If youve ever seen King Kong or Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom youll know that serious issues can happen on a rope bridge. Therefore, approaching the brilliant Carrick a Rede rope bridge in Northern Ireland might fill you with a sense of trepidation. Take comfort that it is very unlikely that a gigantic Gorilla will be trying to fling you off the bridge just as its also pretty much a certainty that you wont be pursued by members of a Thuggee cult either. The bridge is still imposing as it stretches out from the North Antrim coast to the tiny offshore island of Carrick A Rede across a thirty metre gap. If you are staying in Log Cabins Northern Ireland like the ones you can find at http://logcabinsnorthernireland.com/ you should definitely travel to see this bridge. What was the purpose of putting this bridge up?
To put it simply it was set up by local fishermen to take advantage of the huge amounts of salmon, not as abundant now in the area as it was, just off the island. The seas around the North Antrim coast are rough and treacherous as it is where the Irish Sea meets the Atlantic Ocean. When the bridge was set up some 350 years ago if you could avoid going out in a boat then you would and if an alternative was available that produced the same result you would take it. Underneath the cove where the bridge is located there are caves where fishing boats were stored for shelter from the elements.
The site is now managed by the National Trust but it is free to cross and as long as its not blowing a gale you can cross over at any time. There isnt a lot to see on the other side to be honest apart from the spectacular coast, Rathlin Island and, on a clear day Scotlands South west coast. It is quite an exhilarating experience when you do get across but dont worry there are many who have had to be rescued by boat because they cant make the return journey. To allay your fears the bridge is made from good strong Douglas Fir and wire and it can take up to ten tonnes on it, not that youd want to be on it should you try and test that weight limit out.
If youd like a lyrical description of what its like then the famous Irish Poet Mr Seamus Heaney captures it when he writes in A Postcard from North Antrim, Of ropes and slates slung dangerously out between the cliff top and the pillar rock.