While researching things to do while we’re in Belfast, I discovered the Giant’s Causeway and the Dark Hedges. Sounds like the name of a book or movie, doesn’t it? Nope. Just the names of places you can visit in Northern Ireland.
And of course with names involving giants and dark hedges, it naturally piqued my jaunting interest.
The Giant’s Causeway looks amazing. (And gets rave reviews on TripAdvisor.)
It’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site that’s often called the Eighth Wonder of the World.
Its unusual columns are the result of a volcanic eruption. However, there’s a legend involving a giant which is a more fun explanation.
Since Wikipedia has such a fine explanation of said legend, I decided copying & pasting and attributing it to them would be easier:
The story goes that the Irish giant Fionn mac Cumhaill (Finn MacCool), from the Fenian Cycle of Gaelic mythology, was challenged to a fight by the Scottish giant Benandonner. Fionn accepted the challenge and built the causeway across the North Channel so that the two giants could meet. In one version of the story, Fionn defeats Benandonner. In another, Fionn hides from Benandonner when he realises that his foe is much bigger than he. Fionn’s wife, Oonagh, disguises Fionn as a baby and tucks him in a cradle. When Benandonner sees the size of the ‘baby’, he reckons that its father, Fionn, must be a giant among giants. He flees back to Scotland in fright, destroying the causeway behind him so that Fionn could not follow. Across the sea, there are identical basalt columns (a part of the same ancient lava flow) at Fingal’s Cave on the Scottish isle of Staffa, and it is possible that the story was influenced by this.
Something Wayne really wants to see is the Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge, which is found at the Giant’s Causeway.
Oh, the adventures I agree to go on in the name of love. (I haven’t even written about the one from our last cruise, our 10 km hike from Fira to Oia in Santorini. I think we were the only people from the cruise to make the trek. Doing it was amazing and one of my proudest accomplishments. But that’s for another post…)
But I could get even this trip. Viator has a couple of Game of Thrones tours. (Wayne’s not a GoT fan.)
- ‘Game of Thrones’ Filming Locations Tour of Northern Ireland and Giant’s Causeway from Belfast
‘Game of Thrones’ Day Trip from Belfast
‘Game of Thrones’ County Down Filming Locations Tour from Belfast Including Winterfell
‘Game of Thrones’ and Giant’s Causeway Tour from Belfast
The advert on that last one is a photo of the Dark Hedges, as such:
Not positive it goes there but I stumbled across the Dark Hedges listing on TripAdvisor when researching the Giant’s Causeway.
The Dark Hedges are located in Ballymoney. Apparently it is an avenue of beech trees that was planted in the eighteenth century. Many reviewers say they make for a stunning photo op.
However, guess what I discovered, thanks to a visit to Ballymoney’s visitor site? A ghost!
Here’s what they say about “The Legend of the Grey Lady” on their Dark Hedges page:
The road is reputedly haunted by a spectral ‘Grey Lady’ who appears at dusk among the trees. She silently glides along the roadside and disappears as she passes the last beech tree.
Game of Thrones connection and a haunted place? Oh my. This is a MUST DO during our port stop in Belfast!