Climb the GobbinsIslandmagee, Ireland
The Gobbins cliff path wraps its way around the dramatic coast of County Antrim in Northern Ireland – and you’ll find the highway to exhilaration if you take up the challenge of this mile of wonder.
The magnificently restored Edwardian attraction features a series of tubular and suspension bridges, a staircase, caves and tunnels carved through the basalt. It offers a white-knuckle mix of adventure, rugged beauty, spectacular views, heritage, flora and fauna. In all, walkers must brave 23 metal bridges and water-splashed gantries installed along sheer cliff faces. Strictly for thrill-seekers and those who can handle a bracing climb, the route offers not just a walk along a cliff top but also below sea-level experiences of the caves and bridges.
Just a short drive from Belfast, the Gobbins is in Islandmagee, a welcoming peninsula just off the start of the Causeway Coastal Route, and another jewel in its crown. The site also boasts a visitor centre featuring an exhibition on the building of the Gobbins, its history from Edwardian times and the geology and ecology of Islandmagee. If you are not up to the walk, a more relaxing way to see the entire Gobbins Cliff Path is on one of the boat tours from Islandmagee. Near to the celebrated sites of the Giant’s Causeway, the Glens of Antrim, Bushmills Distillery, Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge and much more, the Gobbins is a reimagined triumph waiting to be explored.
Driving: Take the A2 from Belfast to Larne and turn right onto the Island Road Lower (B90) with brown signposts for Islandmagee and the Gobbins. Travel straight ahead until you reach a mini roundabout with a sign indicating the village of Ballystrudder, then continue straight ahead until you are facing the Rhinka ice-cream parlour. Turn left and continue less than 800 metres and you will find the Gobbins Visitor Centre located on your left.
A 2.5-hour guide tour costs about US$15.
The Gobbins is an exhilarating walk along a narrow uneven path with many steps and a steep climb at the end of the walk. It’s no Everest, but you need to be reasonably fit.