The Famous Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge

Updated On: February 08, 2022

Carrick-a-rede, Northern Ireland

Located near the town of Ballintoy in the beautiful County Antrim lies the famous Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge. The Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge sways 30 metres above the glistening ocean waves that has been around for over 250 years. The rope bridge is owned and maintained by the National Trust. The National Trust works to preserve historic places and natural beauty just like this attraction.

If you are in search of spectacular coastal sites in Northern Ireland this attraction is a must- experience. Now only is Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge an incredible tourist attraction, but also offers a fascinating history to uncover. Keep reading to find out more about this famous tourist attraction in Northern Ireland…

Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge
Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge (Photo Source; Alfredo Liverani  (Flickr)

History of Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge

You might be wondering why the rope bridge was created in the first place? Well, its believed that decades ago, fishermen built the bridge to connect to the tiny island known as ‘Carrickarede.’ Furthermore, In ancient Irish, the name translates as ‘rock in the road.’  It’s believed that the Carrick-a-rede shores were the best for catching Salmon in the area, so fisherman made sure they could get access to it.

In the 1970s, the original crossing included only one handrail and a handful of gapped wooden planks. Although safety wasn’t a big issue back then, today you can be assured that it’s very safe. All you have to worry about is enjoying the experience while you’re there.

It was common for fisherman to catch around 300 salmon a day, in the 1970s but as years went on salmon fishing became less popular. This was mainly due to the pressures of the sea and river pollution causing a decline in salmon. By 2002, the last fish was caught at Carrick-a-Rede.

Carrick-a-rede, Northern Ireland
Carrick-a-rede, Northern Ireland (Photo Source: Giuseppe Milo, Flickr)

Preserving the History of  Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge

The 400-year-old Salmon Fishery located at Carrick-a-Rede went through a great restoration project to preserve its heritage. The restoration project was done to keep alive the traditions and history of the fishing industry for future generations. The National Trust also opened up a guided visitors experience that helps to provide a sense of place and connection to the famous rope bridge.

Visitors can now check out the old fisherman’s cottage, which was used by fisherman for many decades as a shelter when they worked at the fishery.

The Carrick-a-Rede-Rope Bridge has also seen restorations with two new bridges; one built in 2000 which was said to be tested up to ten tonnes, and a further one in 2004, providing people with a safer passage to the island. Its current wire rope and bridge was created by Heyn Construction coating over £16,000.

The views you’ll capture while you cross the rope bridge is exceptional in natural beauty and you’ll see out to Rathlin Island and as far as Scotland. But anyone with a fear of heights might have to find the courage to cross the Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge. However, if you do visit those coastal views are simply breathtaking and totally worth it.

It’s also considered an ‘Area of Special Scientific Interest’ due to its unique geology, flora and fauna. And if you watch Game of Thrones, you might have spotted the attraction in the series as it was used as one of the Northern Irish filming locations.

Nearby attractions include the Giant’s Causeway, The Balintoy Harbour and The Dark Hedges.

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