The Rope Bridge of Carrick-a-Rede is located 10 miles east of Portrush, Northern Ireland and links the mainland with Carrick Island by thirty yards of suspended wooden plank supported below by cable and above bywebbed rope attached to cable.
350 years ago fishermen built a far more crude rope bridge to fish for migrating salmon who take a shortcut through this narrow gap of water separating the mainland from the rocky expanse of Carrick Island. In more recent times the bridge was upgraded to its present state for the safety of visitors from around the globe.
From the parking lot, tourists can follow a trail one half mile or so to the bridge along the crest of sea-cliffs pounded with surf and filled with fluttering seagulls, fulmars, gannets and puffins. The hiker might see oyster catchers down in sandy coves along with occasional sandpipers. The oyster catcher is a bird with a bright and long orange bill capable of opening live oysters on the spot.
As the visitor walks along the top of windy sea-cliffs of limestone, he will certainly enjoy the clusters of purple heather and yellow whin-bushes and wild red geraniums. Soon the trail will descend a series of steep steps leading down to the rope bridge. He may well have to hold on tight to the cables if it is windy or if the bridge is wet with rain. If the weather is fierce, naturally the bridge will be closed.
Once out in the middle of the swaying bridge, the hiker can enjoy the pungent smells of the sea, the crashing of surf below and with luck, salmon thrashing through the narrow channel. It is fun to get to the other side and explore flowerful Carrick Island with views fifteen miles across the sea to the Campbelltown Peninsula of Scotland. Such an experience will surely refresh mind and spirit for many moons ahead, even if the visitor has the misfortune of forgetting to bring his camera.