Ireland - Northern Ireland
Carrick-a-Rede near Ballintoy, County Antrim, Northern Ireland (not far from the Giant Causeway), is famous for its rope suspension bridge. The bridge links the mainland to the tiny Carrick Island, and it is owned and maintained by the National Trust; it spans twenty metres and is thirty metres above the rocks below. It is mainly a tourist attraction, with 227,000 visitors in 2007. The bridge is now taken down every year in late October or early November, depending on weather conditions, and put up again in March.
Carrick-a-rede means 'rock in the road'. It is thought salmon fishermen have been erecting bridges to the island for over 350 years. It has taken many forms over the years. In the 1970s it featured only a single handrail and large gaps between the slats. A version of the bridge, tested up to ten tonnes, was built with the help of local climbers and abseilers in 2000. The previous design was engineered in 2004 and offers visitors and fishermen alike a much safer passage to the island. The current wire rope and Douglas fir bridge was made by Heyn Construction in Belfast and erected early in 2008 at a cost of over £16,000. Although no one has fallen off the bridge, there have been many instances where visitors, unable to face the walk back across the bridge, have had to be taken off the island by boat.
The latter I find hard to believe, let alone to understand - we thought the bridge is a total fizzer and the visit a highly overpaid hype. I found it so boring, I didn't even take photos of it; instead I focused on the surrounding environment which, while not spectacular, provided, at least visually, much more excitement.