Northern Ireland’s coastline is known for its many unique attractions – from the breathtaking Causeway Loop to the legendary basalt columns. Visitors who want to experience seeing these natural wonders in a unique way should head towards the Carrick-A-Rede Rope Bridge, located in the far north of County Antrim. It is also one of the best day trips from Belfast.
Not for the faint of heart but definitely for the more adventurous spirit, this suspension bridge is almost 30-meter high above the ocean. If you want to learn more about this attraction, here are some interesting Carrick-A-Rede Rope Bridge facts.
Carrick-A-Rede Rope Bridge Facts
The name, Carrick-a-Rede is from the Scottish Gaelic ‘Carraig-a-Rade’ which means “The Rock in the Road”. The Carrick-a-Rede area has been a known fishing area since 1620.
However, it was only in 1755 that the first rope bridge connecting the mainland and Carrick-a-Rede Island was constructed. Carrick-a-Rede has always been known among fishermen to be abundant with salmon, especially in the 19th to the mid-20th century.
Back then, they’re able to catch up to 300 salmons a day. The little island was used as a platform for casting nets into the waters, making it easier to catch fish.
The old rope bridge underwent many renovations and reconstructions over the years. In 2008, a construction firm from Belfast built the wire rope bridge that is now one of Northern Ireland’s top attractions.
Today, the bridge serves more tourists than fishermen, with people from all over the globe lining up to go to the small island and back. Meanwhile, there are no more salmons to be caught in the area due to pollution and fishing pressure.
Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge is now managed by the National Trust. It is a conservation charity that works to ensure the safety of the guests as well as protect the area and its wildlife.
Visiting Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge
Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge is located in County Antrim, which is about a 2-hour drive from Belfast. The best route to take when going to County Antrim is along the Coastal Causeway Route, with its stunning views of the ocean. Taking this route also provides an opportunity to stop at various attractions, like castles.
Upon reaching the Carrick-a-Rede area, there is a short trail along the cliff that leads to the rope bridge. This is where visitors line up and wait for their turn to cross the bridge. Look around and appreciate the views.
This area is actually part of the whole Carrick-a-Rede experience, with views of lush rolling hills and green pastures with horses on one side. The other side has views of the vast ocean.
The Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge hangs about 30 meters above the waters below and is one meter wide. The entire bridge is just 20 meters long from the mainland to the small island.
Visitors are advised to walk slowly while taking in the views as they cross the bridge. On a clear day, one can see Rathlin and the Scottish Isles.
The island at the other end of the rope bridge can be easily explored within 20 minutes. Bring a good camera or at least a fully charged phone because the area is ideal for taking lots of photos. There’s just a perfect photo opportunity wherever one chooses to look.
The journey back is easier compared to the first experience of crossing, but still memorable as the surrounding views are just as breathtaking.
To cross the bridge, you will have to pay €6.5.
How to get to Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge from Belfast
Take a Translink UK bus (#218) from Belfast Bridge Street to Coleraine. The trip takes 1 hour and 40 minutes and it costs between €12-18 for a one-way trip or €24-36 for a round trip bus fare. Buses leave every 2 hours.
From Coleraine, take a Translink UK bus (#172, #402, #402a) to Ballintoy Carrick-a-Rede Rope and get off at Ballintoy Youth Hostel. The trip takes about an hour for €6-9 per trip or €12-18 for a round-trip fare and buses leave every hour.
Then walk about 1.7 km or 20 minutes to get to Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge. In total, you might have to spend between €36-54 on transport alone.
Or you can also take this Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge day tour from Belfast for just €35 per person. It also includes a trip to Giant’s Causeway and Game of Thrones filming locations. To book it, click here.
Hi, I’m Christine – a full-time traveler and career woman. Although I’m from the Philippines, my location independent career took me to over 40 countries for the past 8 years. I also lived in 3 continents – from the Caribbean, South East Asia to Africa. But despite living in several countries, my love for Ireland remains the same. A country that had been a part of my life since I was 14 because of my love for Irish music and bands. Ireland Travel Guides was born because of this passion and hopefully, in some little ways, this website will be able to help you on your next trip to Ireland.