BACK TO DARK HEDGES
The ‘Dark Hedges’ as its name may imply has a more spine chilling side to it in the form of the ‘Grey Lady’. A spectre which appears as dusk falls amongst the trees and silently glides along the avenue, vanishing as she passes the last beech tree. Some believe the spectre to be the ghost of a servant girl from a nearby house who mysteriously vanished over one hundred and fifty years ago.
Other say she is a lost soul from an abandoned famine grave that lies in an adjacent field and that on the full moon these forgotten graves open and the souls of those buried within rise and join her as she makes her passage along the Dark Hedges.
This story was told in our family by an uncle of mine who said that the spectre was that of a young girl called Mattie who worked in a nearby house as a live in maid. Like all young girls Mattie had a sweetheart called Daniel. The couple were besotted with each other and lived only for the times they shared together.
On summer evenings they would meet at the top of the hedges and spend their time walking and talking about their plans for the future. On this particular evening Mattie, dressed in her finest clothes set off from her working place to meet Daniel and was never seen again, no trace of her or her belongings were ever found.
Daniel lost and grief stricken without her, returned to the Dark Hedges every evening and waited in the hope he would see his beloved Mattie again. Summer’s came and went but Daniel never gave up his vigil, he came here and waited whenever he could. His obsession led him to being called a crazy man, viewed with suspicion.
Then one summer evening at twilight, in the same month she had vanished he saw Mattie walking up the avenue towards him. As she approached she reached out her arms and he in his joy reached out his, as they came to embrace she passed through him like a beam of sunlight on your face through the trees. A week later Daniel was found hanging in his room with a note to his mother telling of his meeting with Mattie. Since that time many people have reported seeing the ghostly figure of a female silently gliding towards them as evening falls. Look carefully when you walk along the hedges, you might see where Daniel carved their names while he waited for her so long ago. It is said, on still nights, you can still hear the sound of wood being carved.
Images created by Art Ward © All Rights Reserved