Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge – Dare to Cross the Divide!

View of Carrick-a-Rede Island

An exciting but, lesser known activity in Northern Ireland that you can partake in is crossing Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge. This is for the adventurous souls who aren’t afraid of heights and enjoy the sharp cliffs and beautiful rugged landscapes of Ireland. Managed by the National Trust the Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge is now a fun tourist attraction along Northern Ireland’s Coastal Causeway.

How to Get Here

From Dublin, the Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge is less than a 3-hour drive via the M-1. This is a great day trip from Dublin, but I would also add in a few other spots in your day trip such as Giant’s Causeway, Dunluce Castle, and the Dark Hedges. You can spend a couple of hours here. So, make sure you plan out your day with enough time to enjoy all the Northern Ireland tourist sites.

Once you arrive, park your vehicle in the visitors parking area and make your way to the Visitors Center. The Carrick-a-Rede (which is pronounced carrick-a-reedy) coastline is opened dawn to dusk with the rope bridge being open daily from 9:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. all year long (subject to weather). You will have to purchase a ticket for £9.00 and the ticket will be timed. Tickets for Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge grant access to cross over to the island within a specific one-hour time slot, but there is no time limit for how long you can stay on the island. The bridge is more than half a mile from the parking lot, so be sure to leave enough time to reach the bridge at least 15 minutes before the ticket expires in order to be sure you don’t miss your schedule crossing time.

Antrim Coastline

Carrick-a-Rede Coastline

The walk to get to the rope bridge is breathtakingly beautiful. If you choose to not go across, the view from the coastline is still worth it. On the path to the bridge, there are steps, uneven pavement, and up and down hills. But, the scenery is amazing with the seagulls flying along the cliffs and you might even get to see some seals playing in the water. You have to look closely to see these guys. My new friend, Shaye, spotted three of them on our walk back. I wish I would have taken my good camera with the zoom lens. Instead, it was raining so, I only had my phone with me. The seals look like black dots in the water, but I did see them.Shaye Wilkinson

Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge

Empty Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge

The Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge is a wooden plank bridge with a rope net for handles that spans across a gap of 66 ft. The bridge is almost 100 ft above the clear green water of the Atlantic Ocean. The bridge links Ireland to the tiny island of Carrickarede. You can spend some time on the island to get a 360 view of Ireland, Rathlin Island, and even Scotland if it is a really clear day. The bridge does sway with the wind so, be prepared. If you have concerns about heights or smaller children crossing the bridge, don’t buy the ticket. You can enjoy the coastline walk for free and go past the bridge to get great views of the rest of your group going across while you wait. But, if you buy the ticket, you have to cross over. Go ahead and be adventurous!

The stairs to the bridge are very steep and when it is raining they can be slippery. The entrance to the stairs and the bridge is monitored. I visited on a rainy day so, there weren’t that many tourists crossing the bridge at the same time (8 people max). We were able to get photos of just us by ourselves on the bridge. Another girl who was with us, wasn’t as lucky as some really rude people walked directly behind her and was in all her shots instead of politely waiting until she crossed the bridge. This is another thing to think about that on sunny days with more people visiting the extra people crossing the bridge at the same time will also cause the bridge to sway more. Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge over the Atlantic OceanHeather on Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge

History

Salmon fishing was once a huge industry in the cold Atlantic waters around Carrick-a-Rede island, and a fishery was built on the rock island. In order to reach the island and its lone cottage, salmon fishermen first built a slender rope bridge on the Antrim coastline 350 years ago in 1755. Carrick-a-Rede is where fishermen would come to cast their nets to catch the migrating salmon. The salmon have long since changed their migration pattern leaving this little rocky island to become a tourist destination. Now the island is managed by Northern Ireland’s National Trust, a conservation charity who make sure that the bridge is maintained and kept safe for visitors to cross every day.

So if you are up for some excitement stop by and have fun crossing the bridge and seeing the fabulous Northern Ireland scenery.

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Further Reading

If you would like to see more of my nomad travels, check out my post on my first month of traveling full-time: One Month of Nomad Travel. If you are coming to Ireland for a visit, check out these posts:

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