Crossing Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge Antrim Northern Ireland 2024

Northern Ireland’s famous rope bridge Carrick-a-Rede is that bridge that anyone wanting to visit Ireland would love to cross. Its breathtaking views and stomach-churning height is a must-do for those brave enough to try it. The Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge, Northern Ireland is located on the Causeway Coastal Route of Northern Ireland near Ballycastle. The name comes from the Scottish Gaelic ‘Carraig-a-Rade’ meaning “The Rock in the Road”. It was named this by the salmon fisherman who caught Atlantic salmon from the Island in 1755.

If you are planning a visit to the Causeway Coast this is bound to be one of your bucket list items. Crossing the Giant’s Causeway and the Carrick-a-rede Rope Bridge is a dream come true for many visitors. Other sites of interest on the route include Dunluce Castle, the Giant’s Causeway, Mussenden Temple, Bushmills for the whiskey and if you plan on going to Derry check out the Stairway to Heaven if you love a long walk up a lot of stairs.

long shot of the Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge in N. Ireland

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Carrick A Rede Rope Bridge FAQ

What is the Carrick A Rede Rope Bridge?

The carrick-a-rede rope bridge is a famous tourist attraction located in northern ireland, specifically in County Antrim. It is a suspension bridge that crosses a 30-meter deep chasm, offering breathtaking views of the coastal surroundings.

Carrick-a-rede rope bridge - an intrepid crossing

How do I cross the Carrick A Rede Rope Bridge?

To cross the bridge, visitors need to purchase tickets at the entrance and follow the designated path to the bridge. Once there, you can carefully walk across the swaying bridge to reach the other side, where you can enjoy the stunning views.

Carrick-a-rede rope bridge - an intrepid crossing

Is the Carrick A Rede Rope Bridge managed by any organization?

Yes, the carrick-a-rede rope bridge is managed by the National Trust, ensuring the safety and preservation of this iconic landmark.

What is the history behind the Carrick A Rede Rope Bridge?

The bridge has a rich history dating back to when it was first erected by fishermen to access the salmon located off the coast. Over the years, it has become a popular destination for visitors seeking adventure along the coastal route.

Where is the Carrick A Rede Rope Bridge located?

The bridge is situated near the town of ballintoy and ballycastle along the stunning antrim coast in county antrim, northern ireland.

Sign on the Antrim road that leads to the Glens of Antrim. To the left is the north sea and up ahead is an arch cut out of the stone cliff that covers the road

What are the recommended tips for crossing the Carrick A Rede Rope Bridge?

Before embarking on the journey to cross the carrick-a-rede rope bridge, it’s advisable to know before you go by checking the opening times and being prepared for the coastal weather conditions.

Are there any nearby attractions to visit after crossing the bridge?

After crossing the bridge, visitors can explore attractions like the old bushmills distillery, take a causeway costal tour, visit Dunluce Castle, take in some set-jetting and view the Game of Thrones filming sites. When you have finished touring the area head to Londonderry and see the murals, and on your way stop by at Mussenden Temple.

Carrick-a-rede rope bridge - an intrepid crossing

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What is the Carrick a Rede rope bridge?

The bridge itself is a crossing between N. Ireland to the Island of Carrick-a-Rede. It is made of planks, wire, rope and netting suspended 100 feet in the air and crossed 60 across the water to the Island. The rope bridge is maintained and managed by the National Trust which ensures that the bridge is safe to cross. The first rope bridge was first erected by salmon fishermen in 1755.

The Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge was the Game of Thrones filming location for the deadly encounter between Balon Greyjoy, King of the Iron Islands, and his younger brother Euron. After an argument with his daughter Yara, Balon walks onto the bridge between two towers of Pyke where he encounters a ‘stranger’ who turns out to be his brother and his murderer.

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How to get to Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge from Belfast

The drive from Belfast is an easy 1 hour or so journey and I recommend driving the Nine Glens of Antrim to see some of the spectacular Irish forests, waterfalls and just jaw-dropping beauty of this beautiful coastal scenery.

long shot of the Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge in N. Ireland

If you want to take public transport to Carrick-A-Rede’s rope bridge it’s a little trickier. You would have to get the train from Belfast to Coleraine and from there take 1 of two buses that go near the Rope Bridge, there is however a 20-minute walk from the bus stop to the Bridge.

Top tips for visiting the Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge on the Causeway Coastal Route

Is Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge safe?

Absolutely beyond a shadow of a doubt. The Bridge is carefully maintained and no crossings are allowed on bad weather or windy days. The bridge is very “bouncy” which can be a bit nerve-racking. There are two wooden planks that are laid across a series of woven wire supports. If you slip you could cause an injury and I would not recommend the walk across the bridge if you have any mobility issues, fear of heights or balance problems. I also wouldn’t suggest you take children under the age of 8 across even though there are no age limits.

Parking at Carrick-a-Rede

There is a large free parking lot that sits behind the small cafe and gift shop at Carrick-a-rede. The shop makes a great place to pick up some postcards and trinkets to take home. You can also get a snack and a cup of coffee to steel your nerves before crossing the bridge.

Tickets for the Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge

In the summer months when tourism is at an all-time high, you should try to purchase your tickets in advance. Tickets are timed for your crossing as the bridge can get over 2000 visitors a day. Tickets are limited so I recommend booking them online at the National Trust. You will receive an email and you can pick up your printed ticket at the site.

Carrick-a-rede rope bridge - an intrepid crossing

You don’t have to cross the bridge but you can walk up the coastal path to the viewpoint for free. 

How much does it cost to cross Carrick a Rede rope bridge?

Is Carrick a Rede rope bridge free? No Adult tickets cost  £13.00 and tickets for children from 5 and up to 17 are £6.50 a Family ticket costs £32.50. You can also use your National Trust Card to get discounts. You can walk to the bridge which is free but you can’t cross unless you have a ticket.

Carrick-a-rede rope bridge - an intrepid crossing

I have always enjoyed driving the Causeway Coastal route there are just so many places to drop by and visit and I recommend doing a Game of Thrones tour with a tour company or simply driving it yourself. There’s loads of parking on the Coast.

Carrick-a-rede rope bridge - an intrepid crossing

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How long is the Carrick a Rede rope bridge?

The Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge (locally pronounced carrick-a-reed) is a rope bridge near Ballintoy in County Antrim, Northern Ireland. The bridge links the mainland to the tiny Carrick island and it spans 20 metres (66 ft) and is 30 metres (98 ft) above the rocks and ocean.

How long to spend at Carrick a Rede?

With the walk to the bridge and the crossing to Carrick a Rede Island, you will probably spend at least 3 to 4 hours enjoying both the walk and the stunning scenery.

How long is the walk to Carrick a Rede rope bridge?

From the parking lot, it will take you around 20-30 minutes to walk to the viewpoint at Carrick-a-rede that’s about 1km. For most people, the walk isn’t difficult but if you have any mobility issues I wouldn’t recommend it. The pathway is gravel and there are some small inclines and there are then 30 steep steps down to the bridge entry. You can walk out to the bridge entry point at no charge.

Carrick-a-rede rope bridge - an intrepid crossing

I also wouldn’t advise taking small children who have a habit of darting off to see things or little ones in a stroller that won’t be able to handle gravel paths.  As you can see from the photos in the article the paths can be quite steep and there is only ropes to fence off the path.

Carrick-a-rede rope bridge - an intrepid crossing

Is the Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge safe?

The bridge is perfectly safe and the views are simply outstanding but is can be very scary particularly if you are crossing in wet weather – and remember this is Ireland. The rope bridge is made up of 2 planks that lie across the woven wires and net with a rope handrail. There are no age limits for crossing to Carrick-a-Rede Island.

Carrick-a-rede rope bridge - an intrepid crossing

History of Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge

The Carrick-a- Rede rope bridge why did they need to get to the island? It was in 1755 that the first rope bridge to Carrick-a-Rede Island was constructed in an effort to reduce reliance on boats to reach the island.  From 1755 to 2002 salmon were caught from the island but pollution and overfishing sealed to the demise of the fishing trade from the island.

Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge in N. Ireland

The last fisherman on Carrick-a-rede was Alex ‘Achi’ Colgan, he had worked the fishery there for over 30 years with his Uncle. Now over 80 he says “it was the hardest salmon fishery on the coast, but we caught up to 250 plus a day”.

view from the sky of the Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge in N. Ireland

What to see on Carrick a rede Island

Once you cross the Bridge you will spot the Salmon Fishery and the newly restored Fisherman’s cottage and ice house. This restoration was done by the National Trust and the North East Region Local Action Group working together to ensure that the history and traditions of a once-thriving industry will be remembered.

There is a guided tour of the Fisherman’s cottage with interpretation and oral history that allows you to learn about the impact of this salmon fishery on local life.  

Carrick-a-rede rope bridge - an intrepid crossing

You will find guide ropes around the Island which outline the “safe views” so don’t be stupid and attempt to take selfies from dangerous viewpoints. When you return to the bridge you will more than likely have to wait your turn to cross back.

Carrick-a-rede rope bridge - an intrepid crossing

If you would like to experience some more outstanding views take the trail to the left of the steps which circle past the bridge there you will find the viewpoint. Don’t forget to get your official “over the Bridge” certificate before you leave.

a view of the rope bridge of Carrick-a-rede from the shore. Showing a line of tiny people crossing the rope bridge to the island of Carrick

Where to stay on the Causeway Coast

My absolute favourite place to stay when I visit the Causeway is Ballycastle. I’ve done fabulous food tours in Ballycastle and stayed in several BnB’s that I just love.

Carrick-a-rede rope bridge - an intrepid crossing

The first place I highly recommend for large groups and families is the Abbey Movie House. We stayed at this lovely terraced house when we last visited. The house sleeps up to 10 people and is fully equipped with all the conveniences and a superb media room.


My other favourite place is the Old Manse. I just love this fabulous old manor house with its gorgeous rooms filled with antiques and soft downy bedding. We had a room with a little balcony of the sitting room which was brilliant to watch the sunset. The breakfast was also superb.

A tidy bedroom with a Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge-themed wooden bed frame, matching bedside tables with lamps, and patterned wallpaper.


The Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge spans the rugged coastal cliffs of Northern Ireland, and this iconic bridge has captivated visitors for generations, offering a thrilling experience and breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape. Walking across the swaying planks, suspended above the churning waters below is challenging for almost everyone. So when are you making your dream trip to Ireland?

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Crossing the carrick-a-rede rope bridge in Northern Ireland.


  • Faith was born in Ireland raised in Canada and has lived in over 10 countries in Europe including England, Ireland, Scotland, France, Spain, Northern Ireland, Wales, along with Mexico, Antigua, the US and has slow travelled to over 40 countries around the world. Graduating with a degree in Anthropology and Women's Studies Faith is a student of history, culture, community and food and has written about these topics for over 40 years.

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