One of Northern Ireland’s most unique tourist attractions, The Gobbins, will take you on a dramatic coastal walk along the breathtaking Causeway Coastal Route.
It’s being celebrated as Northern Ireland’s newest tourist attraction, but you might not be aware of its fascinating history.
Here are some intriguing facts about The Gobbins…
1. Berkeley’s Vision
The Gobbins was the brainchild of visionary Berkeley Deane Wise, pioneering Chief Engineer of the Belfast and Northern Counties Railway Company. An early pioneer for tourism, Berkeley Deane Wise built The Gobbins order to encourage people to use the train and travel to places like Islandmagee.
2. A Feat Of Engineering At The Turn Of The Century
Often regarded as one of the early Twentieth Century’s most striking feats of engineering, The Gobbins was originally opened to the public in 1902. After its closure in 1954, a £7.5m restoration project of The Gobbins cliff path took place and has seen the coastal walk return to its former glory as one of Northern Ireland’s top tourist attractions following its grand reopening in 2015.
3. Passing Through The Eye
One of The Gobbins’ most unique features is known as ‘Wise’s Eye’ – a narrow entrance chiselled through the winding cliffs that gives visitors access to the most visually spectacular stretch of the original coastal path.
4. Building Bridges
A giant of the tourism industry in Northern Ireland, Wise’s original tubular bridge for The Gobbins became the destination’s most iconic sight. Unlike the original bridge which was winched into place, the replica was lowered into place in 2014 from the cliff-side some 60 metres above.
5. War Stories
The tubular bridge stretches 20 metres out from the cliff path leading to the Man O’ War stack – an outstanding rock formation aptly named for its striking resemblance to the great battle ships.
6. Puffin Chill Out Zone
A scientifically significant site, The Gobbins is rife with biodiversity offering rare access to a rich selection of plants, ferns and grasses as well as Northern Ireland’s only mainland colony of colourful Puffins.
7. Health & Safety Gone Mad
The Gobbins was constructed by railway company employees who received no safety training and were lacking in appropriate safety equipment and clothing compared to the standards of today. Despite this, under that watchful eye of Wise, there were no recorded injuries during the perilous construction of The Gobbins.
8. Caveman Teacher
The ever-intriguing Smuggler’s Cave was once home to Thomas McCartney. Known as a hedge teacher, McCartney taught and slept in barns before settling in Smuggler’s Cave. To the right-hand side of the cave’s entrance is a wall cavity known as the ‘Schoolmaster’s Bedchamber’ where McCartney lived.
If this has whet you’re appetite, we’ve got a competition to win a family pass to the attraction…