Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge (Ballycastle)
Connected to the cliffs by a rope bridge across the Atlantic Ocean, Carrick-a-Rede Island (home to a single building - a fisherman's cottage) is the final destination.
Suspended almost 100 ft (30 m) above sea level, the rope bridge was first erected by salmon fisherman 350 years ago. In 2016 Carrick-a-Rede welcomed the highest number of visitors ever to this exhilarating rope bridge experience.
The famous Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge was first erected by salmon fishermen in 1755. Suspended almost 100ft above the Atlantic Ocean, the exhilarating crossing covers a chasm connecting to the rocky island of Carrick-a-Rede. 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.
Centuries of tradition
Atlantic salmon were first fished at Carrick-a-Rede and Larrybane in 1620 but it wasn’t until 1755 that the first rope bridge between to the rocky island of Carrick-a-Rede was erected to reduce reliance on a boat to reach the island.
In the 19th century more than 80 fishers, 21 salmon fishers and 10 fish carriers were working in the parish of Ballintoy. Catches of up to 300 salmon a day were common until the 1960s.
Centuries of salmon fishing are now just a memory. Fishing pressure at sea and river pollution led to a decline in salmon and the last fish was caught at Carrick-a-Rede in 2002.
Alex 'Achi' Colgan, the last fisherman at Carrick-a-Rede, took over the licence when his uncle retired and worked there for over 30 years, leaving in 2002 when co-workers became hard to find. This fishery needs four men to work it and it’s hard, heavy work.