One Last Adventure
By Allison Mazur
May 18, 2016
Before departing on the Shamrocker Tour I asked Sue if we were going to see “that rope bridge” because I had seen so many postcards advertising it, and it looked like a cool place to visit. Upon arriving in the small town of Ballintoy, our guide Dave said it was about a three-mile walk to “that rope bridge,” otherwise known as Carrick-a-Rede. Most of us were completely exhausted after a full day of activities in the rainy weather, but I knew from past travel mistakes that if I passed up this opportunity I would be mad at myself. Obviously the advertising for Carrick-a-Rede was effective.
Nine of us decided to make the trip to the bridge and when we arrived we saw a sign saying the bridge was closing at 5:15 p.m. The current time was 5:13 p.m. We all started sprinting toward the entrance, and luckily we got the last tickets of the day. It was also a good time to go because the normally busy bridge and island were not that crowded.
To say the least, the views from the island and bridge did not disappoint. I was wary of the flimsy-looking bridge, especially with the huge gusts of wind over the rocky waters of Ireland. I would be lying if I said my heart wasn’t racing when I stepped onto the bridge. I looked straight down through the bridge slats and saw waves crashing on rocks below me. I was gripping onto the ropes as I quickly shuffled across to the island.
The swarms of seagulls surrounding the island did not surprise me, since the Carrick-a-Rede was originally built for fishing purposes. Fishermen used to set up nets between the islands and land to create a trap for salmon, and the bridge was dismantled every winter and rebuilt again the next season. The current bridge is now a permanent fixture.
However, I was surprised by the massive stench the gulls gave off. I tried to face the other side of the island for the most part. Despite the smell, the views of the sea and coast were breathtaking. Everything we saw today was so picturesque; it’s hard to believe these places naturally exist even though I visited them myself.