Wednesday, November 23, 2016

The Dark Hedges

 This post is all the way back from our trip to Northern Ireland on our way to Belfast.
This is an awful picture, but it is the only one I got. It is immensely difficult to get a picture of something close by when you are hurtling by in a bus... Throughout "The Troubles" in Northern Ireland to this day when there is peace, the curbs in the streets are painted red, white, and blue to represent their allegiance to England.

This is more than just mere decoration, during the times of "The Troubles" it gave visitors to Northern Ireland safety. If you needed Gas or a place to stop at night, it wasn't easy to simply stop in the next town if you were a Catholic traveling in Protestant Ireland. There were stories of people disappearing if they entered the wrong town. By painting the curbs, these visitors were warned that this was an extremely protestant town and they could keep going to a more peaceful town.
 The Countryside in the North is a lot different, especially compared to that in the west.  It has some of the best soil in the Island. Some of the most powerful the Gaelic lords reigned over large pieces of land in the north. Before the 1600's that was the most Catholic, Irish, and wealthy part of the entire country, But after a failed war with England, these Gaelic lords fled and the British took over the land and made plantations with thousands of Scottish and English, which made it into the North we know today -- the most Protestant part of Ireland.

We could see the richness of the land as we drove by. Instead of rock walls, there were healthy hedges to mark boundaries, and the land was green and fertile with barely and rock in sight.
 But the best part of the drive was our stop at The Dark Hedges. (If you are a Game of Throne's fan, You'll recognize this place as The King's Road.) This was quite possibly my favorite part of the trip.
After all, I've been raving about the beautiful trees here, and this long line probably beat everything I've seen. (Probably.)
 The light bark and paleing leaves of the trees in autumn reminded me of Lothlorien.
 The branches intertwined to create a canopy that heavily shaded the area -- hence "The Dark Hedges."

 The trees were almost eerie.

It was a stunning walk and probably one of my favorite places, but I wish there weren't so many people there. (I know, I know, You didn't see anyone in any of these pictures. But there were at least 50 people there and a tourist bus. I took a lot of waiting and good timing to get pictures without people. A skill I've become reasonably good at.)

I just think the trees would have been even more magical, walking through them alone at sunrise or sunset in the mist. Or maybe that would have brought out their eerieness even more...

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