As It Happens

'Kingsroad' in Game of Thrones accidentally painted

Even the Night's Watch must follow the rules of the road. A path made famous by Game of Thrones looked a little less picturesque this week when city crews painted white road-lines down the middle.
A jogger runs along Bregagh Road at Dark Hedges, Armoy, Northern Ireland, Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2016. Road markings have been painted by mistake on the world famous road that features the Dark Hedges tree lined road which was made famous by the Game of Thrones and is now a massive tourist attraction. (Peter Morrison/AP)
Travelling down King's Road in Game of Thrones, one does not concern themselves with the rules of the road. Portrayed in the hit television series, the lush, wooded path isn't the busiest of through-ways. You can get away with riding your horse-drawn cart straight down the middle.

In this two photo combo showing the famous Dark Hedges along Bregagh Road, in Armoy, Northern Ireland, with top photo taken June 16, 2014, and the same scene below taken Feb. 10, 2016, but with white lines painted by mistake along the "Kingsroad" from the TV series Game of Thrones. (Peter Morrison/AP)
Not so on the real King's Road — an actual paved road, where people drive actual cars. But that doesn't make Northern Ireland's Dark Hedges, as the road is affectionately called, any less beautiful. It's one of the country's top tourist draws, which is why locals were outraged this week when they noticed that local maintenance crews had painted white road-lines down the middle.

"Mystical Morning" by Bob McCallion, taken along the Bregagh Road at Dark Hedges, Armoy, Northern Ireland. (Bob McCallion)

"My reaction was, this is sacrilege. I just looked at them and said those should not be there, in such a beautiful location," Bob McCallion tells As It Happens host Carol Off. "It sort of spoiled the whole visual impact of the area." 

McCallion is a local amateur photographer. He frequently visits the Dark Hedges with his camera gear. He says photographers from around the world are drawn to the road, which he describes as a "tree tunnel" lined by 300-year-old beech trees. 

Crews shown removing the road markings along the Dark Hedges path on Feb. 10, 2016. (Bob McCallion)

"No right-thinking person would think that white lines down the road underneath the Dark Hedges would look good, so  I'm not alone in this."

The Department for Regional Development said a contractor mistakenly painted white lines on the road under the trees, and it has since removed the lines. 

But McCallion says the lines are a symptom of a bigger problem. 

He says the increasing numbers of tourists have eroded the verges. That led to the road being paved and widened - making it more "urban" he says.

A Game of Thrones fan takes a 'selfie' beside a plaque at Ballintoy Harbour on Aug. 13, 2015 in Belfast, Northern Ireland. According to recent audited figures from Northern Ireland Screen, the HBO produced fantasy adventure television series Game of Thrones has contributed an estimated �110m to the Northern Ireland economy. (Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)

"Some days in the summer you'll get up to 20 coaches going up and parking on the road side." 

He doesn't blame Game of Thrones for the problem, but says that tourism in the area needs to be better managed with more parking and facilities that would help to preserve the trees and the road. 


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