The Dark Hedges: before the bright shiny fence


I just talked to a college buddy of mine who now lives quite close to the Dark Hedges in Northern Ireland, and he informed that a new, bright and shiny fence has been installed inside the tree line to help maintain control of the local livestock. Apparently it doesn’t exactly add to the splendor of the view, and that’s a shame, because this is a popular scene that has stirred the imagination of many photographers. While I totally understand the rationale, I can’t help thinking that a different strategy might have been employed… one that kept the sheep where they needed to be, and one that maintained the quality of the view.

This is a unique stretch of the Bregagh Road near Armoy, County Antrim in Northern Ireland that has been re-named locally as The Dark Hedges. Supposedly haunted by the “Grey Lady” who appears at dusk among the trees, I had an opportunity to visit here a few years back and although I did not see any ghosts, I was fascinated by what was once a pretty spectacular driveway leading to Gracehill Mansion, home of the Stuart family.

As you can see, over the past 300 years or so, the Beech trees guarding the lane have reached up and across to each other, becoming heavily intertwined to create a remarkable sight. People flock from all parts to photograph this scene, and although it certainly might look pretty cool on screen, seeing it in person is far more impressive. If looking for directions on how to get to there for yourself, check out a post I made from a while ago… just one of the many remarkable sights to be found back home in Northern Ireland.

I can’t imagine what it looks like with a bright and shiny fence 😦

If interested in purchasing prints from this location, visit my online gallery at:

19 thoughts on “The Dark Hedges: before the bright shiny fence

  1. Skip

    Nice photos. That’s a shame about the new fence. Too bad they couldn’t put it on the outside of the trees away from the road where it would still control their livestock but still leave the spectacular view. Seems like another example of something that happens all to often in today’s world, where someone does what they may have an absolute right to do while not realizing, or not caring, about the consequences for others.

    • David Patterson

      Skip… thanks. Yeah, I wonder what was going on here. You would think that the locals would want people to visit the area and spend their tourist cash there. Trust me, lots of people seek this place out to photograph it, so it is a big deal. Maybe the farmer had no choice, or maybe he was just being ornery. I have a call into my buddy who lives pretty close to see if he can get the scoop.

  2. I never tire of seeing those trees (remembering your earlier posts). When I look closely at the pictures, there is a fence there that I had never noticed before, so I agree with you, seems that a much better option than a shiny fence could have been put in place to solve the livestock issue and maintain the character of the road. It must be so hard to see that happen.

  3. wanderingseniors

    I’ve been wanting to go to Ireland and now I’ve got one more must-see place to add to my list. Thank you for this post and the gorgeous photos.

    I found your blog through your Freshly Pressed post about Death Valley. I’ve always intended to go there — we live just a few hours from it — but never have. I’m still thinking one of these days…

    Now I have to continue browsing through your blog to see what you’ve posted about Maine, another place I must visit one of these days. It’s one of two states I’ve never been to (Alaska is the other one).

    • David Patterson

      Thanks for the kind words. I am biased of course, but Ireland is a pretty special place, so if you ever get the chance to go there, I’d highly recommend it.

      Maine is another place that is definitely worth a visit. It reminds me in many ways of Ireland with the green landscape and picturesque shoreline. Thanks for the comment.

  4. I’ve seen photos of the Dark Hedges before, but didn’t realize where they were from. I’ve been to Northern Ireland and would have LOVED to have seen that. There are many beautiful natural features in N. Ireland as it is. The Giant’s Causeway comes to mind. Also the Cliffs of Moher (although my geography fails me–they might be in the Republic).

    • David Patterson

      It’s a shame about the new fence. Apparently the whole atmosphere has been wrecked. The Giant’s Causeway is only about 20 minutes from the Dark Hedges, and the Cliffs of Moher are indeed down south… see, your geography isn’t so bad 🙂

  5. Inspired and pretty

    This is such a lovely road, very beautiful, without the fence of course. Chances are slim I get to see it with my own eyes but I would love to. I love your blog, you have amazing, very beautiful photos !

  6. Sean

    Hi Dave!,
    I will be going there next month coming from the US. Any advice?, long,..short lens? PS, I love your dog, you are very lucky!

    • David Patterson

      Sean… I’m jealous! Hope you have a great trip. I love the compressed look of a longer lens in this scene. The furthest reach I have in my bag is 200mm, and I think maybe that’s what I used on most of my shots from here. Have fun!

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