I’ve wanted to go to The Dark Hedges for years – before it was made famous in the Game of Thrones. Last week I finally got there.
I woke up at 2.30 am and was ready to set off when Andy decided he’d come with me. He hadn’t yet been to bed! So off we went on a road trip like two young wans!
Andy was looking for a coffee on the way but bearing in mind this it was around 4am it wasn’t looking like he would get one. As we bypassed Donegal town a light was shining in the distance, lo and behold it was a petrol station and it was open! So he got his coffee and off we went again.The traffic started to build up at around 5am and I’ve decided I hate roundabouts! The driving in Northern Ireland is similar to the UK, it’s very fast and furious so you need to know where you are going and go.
The Dark Hedges is in a very rural location and I must say as we were driving there I had to listen to quite a lot of grumbling about long drives to see dead trees. I turned the radio up and carried on. We finally got there at around 6.30am so I had a lovely walk up and down the road and it is very special although part of me would have loved some mist or sun to add to the atmosphere. I’d planned to get there early on purpose to avoid crowds of people so if you are going I’d recommend that.
After the The Dark Hedges we carried on to the Giants Causeway, it was a lovely drive along the coast road. We pulled in at White Park Bay viewpoint and looked at the scenery. As Andy pointed out though the drive is quite reminiscent of the Mullagmore drive (minus the castle).
We just went for a short walk with a sparrow for company and had breakfast at the hotel. At exactly 9am there is a person on the gate of the visitor centre car park and the hotel checking that people had paid the £12.50 per person. The hotel is also owned by the National Trust, so they’ve kind of got it all sown up. I’ve read on Tripadvisor that if you show your hotel receipt they won’t charge you for parking but I can’t say for sure if that’s correct. Anyway breakfast at the hotel was lovely, I get the impression they don’t always serve breakfast to non-residents, I imagine it depends how busy they are.
On the way home we stopped at the Riverside Retail Park in Coleraine. It’s a great centre with a huge B&M and Poundstretcher. There’s also a Sainsbury’s but it’s a bit tired looking. I preferred the big Asda in Coleraine and was intrigued by the scan and go machines they have. We didn’t buy much but it was nice to look around and break up the trip a bit.
So that was our big day out in Northern Ireland and another tick off the bucket list. On the way home we had a quick stop at the Barnesmore Gap which is really beautiful if you get a look without the traffic.