My Ireland: a walk on water on The Gobbins Cliff Path

There are not many places on earth where you can say you almost walked on water… Over 100 years old, The Gobbins Cliff Path in County Antrim is an amazing feat of engineering and your chance to be at one with nature at its raw and beautiful best.

Below, the water is boiling, seafoam visible through the latticed metal bridge, crashing against the sheer rock face. Above, the sky is teeming with birds: cormorants diving like arrows into the water, guillemots ruffling their feathers on the crowded cliffs, solemn-faced puffins huddled in their nests. And beyond – nothing but wide, open ocean.

This is the Gobbins: an impossibly narrow path snaking along the County Antrim coast, first envisioned in 1902 by enterprising Edwardian engineer, Berkeley Deane Wise. Reopened in 2015, its magic remains, captivating visitors as much today as it ever did. From your first step through Wise’s Eye at the path’s mouth, through the secretive smugglers’ cave beyond, you can’t help but marvel at the ingenuity that brought this to life all those years ago.

Though the path is secure and easily accessible, there’s something truly exhilarating about how closely it hugs the cliffside, how pitch black the stretch is through the steep, rocky tunnel at its centre, and how loudly the sea booms outside as you tiptoe through. But it’s as you cross the tubular bridge suspended above the deep green water that you really feel your heart in your mouth: solid as the rock itself, there’s still no hiding from the might of nature beneath your feet. Are you brave enough to look down?

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The Gobbins Cliff Path