The journey to the Carrick-A-Rede Rope Bridge.
The ancient Carrick-A-Rede rope bridge is located in the small town of Ballintoy in County Antrim, Northern Ireland. The village lies about one kilometre from Ballintoy Harbour, a small fishing harbour at the end of a very small, narrow, steep road down Knocksaughey hill which passes by the entrance to Larrybane and Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge. The harbour is host to a dawn service on Easter Sunday each year which attracts many people, mostly native Irish. There has been no significant development within the village in the past and, as a result, Ballintoy’s population has slowly declined and was only 165 people in the 2001 Census. The village has modest commercial and social facilities including tourist accommodation, restaurants, several small shops, and two churches. The best known church is the distinctive white Ballintoy Parish Church on the hill above the harbour. But the Rope Bridge is one of northern Irelands most popular attractions with numbers forecast to reach nearly half a million this year. From years to years this famous tourist attraction has seen a 20% increase each year.
This small, daring bridge links the mainland to the tiny island of Carrickarede. It spans 20 metres and is 30 metres above the rocks below. Be sure not to look down, the rope feels very thin when you see the crashing waves below you. But the bridge is very safe; every week rope specialists come to survey and make sure it’s all safe. The bridge, and indeed the stroll towards the bridge is spectacular. With a few out to the nearby white cliffs and the large swaying ocean.
The original Carrick-A-Rede rope bridge was erected by fishermen and it was built so they could cast salmon nets over the 23m deep and 20m wide chasm. When the bridge was originally built it had just one single hand rail and the slats to walk on across the rope bridge were widely spaced, making the bridge very dangerous. Nowadays people come from the Giant Causeway Tour to see the bridge and see if they can complete the rope bridge challenge, as opposed to catching salmon or checking nets. If people think it’s a struggle getting across nowadays, imagine trying to get over it with nets, pots and just one rope to hold on to!
When you start the 15 min walk to the main attraction there’s a long winding pathway along the cliffs, with some exquisite views. With scenes of the rugged, wild and mystical Irish coastline in front, behind and to the left of you, you really are submerged in our sensational landscape. In the distance you have the little Rathlin Island, Ballycastle which has rolling white cliffs and a painting of green on top. As you get closer to the Rope Bridge you can hear those wild waves crashing upon the already eroded cliffs edges with the occasional scream from a frightened visitor trying to cross the challenging bridge. The smell of the pungent fresh seaweed rising from the chasm below is a comfort before the trek over the ropes. It’s a great experience to cross the rope bridge, only for the brave though! The first step on the bridge is only the start, as soon as you take a few steps you can see straight down into the watery depths below which is quite alarming, but it gets the blood pumping. It’s a shaky experience from start to finish as you carefully make your way over the other side that looks miles away. Running the last few steps, your there and it’s all worth it.
The tiny little island gives you a perspective of the mainland you just came from. Here you can view the front of the cliffs which look never ending and you can see some of the fishermen’s sheds and tools used when the bridge was first erected. But there is not much to do on this small piece of land, just view the ocean and its fabulous crashing caves and listen to the rhythm of the water and the seabirds above. There is an admission fee for most, but this is already in the Giants Causeway package that we provide.
It’s a great piece of history and it really a fun thing to do when your touring Ireland, I highly recommended attraction for all. So book your tour today with us, you won’t regret it! Giants causeway Tour. We’d love to see you on board and show you exactly what Ireland has to offer.