Life in Ireland

Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge

Finally a whole week-end off work. Finally, the weather forecasts seemed good. So, we took the chance to go the long way up to the North. Destination Carrick-a-Rede island.

Carrick-a-Rede (from the Scottish Gaelic Carraig-a-Rade) means the rock in the road. The road is the the sea route for Atlantic salmon on their westward journey past Carrick Island. For over 350 years, fishermen have a strung a rope bridge 30m above the sea to allow them to access the best places to catch the migrating salmon. Crossed regularly by local fishermen, the bridge now presents a challenge to thousand of visitors each year who come to enjoy the same views and high thrills. Once on the other side, you can enjoy the view over Larrybane, the ancient white site made of limestone. Carved into the rock, it is still visible an ancient fort of the Iron Age (AD800).

We left this morning at about 8AM and it took us a little more than 1 hour to get to the nearest town, Ballycastle. Here, we had short stop, as our navigator seemed lost and – to our surprise – both mobile network and wifi were off. As usual, the more effective way to find your way when you lost it, is to ask some locals. We had a short walk at the harbour, where the stalls of a market where being mounted just close to the beach. The view was enchanting, and the people at the stalls were so kind to give us the right directions to Carrick-a-Rede.

Back on the car, we followed the Causeway coastal roadway. I have only one word to describe it: breathtaking. I must say that we were extremely lucky: no wind, an incredible sun, and one of the best coastal panoramas that I have ever seen since I’ve been in Ireland. The view is astonishing even at the parking… and it gets more and more dramatic.

The parking is for free, but you have to pay a ticket for the entrance: adult fee is 5.90£, but it’s all worth it. From the entrance shack, a coastal walk of 0.6 miles takes you to Carrick-a-Rede island. Once on the island, you can roam freely, and the view is incredible. We incredibly enjoyed it…

Passing the bridge is certainly thrilling. It wobbles at every step, and looking down is quite of a challenge, but also mesmerising. Even more in a day like today, with shallow and clear waters of the sea, and a view extending miles and miles ahead of us.

We realised how like were while walking our way back to the parking: groups of tourists were walking towards the islands. We had arrived soon enough to enjoy the walk in tranquillity and to share the island with few other people. What was arriving now, looked like the barbaric hordes. At the parking, we saw lines of buses arriving, stopping, and leaving groups of 60-80 people at a time. We hurried to get into the car and we left. Next destination: the Giant’s Causeway. Don’t miss the next blog post!


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