Friday, November 30, 2012

THE DARK HEDGES IN IRELAND

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The Dark Hedges in Ireland

The Dark Hedges is a unique stretch of the Bregagh Road near Armoy, in Ireland, that looks like something from a Tim Burton movie. Over the past 300 years or so, the Beech trees guarding either side of the lane have reached up and across to each other, becoming heavily intertwined to create a natural arched tunnel where shadow and light plays through entwined branches.

This beautiful avenue of beech trees was planted by the Stuart family in the eighteenth century. It was intended as a compelling landscape feature to impress visitors as they approached the entrance to their Georgian mansion, Gracehill House, which is now a golf club. Two centuries later, the trees remain a magnificent sight and have become one of the most photographed natural phenomena in Northern Ireland.

Legend tells that a supernatural 'Grey Lady' haunts the thin ribbon of road that winds beneath the ancient beech trees. She silently glides along the roadside and vanishes as she passes the last beech tree. Some say the specter is the ghost of a maid from the nearby house who died in mysterious circumstances centuries ago. Others believe that she is a lost spirit from an abandoned graveyard that is thought to lie hidden in the fields nearby. On Halloween night, the forgotten graves are said to open and the Grey Lady is joined on her walk by the tormented souls of those who were buried beside her.

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