Take a walk on the wild side and visit the Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge. Suspended almost 100 ft (30 m) above sea level it’s certainly a challenge for those with a fear of heights.
The bridge was originally erected by fishermen over the 20m-wide gorge around 200 years ago to give them easier access to Carrick-a-Rede Island to check their salmon nets. Today the bridge is not what it once was – a single rope hand rail instead of the two hand railed bridge it is now. Consider yourself fortunate! See photos of the old bridge here.
On crossing the bridge you reach Carrick-a-Rede Island with its diverse bird life and an uninterrupted view across to Rathlin Island and Scotland which is on 22 miles away. There is only one way off the island – back across the swinging bridge! Don’t look down!
Salmon fishing on the Causeway Coast
Although now gone, the salmon fishing industry had a long and bountiful history along the Causeway Coast. A Medieval castle was built to on the River Bann in Coleraine to ‘oversee the fishing’ and King James I & VI used the promise of salmon fishing to try to lure the Protestant London merchants to settle in Northern Ireland in the early 1600s. See Archive – Causeway Salmon. You will see small salmon fishing cottages dotted along the Causeway Coast, and often on precarious islets and promentories such as Carrick A Rede, and Kinbane Head.
The salmon features in the stories of Finn McCool as Finn gained all the knowledge of the world when he accidentally ate a small morsel of The Salmon of Knowledge. You can see a sculpture of the Salmon of Knowledge, also known as the Big Fish, in Belfast. The sculpture was built to celebrate the return of salmon to the River Lagan in the 1970s!
- Opening times range from 9:30am–6pm most of the year with closing extended to 7pm in July and August
- Tickets cost £7 for an adult and £3.50 for a child. Family tickets are at £17.50. Please confirm these prices at the National Trust site. If visiting several National Trust sites (Giant’s Causeway, Downhill Demesne & Mussenden Temple, Castle Ward) consider purchasing annual membership as it may work out to be more economical.IMPORTANT: With so many visitors to the site, the National Trust introduced timed tickets in 2017 to try and manage the flow of people and prevent queuing. Unfortunately, they did not introduce pre-booking for individuals so you have to arrive early and take your chances! There are different arrangements if traveling as part of a group (more than 15 people).
- Location: Carrick-a-Rede is located on the Causeway Coast Route between Ballycastle (10 minutes drive) and Bushmills (20 minutes drive), and close to Giant’s Causeway.
- Access: The bridge is a 700-meter walk from the carpark.