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BeachHistoricalNorthern IrelandRoad TripUK

The Dark Hedges & Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge

We’re combining two attractions of Northern Ireland into one post, mainly because they didn’t quite turned out as we had planned. The Dark Hedges and the Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge were both gorgeous, but we didn’t factor in the crowds of Northern Ireland!

We spoke to a local who described the attractions pretty accurately: they are both “victims of their own success”. So if you’ve got your heart set on visiting either the Dark Hedges or the Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge, do so at the early hours of the morning or late in the evening.

The Dark Hedges on the Bregagh Road, when not over-crowded with tourists, provides an almost eerie drive through a row of beech trees that were planted in the 18th century. It is THE most photographed place in Northern Ireland and understandably so. Its popularity amongst roadtrippers was huge even before the Game of Thrones filmed Arya Stark traveling through the Dark Hedges.

We photoshopped quite a few people out of these two photos:
The Dark Hedges, Balleymoney, Northern Ireland, UK - American Expeditioners http://americanexpeditioners.com/the-dark-hedges

The Dark Hedges, Balleymoney, Northern Ireland, UK - American Expeditioners http://americanexpeditioners.com/the-dark-hedges

Admittedly, when we visited the Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge, we were flabbergasted at the crowds. Our stop there was sort of an after-thought when we were making our itinerary… But we were there, paid for the entrance fee and figured we should at least go in to see if the crowds were not as bad as the parking lot.

A little history on the Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge near Ballintoy:

  • the bridge links the mainland to the tiny island of Carrickarede
  • fishermen have been building bridges to the island for over 350 years
  • it’s now only a tourist attraction due to overfishing of the area
  • the current wire-rope bridge was built in 2008
  • it is extremely crowded

We were too impatient to wait 2-3 hours in line to cross the bridge but we did enjoy the beautiful coastline!

Parking lot of Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge near Ballintoy, Northern Ireland, UK - American Expeditioners http://americanexpeditioners.com/carrick-rede-rope-bridge
Parking lot of Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge near Ballintoy, Northern Ireland, UK - American Expeditioners http://americanexpeditioners.com/carrick-rede-rope-bridge
Ocean cliffs near Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge near Ballintoy, Northern Ireland, UK - American Expeditioners http://americanexpeditioners.com/carrick-rede-rope-bridge
Crowded Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge near Ballintoy, Northern Ireland, UK - American Expeditioners http://americanexpeditioners.com/carrick-rede-rope-bridge
Crowded Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge near Ballintoy, Northern Ireland, UK - American Expeditioners http://americanexpeditioners.com/carrick-rede-rope-bridge
Crowded Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge near Ballintoy, Northern Ireland, UK - American Expeditioners http://americanexpeditioners.com/carrick-rede-rope-bridge
Crowded Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge near Ballintoy, Northern Ireland, UK - American Expeditioners http://americanexpeditioners.com/carrick-rede-rope-bridge
Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge near Ballintoy, Northern Ireland, UK - American Expeditioners http://americanexpeditioners.com/carrick-rede-rope-bridge
Ocean views near Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge near Ballintoy, Northern Ireland, UK - American Expeditioners http://americanexpeditioners.com/carrick-rede-rope-bridge

Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge Overview

  • Address: 119a Whitepark Rd, Ballycastle BT54 6LS, UK
  • Fees: Adult £5.90; £3; £14.80
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Usage: Heavy
  • Length: .5 Miles to bridge
  • Tips:
    1. For reduced waiting times visit the Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge before 12 pm or after 4 pm throughout summer

The Dark Hedges Overview

  • Address: The Dark Hedges, Bregagh Rd, Ballymoney BT53 8TP, UK
  • Fees: FREE
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Usage: Heavy
  • Tips:
    1. This is an extremely crowded attraction during the summer. Visit early morning or in the evening.