A trip up North : Carrick-A-Rede

rope bridge

I can tell with certainty that every Carrick-A-Rede Rope bridge visitor has this picture.  A one kilometre long  coastal walk from the car park over the high cliffs is a treat itself, but still everybody hopes to catch a distant view of the famous bridge, so they stop after each turn of the path and take a snap.

The truth is, you cannot see the bridge until you get there.

rope bridge

The Carrick-A-Rede Rope bridge is a famous tourist landmark of Northern Ireland.  It connects the mainland with a small rocky island  ( “carrick “goes for a “rock” in Gaelic ).

If you expect an Indiana Jones-ish experience, you will be disappointed. The bridge is not too long; it won’t break up; it won’t swing and toss you in the waves. No one ever fell over the rope handrails, but there were plenty of tourists who just couldn’t make it back… No, they don’t get picked up by a helicopter as I hoped when I first crossed the bridge in 2005. The miserable are seated in a boat and ferried off to the mainland. No, I wasn’t in the boat. It was a windy day, but I made it back: a man with a little baby walking  behind me gave me the courage.

rope bridge 31.07.05

The rope bridge didn’t always look the way it looks now. Built  by salmon fishers in 1600s it was used from June to September as an access to the rocky islands. The fishers ran their nets between the islands to catch the salmons coming through the area to spawn in the nearby rivers. Below is an image taken in the 19th century. Up to the 1970s the bridge had only a single handrail.

19th century

When the salmon fishing came to the end The National Trust installed a new, tourist friendly cage bridge to span the 18m wide and 24m deep chasm. It was a unique and costly project. The bridge was taken down and re-installed annually. Another one was built in 2004, and the current one is built in 2008. Now the bridge is opened all the year round if the weather conditions are not dangerous.

In June 2012 the Olympic Flame was carried onto the Carrick A Rede  bridge by a P.E. teacher Clare Leahy from Coleraine.  After that the Flame was carried to the Giant’s Causeway ( my next blog).

When you get over the bridge Scotland is as close as never before 🙂

2014-08-01 Northern Ireland I 390

Walking around the island you can enjoy the glorious scenery and take pictures.

rope bridge

carrick a  rede

carrick a rede

rope bridge

Sooner or later you have to cross the bridge again…

rope bridge

The more you do it the less you fear. If I come again next year I might even look down…

rope bridge

So this is my story for to day. There is a link to the webpage where you can read more about the timetable and tickets. If you don’t want to cross the bridge don’t buy any tickets and just walk over and watch the others cross. The walk is beautiful and free.

To be continued.

Photography tip of the day: secure your shooting gear and memory cards. A gust of wind can ruin your trip.

inese_mj_photographyHave a great week!


  1. Thanks for visiting my blog http://www.alyzenmoonshadow.com

    I enjoy reading about your adventures in Ireland. I visited the Carrick-a-Rede bridge in 2010, on the same day we did the Giant’s Causeway. Great memories! I used to live and work in another Carrick in Ireland, Carrick-on-Shannon, an amazingly beautiful place that you must visit!

    1. Thank you for commenting! I have been to Carrick-on-Shannon 🙂 It is a beautiful town indeed. I didn’t take any images, we were in a hurry, just driving through. Next time I have to stay there longer 🙂

  2. Thanks for posting this. A colleague at work just returned from Northern Ireland and was telling me about it but did not have any photos. Looks like great fun. Nice photos.

  3. Hi there dear Inese…

    marvelous photos and I loved to see you, my friend ❤
    I now know that “carrick" means “rock” in Gaelic. Very neat!
    Thanks for sharing and happy weekend to you, Aquileana 😀

    1. Thank you for reading, my friend! Hope you are having a great weekend too! I have read your last post twice, there is lots I didn’t know before. You learn Gaelic words, I learn mythology, isn’t it fun? 🙂 Have a great week ahead! 🙂

    1. Thank you Andrea! I hope you enjoy the Giant’s causeway and the third post that is coming Tuesday – The Dark hedges 🙂 It was a very enjoyable day and I encourage everybody to visit the Northern Ireland.

  4. Beautiful pictures! I seem to have developed a fear of heights since I’ve gotten older. I wonder if I could actually make myself cross it. Leave it to me to be the one determined to do and then freeze up in the middle! HA! 🙂

    1. I bet you won’t be the only one in the history of the bridge who froze up in the middle and had to be carried off the bridge like a piece of furniture. I was very close to doing that back in 2005. 🙂

  5. How beautiful. Yet, even then, I’d stay put on one side of the island if that bridge is the only way to the other side. Imagining how it would swing and rock under my feet already makes me a tad nervous. You are brave to make the crossing. 🙂

    1. Imelda – thank you! I wasn’t that brave when I first crossed the bridge, but that crossing did help me with my fear of height. I still don’t feel comfortable, but I am not as petrified as it was before. I cannot tell that that crossing had a therapeutic impact though. Rather surgical 🙂

  6. Inese! That is terrifying! I don’t even like to cross suspension bridges in my CAR! Beautiful adventure photos and story though. I was giggling at the courage given to you by the man with a baby. Hehe great post. I really adore your photos! Such a fan of your writing too, and always look forward to the historical details.

    1. Alise, thank you! That infamous bridge crossing was a story itself 🙂 But I am really happy I made it with my dignity almost intact. I could not embarrass myself knowing that a stranger had the confidence to bring his baby over. This time I had no fear at all 🙂
      Thank you again for your kind words!

    1. Thank you! It was nice to come back after 9 years and find everything unchanged:) I bet the scenery will be the same when you retire:)

  7. Looking at your vivid photographs, I can almost feel the fresh air conforting the spirit of the wanderer, and the salty smell of the sea making him lucidly happy. Thanks, Inese, for so wonderful a present.

    1. Lino, thank you so much for your comment, I am so glad that my pictures are telling you a story. You are right, it was exactly as you are saying. We got a good few sun spells to enjoy, and the fresh sea air is good for the spirit 🙂

    1. Oh it did for me too, back in 2005. I came home a different person, a brave one:). This time it was just a bit scary, but the weather was still, no swinging, so I just walked slowly and didn’t look down 🙂

      1. It would just have to threaten to swing and I’d not set foot on it. You’re a braver woman than I am! My great-grandmother was from North Tipperary. She was a Guider. I ask everyone I meet from Tip if they know of any Guiders. They’ve all but disappeared.

        1. Oh I know what you are talking about 🙂 Just knowing that it CAN swing…
          I live in South Tipp. I can ask around about the Guiders.

          1. Thanks! She left when she was seven and couldn’t remember the name of the town where they lived. Her father was a weaver and was known as The Dutchman. I read that weavers from Flanders went to Ireland fleeing something or other and they ended up in North Tipp. They emigrated to England at the beginning of the 1900s. It would be funny if some of my ancestors left Flanders to go to Ireland and I ended up back in Flanders a hundred years later 🙂

            1. You know a lot about your family history. Genealogy is my passion 🙂
              Some people have this urge to return to their ancestors homeland when they are getting old. I think that they shorten their life with this change: old people should stay where they are. Visiting would be fun though 🙂

              1. You can never go back. My grandparents talked about it and my parents, but even just moving across the channel you create a different life. Even when you go back home almost every year it stops really being home when you bring up a family somewhere else. I get very nostalgic, and my eldest daughter goes to Ireland whenever she can, but it’s only ever to visit. Your roots remain, wherever the rest of the plant flowers.

                1. You are so right. It is good to know the roots, but to cut all the tree wouldn’t be wise. Some people I know did it, and it was all disappointment and stress. Too high the expectations.

                2. I met an Irish American when I was working in Paris who had ended up there after an unhappy episode in Ireland. He was a rabid supporter of the Provos and thought he’d go down like a house on fire back home. He obviously hadn’t heard that the Irish of the older generation at least don’t feel they have much in common with the Yanks, and certainly don’t appreciate them telling them how to run the country. He lasted a year and left.

                3. Oh that sounds familiar. People are picturing their past unchanged and expect to fit in just nicely with their new experiences, knowledge, money. The expectations are never met. Poor man, he just shortened his life with all the stress he got himself into.

                4. He was running away from a very unhappy divorce and children who didn’t want to see him. It came out in aggression—in his case directed against the British. He was just an anachronism, didn’t fit in anywhere.

                5. Anachronism, that’s the word. Who would leave all the life they have built? It is either someone with illusions, or someone making conflicts wherever they go.

    1. Thank you for stopping by Kate! For me the bridge is still a challenge 🙂 Especially when some excited teenagers start jumping and rocking it. I wish everyone would have a chance to see the beauty of Northern Ireland. I have two more posts in process: Giant’s Causeway and Dark Hedges.

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