Coming to Ireland I only had one goal: seeing (and crossing) the Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge, located in county Antrim, North Ireland. The coastal attraction is well worth seeing if you enjoy nature, endless views and the ever changing roughness that’s called the Irish weather.
Accompanied by gorgeous, wild cliffs, the island of Carrick is connected to shore by a wobbly rope bridge, built by Irish fisherman three centuries ago. The fisherman used the island to catch salmon swimming around the rocks. Holding nets full of fish in one hand, while holding on to the rope with the other, the fisherman crossed the bridge a few times a day.
Today the bridge is used as a tourist attraction only, which means that it has gone through some changes. The ropes are now safely secured on every side and there’s a net placed underneath, making the cross less nerve wrecking. Of course there’s always someone jumping up and down on it, causing others mini heart attacks. (I hate that guy!)
But even if you don’t feel like crossing the bridge, there’s tons of stuff to see. The path that curls along the cliffs makes any travelers heart beat faster. The view is stunning, wherever you look. Behind the Carrick island lies the island of Raughlin, the only inhabited island on the north shore. On clear days it’s possible to see Scotland as well.
And when the sun’s out, you’ll experience an explosion of colors. The green, yellow and orange vegetation seem to come alive on the rough bolders. The sea has a different color every minute, from a white blanket of foam on the shore to a bright turquoise in every wave.
On the coast the weather changes very fast, so if you happen to get there in the pouring rain, have some patience. Mostly the sun will come out within minutes. At the time of my visit I endured hail, rain and snow before finally the sun decided to show up. It’s Ireland so you better put up with it. Besides, every chance of weather has new colors coming with it. Just enjoy the ride (and bring a rain coat).
How to get there
Being located in the Irish countryside, it’s somewhat difficult to get to by public transport. However, there are many tours and transfers going there, departing from major cities like Dublin and Belfast. On these tours you usually get combinations of sites, as in this case Giant’s Causeway is only 15 minutes away. If you have rented a car, you’re – of course – solid.
The entrance is guarded by the National Trust foundation, so you will have to pay if you want to actually cross the bridge. The entrance fee is around £5 or €7.
Where to sleep
Although this part of the country is home to some of the most famous natural miracles of Europe, that doesn’t mean you’ll be finding big resorts full of tourists here. Lucky you! If you would like to stay overnight, make sure you have a rental car to take you places. A great B&B to stay at is the Maghernahar House B&B, which is located in Ballycastle. From there it’s only a short drive to both Carrick-a-Rede and the Giant’s Causeway.
Have you been to the Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge? Let me know what you thought! Also, if you have any recommendations, please don’t forget to leave a comment below! 🙂