Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge, Northern Ireland
One of the Antrim Coast sights we wanted to see was the Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge. This rope bridge has existed in some form since 1755. Although it is now a reconstructed bridge and run by the National Trust, it must be a thrilling experience to cross.
We unfortunately did not get a chance to cross it. We arrived at the Carrick-a-Rede bridge and the wind was so strong they weren’t allowing people to cross over to the island for safety reasons. This happens more in the winter than in the summer but can happen anytime. The guide told Jeff that they worry less about people getting onto the island and more about people getting back. When the wind picks up, people can get scared and try to stay on the island.
There is a large free parking lot. Then at the start of the coastal walk is a ticket booth. If the bridge is open you would purchase your admission here and hike down the walk to the bridge and cross over. Since the bridge was closed the ticket booth was unmanned.
We opted to hike down to the bridge just to see it. The walk treats you to incredible coastal views. It is quite a hike in the rain and is steep in places. We were glad to have the carriers with us for the Little and Middle Littles. The Big Little had no trouble with the walk, but was in no mood and complained most of the time. The path would be suitable for a stroller for the first bit, but strollers are not allowed over the bridge or on the island so you’re better off with a carrier. Plus, you would have a hard time with a stroller on all the stairs towards the end of the trail.
We got a nice view of the bridge. Fishermen strung this bridge each season to go salmon fishing off the island. The bridge is now permanent and people of all ages can safely cross to the island. We were really looking forward to it, but still felt like we got incredible views.
We were even treated to an incredible rainbow as we hiked back down the path. We could see storm clouds headed our way as we walked back down the path to the parking lot.
We popped into the cafe to dodge the rain storm and decided a tea was in order. The cafe is small but has a lovely assortment of cakes and teas. Jeff and I each ordered tea with a scone and the boys both chose some cake. It was the perfect pick-me-up after our hike to the closed bridge.
Bathrooms are located under this building and are accessible to the public. There are baby changing facilities here as well. This is a great place to stop and appreciate the coastline. Sure it would have been even better if we had been able to cross the bridge, but it was a worthwhile endeavor nonetheless.