Take a right from the iconic Giants Causeway and just a few short miles down the road is the infamous Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge – once you have navigated the 1km winding coastal walk, that is, which promises stunning views and beautiful scenery. The rope bridge, which is well known across the world, sits on the North Antrim Coast road between Ballycastle and Balintoy and is an attraction for thrill seekers and tourists from across the globe.
Historically, the original bridge was put up by fishermen who wanted to fish from the chasm below – at over 23m deep and 20m wide this was no mean feat and required casting salmon nets into the cavernous gulf below. The original rope bridge had but one hand rail – combine this with wooden slats few and far between and it results in a wildly unstable and dangerous bridge crossing.
Although there is little to no salmon fishing or net casting from the Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge nowadays, it is still a popular attraction for tourists looking to make the daring crossing across the bridge.
There are no recorded incidents of accident or injury as a result of the rope bridge, but many have been unable to return using the bridge and as a result have become stranded on the island. Not to worry, though, they were soon rescued by boat and returned safely to dry land!
Despite the lack of injury, in the year 2000, the National Trust replaced the original bridge with a new improved caged structure. It is thought this was to protect tourists as an extra safety precaution. The current rope bridge was installed and opened to the public in March 2008.
However, even with new rope bridges and extra safety measures in place, the Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge remains, instilling fear into the hearts of tourists and getting their hearts racing like never before.
At the other end of the exhilarating 20m walk across the bridge lies Carrick Island, where you will find a selection of diverse bird species and the most spectacularly uninterrupted view looking across Scotland and Rathlin island.
The only problem with the view is the fact you have to traverse the infamous rope bridge once more to get home!