As I wrote to you in the post on things to do in Northern Ireland, the Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge is one of Ireland’s must-see stops. Despite this reputation, it is but a “simple” rope bridge suspended over the sea.
For all intents and purposes it is, a 20-meter bridge connecting the small island of Carrick to the mainland. Of course it is now a solid and safe bridge, but at one time it seems it was not quite so.
Carrick a Rede Rope Bridge: a bit of history
The history of the Carrick a Rede Bridge begins as far back as 1755, or more than 260 years ago. It was built by salmon fishermen. Now this area is no longer fish-rich, the salmon have chosen other ways to migrate, and in 2002 the islet ceased to be a landmark. At that time, however, salmon were passing right by Carrick Island. It was necessary to get as close as possible so as to catch them more easily.
It was a necessity to get to the island, and it was a necessity in the following decades as well, suffice it to say that still in 1960, 300 salmon were being caught a day.
So, the first bridge built in the 18th century was just a rope and many pieces of wood, quite different from the current version (dated early 2000s and tested for a 10-ton load).
Walk across the bridge to Carrick Island
There is not much to add or much to recommend. Access to the bridge is “managed” by an attendant who checks the ticket and scans the steps on the bridge, preventing it from getting crowded or people from staying on the bridge.
On that note: I urge you to avoid taking a thousand pictures of yourself, especially if you visit in peak season when the queue reaches no small length and people are definitely less patient. Back to the old, one shot and stop…the rest of the time use it to look at the spectacle around you.
The ticket lasts for 1 hour, however, I challenge you to stay on Carrick Island in Rede for more than 10 minutes. Once you cross the bridge, you will have little to do on the other side except take a few photographs of the shoreline. Warning: if you are a person who suffers from vertigo, remember that under the bridge there is a 30-meter drop to the sea. Take appropriate precautions.
High season vs. low season: when to go
I had a chance to visit in the low season in March, during my trip to Ireland, when there was absolutely no queue: I arrived, got my tickets, took the 10-minute walk accompanied by an icy wind coming from the sea, and once I got to the bridge I was immediately able to gain access without waiting. I read that in the summer months the queue to get on the bridge reaches up to 2 hours waiting time.
In any case, it is definitely worth it-thescenic impact that can be enjoyed both going to the bridge, on the passage and on the little island, represents that something for which anyone who goes to Ireland comes back lost in love with the Emerald Isle.
The Carrick-a-rede Rope Bridge is one of the most visited places in all of Ireland. More than understandable I would say. Extraordinary places are worth experiencing.
Carrick a Rede: prices, hours, tickets and various info
First importantinformation about going to visit Carrick-a-Rede: if you simply want to see the little island without paying the ticket and go over the bridge, you can do so. There is no prohibition to following the path and going all the way to the bridge. The ticket is for crossing and going to the island.
Why do I tell you this? Because if you’re afraid of heights, don’t want to pay the ticket, or are trivially outside the opening hours, you can still see and photograph the bridge.
Another tip: If you visit it out of season (but better in season, too) bring something to cover you from the wind, which can be icy at times.
The Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge is part of the places preserved and protected by the National Trust. It is an organization active in England, Wales and indeed Northern Ireland. Among its goals is to educate people to enjoy their national heritage.