When most people think of Ireland they think of the great castles and pubs in every town. While those can be great, there is much more that Ireland has to offer. There are many wonderful natural creations and gardens that lay preserved in the Irish countryside. They are part of what gives the Irish moors the eerie and mysterious feeling we think of.
In Northern Island, Ballymoney to be exact, there is place known as the Dark Hedges. The Beech trees were planted by the Stuart family in the 18th century to line the road to their Gracehill Estate. Through time they grew up over the road, mingling their branches together, blocking out the light and formimg and archway over the road. Now the trees are a photographers dream to play with the lighting and shadows in all seasons.
Legend has it that a mysterious woman, Grey Lady, meanders through the trees when the mist falls, only to disappear at the end of the tunnel. Maybe you will spot her on your adventure.
Once considered the most beautiful spot in the world, Dingle Peninsula in south Ireland is still a beauty. There is road that follows the edges of the cliffs, providing a magnificent view of the green covered cliffs and the blue sea crashing in against the rock below.
There are several qaunt little Irish towns throughout the peninsula that provide a spectaular example of Irish culture. From traditional Irish fishing villages, to brightly colored towns this peninsula has been relativly proctected from outside influences. Thus much of the charm comes from seeing signs and hearing people talk in Gaeilge, the native language, as well as the traditional music, dance, and symbols.
A popular place to visit is the Cliffs of Moher. Here, unlike in many other places, you can walk straight up to the edge of the cliff! It is quite a heart-stopper looking down as it is a 702 foot drop to the ocean below! There are multiple viewing points around the cliffs that look over the Atlantic Ocean. The most popular being O'Brian's Tower at the highest point. If you are lucky to visit on a clear day you will be able to see many islands that are miles off the coast of Ireland.
Giant's Causeway is a natural wonder in Northern Ireland. Formed from ancient Basaltic (volcanic, harden lava) rock, these volcanic stones have formed perfect interlocking hexagons at the base of a "dead" volcano. The stones continue from the volcano to under the sea. The stones are of varying heights, creating a large columns and structures. The "beach" looks like it is covered in little stepping-stones, inviting you to climb up them.
Ireland is a beautiful, wonderful country with some of the best spots tucked away. While it is great and fun to spend time in the large cities like Dublin, Edinburgh, Limerick, it is also best to leave them behind and see what else Ireland has to offer.
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