On Writing, Travels

A Nerd’s Adventure in Tollymore Forest

As part of our study tour through the British Isles, my class took a bus across Northern Ireland.

This was unquestionably one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen.

Our guide told us Northern Ireland has inspired countless writers like C.S Lewis, the Brontës, etc, and I can easily see why.

While riding in the tour bus from location to location –trying not to think about all the times we nearly hit someone because the roads are roughly the size of Jenna Louise Coleman’s waistline–I saw stone fences, wooly sheep, and rolling hills that seemed to go on forever.


I loved all the shacks and follies frozen in time. I could just imagine sitting down to write in these areas or around a fire and peering out the window to look at all this.

The locals pointed out that we were visiting on an uncharacteristically sunny day and most of the time it’s freezing, wet, and miserable, but I can dream, can’t I?

My favorite location was Tollymore Forest Park where they filmed several scenes in the first season of Game of Thrones.

Our guide carried with her a book full of blown-up screen shots from the film and pointed out several of the landmarks seen in the episodes.


This made the experience so much more immersive and the episodes all the more intimate because we now know what it is like to stand where the actors stood.

I enjoyed it as a fan, but I think I enjoyed it even more as a writer.


Is there anyone that can see anything like this and not be inspired?

I frequently had to run to catch up with my party because I was constantly stopping and taking pictures.

Truth is you could be in one spot for two hours and still not take enough photos.


It is that beautiful.

If anyone wants to write fantasy, they need to go to this forest. It’s one thing to write “they went into a forest,” it’s another to describe all the intricate workings of such a place. A forest is so much more than trees and rocks.

Although the trees are incredible as well.


The forest is like a body, each part of it working in tandem to form something spectacular. It’s difficult to get a firm grasp of this unless you see it first hand.

Also, wear a cloak. Nothing is better than strolling about an ancient forest in a cloak.


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