Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge is a famous rope bridge close to Ballintoy in County Antrim, Northern Ireland. The bridge connects the mainland with the tiny island of Carrickerede. There have been many variations of the bridge over the years but, the current structure is complied of wire rope and Douglas fir and has been in place since early 2008. The bridges were originally erected by salmon fisherman, the first dating back to 1755, they would have used them during salmon season to check on their nets but, this is no longer the case.
The bridge is 20 metres long and 30 metres high from the perilous rocks below. Today the bridge is predominantly a tourist attraction that is operated by the National Trust. You can cross the bridge for a fee. The best views can be seen from the bridge but, do you have the nerve to cross. It is a thrilling rope bridge experience, will you be one of the many to take the rope bridge challenge. There have been many instances where visitors have been unable to make the return journey and have had to be taken off the island by boat. Below are large caves, these at one time would have been home to boat builders and served as shelters in stormy weather.
It is an area of unspoilt beauty with the most spectacular views of the coastline, out to Rathlin and even Scotland on a clear day. The area is home to a wealth of wildlife, seabirds and marine life, it is not unusual to see basking sharks, dolphins and porpoises in the waters. The site and area surrounding Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge is classified as an Area of Special Scientific Interest owing to its unique geology. Carrickarede island is the finest example of a volcano plug in Northern Ireland.
It is open all year round, dependent on the weather. In busy periods there can be a queue to cross the bridge, as they only allow eight people at a time. There is about a kilometre walk from the car to the bridge, so a fair amount of walking is involved. The views are simply amazing and it is a fun thing to do, a little out of the ordinary.
There is a nice little gift shop and restaurant where you can get light snacks and refreshments after your walk.