Belfast Telegraph

Dark Hedges of Antrim in world's top 10 magical attractions

By Cate McCurry

Northern Ireland's famous Dark Hedges has twined its way into the top 10 places in the world that look like they have been plucked from a fairy tale.

According to popular online site Trip Advisor, the Dark Hedges, which line the Bregagh Road in Co Antrim, are among the top 'magical' visitor attractions, beating off Lake Bled in Slovenia and Taktsang Monastery - Tiger's Nest - in Bhutan.

The Co Antrim attraction has been drawing crowds after fans of the HBO series Game of Thrones spotted it being used as the King's Road in series two.

The archway of intertwining ancient beech trees has seen a sharp rise in local tourism and after thousands of curious visitors struggled to locate the famous road, brown tourist signs were recently erected to direct fans to the site.

The beech trees were planted by a family in the 18th century to 'dress up' the road and to impress visitors as they made their way to their home.

It has been described as "one of the most beautiful roads on the planet" by visitors who come from all over the world to view the famous trees.

Comments left by visitors on the Trip Advisor website describe in detail why it deserves the fairy-tale title. One user, called Philip M, said: "It's a ghoulish grove of whitish trunks (like bones) arching up and over the Bregagh Road into a canopy of leaves.

"In the liminal time of twilight it is said you can see a mysterious grey lady moving down the lane and through the grove. Unfortunately, over the years some of the hedges have died out and others have been trimmed - so that it's sparse in places. (I wonder if they would consider replanting some of the trees to thicken up the grove?)

"The hedges were originally planted along the driveway leading up to the old Gracehill Mansion, now Golf Course."

Another user, named as Matt W, said: "The Dark Hedges is a beautiful country road that takes you through an enchanting avenue of amazing ancient beech trees that come together overhead to form a wonderful majestic tunnel."

Background

These real life attractions have been drawing millions of visitors every year to catch of glimpse of the picture perfect destinations.

They include Neuschwanstein Castle, Germany, Casa Batllo, Spain, Cappadocia Cave Dwellings, Turkey, Tiger's Nest, Bhutan, Old Town, France, Lake Bled, Slovenia and the Palace of Pena in Portugal.

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