Ireland Day 11 – Dark Hedges – some really cool trees

We got off to a very slow start this morning.   I was up early putting the pictures in earlier blog posts that we were not able to do then.  We had breakfast around 9 and were joined by a couple from England and their friend from Scotland.

After breakfast we got to talking about each others country and what would be good to see.  They said they always looked at coming to Canada but never had, as it is SO big they don’t know where to start or where to go.   Go figure.

We finally stepped away from the table around 11, finished packing our bags and left them in the sitting room so that we could walk around Ballymoney again.    We did that (visited the candy store again) and returned to the B&B around 12:30.   Ian from our first B&B picked us up at 1 as we had arranged to have him drive us back to Belfast by going past a local phenomenon called Dark Hedges – I however keep calling them Dark Woods, and I think they might actually change the name of them after we leave – ha ha.

Essentially these are beech trees that were planted on both sides of a road over 100 years ago, and now have grown high and completely cover the road like a tunnel.   The branches are all crooked and it looks quite spectacular (to me anyway).  

Judge for yourself

Dark Hedges - or Woods if you prefer

 

From here we then headed into Ballycastle and south along the east coast through Cushendall and other small towns into Belfast.  There are nice views here and you can see the Mull of Kintyre in Scotland along a lot of the way.   We even passed the landing point where the 2 hour ferry runs between Ireland and Scotland

And Connie says….

Had a great sleep at Pinetrees B&B and went for breakfast at 9:00.  Now that’s a holiday.  The other guests that were staying there came down about half an hour later and we had a really good visit with them.  Amazing how long we sat and talked with strangers.  A good way to find out good places to go in their country and vice versa. 

On the way to Belfast Ian took us on the scenic route.  He’s an excellent tour guide and very knowledgeble about Ireland history and folklore.  A highlight of the day was the dark hedges.  These trees looked magical in a Lord of the Rings kind of way.  It was fun seeing how much Barry enjoyed being there.  The locals don’t seem to be as thrilled about them as we were but that seems to be the case everywhere.  We take things for granted that others find awesome.  Our northern lights being a good example of that.  Our breakfast friends wanted to know about the northern lights.  We said that yes we have them but don’t go looking for them every night.  They were surprised by that.  After this conversation,  I have decided to make more of an effort to go looking for them.

We passed the hotel that Winston Churchill used to own as well as what Ian said was a hedge school.  This was where Catholic children were taken to be taught (literally a hole through a wall with shrubs around it)  They had to be taught in secret because of the troubles between the two religions.

We got to Belfast to the Holiday Inn http://www.holidayinn.com/hotels/us/en/belfast/bfsoa/hoteldetail

and then headed out walking the city right away.  It seem’s we are not that good at sitting.  Over the past 3 nights there have been some riots between the protestants and catholics again but we are not near that area.  The people here are desperate to keep the peace agreement and as in most cases the radicals are the ones who stir things up.  We have found the Irish people to be happy and friendly and we hope that peace reigns for them forever more.

We ate our supper at the Crown Bar which seems to be a local must place to visit.  http://www.crownbar.com/

Quite charming and we can now take that off our bucket list.  Ha Ha.  On our wanderings we spotted a Tim’s sign at a local grocery store advertising coffee and a bacon bap for 2 pounds.  As we are at the end of our holiday with the pounds dwindling (the money, not the weight!) that just might be where we have brekkie tomorrow 🙂

About trailsandtrips

I am a consultant in the forestry and environmental fields and spend my recreational time in a variety of outdoor activities such as hiking, backpacking, canoeing, kayaking, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing.
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2 Responses to Ireland Day 11 – Dark Hedges – some really cool trees

  1. Jamur Tiram says:

    Very instructional post..

  2. What a really joy of a article…

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