52 weeks series, Featured Articles
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The Dark Hedges, Northern Ireland

the dark hedges northern ireland
The 52 Weeks Series :: a photo a week, every week, in 2015.

Who knew it would be so hard to choose the photos for this project?

I have thousands upon thousands of photographs, and while I have them sorted by year, I certainly haven’t got a strict cataloguing system in play. I should have.

While the project grows, I dare say a criteria for choosing images will unfold over the coming weeks.

It’s all very subjective. What I like in terms of photography may not be everyone’s cuppa, so I’m sure not everyone will agree with the choice each week. Nonetheless, choose I will.

The main aim of the project is to inspire wanderlust, with an emphasis on ecology and the environment.

This week, the imposing Dark Hedges.

Game of Thrones fans will recognise these magnificent twisted beech trees from the hit TV series.

Usually seen swathed with fog in the early morning light, or with armies marching under the serpentine arms, the trees look haunting in the dark fantasy series. Yet, in the broad light of day, and on a strangely sunny and hot day in Northern Ireland, the trees don’t look so foreboding.

Planted in the 18th century by the Stuart family, this magnificent avenue of 150 beech trees lined the drive up to their residence Gracehill House, which is now a golf club.

Although much photographed and painted down through the years, the fate of the Dark Hedges was in question a few years ago when the Roads Service revealed a plan to fell a number of the trees for safety reasons. After a public outcry, The Dark Hedges Preservation Trust was set up in 2009 to help conserve the trees. The group acquired £43,000 in funding from the Heritage Lottery, which should help maintain and preserve this surreal sight for another few hundred years.

One of a number of Game of Thrones film locations in NI, The Dark Hedges are rooted in Armoy, about a 30-minute drive from the Giant’s Causeway.


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