Things to see and do at Carrick-a-Rede
Take on the challenge of the famous Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge, enjoy stunning views of the Scottish islands, spot soaring seabirds and basking sharks, and see the stars shine like never before.
Brave the bridge
Suspended almost 30m (100ft) above sea level, the Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge was first erected by salmon fishermen over 200 years ago.
Crossing the bridge is a thrilling experience and brave explorers are rewarded with stunning views across to Rathlin Island and the Scottish islands, and a chance to see the original fishery on the island.
Once you’ve finished exploring, you can enjoy a hot drink and a bite to eat at the Weighbridge Tea-Room.
Look out for the crane
A working fishery from the 1700s until early 2000s, Carrick-a-Rede had a crane on the island for at least 100 years prior to its destruction in 2014, when storms spelled the end for its old timber frame. Breaking away from the rusted steel mount, the perished timber washed away.
Today, you are able to see a reconstruction of the crane, built by rangers in 2016. It helps to make sense of the fishing industry that was so important on the causeway coast.
Top things to look out for during your visit
Orchids and other flowers
At least three different types of orchids can be found around the sites as well as other wildflowers.
Salmon was fished here for almost 400 years. Look out for the lifting gear for raising boats and salmon fishing nets on the island and catch glimpses of the past. Tours of the Fisherman's Cottage are available upon request.
Guillemots, razorbills, kittiwakes and fulmars all share living space on the island and the adjoining mainland. The oystercatcher is a very common sight along the whole North Coast.
In the water
Basking sharks, dolphins and porpoises are seen on a regular basis. Maybe you'll be lucky enough to spot all three.
The West Lighthouse on Rathlin Island is only 4.5 miles (7km) from Carrick-a-Rede. Thousands of puffins breed there every year.
Find out more about the history
Discover the industrial and maritime history held within the limestone walls of Larrybane Quarry as you trace the line of coast over windswept grasslands and winding rocky paths to Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge.
This 1km guided walk evokes memories of the past when the salmon fishery was at an all-time high and how fishermen first constructed a single handrail rope bridge to transport boxes of salmon caught off the island.
See the stars
Dark Sky Discovery status
Carrick-a-Rede is an incredible spot for stargazing. It’s one of only two sites to be granted ‘Dark Sky Discovery’ status in Northern Ireland, the other being Oxford Island on the shores of Lough Neagh.
Special stargazing evenings
You can enjoy the stars by yourself any time of the year but if you’d like to learn a little more about them, ask about our special stargazing evenings. These are held with the support of the Northern Ireland Amateur Astronomy Society, who supply equipment and a wealth of friendly stargazing advice.
The famous Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge was first erected by salmon fishermen in 1755. The name, from the Gaelic 'Carraig-a-Rade', means ‘The Rock in the Road’, an obstacle for the migrating salmon as they search for the river in which they were born. Follow in the footsteps of the vanishing fishermen by uncovering the history of Carrick-a-Rede.