For hundreds of years, the courageous traveler has trekked far and wide to make the nail-biting crossing of the Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge. Located on the North Antrim Coast of Northern Ireland and just up the road from the famous Giant’s Causeway, the rope bridge challenge provides a truly cliff clinging experience, where the subtle sway of the wind causes stomachs to skyrocket. You can bus, bike, walk or drive to reach this daredevil attraction in Northern Ireland, but first, you will want to be fully prepared on how to make this journey on the edge. 

The History of the Carrick-A-Rede Rope Bridge

Before you can cross this rope bridge, you might want to study up on its history. This crossing wasn’t just built for the risk-takers, but rather it was the work of salmon fishermen. Salmon fishermen conceived the bridge in order to check on their salmon nets on the island of Carrick-a-Rede. The first rope bridge was put up in 1755. This means of transport cut down on boat reliance to the island. River pollution and fishing pressure caused a decline in the industry, with the last fishermen on the island in 2002. Today The National Trust sees around 250,000 people a year looking to make the leap as salmon fishermen have before them.

Crossing The Carrick-A-Rede Rope Bridge

You have to look first before you can leap on to this precarious-looking rope bridge. A half mile walk from the ticket office leads you to the ultimate crossing. The Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge looks nail biting but once you are on the bridge, you will see just how short the journey is. The bridge measures just 66 feet long, linking the mainland of Northern Ireland to the island of Carrick-a-Rede. Luckily for visitors today, a two-hand rope railing helps hold you up. The original rope bridge featured just a single rope handrail.

The Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge spans a 100 feet deep, 66 feet wide chasm. You might want to forgo looking down, especially with the knowledge that the waters below contain basking sharks, dolphins and porpoises.

Beyond the Bridge, The Sea and More to See

While the Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge is surrounded by jaw-dropping views on your daring journey. The site boasts views of Rathlin Island and even the Scottish islands on a clear day. However be aware that the weather can play a major role in what you see. If a sea mist takes hold, you won’t see more than a few feet in front of you. It is always best to check the weather before arriving. The Carrick-a-Rede site is also home to unique bird watching opportunities. Seabirds like razorbills and fulmars have been known to hang out on the island. Carrick-a-Rede contains traces of lifting gear and even a recently resorted Salmon Fishery, a shelter used by the fishermen who worked on the island.

Post Crossing, Calm Nerves at the Old Bushmills Distillery

If the sways of the Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge have left your nerves rattling, you can calm tensions just up the road in Bushmills at the Old Bushmills Distillery, Ireland’s oldest working distillery. Begun in 1608, a tour of the historic distillery includes a look at the mixing room, fermentation hall, the distillery itself, the cask room, the blending lounge and the bottling plant. If you are still rattled by the crossing of the rope bridge, you can pick up the Old Bushmills Distillery specialty, the 12-year-old Distillery Reserve Single Malt Whisky. The Old Bushmills Distillery also claims a resident ghost, the gray lady. Although sightings of her might have something to do with the amount of whiskey consumption of the viewer.