Carrick-A-Rede Rope Bridge – What is it ?
The Carrick-A-Rede rope bridge is a popular attraction along the north coast of Antrim. It is a suspended bridge, connecting the small island of Carrick-A-Rede to the mainland. The bridge is 66 ft long (20m) and is suspended 100 ft (30m) over the sea. The coastal walk to the bridge gives stunning views of the cliffs and coastline and the island itself. While the island is a small rocky outlet itself, is a place where you can take a relaxing rest before making your way back. If you plan on visiting Carrick-A-Rede rope bridge, you will find all the information you need below.
Where is the Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge?
For visiting Carrick-A-Rede rope bridge, you’ll find it along the Antrim causeway coastal route. This route follows the coastline of the north from Derry to Belfast and passes by numerous attractions and scenic locations along the way.
The Rope bridge is about halfway around the route, between Ballintoy Harbour and Bonamargy Friary. It’s also just 8.5 miles further east from the famous Giants Causeway. It is only about 15 minutes drive away, with beautiful scenery of the coast along your left. You can easily find directions for the Carrick-A-Rede rope bridge to the Giants Causeway on google maps.
History of the bridge
Carrick-A-Rede Island was used for fishing back in the 18th Century. The island is located bang in the middle of salmon spawning routes. This is where it actually got it’s name. Carrick-A-Rede means rock in the road – because it is essentially a rock in the path of the salmon. This outcrop gave the fishermen of the area a huge advantage. Due to the island, the salmon were driven to pass through the narrow gap between the island and the mainland.
Fishermen built the bridge to pass easily to the island for fishing salmon. The remains of the fishermans hut is still visible on the island.
While it seems that basic bridges were used well back into the 18th century, we know that the first actual bridge was built in 1755. Even up to today, the bridge has to be replaced pretty regularly due to the weather conditions and wear and tear. The current bridge was built in 2008.
Unfortunately the salmon stocks were depleted and the area is now used as a tourist attraction and is owned by the National Trust.
Opening times and Pricing
Opening hours vary depending on the time of year. The general opening time is 9.30am however closing time varies depending on the month. Please check the official website to check the up to date times.
Currently, adult tickets are £9 while child tickets are £4.50, although family discount is available and current pricing can be found here.
Tips for visiting Carrick-A-Rede Rope Bridge
- There is a charge for crossing the bridge. There is a hut near the entrance to pay, but don’t be put off by this. If you would rather just hike out the Carrick-A-Rede coastal walk and look from the viewing point, it is free to do that. You can just pass by the hut, and explain that you only wish to view.
- I have been three times. Twice I just walked out the route and once I paid to cross the bridge. I do not think it’s necessary to pay to go to the island to get the most of this place. Walking along the coast up to the viewing points, is just as rewarding.
- It is a bit of a hike out to the bridge. It takes about 20 minutes to walk out. There are stone steps along the route which can get pretty slippy in wet weather. Be careful of that. It may be an issue for those with mobility issues.
- The bridge itself only takes a minute to cross. If you have no issues with heights it is a really cool experience. The bridge does shake/bounce a little with wind and footsteps. For those with a fear of heights, it may be a a slightly scary experience, but it is well worth it. I can guarantee you will feel great after doing it.
- As you can imagine, it gets incredibly busy and at peak time in the summer, there can be long ques waiting to cross the bridge. As a result, it can be quite a rushed experience. I advise either going off peak – it is pretty quiet at these times. In the summer, try to go really early in the morning, or close to closing times for a more quiet experience.
- On quieter times, when you purchase a ticket to cross the bridge, you may be able to cross right away. At peak times tickets can be purchased on site but are subject to availability. These are only valid for the day of purchase. You can now purchase your timed ticket online to avoid missing out (up to 4 months in advance).
- The last crossing of the bridge is 45 minutes before the closing time of the site.
Things to note:
- Fee to cross the bridge – but free to hike and view
- Family discount available
- Euro accepted
- Free parking
- Cafe & shop with WiFi
- Toilets on site with baby changing facilities – going from experience these are clean and well maintained toilets
- Dogs allowed – on a lead although can’t cross the bridge
- The Bridge may close on days of strong winds – this can be checked on the website
My Experience visiting Carrick-A-Rede rope bridge
I have been a few times now and really enjoy this place. On a good sunny day the views are just beautiful and you can’t get much better really. I’ve also been on a wet miserable day which has still been great and you get different views.
The coastal walk is so beautiful and you get to look down on the sheer jagged cliffs in the distance. It was a cool experience to go onto Carrick-A-Rede Island but I have to say it is not completely necessary. There is not really much you can do once on the island except sit and chill for a bit, or walk the perimeter of the island and then leave again.
Again though, if it is a good day, I recommend taking your time. Spending some time on the island taking in the views and enjoying the sun.
What to wear on your trip
To say the least, the weather can get pretty windy, especially when crossing the bridge and on the exposed island. Being along the coast leaves you pretty open to the elements.Be sure to dress for all the seasons as they can all be experienced in a day in Ireland!
- Wind and waterproof jacket
- Hat that covers the ears
- Comfortable walking/hiking shoes
My favourite of the many places to note nearby:
- Giants Causeway – One of Ireland’s most visited attractions
- Dunluce Castle – A magical castle ruins on a cliff edge
- White Park Bay – Famous for the many cows chilling by the ocean on the sand
- The Dark Hedges – For all the Game of Thrones fans out there
For further informaiton, check out the following resources:
Carrick-a-rede site – for more information, as well as up to date opening times and pricing.
https://giantscausewaytickets.com/carrick-a-rede-tickets – booking tickets
When visiting the north of Ireland, or passing through the causeway coastal route, be sure visiting Carrick-A-Rede is one of your destinations. I have been numerous times and would never pass the chance to go again. The coastal walk has stunning scenery and there are so many great attractions nearby.
If you enjoyed this post, please check out the following:
- 5 Top Places you Need to visit in Ireland
- Guide to Visiting the Giants Causeway
- Stairway to Heaven Guide
- 5 Reasons you Need to visit the Cliffs of Moher
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