A spectacular tree-lined avenue which provided one of the backdrops for the hit fantasy drama Game of Thrones has fallen victim to Storm Gertrude.

A number of the 200 year old trees making up the famous Dark Hedges in Co Antrim came down in the high winds that have battered the country.

The beech trees were planted in the 18th century by a local family, the Stuarts, with the intent of creating a grand entrance to their nearby Georgian mansion, Gracehill House.

Already one of the most photographed natural landmarks in Ireland, the tourist attraction recently achieved global prominence after it appeared on the hit HBO series.

The Dark Hedges featured in Season Two of the award-winning TV hit. Much of Game of Thrones is shot in Northern Ireland, either on location or in studios in Belfast.

Power was yesterday restored to about 20,000 homes and businesses across Ireland in the wake of Storm Gertrude.

With the north and north west worst affected, about 5,500 customers in the Republic and about 3,000 in Northern Ireland remained blacked out as the near hurricane force winds swept by.

How the Dark Hedges looked before the arrival of Storm Gertrude.
How the Dark Hedges looked before the arrival of Storm Gertrude.

The Blaney and Foyle bridges in Donegal and Derry had to be closed for several hours for safety reasons while trees were reported down in many counties.

At the height of the black-outs 10,000 customers in the Republic had no power with 92 faults reported in the north-west alone.

ESB Networks said that one major power cut in Stranorlar was repaired, restoring power to more than 1,500 homes and businesses, only for a second big fault to hit about 3,000 customers.

The highest wind speed recorded was 50 knots at Malin Head— a storm force gale on the Beaufort scale.

Met Éireann had forecast the Atlantic storm system, the seventh of the winter, would bring winds gusting up to 130km/h.

Outages were also reported in counties Wicklow, Westport, parts of Dublin, Athenry, Cong, Co Mayo, Roscommon, Limerick, Kerry and Wexford.

ESB Networks was posting updates on outages on powercheck.ie as reports of damage continued to come in and supplies were restored.

Several flights in and out of Dublin Airport were cancelled, with two services into Shannon delayed and Irish Ferries cancelling sailings on its fast ferry from Dublin.

AA Roadwatch carried a series of reports of trees down on roads across the country.


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