on the trees. The Woodland Trust has stated that high traffic levels might cause the trees, which are surface rooting, to last less than twenty years. In 2017 the Department of Infrastructure announced plans to close the road to traffic, due to visitor numbers causing possible damage and degradation to the site. A ban on traffic using the road (between its junctions with Ballinlea Road and Ballykenver Road) came into place on 30 October 2017. Specified exemptions to the ban include emergency and agricultural vehicles in particular circumstances.
Seriously people…don’t be a dick and damage the site. Just enjoy it for what it is [there were a ton of carvings on the trees which annoyed me].
Our next stop…
For those of you who know me or follow me on any form of social media, you know I love whiskey. It is one of my all time favorite alcoholic drinks. Sadly, tours were limited as it was out of season for them. Instead, we decided to try a tasting. Each of us purchases a ticket for a tasting in the gift shop before making our way to the bar.
The bartender seemed very concerned at the fact that we were each getting our own tastings. We weren’t sure as to why until the glasses came out. I was excited. The other girls were nervous.
As I watched their expressions drop in nervousness, mine rose in excitement. Each sip was more delicious than the last. Although I tried to savor the flavors of each glass, I can honestly say mine became empty fairly quickly. When I downed the last glass, I glanced towards the bartender who seemed to approve.
From the pictures above, you can tell my friends couldn’t finish their glasses. But don’t worry. Once I put the phone away, I made sure to drink theirs for them. A nice whiskey like that would not get wasted on my watch [I mainly drank their more expensive whiskey].
Yes. I was tipsy for the rest of the day as we made our way south to Ireland.
The Cliffs of Moher