Tollymore Forest/Mourne Mountains
Note: Here is the now infamous Tollymore forest, the gorgeous setting chosen for much of the first epic season of Game of Thrones. The elevated peak directly behind the vivid pine glades is Croob Mountain, mingled with the greater Mourne Mountain Range. In real-time it is not hard to see why Tollymore was chosen by HBO as the back-drop for its mystical, Celtic/Medieval imaginary masterpiece. The glowing moss on the stones and tress indicate a pristine, ancient, and untouched aspect to the forest. Older places have this moss, which if touched by human hand, will not grow otherwise. It is everywhere in Tollymore, creating the feeling that one has stepped through a window into the way things once were. Several streams and rivers run through the woods, filled with glades of Oak, Beech, and even ancient Redwood. The stones within the streams reveal signs of equally ancient engineering, with directional layouts to influence the flow of water, or contain it in leveled pools with crafted rock faces. I was able to identify several focal points where the rock had been hewn into a funnel, or spout, which is an amazing feat of controlling/pacing the active elements in the landscape. Again, the moss along the stones of these streams is luminary, especially in the sunlight, like something out of hallowed fairy tales. More significant anthropology exists in Tollymore, of classic rock fixtures, also found in the deep woods of New England. To our modern eyes they look like “walls”, but a closer look reveals that they were not built as “walls”. The location of these ‘aligned rocks’ are most often from one peak to the next. Animals are in no way contained by these aligned rocks. They must have had some other purpose, if not just to define the space, but more to connect zones, like a cord of some kind. The stone alignments at Tollymore were inundated with mossy overgrowth, giving it the engaging and magical look that Celtic trails exude. Other glades hosting taller Oaks and dry beds of grass were speckled with the captivating Fairy Foxglove. These violet towers stand guard to some of the most enchanted zones in the forest. Tollymore is absolutely worth a visit. The trails are clear and wide, running along the streams or into the mountain; it’s a Celtic daydream.